CHALFANT ADR

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

Robert has over twenty years of litigation experience defending public entities in California’s state and federal courts. He has tried approximately 20 civil cases to verdict, and completed hundreds of bench trials, mediations and settlement conferences during his career. 

Robert was a Partner in a private law firm for approximately 18 years and served as Lead Trial Counsel on cases alleging civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 (and all related state torts), dangerous conditions of public property, employment actions under FEHA, Title VII and state law wrongful termination matters, and inverse condemnation cases. His litigation experience includes all pre-trial motion practice and discovery, trials, alternative dispute resolution including arbitrations, mediations and court ordered settlement conferences, and appeals.

Robert also served as General Counsel for George Hills Company Inc., a leading Third Party Administrator of public entity claims and Litigation Manager for two California Joint Powers Authorities and was asked for consultation and advice on other public entity accounts.
Some of the issues Robert can help resolve as Litigation Manager include:

I.   Pre-Litigation Case Resolution

Avoiding costly litigation at the claim stage is essential to effective Litigation Management. Robert has the background and experience to get involved early and avoid the retention of outside counsel when needed. This includes contacting claimants/opposing counsel to discuss early resolution/settlement, working with clients on producing evidence that would allow for withdrawal of claims and agreements not to pursue litigation, working with insurers and self-insureds to confirm coverage and obtain authority, and providing legal authority that support dismissal/non-prosecution of claims.

II. Retention and Monitoring of Outside Counsel

Robert’s experience as a litigator allows him to provide a more detailed level of oversight and monitoring of defense counsel and the creation/maintenance of a panel of skilled defense counsel. 

The successful defense of a public entity case starts with the hiring and retention of skilled, competent litigators. Robert has the ability and background to properly vet new attorneys and oversee current retained lawyers to assure that outside counsel is keeping costs low while achieving the best results.

II. Retention and Monitoring of Outside Counsel

Robert’s experience as a litigator allows him to provide a more detailed level of oversight and monitoring of defense counsel and the creation/maintenance of a panel of skilled defense counsel. 

The successful defense of a public entity case starts with the hiring and retention of skilled, competent litigators. Robert has the ability and background to properly vet new attorneys and oversee current retained lawyers to assure that outside counsel is keeping costs low while achieving the best results.

III. Litigation Plan, Reporting Requirements and Experts

Robert understands the importance and necessity of Litigation Guidelines and will ensure compliance with the Guidelines throughout the life of a case. This includes the Guideline’s requirements on assignment of defense counsel, review and monitoring of litigation budgets and monthly invoices, initial reporting as well as notifying excess carriers. Calendaring significant mandatory reporting deadlines is an essential step of the process.
Robert can also assist on the vetting and retention of qualified experts as directed by the Guidelines.

IV. Reserves

Robert can assist with setting reserves on all litigated files based upon the liability and damage information known to date. The reserves will be set according to actual value based upon facts discovered throughout the life of the case.

V. Attendance at Board Meetings

Robert can attend all Board Meetings as requested and will brief the board as to new claims, ongoing claims, closed claims and while requesting settlement authority. Robert’s 20 years of public entity defense experience includes appearing before Boards and City Councils and will help decision-makers understand legal and factual issues and guide them during their deliberations regarding closed session briefings.

VI. Attendance at Mediations, Arbitrations and Settlement Conferences

Robert has completed hundreds of Alternative Dispute Resolution sessions while serving as a private defense lawyer and Litigation Manager. Having seasoned defense counsel present at mediation serving as Litigation Manager allows the client to obtain valuable untainted opinions from counsel not involved in contentious disputes, and an informed basis for settlement. This can provide another check and balance to outside counsel’s recommendations as to whether a settlement is in their best interest.
Robert has firsthand experience with many of the mediators, District Judges, Magistrate Judges and Mandatory Settlement Conference Judges used for dispute resolution in California cases and is known for being a tough but fair advocate for his clients.

VII. Economic Benefits of Counsel Serving as Litigation Manager

Robert is personally involved in all litigated matters and will review all reports from outside counsel, attend all phone and in-person conferences regarding substantive and procedural issues arising during case handling, and all decisions regarding case value, resolution, trial and appeal. Having an experienced attorney involved throughout the life of a case lowers defense costs and provides valuable insight into the effectiveness of discovery and/or motion practice strategies that lead to case resolution and that avoid heavy billing practices from defense firms.

CHALFANT ADR

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