Mediation | Doug Simpson
In a conflict? Bleeding cash? Need fresh ideas?
Manage conflict. Solve problems. Save money. Mediate.
Solve Environmental and Land Use Problems.
Environmental and land use litigation is expensive, complex, and very difficult to resolve. Insurers frequently are called on to fund defenses they question, risking extracontractual liability, often forced to attend mediation across the country.
Guided by over 30 years’ experience litigating environmental cases and mediating them for 17 years—cases with a complex mix of issues including regulatory, permitting, insurance, toxic-tort, and land use matters—I help guide all related interested parties to a successful, managed outcome—potentially saving millions of dollars versus court litigation.
Mediation Saves Money.
A court case can drag on and on. Lawyers work hard, but their legal fees and costs build up quickly and often uncontrollably. I’m a lawyer, so I know how it works. And, unfortunately, no lawyer can ethically guarantee results. Even if you stand a good chance of winning your case at trial or on a motion, that might not end the fight. Parties can appeal, leading to another trial, and even another appeal. Your lawyer’s bills will keep arriving in your mailbox. But with mediation, the fees you pay are greatly reduced. You can resolve your case NOW—affordably—and for good.
Mediation Saves Time and Aggravation.
Litigation proceeds in stages, usually slowly. Pleadings, discovery, motions, a trial, and an appeal take time and move at the pace the judge decides. Litigation takes months—or years. For most people and businesses, litigation is unwelcome, distracting, and aggravating. But mediation is fast. Some matters can be resolved in as little as half a day. More complex matters can take longer—one or more days—but compared to litigation, that’s fast. And the parties control the schedule, not the court, and not procedural rules.
In litigation, complete strangers decide your case. A judge or jury—somebody who doesn’t know you—decides your case, either for you or against you. But in mediation, YOU decide whether, when, and how to resolve your case. Self-determination is one of the chief benefits of mediation. A skilled mediator guides the parties through this decision-making process.
Skip the Confrontation
Litigation is like going into combat. Mediation is like engaging in peace negotiations. In litigation—in discovery and at trial—your opponent’s attorney cross-examines and confronts you in the courtroom and tries to prove you’re wrong. In mediation, you work with your opponent—but you never have to be in the same room with him or her. You can be in separate offices, with the mediator shuttling back and forth, helping you reach an agreement.
Doug Simpson, mediator serving in California and Washington, primarily San Diego, Tacoma—and online.
Years practicing as a Civil-Litigation Attorney.
Years Practicing as a Mediator.
What People Say
“I was impressed with Doug’s breadth of knowledge, his patience, and his compassion. I enjoyed working with him.”
—Casey Tanaka, Mayor, City of Coronado, California
“Doug has consistently produced excellent results. Doug is personable, can think outside of the box, is proactive, an excellent independent thinker and a great communicator.”
—Nneka Mitchell, Travelers Insurance Company
“Doug is an outstanding attorney. I would recommend him without any qualification.”
—Anonymous, posted on Martindale-Hubbell Profile
“Doug is the most ethical attorney I know.”
—James O’Day, Senior Deputy County Counsel, County of San Diego
AV-PREEMINENT RATING, MARTINDALE-HUBBELL
I am honored to have an excellent reputation for legal skills and ethics rated by judges and lawyers. I have an AV-Preeminent rating—the best there is—from peers and the judiciary via Martindale Hubbell.
Doug Simpson’s Mediation Practice Areas
Environmental & land use.
I’ve litigated and mediated dozens of environmental cases valued at hundreds of millions of dollars—federal, state, and administrative litigation (including CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, and CAA) and other kinds of suits. I’ve represented and sued governmental entities and represented Fortune 500 and other companies, as well as individuals.
I have litigated a large alternative-energy case, a $100-million lawsuit in which a developer sued my client, a public official, for fraud, violations of an open-meetings statute, violations of planning-and-land-use laws pertaining to addenda to specific and general plans, improper downzoning, inverse condemnation, negligent misrepresentation, and other claims.
That case involved 12,000 acres that a developer owned in rural East San Diego County—he wanted to develop the acreage into a large wind farm, a solar farm, and related residential housing. The case lasted roughly a year in the acute litigation phase, with voluminous public-records requests evidencing the developer’s years-long efforts to develop the property—efforts that pissed off the local public at the outset.
