Cathy Yanni

T: 415-982-5267
F: 415-982-5287
Engineering and Construction

Since joining JAMS in 1998, Cathy Yanni has broadened her construction experience to include acting as special master, mediator, or arbitrator in large, complex construction projects for both public and private plaintiff’s and defendants including local, state, and federal agencies.

Prior to joining JAMS in 1998, Ms. Yanni had ten years of litigation experience handling construction cases for both plaintiffs and defendants. She represented public entities, developers, general contractors, and all types of sub-contractors on major infrastructure projects. Her significant experience in handling the insurance issues arising from these projects makes her uniquely qualified to resolve these disputes.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Areas of expertise include arbitration and mediation, construction law, surety/fidelity law, and architect/engineer professional liability law in California and Nevada
  • Served as counselor, mediator, and arbitrator of major national disputes arising out of engineering and construction projects, commercial buildings, power plants, and airports
  • Served as counsel for the Northern California Consortium of Sanitary Districts, handling all litigation including building projects, landslide disputes, and natural disaster recovery
  • Experienced with all types of construction claims, such as bidding, cost negotiation, construction industry contract forms, extras, differing site conditions, delay, disruption, acceleration, changes, damages, mechanic’s liens, surety bonds, termination for convenience, insurance, breach and material breach, design-build, dispute review boards, design professional liability, indemnity, building codes, lender rights and liabilities, betterment, economic loss, workmanship defects, negligent design or construction, building leaks, and other claims

Representative Matters

  • Commercial Buildings
    • Mediated several landlord-tenant negotiations involving breach of lease, breach of contract for sale, tenant improvements, and build out claims
    • Mediated delay and disruption claims involving San Francisco airport: issues involved Surety Bonds, Performance Bonds, and Critical Path
    • Successfully resolved payment dispute between architect and developer of multi-million dollar commercial high rise in Las Vegas, Nevada
    • Acted as special master for claims by owner/developer against general contractor and sub-contractors for cost overruns, delays, design errors, and resulting defects at large industrial research facility
  • Commercial Business
    • Mediated multiple breach of lease claims among retailers, manufacturers, and small businesses
    • Successfully resolved retail chain suit against shopping mall; issues included the nature and extent of tenant improvements
    • Mediated appellate dispute regarding distribution of profits post construction company dissolution; including significant attorney fees claims
    • Acted as umpire in an complex insurance dispute between neighboring commercial buildings resulting from an explosion and fire in one structure which completely destroyed the second
    • Served as special master in dispute regarding large university’s self-contained power plant and claims for cost overruns, delays, and defects; case was e-discovery intensive and required a structured ESI plan
  • Environmental
    • Mediated class action claims against public entity, railroad company, and chemical companies regarding failure to protect water supply from contamination resulting in property damage and catastrophic injuries
    • Served as special master in a CERCLA class action against major utility company involving multiple governmental entities for soil contamination and toxic tort injuries; conducted settlement negotiations with individual class members
    • Served as special master between Department of Forestry, Department of Justice, and various municipal entities and counties bordering California and Nevada for CERCLA matter involving disputes arising out of a landfill site in the Lake Tahoe area
  • Insurance Related Construction Experience
    • Mediated all types of construction insurance issues: matters involved first and third party insurance coverage, re-insurance and excess policies, surety, allocation, additional insured, and indemnity issues, as well as, contribution and subrogation claims
    • Successfully mediated multi-million dollar dispute between owner/landlord, commercial tenants, and residential condominium association regarding insurance coverage and premium allocation

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Recognized as an “ADR Champion”, National Law Journal, 2016
  • Recognized as "Top Master," Daily Journal Top California Neutrals List, 2013
  • Recognized as a "Top California Neutral," Daily Journal, 2003-2008, 2010-2012
  • Recognized as AV Preeminent in Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings
  • Woman of Achievement Award, Legal Momentum, 2008
  • Past President and Board of Directors, Academy of Court-Appointed Masters (ACAM)
  • Board of Directors, The American College of e-Neutrals (ACESIN)
  • Lecturer, Mediation and Negotiation, Stanford Law School, University of California Berkeley School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, Golden Gate Law School, Hastings College of the Law, University of San Diego School of Law, Duke University Law School
  • Sedona Conference: E-Discovery Dispute Resolution Program for Special Masters & Mediators
  • Conducts CLE seminars on ADR: Mediation, Negotiation, Ethics, Bias, Employment, Insurance, Special Masters and Referees, Intellectual Property, and e-Discovery
  • "Big Cases, Personal Touch," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, May 30, 2014

Background and Education

  • Panelist, JAMS, San Francisco, 1998-present
  • Discovery Referee, San Mateo County Superior Court, 1994-1998
  • Litigation Partner, major San Francisco law firm
  • Mediation Workshop, Harvard Law School Program of Instruction for Lawyers
  • J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law; Editor, Law Review
  • B.A., Mount Holyoke College; Dartmouth College; Honors Commendation

Disclaimer

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