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Rian W. Jones, Esq.

Rian W. Jones, Esq.

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Construction Defect
Insurance Coverage
Personal Injury
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Rian W. Jones, Esq., joined JAMS following a 39-year legal career as a trial attorney and is available as a mediator, arbitrator, neutral evaluator, judge pro tem, referee and special master. Mr. Jones began his legal career representing developers and contractors in construction defect litigation. He next spent 12 years as a director and trial counsel for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, where he represented a variety of clients in cases involving premises liability and personal injury, including catastrophic injuries and wrongful death claims, commercial and individual motor vehicle accidents, and real estate agents and brokers in professional negligence claims. He was a partner in a national law firm litigating cases involving commercial claims, breach of contract, toxic torts and multiple chemical sensitivity. During this time, he was part of the team selected by the lead insurance company to manage nationwide litigation for the manufacturer of a dietary supplement. 

The last 15 years of Mr. Jones’ career has been dedicated to representing common interest developments and homeowners associations in a variety of cases, including defending corporate directors in breach of fiduciary duty claims; handling breach of CC&R litigation; enforcing covenants and restrictions against developers and golf course owners; land use cases, including easements and encroachments; and tort claims involving mold exposure, Legionnaires’ disease and other personal injury claims. He has been lead counsel and/or involved in several appeals resulting in precedent-setting, published opinions.

While skilled as a trial attorney, Mr. Jones was able to settle many cases before trial and post-trial by working with neutrals and mediators to forge a consensus among the litigating parties. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Mr. Jones served as a judge pro tem in San Diego Superior Court from 2003 through 2005, hearing settlement conferences. He was also on the approved arbitrator panel, and during the 1990s and early 2000’s, he acted as an arbitrator in over 100 nonbinding arbitrations. 

During his career as a trial attorney, Mr. Jones was lead counsel in over 70 jury trials, dozens of bench trials and several binding arbitrations, and participated in numerous mediations and settlement conferences in the following areas:

  • Claims for breach of fiduciary duty against corporate directors, breaches of recorded covenants, and conditions and restrictions in residential and commercial common interest developments
  • Violations of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, Commercial and Industrial Common Interest Development Act and the Corporations Code
  • Residential construction defect litigation for single-family homes and condominiums
  • Catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from construction site accidents, commercial and personal motor vehicle accidents and premises liability claims
  • Insurance coverage disputes involving commercial general liability, officers and directors liability, and errors and omissions insurance policies
  • Inverse condemnation and land use claims, including breaches of recorded covenants, boundary disputes, easements, adverse possession and licenses
  • Toxic torts, including cases involving exposure to mold, asbestos and multiple chemical sensitivity
  • Real estate broker/agent negligence

Published Appellate Cases

Rancho Mirage Country Club Homeowners Assn. v. Hazelbaker (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 252

Trilogy at Glen Ivy Maintenance Assn. v. Shea Homes, Inc. (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 361

PV Little Italy, LLC v. MetroWork Condominium Assn. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 132

Coronado Cays Homeowners Assn. v. City of Coronado (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 602

Chapala Management Corp. v. Stanton (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 1532

