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Alexander Polsky

Alexander S. Polsky, FCIArb

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Case Manager
Laura Aguilar
T: 714-937-8256
F: 714-939-8710
500 N. State College Blvd. , 14th Floor , Orange , CA 92868

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)
  • 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
    ADR Profiles

    Counsel Comments

      • "Nobody works a case like [Alex] and I think all counsel appreciate how prepared he is for tough cases."

        - New York Attorney
      • "Alex went above and beyond the call of duty showing up to our office to review the case the night before[...]. The case did not settle on the day of the [...] mediation and he continued to work [round] the clock on the Friday before trial to get the case resolved. Well done Alex!"

        - Orange County Attorney
      • "The thought, care, and attention he put into this mediation really showed and my client appreciated his superior mediation efforts." 

        - Orange County Attorney
      • “You did a masterful job of handling the many egos in the 2 rooms. The word that always comes to mind about you is ‘unflappable.’”

        - Orange County attorney
      • “Thanks for the great news that this matter has settled. As you know, it was complicated factually and legally, and your resolution of it speaks to your ability and persistence.”

        - Comment from Superior Court judge of settled matter Los Angeles, CA.
      • “I do not believe this would have settled without your efforts.”

        - Comment from counsel after $2.5 million settlement of coverage dispute. Los Angeles, CA
      • “Thank you, Mr. Polsky. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

        - Robert M. Nash, Esq.
      • “Thank you for your evenhandedness at the arbitration.”

        - Alex Weiss, Esq.
      • “Unlike other mediators, Mr. Polsky does not give up, he hangs in there and keeps the process going even when others would expect an impasse he gets the job done.”

        - Robert Hubbell, Esq. Morrison & Foerster LLP Los Angeles, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky, your sensitivity to my family’s horrible loss, and your unbiased communication of the risks of trial, allowed us to see the wisdom of settlement. Thank you.”

        - Comment from plaintiff after settlement of wrongful death case
      • “Thank you for taking the time to drive to my home on a Saturday to mediate what might have been an explosive situation. Your calmness and ability to listen to both sides to assist us in reaching an amicable solution was a supreme effort... My humble thanks for your expertise.”

        - Thank-you note from plaintiff after mediation of construction defect case
      • “Your reputation as a hard working settlement judge was definitely confirmed by your efforts in this case.”

        - Herbert Hafif, Esq. Claremont, CA
      • “Thank you for an outstanding job in settling (case name). You handled the (product liability/death by decapitation) matter in an outstanding fashion.”

        - David Berglund, Esq. Berglund & Johnson Woodland Hills, CA
      • “I do not believe this matter would have settled without your assistance.”

        - Ronald Darling, Esq. Darling & Risbrough LLP Irvine, CA
      • “You have a reputation as a closer who is not afraid to get down to business in construction defect cases and get the job done.”

        - Kenneth Kasdan, Esq. Kasdan Simonds Weber & Vaughan LLP Irvine, CA
      • “Mediator Alex Polsky was fantastic!” 

        - Charles C. McKenna, Esq. Wright, Finlay & Zak Newport Beach, CA
      • “I wish to express the appreciation I feel for the extremely professional, efficient and friendly manner in which this mediation was conducted. Feel free to use my name as an attorney who feels that Alex Polsky not only gets things done, but also does them in a way that is positive and constructive.”

        - Perry Irvine, Esq. Palo Alto, CA
      • “You brought such and ease and true concern in imparting much needed and practical insight.”

        - Angela Pickett, Esq. Long Beach, CA
      • “Your hard work and constructive efforts were instrumental in bringing this litigation to a successful conclusion for both sides.”

        - Henry Zangwill, Esq. Anderson, McPharlin & Conners LLP Los Angeles, CA
      • “A party lied [during non binding arbitration] and when confronted with it, Mr. Polsky called a time-out. I thought this was very sensitive of him. Mr. Polsky’s handling of [the witnesses’] distress was very good.”

        - Pauline White, Esq. Monrovia, CA
      • “We very much appreciated Mr. Polsky’s willingness to conduct a late evening session followed by a Sunday session. With his help, we got the case settled.”

        - David Hochner, Esq. Rutan & Tucker Costa Mesa, CA
      • “Very good result on a hard case. Excellent settlement abilities.”

        - W.O. Robinson, Esq. ArrowPoint Capital Los Angeles, CA
      • “As usual, excellent service!”

        - Randall Koenig, Esq. Koenig Jacobsen, LLP Irvine, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky was capable, professional and courteous.”

        - William Caplan, Esq. Costa Mesa, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky was the best mediator I have ever had experience with in this area.”

