Arbitration, Judicial Reference and Mediation, Breach of Contract, Business/Commercial, Elder Abuse/Sexual Abuse/Harassment, Employment/ Discrimination/Wrongful Termination, Insurance, Landlord Tenant/Premises Liability, Personal Injury/Torts, Professional Liability, Real Property, Real Estate/Financial/Construction Defect
Hon. David E. Hunter (Ret.), as a judge in Alameda County for 34 years, resolved more than 1,000 civil cases in settlement conferences. Judge Hunter's extensive experience includes presiding over hundreds of jury trials and several thousand bench trials. On the bench, Judge Hunter earned a reputation for pushing parties to consider settlement where appropriate. For more than 16 years, Judge Hunter presided over a wide range of cases, exclusively in civil litigation, including breach of contract, civil RICO, commercial litigation, construction defects, elder abuse, employment, healthcare (writs of mandate by medical doctors after exhaustion of peer review proceedings), insurance coverage, landlord-tenant (wrongful eviction, habitability, mold/environmental), lemon law, medical malpractice, patent ownership, personal injury, professional liability, products liability, public entity breach of contract, real property, receiverships, toxic torts, trade secrets, trusts and probate and writs of mandate.
Judge Hunter is noted for serving as settlement judge in clergy abuse cases throughout the Bay Area and beyond, individually negotiating and resolving more than 80 cases. He was often given Complex Civil Litigation Calendar case assignments. In 2002, Judge Hunter was honored as Trial Judge of the Year by the Alameda-Contra Costa Lawyers' Association.
As a mediator, Judge Hunter takes an engaged, evaluative approach, using his extensive experience as a Superior Court Judge to facilitate the parties' recognition of legal and evidentiary issues and urge changes of positions to facilitate settlement. Based on his experience as a trial judge in several thousand cases, Judge Hunter, as an arbitrator and referee, is insightful in getting to the heart of the relevant issues and decisively arriving at a fair resolution.
Q&A with Hon. David Hunter (Ret.)
Q: What is the most effective tool an attorney can bring to a mediation? A powerful mediation brief? The client? Something else?
-- Paul Kiesel, Kiesel Law LLP
A: Willingness to accept the reality of the strength and weakness of the case and to be candid with the client.
Q: When a mediator comes to a session only mildly prepared, it does not feel like the parties get their money's worth for the day. What do you do to prepare for a mediation to ensure it is effective, and what do you ask of both sides to help prepare?
-- Rick Richmond, Jenner& Block LLP
A: I need to have a complete understanding of the facts ( as viewed by each side), each side's legal position and the client's emotional aspects that may influence the negotiations. I thoroughly review, highlight, tab and make notes of mediation talking points in each mediation brief. I do legal research on disputed legal points.
Q: Why do so many mediations now seem premature and the parties already start talking before the mediation begins about a "second session" and what can we do to curb that?
-- Brian Kabateck, Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP
A: I don't give up and I don't feed into that approach. I ask the parties and counsel to be patient. I explain that many times the cases do not settle until late in the mediation. I reiterate that approach if the parties start talking about quitting early or needing a second session. That frequently happens early in the mediation; those cases usually stay and most of them settle late in the day.