Among other things, the townspeople complained of windmills causing brush fires (a major concern to those living in rural San Diego) and low-frequency noise and vibrations leading to human-health problems. They complained about windmills toppling in windstorms, crushing people and animals beneath and about solar farms causing migratory-bird deaths when birds perceived the farms as lakes, landing on them and burning to death. They were concerned about transmission-line corridor problems and wind-tower anemometers and directional vanes (for wind-strength measurement and mapping) that were eyesores or were not properly permitted. Also, the townspeople perceived the developer as sneaky—not a good person—a very important consideration to those in San Diego’s outback who value a straight-shooter. The developer could have succeeded in developing the property—but didn’t. The developer could have addressed these problems in ways that could have achieved success—but didn’t. The developer lost the litigation—and the value of its 12,000 acres of property.
I also represented a group of paragliders hoping to persuade SEMPRA Energy to reroute high-powered electrical-transmission lines, part of the Sunrise Powerlink, away from the base of a mountain that was a popular paragliding spot. They didn’t want the lines to cross through the Cleveland National Forest and across a lake basin, preferring to have the lines routed along a highway, along with other power lines.
I have litigated a 300-mile-long natural-gas pipeline case (a $3.4 billion case involving 6,000 claimants, in which I served as managing defense counsel—a case portrayed in the movie Erin Brockovich) and two bulk-fuel storage-facility cases—as well as many UST cases pertaining to petroleum hydrocarbons.
I’ve also litigated a variety of dry cleaner cases, former manufacturing sites, landfill cases, railroad property cases, municipal burn-dump sites, ocean bottom sediment cases, stormwater cases, and cases involving contaminated streams, creeks, and lakes.
Administrative, regulatory law.
I have worked on many regulatory matters—in litigation, and in regulatory negotiations and permitting matters. I have negotiated with regulators (including for regulatory permits) and/or have defended against regulatory citations, notices of violation, quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial orders (for violations of a permit, violations of a special-use permit, zoning violation, building permit or violations of statutory or regulatory law) in many cases involving a variety of regulatory entities including Cal/OSHA, OSHA, California’s Public Utilities Commission, California State Water Resources Board, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Integrated Waste Management Board, Local Enforcement Agency, Hazardous Materials Management Division, and others. I’ve presented to regulators, negotiated with them, presented in contested hearings, petitioned administratively to overturn adverse determinations, and have taken writs to courts.
I have represented owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, and vendors. I’ve litigated high-rise construction cases, commercial-construction cases, and residential-construction cases. I have negotiated about a dozen commercial construction agreements (strip-mall construction) for a commercial property owner/developer. I have litigated more than 100 construction-related cases—construction defect, construction delay, construction-site injury (several wrongful-death), construction indemnity, and construction insurance cases.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Good internal policies mitigate risks—risks that might otherwise result in expensive litigation.
I have a combination of transactional, litigation, and negotiations/dispute-resolution experience—I provide well-reasoned, practical, creative solutions both on the front end as corporate counselor—and on the back end as a litigator. I create lasting agreements, troubleshoot internal problems, train employees about best practices, and build relationships to get things done.
I’ve provided guidance as to negotiations, business relationships, employee relations, contracting practices, IP protection, external communications, industrial-hygiene practices, process controls, manufacturing practices, warnings, instructions, products liability risk mitigation, and a variety of industrial and business practices aimed at mitigating risk. I have created internal programs and policies and then trained personnel how to comply with them. I’ve negotiated with regulators and challenged their decisions in administrative hearings when appropriate. I’ve also created a variety of risk-shifting agreements—and have litigated them too.
I also have experience with NDAs, PIAs, licensing, confidentiality, and trade secrets. I have created non-disclosure agreements, proprietary-information agreements, confidentiality agreements, license agreements and trade-secrets agreements. I served as General Counsel for Atom, Inc., a military and consumer electronics company for two years. In the course of that work, I created a trade-secrets program with the purpose of protecting ideas that have commercial value so that they could be exploited and, where appropriate, protected, via patents or otherwise. I also negotiated teaming agreements, contracts, and complex contract specifications with some of the nation’s largest defense contractors, including Raytheon, General Atomics, Aethercomm, and others, in the FAR, DFAR, and ITAR regulatory context (Federal Acquisition Regulations, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations, and International Traffic in Arms Regulations). One of the products we were developing was a carbon-nanotube-based, printed solar array with efficiencies approaching gallium-arsenide solar cells.
Government entities & claims.
I have worked on many regulatory matters—in litigation and in regulatory negotiations and permitting matters. I have negotiated with regulators (including for regulatory permits) and/or have defended against regulatory citations, notices of violation, quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial orders (for violations of a permit, violations of a special-use permit, zoning violation, building permit or violations of statutory or regulatory law) in many cases involving a variety of regulatory entities, including Cal/OSHA, OSHA, California’s Public Utilities Commission, California State Water Resources Board, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Integrated Waste Management Board, Local Enforcement Agency, Hazardous Materials Management Division, and others. I’ve presented to regulators, negotiated with them, presented in contested hearings, petitioned administratively to overturn adverse determinations, and have taken writs from administrative matters to court.
