Neutral Profile



  • Based in Los Angeles, available in All of California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


After 35 years of practice as a trial attorney representing both plaintiff and defense interests, coupled with over 20 years of court ordered and private mediations and arbitrations, ABOTA member, David M. Karen brings a wealth of sophisticated civil litigation and trial experience. Having participated as lead trial counsel in most every type of civil related dispute, he has resolved over 500 matters as a neutral over his career. David is now available as a full-time Mediator, Arbitrator and Discovery Referee, exclusively at Judicate West.

Having begun his mediation career in 1999 as a panelist with the LA Superior Court, he has consistently grown his private mediation practice. Acting as pro tem settlement judge handling MSC's with the Ventura Superior Court in beginning in 2002, he met the Honorable David W. Long (Ret.). In 2014 he formally joined forces with Judge Long, taking over the helm of Creative Dispute Resolution (CDR), in Ventura County continuing in the expansion of mediation originally established by veteran mediator, Paul Fritz, Esq. in 1986.

With an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Accounting, David is adept with the financial aspects involved in virtually any and all civil litigation matters. He has been senior managing partner of his own firm (DK Law Group), representing both plaintiffs, self-insureds and carrier represented defendants throughout his career. His business acumen and broad based trial experience has allowed him to gain a unique and astute ability to keenly understand and manage the complex intricacies related to risk assessment and management in guiding his clientele, both as counsel and as a neutral.

Over the decades, he has been repeatedly described as being a creative, engaging, and a savvy mediator. As a result of his upbeat personality and balanced representation of interests throughout his legal career, David has developed the unique ability to both communicate and garner the trust of both the parties and counsel in helping guide matters to resolution.

David states: I am a real believer in transparency in all dialogue. When all the hype and drama gets stripped away and the decision-makers are able to understand others' perspectives through deft communication toward achieving shared goals, transformation happens. While every mediation is different, the personalities and the genuine needs of the parties, when finally exposed, help create avenues for meeting the needs of the parties. There is not much in life that brings more professional satisfaction to me than helping others find meaningful closure.

Practice Areas

Hobbies & Interests

Mr. Karen's interests include tennis, golf, travel and theater. He's an active United States Tennis Association player, has hit on the red clay in Monte Carlo, watched Rafa Nadal at the French Open, Roger Federer at the U.S. Open, and has played with the Bryan Brothers for charity. His favorite theater experiences include seeing Hamilton and Witness for the Prosecution in London. His bucket list items that remain are to see the pros play at Wimbledon, get to the Australian Open and hopes to set foot at Augusta to see the Masters.


"David Karen Esq. is an excellent mediator. He reviewed the briefs and supporting papers and had a firm grasp on the issues. Our respective sides could not have been further apart on liability and damages. Mr. Karen was able to connect with a difficult party and bring this matter to a resolution"
- Attorney on a Real Property Breach of Contract Matter

"We appreciate David Karen's professionalism, knowledge, creativity, and tenacity in settling such a complex case with a particularly difficult litigant."
- Attorney on a Business/Contractual case

"This was my first experience with Mr. Karen. He dealt with multiple parties and very strong personalities in a very effective matter and spent a lot of time managing expectations. He did a wonderful job."
- Attorney on a Premises Liability case

"David is excellent and patient. He makes the parties comfortable and builds trust and rapport throughout the process"
- Attorney on a Real Estate Matter

Links and Articles

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Mediator, Arbitrator (1999-Present)
  • Mediator, Arbitrator, Creative Dispute Resolution (2014-Present)
  • ADR Panelist, Los Angeles Superior Court (1999-2010)
  • Settlement Pro Tem, Ventura County Superior Court (2002-2015)
  • Mediator, Arbitrator, 11th Hour Mediation (1999-2015)
  • Senior Managing Partner, DK Law Group (2011-Present)
  • Law Offices of David M. Karen (1997-2011)
  • Lovretovich & Karen (1989-1997)
  • Goldstone & Lovretovich (1985-1988)
  • Risley & Goor (1983-1985)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., Loyola Law School (1984)
  • B. S., California State University, Northridge (1981)
  • Mediation Training, Pepperdine University School of Law/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (Mediating the Litigated Case, 2000; Employment, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury Advanced Mediation Training, 2003; Advanced Mediation Training, 2004; Improvised Mediation, 2007; Preventing Bad Settlement Decisions and Impasse, 2012)

Achievements & Awards

  • Mr. Karen has been the Chair of the ADR committee, Ventura County Bar Association since 2013
  • Moderated numerous MCLE seminars for various plaintiff and defense groups
  • Founder, DKLG/CDR Internship Program, Mock Trial Participants, 2014-present

Legal Experience

  • Business/Contractual
  • Construction Defect
  • Government Liability
  • All Types of Personal Injury including Products Liability
  • Employment
  • Professional Negligence (Medical and Legal)
  • All Types of Real Estate Disputes

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases



  • Partners in veterinarian business asserted claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and misclassification as an independent contractor.


  • Materials storage agreement claimed breached by failure to abide by terms.
  • Family members inherit family business, assert breaches of statutory and fiduciary duties.
  • Hemp crop Producer in dispute with Farmer related to contract to cultivate, maintain and harvest 80+ acres of hemp. Product was intended for CBD production and sale, resulting in breach of contract and affirmative counter claims asserted for multi-million dollar losses incurred as a result of failure to maintain industry standards.


  • Misrepresentation and fraud based claims related to sale of business, disputed.


Construction Defects

  • Owners claimed damages of $1M related to poor construction by general contractor.


Wage and Hour

  • Misclassification claim by ex-employee, unpaid overtime - disputed liability.

Wrongful Term & Discrimination

  • Wrongful Termination/Discrimination - Allegations of harassment and discrimination arising from a medical condition.
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claim, asserted retaliation, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination.

Govt./Public Agency


  • Declaratory relief action for injunctive and equitable relief, monetary damages arising from reclassification impact on retirement plan.

Intellectual Property

IP Trade Secrets

  • General Contractor sued HOA for misappropriation of trade secret related to plumbing methodology.



  • Trust property with disputed life estate contested by 10 heirs.


  • Dispute involving seven family members over Trust distribution, asserted undue influence.

Professional Malpractice

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Legal malpractice, uninsured, disputed breach and damages.

Real Estate

Breach Of Contract

  • Specific Performance filed by Plaintiff requiring Defense to make repairs and close escrow.
  • Alleged breach of fiduciary duties, violation of Homeowner's Bill of Rights (HBOR) pursuant to loan modification.
  • Dispute following order on marital settlement agreement regarding promissory note secured by deed of trust.


  • Real Estate Purchase Sale Agreement - Liquidated Damage provision contested; Commission Agreement contested.

Real Estate Land Use

  • Easement rights - Land Use

Real Property

  • Disputed ownership claim, lis pendens.


Elder Abuse

  • Elder Abuse - Plaintiff, 95-year-old with 24-hour care, alleged negligence and elder abuse against care giving firm.

Personal Injury

  • Plaintiff over-reacts to barking dog, sustains rotator cuff tear after falling, liability disputed.
  • Independent contractor seriously injured after General Contractor fails to adequately secure framing, and collapses on Plaintiff.

PI Auto

  • Plaintiff seriously injured after being struck by truck operated by Municipality.
  • Auto collision with disputed liability and disputed injuries.

Premises Liability

  • Plaintiff sustained multiple cervical disc herniation after product on display in commercial warehouse falls.
  • Plaintiff slip and fall at warehouse location, disputed notice, disputed injuries.

Product Liability

  • Severed hand from industrial mixer, disputed liability.