Skip to main content
Download VCard
Donald R. Person, Esq.

Donald R. Person, Esq.

General Biography
Practice Areas
Civil Rights
Construction Defect
Engineering (Mechanical)
Engineering and Construction
Personal Injury/Torts
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Donald R. Person, Esq. has mediated and arbitrated over 2,000 cases spanning a wide range of genres. Don is a pioneer in the mediation of business, real estate and construction disputes in the Sacramento region. As a neutral, Don has successfully resolved real estate, construction, business formation, operation, sale and dissolution, partnership, limited liability company, professional liability, environmental, engineering and infrastructure, insurance coverage and subrogation, estate planning, probate and elder abuse, personal injury and wrongful death, intellectual property, employment, civil rights, and other matters. Don is an expert in negotiating techniques, and he knows when and how to suggest the use of each technique during difficult moments and to work through impasse. His neutral evaluations have been accepted as the basis for settlement in a very large number of his cases. Don has mediated many prelitigation matters and he is adept at helping counsel effectively and economically develop and exchange information that is necessary for early settlement evaluation. Don has a well-deserved reputation for creativity and tenacity.

Don joined JAMS in 1997 after a distinguished 22-year traditional law practice, where he handled both litigation and transactional work. His traditional law practice centered on real estate, construction and business matters, but he also has significant experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury, intellectual property, and other matters. Don has been retained as an expert on real estate matters and he has given in court expert testimony on real estate and subdivision financing issues. He arbitrated cases for the California Contractors State License Board before joining JAMS.

Don taught real estate, construction, contracts, torts and other courses for the University of California at Davis Extension Program and California State University at Sacramento. He has presented many ADR seminars, including MCLE presentations to federal, state and county bar associations and law firms, and presentations to industry specific organizations. Don has trained pro-tem settlement conference judges for the United States Bankruptcy Court.

Don is a degreed and experienced mechanical engineer. He was a manufacturing engineering intern in the automotive industry during college, and he participated in early design work for the Space Shuttle before attending law school.

Matters Handled as a Neutral with JAMS

As a Mediator:

Real Property

  • Residential and commercial purchase and sale disputes, including non-disclosure and concealment, broker and agent, inspector, and option to purchase issues
  • Contract interpretation, rescission, specific performance and damages disputes
  • CC&R enforcement and homeowners association disputes
  • Common boundary line, easement, dedication, trespass, nuisance, prescriptive rights, flooding and water rights disputes
  • Wrongful foreclosure and Homeowners’ Bill of Rights disputes
  • Commercial lease disputes
  • Title insurance disputes
  • Co-ownership, partition, condemnation and quite title disputes
  • Public and private land use planning disputes and infrastructure disputes
  • CEQA and NEPA disputes, including environmental impact statement adequacy, environmental impact report adequacy, clean air, clean water, and acquisition and management of alternate habitat mitigation lands disputes
  • CERCLA and toxic mold disputes
  • Design, construction and remodeling disputes, including permitting issues

Construction and Engineering

  • Private and public works projects, including residential, commercial, industrial, highway, bridge, school and military base disputes
  • Construction and design defect disputes, including contract non-conformance, code compliance and SB 800 issues
  • Contract interpretation and enforcement disputes, including interpretation of plans and specifications, contract scope, claims for extras and deductions, and cardinal change and total cost claims
  • Critical path analysis, scheduling and compensable and excusable delay, interference and acceleration disputes
  • Payment, performance, mechanics’ lien, stop notice and bond disputes
  • Engineering, infrastructure and manufacturing disputes
  • Information technology and software disputes


  • Business entity formation, ownership, operation, re-organization and dissolution disputes, including partnerships, limited liability companies, joint ventures, corporations, and licenses
  • Contract interpretation and application, breach, remedies and interference tort disputes
  • Family Business disputes
  • Insurance coverage and subrogation disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes, including gaming industry software, parking garage operations, development and application of audio technology for HDTV and other issues
  • Discrimination disputes
  • Wage and hours disputes

Estate Planning, Probate and Elder Abuse Disputes

  • Disputes involving the Interpretation, application and enforcement of wills and trusts and intestate succession
  • Elder abuse disputes

Professional Liability

  • Real estate broker and agent, architect, attorney, appraiser, inspector and accountant disputes

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

  • Claims involving auto and premises liability and construction defects leading to bodily injury or death                      

As an Arbitrator: 

  • Real estate sale and non-disclosure disputes
  • Real estate sale and option contract, contract interpretation, specific performance, rescission and deposit disposition disputes
  • Construction contract interpretation, contract scope, payment, defect, extras, back charges, delay, cardinal change and total cost, design, SB 800, mechanics’ lien and consultant services disputes
  • Commercial lease disputes
  • Homeowners’ association disputes
  • Stock valuation, stock purchase, royalty, note and deed of trust, and commercial and consumer products disputes
  • Electricity generating plant performance and operation disputes, including thermodynamic analysis
  • Civil rights disputes

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Selected Awards and Honors

  • During his traditional law practice, Don was a long time Martindale-Hubbell av rated attorney.  He has been listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s National Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and in the Sacramento Business Journal’s Who’s Who In Law.
  • While a neutral with JAMS, Don was a Law and Politics designated Northern California Super Lawyer for four years
  • While a neutral with JAMS, Don has been named in Sacramento Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Sacramento for seven years.
  • Don was honored for excellence in teaching and outstanding service by the UC Davis Extension Program.
  • Don was the featured subject of “ADR Offers a Range of Options for Resolving Conflicts” (Sacramento Daily Journal, March 31, 1998) and “Real Estate Law: Sacramento’s The Place To Be” (UC Davis Extension Certificate News, Fall, 1990).


  • Co-Author, “The Art of The Deal”: Strategies for Successful Negotiation in Environmental Cases”, Summer 2013, Environmental Law News, vol. 22, no. 1, pages 72-73, Summer 2013
  • Author, “Site Inspections and Other Non-Neutral Mediation Location Challenges”, Dispute Resolution Alert, Fall, 2005
  • Author, “Effective Use of Expert Witnesses in Mediation”, Dispute Resolution Alert, September, 2002
  • Author, “Effective Use of Alternate Dispute Resolution”, Builder and Developer, September, 1997
  • Author, “Resolving Business Disputes: The Old Way and The New Ways”, Builder and Developer, April, 1997

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Past Member, Construction Management Advisory Board, UC Davis Extension Program
  • Past Board Member and Board Chairperson, American River College Foundation
  • Past Board Member, Los Rios Community College District Foundation.
  • Past Board Member, Stanford Settlement, Inc.

Background and Education

  • J.D. with highest honors, Golden Gate University School of Law, 1975
  • B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1969
  • Member and officer in the Michigan Chapter of Pi Tau Sigma, National mechanical engineering honor society 


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

Search our global directory of mediators, arbitrators and ADR professionals.

Scroll to top