I have litigated dozens of toxic-tort cases involving carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and other hazardous substances. Most notably, I served as managing defense counsel on cases Julia Roberts portrayed in the movie Erin Brockovich—$3.4 billion litigation involving 6,000 claimants.
Insurance coverage, bad faith
I have served as panel defense counsel for multiple insurance companies, including USAA, Farmers Group of Companies, Chubb, Cigna, Aon, RSA/RSUI, Fireman’s Fund, Allianz, USF&G, St. Paul, Travelers, and others. As panel defense counsel, I have litigated hundreds of cases, including personal injury and toxic torts, environmental, construction, malpractice, unfair competition, and a variety of other kinds of cases.
Insurers have called on me for insurance-coverage opinions many times—I have authored dozens of insurance-coverage opinions—involving commercial lines, personal lines, marine, and indemnity. I also have served as an insurance-coverage expert.
I have litigated many insurance-coverage and insurance-bad-faith cases, generally representing insurers, but sometimes representing insureds. I also have served as independent counsel and, in something of an anomaly, as carrier-and-insured agreed-upon counsel in environmental cases where independent counsel might otherwise have been appointed.
I have litigated disputes between carriers for contribution, subrogation, and indemnity.
Because of my desire to solve problems before they get out of hand, I also authored several insurance-coverage and claims-handling guidebooks together with ancillary materials such as templates, letters, and checklists. I have trained hundreds of people within several insurance companies on insurance-coverage analysis and claims-handling best practices to avoid litigation. I also have analyzed risk-management programs for clients.
Real estate & zoning.
Like many other areas of the law, real-estate law is contract law with a statutory and regulatory overlay, and which often has a sprinkling of arcane or historic principles, especially in older states. But real-estate law is not overly complex. I have two decades of experience in working with real-estate issues arising in various contexts, including contracts (e.g. real estate purchase and sale, leases, and easements), construction, zoning, permitting, regulatory enforcement, environmental, insurance, indemnity, products liability, toxic torts, and other contexts.
I have negotiated and drafted approximately two-dozen commercial leases. I’ve also counseled clients on specific risk-shifting terms in commercial leases, including warranties, warnings (including California’s Prop 65), acknowledgement of conditions, indemnity, insurance, additional insurance, conditions, and limitations. I have litigated lease agreements (commercial and residential) in roughly 50 lawsuits, in which compliance with lease terms—or breaches thereof—were central issues.
I have negotiated roughly a half-dozen real-estate-purchase-and-sale agreements. And I’ve litigated real-estate-purchase-and-sale agreements in cases—probably two dozen or more—in environmental, construction defect, and construction-injury cases.
I have negotiated two long-term shared-facility/entry agreements pertaining to landfills. I have negotiated or procured standard entry-onto-property agreements probably a dozen times in the context of sampling or other short-term events. I have litigated Joint Powers Agreements (JPA), which are agreements between governmental entities for joint use, ownership or control of sites in two cases. I have litigated easements in several cases, where complying with or exceeding the terms of the easement were a central issue. Two were environmental matters. I have litigated sewer, water main, telephone cabling, and other utility cases in which easements were at issue. I have dealt with title-insurance in these easement matters.
I am a contract-law expert. I have negotiated with some of the nation’s largest defense contractors amid a complex regulatory and confidentiality structure. I’ve also negotiated several hundred agreements, with some negotiations lasting many months. I have negotiated service agreements, manufacturing agreements, manufacturing-license agreements, employment agreements, shareholder agreements, partnership agreements, consulting agreements, legal-services agreements with outside counsel, maintenance agreements, remediation agreements, construction agreements, teaming agreements, design agreements, grant agreements, IP-license agreements, acquisitions agreements (businesses and assets), finance agreements (investor finance, subscription agreements, warrants, and the like), joint-defense agreements, nuisance-abatement agreements, settlement agreements, and others.
I know how to create lasting agreements that work for both sides—especially for my client’s side. I also have litigated contracts of all kinds in dozens of cases.
Doug mediates primarily environmental and business disputes, but handles matters in other subject areas also. For matters other than online mediations, generally mediations are held either at a host attorney’s offices, or at a Regus office location such as these:
- Tacoma: 1201 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
- Seattle: Columbia Tower, 701 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
- Olympia: 400 Union Ave SE Suite 200, Olympia, WA 98501
- Bellevue: Skyline Tower, 10900 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA 98004
- San Diego: 350 10th Avenue, Suite 1000, San Diego, CA 92101
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