        - Ben Schuck, Esq. Santa Paula, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky is one of the best mediators I have worked with in my 20 years of practice.”

        - David S. White, Esq. Los Angeles, CA
      • “The arbitrator was one of the best I have ever utilized.”

        - Ken Steelman, Esq. Irvine, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky is very effective.”

        - Madelyn Enright, Esq. Murtaugh Meyer Nelson & Treglia LLP Irvine, CA
      • “Alex is an outstanding mediator. Most sitting judges could learn a thing or two from him.”

        - Jeffrey C. Metzger Laguna Hills, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky presents a welcomed approach to arbitration. In addition to hearing and reviewing all briefs, evidence and argument needed for determination on the issues, he worked with the parties in an effort to produce a settlement.”

        - Unsigned letter from attorney
      • “Mr. Polsky graciously rescheduled the mediation at no cost to accommodate an emergency and then worked hard to produce a settlement.”

        - Todd Croutch, Esq. Fonda & Fraser LLP Glendale, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky was fair, professional and courteous.”

        - Adam Siegler, Esq. Greenberg Traurig Santa Monica, CA
      • “I was especially pleased with the way Mr. Polsky communicated with my clients and explained issues to them. He is a good teacher.”

        - (Ref: Complex business mediation) Mark Fredrick, Esq. Santa Ana, CA
      • “Alex did a great job most importantly explaining the insurance issues and listening to the client’s personal trauma.”

        - Colin Barr, Esq. Orbach & Huff LLP Los Angeles, CA
      • “Alex is one of the most effective mediators with whom I have ever dealt.”

        - Carol Burney Lewis Meserve, Mumper & Hughes LLP Los Angeles, CA
      • “You will always be indelibly etched in my mind for your sensitivity and all you have done to help me end this horrible experience.”

        - Plaintiff following settlement of employment dispute
      • “We wish to express our sincere appreciation for your efforts in successfully mediating the matter last week. We applaud your uncommon perseverance during a most difficult session.”

        - K. Stephen Powers Chattanooga, TN
      • “Thank you again for all of your assistance in helping us to resolve the xxx case. Your experience and patience in mediating the matter, when the parties were essentially polarized following our initial failed mediation before another mediator, helped both sides avoid a lengthy and expensive trial.”

        - (Ref: Serious injury mediation) Kara Pape, Esq. Schaffer, Lax, McNaughton & Chen Los Angeles, CA
      • “Mr. Polsky was an excellent mediator. The session was effective with sensitivity to personal issues.”

        - (Ref. Employment mediation) Rachelle Singer, Esq. Smith, Silbar, Parker & Woffinden, LLP Irvine, CA
      • “In the face of adversity, you did not give up, stayed true to your client (a fair settlement) and came up with a creative solution. Thanks!”

        - (Ref: Complex construction defect special master and mediation) Kenneth Kasdan, Esq. Kasdan Simonds Weber & Vaughan LLP Irvine, CA
      • “Thank you for your persistence in helping us reach a successful resolution of this matter. Once settlement was achieved with a majority of the (parties) the court put us in an awkward position where we were forced to consider re-negotiating (past) settlements. You were an oak, and stood firm. Again ou succeeded where your predecessor failed, and this is another testament to your superior skills.”

        - (Ref: Complex construction defect special master and mediation) Doug Stewart Farmer’s Insurance
      • “My family and I appreciate the expediency in which you handled the case. We wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous future.”

        - (Ref. Products liability mediation) B. J. Hagen Houston, TX
      • “Mr. Polsky is a mediator of the highest competence, and his outstanding professionalism in conducting mediations is a credit to JAMS and to the legal profession.”

        - Jon Kodani, Esq. Santa Monica, CA
      • “While it may seem like arbitration and mediation are old news, Alexander Polsky and Deborah David, of JAMS in Los Angeles, presented updated information and new techniques to help claim professionals become more successful in this area of the industry.”

        - Insurance Weekly magazine commenting on a program delivered at the CA Combined Claims Conference
      • “You have done in one day what 4 other mediators were unable to accomplish in over 25 sessions. The court is indebted to you for your efforts and creativity.”

        - Honorable Joan Ettinger, Riverside County Superior Court, upon learning that the major component of a case with over 30 parties and a two year time estimate had been resolved in one specially designed mediation
      • “On behalf of my client and myself I would like the thank you for your service as a mediator in the above referenced matter. You may wish to know that, in each of the three occasions where you served as mediator on a case wherein I served as counsel for one of the parties, you settled the case. This includes the case where you were taken to the hospital. Your professionalism and expertise are greatly appreciated.”

