CURRENT PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE – EXCLUSIVELY ADR SINCE 2017:
International & US Domestic Dispute Resolution Neutral: Arbitrator (FCIArb.), Mediator & ADR Consultant – Educator, providing dispute resolution services of Arbitration, Mediation, Early Neutral Evaluation, Corporate Ombudsman, Mock Proceedings, ADR Coaching for Disputants and Legal Advocates, and ADR Process Consultation. Available through American Arbitration Association (AAA) and independently (ad hoc).
FORMER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES:
U.S. Federal, Washington & California Administrative Law Judge (Ret.), 2008-2017; Attorney (US – Inactive) and Solicitor (England & Wales – Inactive), 1978-2008; and, Business & Real Estate Law Professor, 1979-1985, 1988-1989, 2000.
PROFESSIONAL WORK HISTORY:
Principal, Steven C. Smith Commercial ADR, Arbitrator (FCIArb.) & Mediator, 2017 – Present; U.S. Federal, Washington & California Administrative Law Judge , 2008 – 2017; Principal, S.C. Smith & Assoc., Attorneys, Portland, OR, 1989 – 2008; Co-Managing Principal of 50 person Rich & Ezer, Law Corp., Los Angeles, CA, 1981 – 1989; Principal, Law Office of SC Smith, Woodland Hills, CA, 1978 – 1981; Business & Real Estate Law Professor (Portland State Univ., 2000; Univ. of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1988 – 1989; Loyola Marymount University, 1979 – 1985).
PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE:
US Federal Administrative Law Judge (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review): Presided over approx. 500 complex appeals of denied Social Security disability claims requiring in-depth analysis of medical impairments (physical / mental) and occupational limitations. All decisions required written analysis of facts and law.
Washington State Administrative Law Judge: Presided over appeals of approx. 1,500 gov’t agency actions, many requiring understanding of business, accounting (GAAP), securities, real estate sales and development, mortgage and commercial lending, appraisal, construction & related trades, prevailing wage in gov’t contracting, employee rights and compensation, protected class civil rights, education and medicine. All decisions required written analysis of facts and law.
• Construction: Wash. Dept of Labor & Industries (DLI) against contractors for unlicensed activities, fraud, gross negligence, major code violations, project abandonment, unlawful mechanics liens.
• Gaming: License discipline, casino’s, staff, managers.
• Real Estate: Wash. DLI / DFI against real est. brokers, appraisers and mortgage loan brokers for fraud, embezzlement.
• Securities: Wash. Dept. of Financial Institutions (DFI) against registered / unregistered securities broker-dealers, investment advisers, and securities issuers per Sec. Act of Wash. / US Sec. Act – 1933, for fraud, failure to register securities, make offering disclosures, determine investor qualification, lack of licensure.
• Special Education: WA & CA: Claimed school dist. failures to provide state and federal IDEA mandated education accommodations to disabled children.
• Wage & Hour: DLI actions for employer failure to pay lawful wages, failure to provide required rest, meal and travel breaks.
• Whistleblower: Claims of retaliation in response to reporting unlawful acts by gov’t. personnel.
Attorney & Solicitor: 30 years litigation/transactional representation of individuals and businesses in approx. 3,000 B2B and B2C matters including business formations, governance, contract claims, commercial and real estate transactions, anti-competitive practices (e.g. Sherman, Clayton, Robinson-Patman Antitrust Acts), money laundering, employee claims, major injuries, such as:
• Aerospace Company & Superfund: Real estate litigation counsel and adviser on commercial real estate purchase and sale liability under US Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA – Superfund) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
• Construction Contractors & Material Suppliers: Advised on, and litigated, residential single and multi-family housing (apt. / condominium) builds, commercial office leasehold build-outs, concrete tilt-up’s, indemnity contractsbonds, mechanic / material liens, construction defects, breaches of contract, cost overruns, delays, and accelerations.
• Commercial and Residential Landlord-Tenant Disputes.
