HON. JOHN LEO WAGNER, RET.

  • Available in Orange County, Nationwide
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments

Introduction

Judge Wagner has 29 years' experience in conducting ADR processes. In 1997, he left the Federal bench to become the Director of the Irell & Manella ADR Center, where he engaged in a full-time practice as a neutral. He previously served for 12 years as a U. S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Oklahoma. He was appointed to this position at age 31, after trying many substantial cases to verdict as litigation partner with Kornfeld & Franklin. While on the Federal bench, he founded and administered a court-annexed mediation program and served as an ADR neutral, in addition to maintaining a full civil caseload. Judge Wagner has successfully conducted thousands of mediations and arbitrations. He is respected and requested for his extensive experience and skill in resolving multi-party, and extremely complex issues in cases involving intellectual property, construction defect, environmental and mass torts, as well as securities and consumer class actions. He has also earned a reputation for handling matters with a high emotional content including employment, civil rights, partnership dissolution plus all types of business, insurance and personal injury disputes. One client commented "Judge Wagner offers a unique combination of federal bench and private practice experience. With this experience and his calm and even handed disposition he earned everyone's credibility." Both plaintiff and defense concur Judge Wagner is knowledgeable, intelligent, creative, perceptive and works relentlessly to resolve disputes.

Specialties

Testimonials

Judge Wagner's overall approach was very effective. He was very receptive to recommendations by the parties concerning how mediation should proceed. He managed both sides well in a difficult mediation.
- Attorney, Michigan

From his introduction, to the close of the day, Judge Wagner was the epitome of a mediator. On a very difficult liability case with horrific injuries, he delicately found the middle ground guiding the parties to what will resolve a truly difficult case. One of the most compelling attributes of Judge Wagner is his compassion and relating to clients. Because of Judge Wagner my clients came away from the experience with new respect for the legal system and mediation.
- Attorney, Inland Empire, California

I am writing to express my gratitude and to describe my experience with Judge Wagner. Judge Wagner is as accomplished and hard working mediator who agreed to take our case despite a full schedule. Two prior mediations on the case were fruitless. Despite this, he calmly and strategically mapped out a plan to satisfy nine different parties. Through strict dedication, Judge Wagner was able to keep the parties engaged, where many other mediators would have simply quit. My hat is off to Judicate West, and specifically to John Leo Wagner.
- Attorney, Inland Empire, California

Judge Wagner was patient when appropriate, firm when he needed to be and "acted like a judge" when that was needed, and that was very helpful in the process. I loved his methodology for reducing plaintiff's demands and increasing defendant's offers.
- Attorney, Orange County, California

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • ADR Neutral, Judicate West Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • ADR Neutral, Irell & Manella ADR Center, Irell & Manella LLP, Los Angeles
  • U. S. Magistrate Judge, Northern District of Oklahoma, Tulsa
  • Trial Lawyer and Litigation Partner, Kornfeld & Franklin, Oklahoma City

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • B.A., University of Oklahoma
  • Past President and Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators
  • CPR Institution for Dispute Resolution Mediation Advisory Committee
  • CPR/Georgetown Commission on Ethics and Standards in ADR
  • Court Administration and Case Management Committee of the United States Judicial Conference
  • CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution National Panel of Distinguished Neutrals
  • Southern California Mediation Association
  • ABA, Orange County Bar Association and Oklahoma Bar ADR Sections
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law
  • Past President, Council Oak American Inn of Court
  • Past President, University of Oklahoma College of Law Association
  • Former Director, Federal Magistrate Judges Association
  • Judge Paul R. Michel Intellectual Property American Inn of Court (Founding Master)

Achievements & Awards

  • Included on the Daily Journal's list of Master ADR Neutrals in California in 2014 (inclusion on this exclusive list required selection as one of California's Top Neutrals for the previous five years).
  • Best Lawyers In America's 2015 Orange County Mediation "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Best Lawyers In America's 2014 Orange County Arbitration "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Named as one of Southern California's "Super Lawyers" each year from 2007 through 2016, in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • Named in every issue of Best Lawyers in America from 2007 through 2016, in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Hobbies & Interests

In his spare time, Judge Wagner enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, who share in his interest in muscle cars, backpacking, chess and travel.