        - (Ref: Serious injury mediation) Earl R. Wallace, Esq. Ruzicka & Wallace, LLP Irvine, CA
      • “It was purely because of your excellent professional help that the case was settled.”

        - (Ref: International business partnership dispute and trade infringement claim) Rachel Moorhead London, U.K.
      • “Thank you for your hard work. It was a pleasure to finally get to work with you. Your name has been ‘bandied’ about on our employment lawyer listserve as people post inquiries and you always received great reviews. My client felt very comfortable with you and commented that you had a nice, calming style; he also appreciated your honest feedback and felt he could trust you. Those are the types of qualities, along with your legal experience to back you up, which help to make you a great mediator.”

        - (Ref: Complex employment mediation) Michelle Reinglass, Esq. Orange County, CA
      • “Thank you for your efforts in resolving the above-entitled case. Quite frankly, I did not feel that this action would settle without your assistance. Again, thank you for your professionalism.”

        - Joseph A. Shuff, III, Esq. Shuff Law Firm Santa Ana, CA
      • “I was extraordinarily pleased with Mr. Polsky’s analysis, effort and perseverance toward attempting to resolve the above referenced matter. Further, his suggestion to meet at lunch with defense counsel was innovative and assisting in developing a rapport, which made final discovery easier as well as eventual settlement.”

        - (Ref: Complex business mediation) Jonathan Weber Los Angeles, CA
      • “Please forgive the delay in writing you this much-deserved ‘thank you’ for the outstanding job you did on this Mediation. … Had you not persuaded the defendants to disclose the 11th hour adverse testimony on the Fire Captain, it would most likely have been a disaster for us at trial. Again, our sincere thank you for a job well done.”

        - (Ref: Severe Burn case) John C. Adams III Hunt & Adams Santa Ana, CA
      • “I've been doing this for more than 20 years and I have never seen a mediator take such a personal interest in a case as you have in this one.Mike King has said you're the best.He is right.Thanks for your help.”

        - (Ref: Habitability class action mediation) Grant Riley Riley & Associates Los Angeles, CA
      • “I look forward to your involvement in the matter and welcome the proactive manner you use in undertaking pre-mediation telephone discussions.”

        - (Ref. Employment mediation) Jeffrey Gordon Los Angeles, CA
      • “Thank you for all your hard work and extra time. It’s refreshing to know that some mediators put in extra time to get a deal done without looking at the ‘clock.’ Kudos to you and your entire staff… ”

        - Reza Mirroknian Esq. Los Angeles, CA
      • “Thank you, Alex: This was one of the most difficult cases on every level that I have had in many years. I thought your work was excellent. I appreciate(d) your constructive comments.”

        - Howard Kornberg, Esq. Los Angeles, CA
      • “What they say about you is true—you get results!”

        - Sean McGee, Esq. Irvine, CA
      • “Thank you for all your assistance in this case. It was one of the more challenging cases I have dealt with, which I consider right in ‘the Polsky zone.’ Meaning, when people tell me they have complex cases, or cases with many moving parts, you are always my first recommendation. Thank you.”

        - Matthew McNicholas, Esq. McNicholas & McNicholas LLP Los Angeles, CA
      • “Your style and realistic approach made the day relatively enjoyable despite difficult dynamics. While it's distasteful to pay anything under the circumstances, and it would have been a fun trial, you are right that from an economic perspective the settlement was the right thing to do. We'll talk again soon. Regards.”

        - Vincent J. Davitt, Esq. Murphy Rosen & Meylan LLP Santa Monica, CA
      • “You did a fantastic job with this (difficult) case.”

        - Victoria Ersoff Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP Los Angeles, CA
      • “Alex, you did a great job, you are a terrific study!”

        - Richard Bridgford, Esq. Bridgford & Gleason Aliso Viejo, CA
      • “…you were masterful. I look forward to using your skills in the future.”

        - Steven Maslauski, Esq. Kirtland & Packard LLP El Segundo, CA
      • “Thank you so much for your professional and outstanding assistance!”

        - M. Kelly Tillery, Esq. Pepper Hamilton LLP Philadelphia, PA
      • “As always, you managed to make things come together with a good result for all parties. Your considerable talent and personality makes it a pleasure working with you. I enjoyed our off case conversations and look forward to the next mediation….You are one of the hardest working guys I know. I wish you would slow down just a bit. Not so much you don't have time for our mediations, though.”

        - Charles Arnold Arnold & Arnold Marine Loss Adjusters
      • Thank you for staying late and helping bridge a wide cultural cap and some strong personalities to help us settle this difficult case! I don't think many mediators would have pulled it off.

        - Los Angeles attorney

    News

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