• Real Estate Dev.: Commercial, mfg., residential (single/multi-family).
• Swiss Corp.: Negotiated, oversaw purchase and delivery of US aircraft to Switzerland.
• Japanese Corp.: Recovered full investment for defrauded Japanese developer hrough US Fed. Bankruptcy Ct. collateral action.
• South Africa, UK & US Joint Venture: Negotiated “angel” investment in UK for SA inventor to manufacture (US) and sell (worldwide) consumer goods.
• Major Injuries: Prosecution of quadriplegia injury against college for negligent supervision w/8-figure settlement at trial; successful defense of retailer for claimed product liability (chemical explosion resulting in blindness, multi-amputations); prosecution of wrongful death claim against trucking company w/7-figure settlement.
• Largest Successful Litigation: US$50mil. R/E development fraud claim, mid-8-figure settlement.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION EXPERIENCE:
Arbitrator (Paid): Presided over numerous institutionally administered cases involving small business, construction, and consumer matters. Presided over numerous mandatory arbitration program cases brought before Pac. NW civil trial urts (e.g., auto and dwelling insurance claims, non-catastrophic personal injuries, breaches of real estate purchase contracts, residential renovation construction defects, and negligent damage to personal property).
Arbitrator (Pro Bono): Fee Arbitration Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association (Vice Chair): Presided over numerous attorney-client fee disputes. Such disputes were actually two cases in one requiring evaluation of the related legal services retainer, attorney/client relationship, reasonableness of claimed fees per state bar ethics rules, and underlying substantive case, procedural circumstances, law, evidence.
Judicial Mediator: Mediated numerous government agency cases, for example: construction contractor licensing discipline, international corporate gaming license suspension and revocation charges, and state and federal special education denial claims against public school districts in Calif. and Wash.
Pro Tem California Superior Court Settlement Referee (Santa Monica and Los Angeles): Conducted numerous settlement conferences, principally commercial product merchantability and warranty disputes, and real estate purchase agreement and fraud disputes.
Attorney Advocate: Represented corporate and individual parties in contested matters for 30 years. Participated in hundreds of party dispute settlement negotiation sessions, court settlement conferences, mediations, and arbitrations. Samples of settled matters include:
• Breaches of Business Contracts: Software design, mfg. equipment and R/E leases, general goods & services.
• Construction Failures: Residential condo collapse (neg. rebar specification/ placement); concrete defects in commercial tilt-up buildings; concrete failure due to defective product mixture (reactive aggregates).
• Construction Disputes: Defective (non-failure) construction and materials, cost overruns, delays, accelerations, reduced, delayed or non-payment to general contractor, sub’s, direct labor, material suppliers, unions, material/mechanic’s liens, bonds).
• Employment Claims: Age discrimination (state/federal law violations, breach of contract by emp’r); wage & hour (employer’s failure to pay lawful wages under state/federal laws, breach of contract).
• Equitable Indemnity: Claims against bank by multiple home owners for bank’s contractor-client’s fraud (cont’r did demolitions, took remodel payments, then abandoned all projects), for bank’s making contractor-arranged renovation loans to unsophisticated homeowners, without telling homeowners about possibility of foreclosure on default or methods of fraud protection (e.g. construction escrow, completion bonds).
• Insurance Coverage: Commercial, construction, residential.
• Insurance Subrogation: Fire losses, property damage.
• Land Subsidence: Negligence claim against contractor for damage to downslope residence.
• Legal Malpractice and Conflicts of Interest: Claims for negligence, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duties.
• Major Injuries: Quadriplegia (negligent supervision in college PE class); traumatic lower leg amputation (intoxicated teen car driver hit motorcycle rider; claims for neg. driving, neg. supervision (parents), strict liability/neg. (mfg’r motorcycle design defects); wrongful death (commercial truck driver ran red light, struck / killed bicycle rider with surviving spouse and children’s claims of neg. driving, neg. supervision (trucking company).
