During his 30 years as a mediator and arbitrator, Jeff Joseph has handled over 3,000 cases and his ADR and legal experience spans over 40 years. Prior to becoming a full-time neutral, Jeff was a trial lawyer for 25 years. For 15 of those years Jeff served as a Deputy Chief Counsel for the State Department of Transportation supervising 17 lawyers and making all the trial/settlement decisions for every tort case in the office. Additionally, he served as Associate Dean and General Counsel at Thomas Jefferson School of Law for 6 years and was an Adjunct Professor for 20 years teaching 8 different law school courses.

While in practice, Jeff tried million dollar tort and real property cases. He wrote, negotiated or reviewed business, real estate and employment contracts. Jeff was responsible for compliance with Employment Law for over 2,000 state employees in San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Imperial Counties and, later, law school employees and students. He sat on Boards of Review in highway construction cases and litigated construction contract claims. He was responsible for compliance with Environmental Law including CEQA and NEPA. Due to his time at Caltrans and the Law School, Jeff is also an expert on Government Law and Education Law.

As a neutral, Jeff uses his broad range of experience to successfully resolve a wide variety of disputes. "I help people engage in risk management. I identify the risks and key elements to help each party evaluate how best to settle their case," states Jeff. He is known for getting to the heart of complex matters and has an empathetic approach with each party, thereby ensuring each party knows he genuinely understands their position and concerns.

Practice Areas
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment
  • Real Estate
  • Construction
  • Business/Contractual
  • Education
  • Environmental/Agriculture
Legal Career
  • Mediator, Judicate West (2016)
  • Associate Dean and General Counsel, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, (2006-Present)
  • Deputy Chief Counsel, State of California, Department of Transportation (1992-2006)
  • Trial Attorney, State of California, Department of Transportation (1980-1992)
  • San Diego Superior Court Arbitration and Mediation panels (1983-Present)
  • San Diego Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Panel (1993-Present)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 1990-present. Courses: Trial Practice, Civil Procedure, California Civil Procedure, Environmental Law, American Legal History, Legal Analysis
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, National University School of Law, (1987-1989). Course: Torts
  • Principal Attorney, Special Prosecutions Unit, Office of Attorney General, State of California (1978-1980)
  • Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Division (1972-1978)
  • California State Bar Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions (CALJIC)
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D., University of California at Davis (1972)
  • B.A., University of California at Berkeley (1969)
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (2017-Present)
  • San Diego County Bar Association Conference of Delegates, California State Bar (2005- Present)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel member
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys member
  • Golden Apple Award, Thomas Jefferson School of Law (1994, 1995)
  • President, St. Thomas More Society (San Diego Catholic Lawyer Society) 1999
  • President, Stella Maris Academy School Board, La Jolla Catholic School (1996-1997)
  • Board of Directors, Association of California State Attorneys, Collective Bargaining Representative (1982-1983,1986-1987)
  • President, Association of San Diego Deputy Attorneys General (1976,1979)
  • Board of Directors, UC Davis Law School Alumni Association (1973-1977)
Achievements & Awards
  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating: AV (Since 1983); AVVO Rating 10 of 10
  • Super Lawyers (Southern California- San Diego) 2009, 2008 & 2007
  • Top Attorneys 2006 in the San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Who's Who in American Law (Marquis, Millennium Edition, 2000)
  • Who's Who in California (17th Ed. 1988)


  • Contract formation, performance and interpretation. Action between two business owners who hand wrote their own contract with alleged missing and ambiguous provisions. Performance issues alleged to cure interpretation issues. Case settled at mediation.
  • Quasi Contract and Equitable Issues. Worker hired to perform construction work on alleged oral contract. Issue of Statute of Frauds as well as contract formation. Quantum meruit also asserted. Case settled at mediation.
  • Dispute between contractor and sub over payment due to sub based on oral contract. Contractor alleged amount charged was far in excess of amount agreed to. Sub alleged scope of the work had changed. Contractor also alleged sub was disqualified for payment for lacking the proper license. Sub alleged that California provisions re unlicensed contractors are inapplicable to federal projects. Case resolved on a compromise of the claim.
  • Interference with contract alleged by law firm against a car finance company. Law firm alleged that finance company settled a CLRA case with a represented aggrieved car buyer directly thereby cutting the law firm out of the settlement. Defendant alleged that car buyer knowingly made the settlement and represented in writing he was not represented by a lawyer. The case resolved at mediation.


  • Contract dispute between two business owners. Ambiguity in contract alleged as well as fraud ab initio in failing to disclose one owner's inability to perform the provisions of the contract. Case settled at mediation.
  • Action against bank for promising to refinance loan upon homeowners’ agreement to continue payments. Mr. Joseph has settled this case and other cases similar to it.

Lemon Law

  • Lemon law case for car with rattling problems. “Cash and Keep” vs. Buy back. Mr. Joseph has settled many Lemon Law cases with these issues.
  • Lemon law case involving motorhome for transmission problems. “Cash and Keep” vs. Buy back.

