AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Non-litigation and Transactional Experience
- Residential, Commercial and Public Works Real Estate and Construction Litigation: catastrophic losses, property damage, construction defects, economic damages, design professionals, development, surety, contract disputes, lending practices, homeowners' associations, premises liability, field services, affordable housing, environmental, ADA, and condemnation.
- Tort/Injury Litigation: Wrongful death and personal injury claims arising from mass shootings, structure collapse, premises, auto accidents, products, medical malpractice, drug and rehabilitation hospital care.
- Insurance Coverage Litigation: first party and liability claims, breach of contract and bad faith, indemnity and contribution, subrogation, intervention, additional insured endorsements, surety bonds, failure to procure, workers compensation, business interruption, and insurance agency E&O.
- Business Litigation: Products liability, breach of contract, labor and employment, business transactions, business entities, administrative proceedings, unfair competition, trade secrets, copy rights and trademarks, partnership/joint ventures, information technology, online sales and marketing, merchant accounts, vendor/supplier disputes, including matters in China, Mid-East, South Africa, Europe and Mexico.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: certified mediator specializing in early neutral evaluations; developed ADR solutions for high-profile catastrophic loss cases.
Northridge Meadows Building Collapse:
- Commercial Transactions: strategic business planning, negotiation and documentation for licensing agreements, employment contracts, partnership agreements, trade secrets, confidentiality and non-competition agreements, copyrights and trademarks, asset sales and mergers, online sales and affiliate relationships, real estate transactions, and construction contracts.
- General Counsel: companies involved in real estate, construction, internet marketing, health and beauty products, nutraceuticals, pipeline corrosion products, eye wear, furniture, clothing, hospitality, studio production, insurance brokers, legal services, staffing, product manufacturers and distributors, advertising, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.
- Business Experience: 1977 to 1989 - President of Austin Merle Company a nationwide distributor of consumer products specializing in design, development and distribution of consumer products.
- Education and Legal Experience: 1989 to President - Partner of Tharpe and Howell, LLP. Licensed to practice in California, Washington State, and District of Columbia. Admitted Pro Hac Vice in Nevada, Illinois, New York and Florida. Bachelor of Science from Golden West University in 1978. Jurist Doctor Degree in 1980. National awards in Corporation and Civil Procedure.
- Organizations: Certified Litigation Management Professional with the Litigation Management Institute; Member and state representative of Complex Litigation Management Alliance (CLM); California State Bar Ad Hoc Committee on Business Litigation; Member Building Industry Association.
Lead counsel in representation of owner and management company against 16 wrongful death and 57 consolidated injury lawsuits arising out of apartment building collapse during earthquake.
Clark v. Uptown Enterprises - "Historic Sweets":
Lead counsel in representation of owners of historic ballroom in Oakland California in negligent security lawsuit involving the shooting of nine victims during Halloween event.
360 Labs v. Premier Power:
Represented commercial property owner with photovoltaic solar electric system in Arbitration involving claims of construction defects, water intrusion, breach of contract, misrepresentation, and failure to meet specified energy production.
City and County of San Francisco v. Structura - Japantown Peace Plaza
Lead counsel in defense of a general contractor against $5,000,000 in alleged construction defect claims from City and bonding company related to public works project.
Callen v. City of San Clemente:
Lead counsel in representation of Homeowners' Association in $30,000,000 landslide case involving red tagged single family homes arising from landslides.
Torino v. Framing, Inc.:
Lead counsel in representation of framing contractor in Nevada Litigation involving 750 homes with claims for architectural and structural damages, including mold, in excess of $50,000,000.00.
Seaver v. Uninet, Inc.:
Represented seller of company in the printer toner and imaging business in action against buyer for breach of consulting and purchase agreement.
Represented USA brand name eyewear manufacturer along with Chinese co-counsel in unfair business competition and trademark infringement action in Chinese IPR Tribunal.