• Securities: Negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation in sales of securities.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION TRAINING:
American Arbitration Association Training:
AAA ACE 20 Cyber Security: A Shared Responsibility • AAA ACE 19 Case Finances: What Arbitrators Need to Know, 2019 • AAA Arbitration Best Practices for AAA Arbitrators, 2018 • AAA Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards, 2018 • AAA Dealing With Delay Tactics in Arbitration, 2007 • AAA Chairing An Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures, Process & Dynamics, 2006 • AAA Advanced Case Management Issues, 2004 • AAA Fundamentals of the Arbitration Process and Case Management, 2004.
Other US Domestic Arbitration & Mediation Training:
University of Oregon, School of Law, “Mastering Modern Arbitration: What Every Practitioner & Neutral Should Know,” (Participant and Presenter of Drafting & Negotiating Arbitration Clauses; 1 Day Seminar, Portland, OR) • Oregon Law Institute, “Arbitrating With The Masters,” (1/2 Day Seminar, Portland, OR) • California Office of Administrative Hearings, “Mediation Training for Judges,” (Basic and Advanced Mediation Classroom Training, Workshops, Active-Case Mediation Observations with Critiques of Mediating Judges, Follow-On Co-Mediation and Mentoring (approx. 80 hours over 3 months, Los Angeles, CA) • Rutter Group, Advanced Course, “Cutting Edge Mediation,” (Webinar) Portland State University, “Negotiation & Mediation,” (40 Hour Certification Course, Portland, OR) • California Superior Court, “Settlement Conference Training for Pro Tem Settlement Referees,” (Santa Monica, CA)
International/Multinational Arbitration & Mediation Training:
Russian Institute of Modern Arbitration, “The Role of Procedural ‘Soft Law’ in International Arbitration,” (Multinational Webinar) • Oregon State Bar, International Law Section, “A Primer On International Alternative Dispute Resolution,” (Participant and Co-Presenter, 1 Day Seminar, Portland, OR) • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb.), “International Arbitration Under UNCITRAL Rules and Drafting Reasoned Awards Enforceable Under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards [New York Convention],” (2 Day Multi-National Seminar & Workshop, Participant and Co-Trainer, Portland, OR) • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) & International Bar Association (IBA), “Current Issues of International Arbitration,” (1 Day Multi-National Seminar, San Francisco, CA) • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service (JAMS) Arbitration, Audit of Live, International Arbitration by 3-Member Arbitral Panel, (2 Days, Los Angeles, CA) • LCIA & IBA, “Current Issues of International Arbitration,” (3 Day Multi-National Symposium, Sydney, Australia) • LCIA, IBA and Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand, “International Arbitration: Challenges to Arbitrators, Interim Measures of Protection, UNIDROIT Contract Principles,” (2 Day Multi-National Symposium: Auckland, NZ) • ICC, Institute of World Business Law: 53rd PIDA – Advanced Course On International Arbitration Under ICC Rules (5 Day Multi-National Seminar and Workshop, Paris, FR) • CIArb. & Northwestern University, School of Law, “Conducting International Commercial Arbitration Under [New York Convention],” (2½ Day Multi-National Seminar and Workshop International Arbitral Awards Writing, Chicago) • Pepperdine University, School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Advanced Course, “Mediating the Complex Case,” (2 ½ Day Multinational Symposium & Workshop, Malibu, CA)
“Mediating Special Education Cases,” National Academy of IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers, Seattle University, School of Law, Co-Presenter and Participant (2013 & 2014); “Mediating IDEA Special Education Due Process Cases,” Washington Office of Administrative Hearings, In-House Judicial Training, Seattle, WA, Presenter (2013); “Dealing with Difficult Parties and Counsel,” Washington Office of Administrative
