Tuesday June 25th 2024

Jason M. Booth

Mediator

 

As a litigator and insurance coverage attorney for 35 years of practice, Jason M. Booth brings a wealth of practical experience and ingenuity to his mediation practice. Mr. Booth has decades of experience in negotiating resolutions in complex litigation, involving multiple parties, multiple insurers, and a broad array of concerns and complications.  

Mr. Booth has seen the settlement process from the inside and from every angle. He knows what each party, each attorney, and each insurer and claim representative need to see and hear in order to provide settlement authority, as well as why they won’t. He has years of “in the room” experience analyzing and successfully addressing the concerns of every case’s numerous interested parties so as to get a settlement agreed upon and funded.

Mediation Expertise

Personal & Bodily Injury

Mr. Booth has mediated and litigated hundreds of Personal Injury matters, including catastrophic injuries, wrongful deaths, and significant injuries from a variety of alleged causes. Mr. Booth has handled and resolved numerous matters involving:

• Premises Liability – Trip & Fall, Slip & Fall, Hazardous Conditions on both public and private land.

• Toxic Torts – both Industrial and Environmental Exposures to carcinogenic or otherwise toxic, hazardous, or noxious materials.

• Catastrophic Injuries, including TBIs, electrocutions, severe burns, traumatic accidents.

• Habitability Claims, including mold claims (both bodily injury and property damage claims); bed bugs, cockroaches, and other insects; vermin; asbestos, lead, noxious gasses, as well statutory violations and damage issues.

• Mobilehome Claims, including the California Mobilehome Residency Law claims

Property Damage/Construction/Environmental

Mr. Booth has had significant experience throughout his career with Property Damage claims, particularly those involving Construction law and Construction Defect litigation. Notably, Mr. Booth has significant experience representing general and subcontractors, as well as handling complex insurance coverage and indemnity related issues in the construction industry.

Mr. Booth has also litigated, mediated, and resolved numerous cases arising from water intrusion and flooding events, including subrogation matters between carriers. He has a particular specialty in storm water run-off issues, both regarding personal and real property disputes as well as business and industry-wide compliance with storm water run-off regulations.

Mr. Booth has also handled numerous fire cases, including multiple spontaneous combustion matters and other cause & origin disputes.

Mr. Booth has also handled both litigation and coverage issues relating to environmental contamination clean-up litigation, and the allocation of responsibility among potentially responsible parties.

Insurance

Mr. Booth spent much of his 35-year legal career working in and around the insurance industry, both as a litigator and as a coverage attorney. Even as an insurance defense litigator, Mr. Booth focused his case preparations on settlement as much as trial. Mr. Booth focused on giving his clients the best opportunity to resolve their litigation matters early and easily. Mr. Booth has resolved literally hundreds of cases, most as the result of successful mediation or independent negotiation

In particular, Mr. Booth led efforts in multi-defendant litigation to bring defendants, and equally as important, their carriers, into joint settlement discussions. In practice, to prevent wasted mediation time, Mr. Booth routinely arranged for pre-mediation communications among counsel regarding possible potential coverage problems and/or other possible impediments to settlement.

Mr. Booth recognizes the significant, and often governing presence of insurance interests in tort and business litigation, and has spent years learning how to make their participation cooperative and productive rather than confrontational and disruptive.

Mr. Booth’s years of preparing clients and carrier representatives for settlement negotiations have prepared him to address the various interests and complications that arise in any litigation being funded, at least in part, by insurance. Orbiting even a simple 2 party bodily injury case are not only the interests, opinions, and agendas of the parties, but also those of the several attorneys and insurers. As a litigator, Mr. Booth’s specialty, more than anything else, was his ability to communicate productively with opposing counsel, co-defendants, volatile clients, and often multiple insurance representatives. At the busy intersection of litigation and insurance, Mr. Booth is the traffic cop.

Landlord v Tenant/Habitability

Mr. Booth has handled and resolved dozens of claims between landlords and their tenants. He has represented both, and in familiar with both residential and commercial leases, as well as the related indemnity and insurance obligations.

He has handled virtually every conceivable habitability claim, including mold, vermin, bed bugs, cockroaches, other infestations, lead, plumbing and water damage, appliance failures, and more. Mr. Booth is also familiar with medical, emotional, insurance, and regulatory damage issues that necessarily stem from such claims.

Trespass/Nuisance/Boundary, Tree, and Neighbor Disputes

Mr. Booth has a particular specialty in handling trespass and nuisance cases as well as other disputes between neighbors. Mr. Booth is intimately familiar with the laws and regulations relevant to most neighbor disputes. He has handled and resolved neighbor disputes between both private and commercial parties, including fire damage claims. He has handled multiple fights between neighbors regarding trespass and trespass to timber; both public and private nuisance; boundary disputes; landslides; and flood/storm water damage.

Products Liability

Mr. Booth has considerable experience in Product Liability litigation. He has served as defense counsel for manufacturers in numerous industries, including paints and thinners, metals, silica and granite, consumer products, foods and food flavorings, and nutritional supplements.

Mr. Booth led several large groups of manufacturers (including a group of 80 defendants sued by a group of 200+ plaintiffs) in the successful defense of claims made by factory and manufacturing workers claiming on-the-job injuries related to products used by their employers. Mr. Booth has significant experience addressing and resolving Failure To Warn claims, as well as manufacturing and design defect product liability disputes.