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Claims against manufacturer of food-grade commercial containers for contamination resulting in millions of dollars in lost product
      • Indemnity claims against commercial meat suppliers arising out of the Jack in the Box e. coli claims 
      • Claims against property management companies for wrongful termination
      • Claims against property managers and corporate directors for embezzlement
      • Claim against escrow company for loss of earnest money deposit
  • Common Interest Developments
      • Claims of violations of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, Commercial and Industrial Common Interest Development Act, Corporations Code and recorded covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs)
      • Claim of breach of fiduciary duty by corporate director in contracting for major repairs to common areas of a condominium project and failure to comply with Open Meeting Act
      • Claims of breach of fiduciary duty by corporate directors failing to approve construction plans in high-end residential communities
      • Claims of breach of CC&Rs against both homeowners and homeowners associations
      • Challenges to annual elections of directors and elections for special assessments
      • Claims of breach of recorded covenants and restrictions specifically related to separately owned golf courses and recreation facilities within various common interest developments
      • Claim by municipality against homeowners association over responsibility for maintenance of bulkheads in navigable canals
      • Claims against developers for breach of contract and CC&Rs
      • Claims against corporate directors for misrepresentation/fraud
      • Claims against public entities for landslides and subsidence damage to common areas
      • Claims against third parties for negligent damage to common area
      • Allegations of fraud against developer for failure to assign telecommunications license benefits to association
      • Disputes over developers’ failure to convey common area
      • Disputes over voting rights and assessment allocations in mixed commercial/residential developments
  • Construction Defect
      • Numerous defect claims involving issues such as improper soils grading/compaction, slabs, lightweight concrete flooring, framing, roofs, waterproofing and windows/skylights in single-family and condominium construction
      • Defective plumbing in commercial buildings
      • Defective repairs of balconies
      • Defective soundproofing in multistory condominium
      • Landslides and soils subsidence
  • Insurance Coverage
      • Claims against liability insurance carriers for breach of contract and bad faith
      • Claims against property insurance carrier for failure to cover losses due to wildfire
      • Coverage disputes for general liability and directors and officers liability policies
      • Buss claims against insureds
      • Subrogation claims
      • Claims in intervention by workers’ compensation insurance carriers
  • Personal Injury
      • Numerous significant personal injury claims arising from construction site accidents
      • Wrongful death claims involving accident with farm equipment and passenger vehicle on public highway
      • Motorcycle and commercial vehicle accident resulting in brain injury and other significant injuries
      • Claim for wrongful death arising from hunting accident hotly contested by heirs
      • Numerous commercial vehicle and private automobile accidents resulting in claims for personal injury and wrongful death
      • Jones Act and other tort claims for serious injuries involving vessels in navigation and in dry dock
      • Numerous premises liability claims against major shopping center/mall, supermarkets, hotels and other commercial properties
      • Claim against apartment complex owner/manager for wrongful death related to drowning of a minor in adjacent irrigation canal
      • Claim against commercial agriculture company for wrongful death of workers killed in transport van and semi accident
      • Claims against landlords and property managers for exposure to mold, lead, asbestos and other multiple chemical sensitivities
      • Nationwide claims against manufacturer of dietary supplement for personal injury and wrongful death
      • Claim against landlord by commercial tenant for alleged arson fire that destroyed famous sports bar/restaurant
      • Claims against restaurants for foreign substances in food
      • Claim against manufacturer of dental implants for product liability
  • Professional Negligence
      • Claims against real estate brokers and agents
      • Claims against architects, structural engineers, soils engineers and other design professionals
      • Claim against general contractor and mold inspector for failure to conduct adequate pre-purchase inspection of $20 million single-family home on the beach in Del Mar
  • Real Property
      • Breach of contract claims for purchase and sale of residential and commercial properties
      • Eminent domain
      • Property boundary disputes
      • Adverse possession and prescriptive easements
      • Disputes over assignments of deeds and easements
      • Judicial foreclosure of performance deed of trust
      • ADA claims

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Honors, Memberships and Professional Activities

  • AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top Lawyers – Civil Litigation, San Diego Magazine, 2012–2017
  • Top Lawyers – Appeals, San Diego Magazine, 2022
  • Top Lawyer – Highest In Ethical Standards & Professional Excellence, California Legal Network, 2012–2017
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Community Associations Institute (CAI)
  • California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
  • Barrister in the American Inns of Court Foundation, The Honorable J. Clifford Wallace American Inn of Court
  • State Bar of California (admitted 1984)
  • United States District Court, Central and Southern Districts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Articles, Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • “Duty to Disclose,” June 9, 2023
  • “Request to Inspect and/or Copy Association Records (Civ. Code § 5200, et seq.),” July 1, 2020
  • “Novel Coronavirus and the Courts,” June 2, 2020
  • “Potential Claims Against Community Associations and Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Infection,” April 6, 2020
  • “Short-Term Rentals in Common Interest Developments,” Dec. 13, 2018
  • “Unauthorized Social Media Pages for Your Association,” Sept. 25, 2017
  • “Budget Cuts Continue to Affect the State Courts,” Oct. 24, 2014
  • Annual Speaker at Epsten, APC Legal Symposiums in San Diego and Coachella 2008–2022

Background and Education

  • Shareholder; Epsten, APC; 2008–2023
  • Partner; Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith; 2004–2008
  • Judge Pro Tem, San Diego Superior Court, 2001–2005
  • Arbitrator, San Diego Superior Court, 1992–2024
  • Director and Senior Trial Counsel; Cuff, Robinson & Jones (Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co.); 1989–2004
  • Attorney; Bacalski, Holdway & Prindle; 1985–1989
  • J.D., Western State University, College of Law, 1984
  • B.S.L., Western State University, 1982


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

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