Hearings, In-House Judicial Training, Tacoma, WA, Presenter (2011); “An Overview of Ad Hoc and Administered Arbitration Processes,” Willamette University, School of Law, Center for Dispute Resolution, Salem, OR, Presenter (2010); “A Primer in International Alternative Dispute Resolution,” Oregon State Bar, International Law Section, Portland, OR, Co-Presenter (2008); “ADR Methods, Benefits, and Challenges,” Washington State Bar, Young Lawyers Division, Vancouver, WA, Presenter (2007); “International Commercial Arbitration: A Few Things Every Business Executive & Lawyer Should Know,” Oregon State Bar, International Law Section, Portland, OR, Presenter (2005); “Drafting and Negotiating Arbitration Agreements,” session at “Mastering Modern Arbitration, What Every Practitioner & Neutral Should Know,” University of Oregon, School of Law, Presenter (2004); Over 2,500 University Classroom Lectures on Business Law & Real Estate Law: Subject matter lectures given at undergraduate lower and upper divisions and graduate MBA level, included: US states and federal civil, criminal, and administrative justice systems and procedures • contracts: formation, performance, breach, discharge, remedies • negligent, intentional, and strict-liability torts • white collar crimes • business entities: formation, funding, governance, succession, and dissolution • agency, joint and several liability • negotiable instruments • sales • protected class discrimination • fraud and unfair business practices • real estate purchase and sales, deeds, statute of frauds, development, joint ventures, zoning, construction, premises liability, residential and commercial leases, financing, traditional and inverse condemnation (Portland State Univ., 2000; UCLA, 1988- 1989; Loyola-Marymount Univ., 1979-1985).
AWARDS & HONORS:
• Competitive Selection and Appointment as U.S. Federal Administrative Law Judge, Office of Disability Adjudication & Review, National Jurisdiction, 2014.
• Competitive Selection and Appointment as Washington Administrative Law Judge, Office of Administrative Hearings, Statewide Jurisdiction, 2009.
• Competitive Selection and Appointment as California Administrative Law Judge, Office of Administrative Hearings, Special Education Division, 2008.
• Selections and Appointments by Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, England (CIArb.) as: Inaugural Chair of Pacific Northwest Chapter (now Seattle Chapter), 2007-2008; Executive Board Member of North America Branch, 2006-2008; Fellow of the Institute (FCIArb.), 2003.
• Selections and Appointments to Oregon State Bar, International Law Section as: Executive Board Member, 2005; Vice Chair, 2006 -2008.
• Recognition award by the Judiciary of Santa Monica, CA and Santa Monica Bar Association with Certificate of Appreciation for “Outstanding Contribution” as Superior Court Settlement Referee, 1987.
• Recognition award by the Judiciary of Los Angeles County, California, Juvenile Court and Child Advocates Office with Certificate of Appreciation for “Conscientious, Dedicated Service” as a Volunteer Advocate Representing Guardians Ad Litem in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, 1985.
• Recognition award by the Judiciary of Los Angeles Municipal Court for Services as Judge Pro Tem that “Greatly Aided” the Court, 1983.
Attorney Admissions: US Supreme Court, 1981; US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1984; Various US District Courts, full and pro hac vice admissions, 1979-1998; Oregon Bar, 1989 (inactive); California Bar, 1978 (inactive). Solicitor Admissions: Senior Courts of England and Wales, 2007 (inactive). Commercial/Instrument Helicopter Pilot: US FAA License, 1972.
American Bar Association (Dispute Resolution and Business Law Sections); Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London (Past Executive Board Member of North America Branch Past (Inaugural) Chair of Seattle Chapter, formerly Pacific Northwest Chapter; Past International Arbitration Tutor; Fellow & Chartered Arbitrator); California Bar Association (inactive); Oregon Bar Association (inactive); Law Society of England and Wales (inactive).
Juris Doctor, Southwestern University, School of Law (Accelerated Graduation; Moot Court Honors; American Bar Assoc. Distinguished Moot Court Advocate Award, 1977); Bachelor of Arts, Urban Studies with Business Emphasis, California State University, Northridge (1975).
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