Legal Experience

  • Environmental
  • Intellectual Property
  • Securities
  • Antitrust
  • Class Action (including Wage & Hour)
  • Qui Tam
  • Complex Business/Commercial
  • Employment
  • Insurance matters
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Toxic Torts
  • High Stakes Personal Injury
  • All types of Federal Court Cases

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases

Business/Commercial

Complex Commercial

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a bank sought to recover from former officers and directors for approving loans that ultimately failed.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a product manufacturer alleged a distributor breached the contract by failing to purchase minimum quantities and the distributor alleged the manufacturer failed to produce a quality product.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when an optician landlord evicted optometrists due to failure to pay complete rent, as rent was based off of sales, which optometrists allege is a violation of CA law prohibiting relationships between opticians and optometrists.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that allegedly arose when plaintiff was fraudulently induced to invest in Defendants' company.

Consumer Class Action

  • Mediated settlement of claims that allegedly arose when a bank promised 0% APR, but then raised the rate once the offers were accepted.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that allegedly arose when a financial corporation failed to properly report for tax purposes payments made toward the negative amortization balance.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a retailer refused to give cash back when plaintiff paid with a gift card and there was less than $10 left on the card, in violation of Cal Civ Code.
  • Case involved 50 million class members. This case had gone on for almost 10 years before Judge Wagner was brought in to mediate it. He mediated the settlement that ultimately obtained final approval, mediated disputes among counsel over fees and mediated with the objectors to obtain a final class action settlement without appeal.

Contractual

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a supplier for a clothing line failed to timely fill the order and, later, cancelled the contract.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when an employee alleged that she was entitled to post termination commissions.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose from the dissolution of an architectural partnership.
  • Mediated settlement of claims against an accountant that arose when her client, a businesswoman and her company, were assessed tax penalties due to alleged errors.
  • Settled dispute arising out of a 9-figure business acquisition. The dispute involved divergent expert accounting opinions and complex contract interpretation issues. Extensive previous negotiations between the buying and selling CEOs had proven unfruitful, but the deadlock was broken and an agreement was reached and documented during a single mediation session.
  • This very contentious case involved allegations of fraud in substitution of a sizable life insurance policy. The first mediation before another mediator failed, but the matter was resolved after a thorough airing of contentions and examination of complex insurance documents, by means of a timed shift to an accelerated negotiation technique.
  • This matter involved a company that engaged in used automobile dealership floor plan and sub-prime consumer financing. The company was in turn financed by loans, secured by notes, from 'friends and family' of the equity owners. To expand the business, the company secured a large loan from a New York hedge fund, which extended the loan after reviewing financials. Once the hedge fund loan was made, an error in accounting was discovered that showed the company was not healthy as portrayed, but insolvent. The company implemented a recapitalization, where notes were reduced and extended in return for equity in a sister corporation. The hedge fund refused to participate. The commercial paper assets were transferred its sister company; there was a default on the hedge fund note, and the company was put into bankruptcy.

Securities

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when plaintiffs invested in a TIC at the advice of their tax advisor but the TIC was not feasible due to errors, intentional and unintentional, and problems in the set up and system.

Securities Class Action

  • Mediated settlement of securities fraud, derivative class action, and breach of fiduciary duty claims that arose when the SEC and the Justice Department prosecuted individuals (not defendants) for stock manipulation scheme.

Employment

A D A

  • Mediated settlement of claims that allegedly arose when an insurance company denied plaintiff's claim for long term disability (LTD).

Breach of Contract

  • Mediated payment plan for settlement of claims.

Hostile Environment

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a hotel employee was allegedly sexually harassed at work by a co-worker.

Labor Code

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when founders of a company broke up and one founder accused the others of various unfair business practices.