Construction Breach Of Contract

  • Contractor claimed additional compensation due to increased scope of work and changed conditions. Case resolved at mediation.
  • Issues between contractor and subs based on type of indemnity agreement and failure to name as additional insureds. Case resolved at mediation.


  • Failure to accommodate employee sensitive to scents and desiring to work from home.
  • Student claimed he was not provided sufficient extra time on law school exam.
  • Student claimed he was entitled to a note taker in class because of his inability to process the material quickly enough. The case was resolved internally at the law school in Mr. Joseph's role as Associate Dean and General Counsel.

Wage and Hour

  • Wage and Hour claims of unpaid overtime, no rest breaks, no meal breaks, waiting time penalties, correct itemized statements, interest and attorneys fees. Case settled at mediation with confidentiality agreement.
  • 8 plaintiff wage and hour/PAGA claim against a business as well as individual wrongful termination and retaliation claims against business owners. All cases were settled after an all-day mediation.
  • Failure to provide rest and meal breaks against local restaurant. PAGA claimed on behalf of other workers. Case settled at mediation.
  • Failure to provide overtime pay. Case settled at mediation.

Wrongful Term & Discrimination

  • Wrongful termination based on race vs. allegation of termination for cause based on poor performance. Case settled just before trial.
  • Wrongful termination based on race vs. reduction in force defense. Case settled at mediation.
  • Wrongful termination and retaliation claim against restaurant. Defendant alleged plaintiff was terminated for an altercation with a co-worker. Plaintiff alleged pretext because altercation was minor and in self-defense. Case settled at mediation.

Environmental Issues

  • Resolution of storm water pollution measures brought against public entity by citizen groups and EPA. Case resolved working with the parties without formal mediation.
  • Allegation of project segmentation in building of public highway.
  • National Historic Preservation Act dispute over building in path of proposed State Route 56. Case resolved informally.

Educational Disputes

  • Former student who became public figure sought to prevent disclosure of law school records under FERPA. Case was resolved working with parties informally.
  • Student alleged to have plagiarized term paper claimed right to graduate based on new paper also alleged to have been plagiarized. Case resolved at mediation.

Government Liability

  • 68 million dollar property damage claim (jet engine) against governmental entity for dangerous condition (dropoff from pavement to dirt) of highway. Case settled at second mediation.
  • Claim against City when child is run over by lifeguard truck causing serious injuries. Case settled at mediation.
  • Cracked sidewalk against city with cross-complaint against adjoining property owner for tree roots raising the sidewalk. Mr. Joseph has settled this case and many other similar cases at mediation.


  • Car is damaged by backhoe working on public street. Defendant contended the backhoe did not encroach on the traveled lane and that plaintiff's insured veered into the work zone.
  • Insurer paid for damage to a business caused by roof collapse and fire sprinkler rupture. Insurer alleged that defendant's employee negligently placed equipment on the roof causing it to fail.
  • Subrogation case in which insured's home was flooded by a failed waterline. Plaintiff alleged the braided steel supply line failed when it was subjected to chloride has commonly found in household products. Defendant alleged the cause of the failure was uncertain. Case settled at mediation.

Medical Malpractice

  • Suit against hospital for failure to diagnose suicidal patient who committed suicide. Case settled at mediation.

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Suit against attorney for alleged poor strategy in choosing which defendants to sue.
  • Suit against attorney for failing to properly present dangerous condition case (median barrier) against public entity resulting in a defense verdict against the public entity.
  • Legal malpractice arising out of construction defect cases. Plaintiffs alleged breach of fiduciary duty because, inter alia, failure to adequately communicate, failure to investigate, failure to hire experts adequately, failure to prepare a cost of repair and inadequate settlement without informed consent. Case settled in post-mediation discussions with mediator. Confidentiality agreement.


  • Issue regarding quality of seed and alleged breach of warranty for promised yield.
  • Part take of agricultural land. Severance damages due to loss of access and restricted irrigation alleged. Mr. Joseph has settled numerous cases with this issue.

Eminent Domain

  • Value of property taken by government based on opposing MAI appraisals. Case settled at mediation.
  • Value of restaurant existing for 25 years at desirable location. Relocation mitigation alleged.


  • Landlord-Tenant dispute. Tenant lived in a high end apartment that he claims had a ceiling that leaked twice thereby breaching the right of quiet enjoyment and perhaps creating a 1942 violation. He and his family moved out with some rent due. Landlord sued for the rent. Tenant cross-complained for breach of contract including property damage. Case settled at mediation.

Property Damage

  • Semi attempting to navigate a San Diego resort road went over a small arched wooden bridge damaging the substructure. Plaintiff sued for replacement of the bridge. The old bridge was replaced with a more functional bridge at a higher cost. Parties were able to agree on the FMV of the old bridge.