Mediation Approach

Rather than ramble on generally about the “cost of litigation” or “the uncertainties of trial,” Mr. Booth specifically evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position and charts a path to bring them all to a point of resolution based on that analysis. Mr. Booth does not follow a set script for mediation -- one size does not fit all. Mr. Booth recognizes and embraces the idea that different mediation approaches may be appropriate for any given case, depending on its size, complexity, value, progress towards trial, personal animus, and potential future cost. A commercial landlord/tenant dispute with no insurance coverage would probably require different considerations and handling than would a significant personal injury claim against multiple defendants on behalf of a minor.

While he has worked primarily as an insurance defense attorney, he has also worked as an insurance coverage attorney for both insurers and policy holders, and has also handled a variety of plaintiff’s cases over the years. Further, one of Mr. Booth’s greatest strengths as a litigator is his ability to get along with opposing counsel and parties. Mr. Booth spent 30+ years assessing and reporting candidly to insurers on the strengths and weaknesses of hundreds of personal injury and property damage cases, including evaluating likely risk, potential exposure, probable expense, strength of legal position, and procedural difficulties each party is likely to face. He can look realistically and critically at every case from multiple sides.

He has spent his career being professionally reasonable and convincing others to do the same. As a litigator, Mr. Booth made a point of working cooperatively with opposing counsel and co-counsel, actively working towards resolution without warfare. Mr. Booth attributes much of his success as a defense lawyer to his willingness to communicate openly and honestly with opposing counsel about the strength and value of the case. He also understands and takes into consideration the broader impact of some litigation, such as lawsuits involving parties still in business with one another, and necessary future contact between the litigants.

Moreover, given his broad and extensive litigation and mediation experience, Mr. Booth can anticipate potential significant impediments to settlement. Accordingly, he conducts pre-mediation interviews with counsel for the key participants to determine the parties’ initial positions, as well as determine if there are any significant impediments to settlement, such as pending coverage issues, missing parties, pending liability motions, undetermined damage figures, or key discovery issues. He also recognizes and anticipates the occasional need to allow one or more of the parties (or their attorneys or their insurers) to save face as a necessary component of an acceptable settlement proposal.

Mr. Booth has seen the settlement process from the inside and from every angle. He knows what each party and, more importantly, each of their insurers need to see and hear in order to provide settlement authority. He has years of “in the room” experience analyzing and addressing the concerns of every case’s numerous interested parties, and then getting a settlement not just agreed upon, but funded. His years of experience in insurance coverage allows him to gauge and address coverage issues that can derail an otherwise viable settlement.

Personal

Jason was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the son of a noted Shakespeare professor and a museum grant writer. In 1980, Jason moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA as, inevitably, an English major. While at UCLA, he met his wife (and now law partner) Hillary Arrow Booth, who was then in her first year of law school.

Graduating UCLA with honors, and seeing the law as a good fit for his skills and education, Jason started law school just after Hillary graduated and started her legal career. Jason served as the Editor-in-Chief of his law review and again graduated with honors from Southwestern University School of Law in 1989. He began with a large national firm, and practiced at several Los Angeles based firms thereafter, as both a litigator and insurance coverage attorney. Jason was one of the 6 founding partners of Dongell Lawrence & Finney (DLF), a mid-size downtown LA law firm.

Hillary joined Jason as a Partner at DLF where they practiced together for several years. In January 2012, Jason and Hillary left to start their own firm, BOOTH LLP. In addition to sharing a law firm, Hillary and Jason have two adult children, three grandchildren, and some dogs.

In 2023, Jason “put down his rifle” and retired from active litigation after 35 years. He has now become a full-time mediator, opening BOOTH MEDIATION on February 2, 2024. He is enjoying every minute of it.

When not mediating, Jason enjoys, in no particular order, Baseball, Poker, Gardening, Movies, Theater (especially Shakespeare), Fantasy Sports, Art, Live Music, Cooking, and Dogs.

Areas Of Practice

  • Tort Litigation
    • Personal Injury
    • Toxic Tort
    • Premises Liability
    • Habitability
    • Product Liability
  • Environmental Litigation and Compliance
    • Clean Water Act and Stormwater
    • Regulatory Compliance
  • Construction Litigation
    • Construction Defects
    • Regulatory Compliance
  • Business Litigation
    • Contract Disputes
    • Real Property Disputes
    • Intellectual Property
  • Appellate

Awards and Distinctions

  • Named Southern California Super Lawyer by Los Angeles Magazine  2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • Martindale Hubble AV Rating since 1999

Education

  • University of California, Los Angeles, BA Cum Laude, English 1985
    • Dean’s Honor List, 1984-1985
  • Southwestern University School of Law, JD Cum Laude, 1989
    • Editor-in-Chief, Southwestern University Law Review, 1988-89
    • Dean’s Honor List, 1986-1989
    Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution
    • Litigation Mediation Training Program, August 2023

Admissions and Memberships

  • The State Bar of California, 1989
  • United States District Court, 1989
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1990
  • Nevada State Bar, 1997
  • Defense Research Institute, Environmental and Toxic Tort section
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
  • Southern California Mediation Association
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