Alexander S. Polsky, FCIArb

T: 714-939-1300
F: 714-939-8710
Environmental

Mr. Polsky has extensive experience litigating, mediating, and arbitrating complex commercial litigation including environmental cases. He also serves as stipulated fact finder, special referee, arbitrator, and mediator. Cases have run the gamut from toxic exposure, "superfund," remediation and sale of contaminated property. He has resolved specialized issues in the context of toxic analysis and remediation.

Mr. Polsky utilizes a technique referred to as “Risk Based Facilitative Mediation.” This provides parties an opportunity to present issues in a facilitated forum and reduces the emotional reaction that often prevents resolution of these matters. In private caucus, Mr. Polsky encourages a free and frank discussion of risks and costs of proceeding through the litigation process. This permits "venting" of personal concerns which may be impeding resolution and evaluation of all issues.

Representative Matters

  • Land fill contamination in context of planned residential development
  • Toxic contaminant remediation and removal
  • Asbestos exposure and asbestosis claims involving former shipyard workers
  • Claim arising from allergic reaction to musty odor in apartment. After four months, claimant developed headache and breathing disorders. Physicians diagnosed an adverse reaction to toxic mold, which was complicated by pre-existing asthma. It was determined that there was a small roof leak that resulted in mold growth in the wall cavity. (Settlement involving payment of money, relocation to a new apartment, and rent abatement plus attorney fees)
  • During repairs of water leak, extensive mold contamination was discovered. Homeowner’s insurer denied coverage for the loss based on pre-existing conditions and pollution exclusions, and advised insured to seek recovery from the sellers of the home. (Settlement of bad faith claim for $675,000 and policy buyback)
  • Fatal infection secondary to exposure to DDT in soil. DDT dumped by chemical manufacturer in open farmland. (Settlement 180 days before death of property owner)
  • Fuel tank spillage and remediation claims
  • Groundwater contamination secondary to residential pumping station. Mediation utilized neutral expert to design proper station and replacement protocol. Resolution of personal injury claims, and payment of litigation expenses of involved homeowner’s association.
  • Habitability case involving 60 residents of apartment complex. Claims included injuries to children from un-repaired common areas, upper respiratory infection from exposure to mold and cockroach fetus, vermin, filth, and racism. (Settled $3 mm)
  • Habitability claim involving 21 tenants of apartment complex asserting mold related illness, exposure to filth and racism, overt sexual conduct by managers of complex. (Settled $856 k)
  • Habitability claim secondary to noise intrusion into apartment following rehabilitation of property in LAX noise zone. (Settlement based on fund for retrograde sound attenuation)
  • Habitability claims secondary to exposure to aerosolized mold following removal of flooring in apartment complex and use of fans to dry rotted substrate. (Settled)
  • Mailroom employee exposure to irritating fumes. Claims against seller for inadequate markings and employer for failure to give notice of chemical shipment. (Settlement including early medical retirement)
  • Mediation of claims filed in Federal Court in Nevada alleging bad faith failure to cover damages, including mold intrusion, secondary to the discharge of water from a kitchen appliance, and damages from the exposure. Insurer provided repair contractor to repair the covered claim. Insured hired this repair contractor. The contractor set up fans to blow hot air to affected area, and applied a fungicide to the area. An odor developed throughout the property and claimant became ill. It was determined that the blowers released mold spores throughout the residence and that claimant suffered mold related illnesses and allergic reaction. The insurers denied this claim as falling within the pollution exclusion. Claimant asserted that the mold was a covered resultant damage from the lead and improper repair. (Settlement $450 k)
  • Mesothelioma and pleural plaque thought to have been due to a 10-day exposure to asbestos containing material following abatement in residential apartment. Plaintiff was 7 years post lung removal due to cancer. Plaintiff's reaction to perceived exposure resulted in extreme stress, destruction of all personal property. During facilitated discovery as part of the mediation process, it was determined that the exposure was nominal and contained and that there was no mesothelioma or pleural plaque but an allergic reaction. (Confidential settlement obtained)
  • Multiple cases involving asbestos exposure to shipyard, construction, and pipeline workers. Jet fuel spill at Ontario International Airport during refueling of 747. Spill caused by clamp failure followed by fear induced flight of operator who did not secure a safety valve to cut off the flow. Fuel entered the drainage system. Dispute over cost and responsibility for clean up which was paid in full by the airline. (Settlement involved extending refueling contractor’s contract at a reduced rate to compensate airline for expenses)
  • Personal injures sustained by mail handler upon opening a sealed package that contained sodium hydroxide. Product not shipped using hazmat shipping guidelines. Claims against shipper and employer alleging loss of lung capacity. (Settlement for $200k against shipper and preservation of worker’s compensation claim with waiver of credit assertion rights)
  • Plaintiffs purchased a new home. Within a few months of move-in, the family began to experience a variety of upper respiratory symptoms, memory loss, and fatigue. Nail punctures were discovered in a number of water lines, which had produced pinhole leaks and significant mold development inside the walls. Plaintiffs moved out under the direction of their physician after it was discovered that mold levels were 23 k times higher inside than outside. (Settlement for $185 k plus buyback of the home)
  • Sub surface effluent seepage. Management of the case required coordination or investigation and remediation plan plus payment of damages to adjacent property owners
  • Terminal infection secondary to exposure to DDT in soil. DDT dumped by chemical manufacturer in open farmland. Property owner caught executive from manufacturer on property owner’s land attempting to remove samples of soil. (Settlement in mediation 180 days before death of property owner)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Recognized as a Best Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution category, Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2018
  • Recognized as a SuperLawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution category, SuperLawyers, 2006-2016
  • Recognized as a Top Master, Daily Journal
  • Recognized with AV Preeminent Status as a Top Rated Lawyer in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized as a Top California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2006-2010, 2012
  • Speaker, "What Real Estate Attorneys Can Learn From Mediators—And Vice Versa," Tokyo Annual Conference of the International Bar Association, 2014
  • Panelist, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Mediation Panel
  • Successfully completed "Accelerated Route to Fellowship International Arbitration Program with Award Writing Examination, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, North American Branch, 2014
  • Fellow, International Academy of Mediators
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Southern California School of Law and Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Lecturer (partial list): California Bar Association, American Bar Association, Association of Southern and Northern California Defense Counsel; Consumer Attorneys of California, Los Angeles and Orange County; Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco Bar Associations; Pepperdine University Law School; Building Industry Association
  • Past Director: Orange County Bar Association, Orange County Trial Lawyer's Association, Southern California Adjuster's Association
  • Past Chairperson, Orange County Bar Association Committee on ADR
  • Delegate, State Bar of California, Conference of Delegates
  • National Institute of Forensic Studies, Professional Advisory Board
  • Publications on ADR and Attorney Fee Disputes for State and Local Bar Associations, firms, trade associations, and newspapers. Author: "A System for Cost Effective Management of Construction Defect and Complex Litigation." Author: "ADR, Why Does it Work?" Author: "Use of the Special Master in Complex Litigation." Author: "Use of Risk Based Facilitative Dispute Resolution."
  • Mr. Polsky is a sought after negotiation skills trainer and has lectured throughout the United States. He is an adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, where he teaches a course he designed on ADR and negotiation, and at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law, where he teaches courses in the LLM program. He is available to provide training in negotiation and mediation skill development to corporations and professional organizations.
  • Pro bono activities include Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) Board of Directors; Los Angeles/Long Beach Legal Aid Grand Cru Board of Directors; Public Law Center of Orange County Board of Directors; Los Angeles County Bar Association volunteer mediation program volunteer

    Comprehensive Overview

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