Real Property

  • Damage to Real Property. Treble damages claim for defendant's unlawful removal of tree on adjacent owner's property. Defendant claimed the tree roots were raising his walkway and threatening he foundation of his condominium.
  • Title Disputes. Disputed title based on unrecorded deeds. Case settled at mediation.
  • Title Disputes. Title dispute based on alleged forged deeds. Case settled at mediation.
  • Boundary Disputes. Survey vs. adverse possession and issue of boundary line adjustment
  • Easements. Issue of easement by necessity for landlocked parcel. Case settled at mediation when alternative access was provided.
  • Dedications. Issue of right to use road based on implied dedication
  • Inverse Condemnation. Flood claim against City for improper design of drainage system. Case settled at mediation.
  • Inverse Condemnation. Land subsidence claim against public entity due to improper grading. Case settled post mediation.
  • Landlord/Tenant. 1942 Action against landlord for failure to maintain premises causing insects and lack of hot water. Landlord claimed plaintiff was behind in rent. Case settled at mediation.
  • Landlord/Tenant. Landlord action against tenant for failure to pay rent. Defendant alleged that plaintiff's damages were mitigated by landlord's agreement to permit a substitute tenant. Case settled at mediation.

Assault and Battery

  • Intoxicated restaurant patron punched restaurant manager breaking his jaw. Patron was charged and convicted of a felony and restaurant manager brought civil action. Case settled at mediation despite defendant's difficulty in being able to pay damages.

PI Auto

  • Auto vs. Pedestrian: Fractured femur. Comparative Fault alleged because plaintiff was wearing headphones and failed to hear the turning vehicle. Case settled at mediation.
  • Auto vs. Bicycle: Fractured Ankle. Disputed Liability and Comparative Fault alleged because plaintiff was riding on the sidewalk opposite the flow of traffic. Case settled at mediation.
  • Uninsured Motorist Claim. Pedestrian struck by UM motorcyclist. Pedestrian comparative fault alleged in not watching for approaching vehicles. Case settled post mediation after working with the attorneys.
  • PTSD of minor alleged due to negligence of defendant causing auto accident. Nightmares, flashbacks, fearing of riding in vehicle alleged.
  • Intoxicated driver causes multiple injuries to multiple plaintiffs who were riding in a vehicle in the adjacent lane of the highway. Case settled at mediation.
  • Rear end accident with compression fracture causing consistent pain.

Premises Liability

  • Trip and Fall on liquid at grocery store in produce aisle. Back injury to alleged eggshell plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged condition was created by watering the produce. Defendant disputed creation and alleged lack of notice and whether the fall caused plaintiff's injury. Case settled at mediation.
  • Slip and Fall on liquid at discount store. Fractured Ankle. Defendant contended no notice since employees conduct inspections of all the aisles at least once every half hour. Case settled at mediation.
  • Trip and Fall cracked parking lot. Fractured Ankle. Defendant alleged cracks were part of normal wear and tear and not hazardous and the plaintiff wasn't paying sufficient attention. Case settled at mediation.
  • Dangerous condition of playground resulting in fractured arm with arm shortening and other permanent residuals. Dispute centered on the seriousness of the residual injuries. Case settled at second mediation.

Product Liability

  • Roof crush on vehicle forced off city street into drainage ditch. Plaintiff suffered paraplegia. Case settled.
  • Man fractured humerus when climbing alleged defective ladder. Defendant contended plaintiff was standing on the top of the ladder when he fell and that ladder was not defective. Case settled at mediation.
  • Plaintiff loses an eye using an alleged defective exercise product. Case settled at mediation.

Wrongful Death

  • Death of woman crossing the street and struck by vehicle which had limited visibility. Comparative fault alleged in that plaintiff crossed against a sign advising pedestrians to cross on the other side of the street and plaintiff's consumption of alcohol. Case settled post mediation after working with the attorneys.
  • Wrongful Death Auto Accident. Family sued for economic damages in loss of breadwinner and loss of care, comfort and society. Defendant disputed amount of economic loss and general damages. Case settled at mediation.
  • Wrongful death against a Government Entity. Plaintiffs' decedent ran off the road and struck a fixed object. Defense alleged no dangerous condition and decedent's comparative fault. Case resolved at mediation.
Jeff was great at going the extra mile after mediation in numerous back and forth correspondence and calls to make both parties realize that settlement is best for all.
- Attorney on an Employment Wage & Hour Dispute
Knowledgeable on substantive law (inverse condemnation).
- Attorney on a Real Property Inverse Condemnation Matter
I appreciate your insight and empathetic handling of my clients. Great Job! Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you on matters in the future.
- San Diego Plaintiff's Attorney
He was very effective. We started so far apart. He never gave up, great job encouraging everyone to continue.
- Attorney on a personal injury dispute
I appreciate his knowledge of the law with respect to government entities. Given his background, his opinions carry a lot of weight.
- Attorney on a personal injury auto dispute
Getting the parties into dialogue on settlement as the objective was key.
- Attorney on a Medical Malpractice, Dental Dispute
Mr. Joseph was particularly well versed regarding the facts, and persuasive in his analysis of how a jury might view the case, including the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' positions.
- Attorney on an employment wrongful termination dispute
I thought Mr. Joseph was fantastic. He has an impeccable background, which he used to understand my client’s concerns while also providing an unbiased opinion.
- Attorney on an Employment Wage & Hour Dispute
Jeffrey Joseph, Esq.
Based in San Diego | Available in All of California
Mediation Case Manager: Laura Ashborn
Arbitration Case Manager: Calina Gercke