Wage and Hour

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a mortuary allegedly failed to pay commission to an employee.

Wage Hour Class Action

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a construction company allegedly failed to pay fair wages, breached employment contracts, failed to provide itemized wage statements and other unlawful business practices.

Whistleblower Wrongful Term

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when an employee was allegedly terminated for complaining about code violations to his supervisors.

Wrongful Termination

  • Mediated settlement of wrongful termination claims that arose when an employee was allegedly terminated because of her disabilities and medical condition relating to an injury at work.

Environment

Environmental Issues

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when releases of hazardous substances and a fire caused contamination at a business that necessitated division of the remediation costs.
  • Mediated settlement of claims against a business regarding paying remediation costs for environmental contamination from their facility.

Insurance

Bad Faith

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a significant leak in a residence was found and the insurance company refused to pay for all alleged damages.

Coverage

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when an insurance company denied coverage and failed to defend for a medical malpractice matter.

Intellectual Property

General IP

  • An operative company was partially owned by one company and the rest by another. The owner was in turn owned on a 50/50 basis. The 50/50 owners were in a bitter and longstanding dispute. The case was settled with a buyout deal that was negotiated late into the night.

IP Patent

  • Mediated settlement of patent infringement claims that arose when an American company allegedly copied a Canadian company's product.
  • Patent case involving allegations of infringement and invalidity of 4 patents, involving Canadian and Taiwanese competitors who manufactured consumer hardware for big box stores.

IP Trademark

  • Mediated settlement of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cybersquatting and other claims that arose when a company used a name and logo that was similar to a well-known name and logo.

Professional Malpractice

Medical Malpractice

  • Arbitrated Medical Malpractice claims that arose when a patient went to the emergency room and certain tests were not done that would have disclosed cancer.

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Mediated settlement of legal malpractice claims that arose when an attorney was retained by an employee for claims made against her at work and the lawyer, without disclosing to the employee, was thereafter retained and did represent the employer.

Real Estate

Breach Of Contract

  • Mediated settlement of class action claims that arose when a bank entered into an unlawful referral scheme with residential appraisers.

Buy/Sell

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a defendant found liable for real estate investment fraud declared bankruptcy.

Real Property

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a real estate agent and broker allegedly represented both buyer and seller in a residential sale, but failed to advocate and inform the buyer of needed and required information.

Warranty of Habitability

  • Mediated settlement of breach of warranty of habitability and breach of contract claims that arose when landlord did not make needed repairs and made plans to tear down the residence in the middle of a lease contract.

Tort

A.D.A Act

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose over whether a mall parking lot had accessible handicapped parking.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose over whether an arena had legally required and sufficient handicapped accessible accommodations for guests.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when an investor lost money and had significant tax consequences for an investment made on the advice of a tax attorney.

Catastrophic Injury

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a building under constructed exploded.
  • Six party case involving responsibility for a residential fire, that involved complex liability, indemnity, and insurance issues.

Civil Rights

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a police dog attacked a deaf elderly woman after home security alarms went off in her house.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when two people were fatally shot by an off-duty police officer.
  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when two parolees were fatally shot by police.

Personal Injury

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a publicity stunt intentionally caused emotional distress to a participant.

PI Auto

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a passenger in a car suffered multiple injuries, including broken bones, when the car she was in crashed into a truck that made an illegal left turn in front of the vehicle.

Premises Liability

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a teenager was injured when the swing she was swinging on, at a playground, broke.
  • Wrongful death and serious personal injury from gang related stabbing. Decedent and surviving victim were accosted after school by knife wielding assailant, following an earlier confrontation between the victims and others who had gang affiliations.

Product Liability

  • Mediated settlement of claims that arose when a medical prosthesis failed causing additional surgery and treatment.
  • Mediated settlement of class action claims that arose regarding the cracking of computer screens.
  • Products liability case where the plaintiff's dominant hand was crushed between a sprocket and chain in a heavy industrial strapping machine. It resulted in amputation of fingers and disfigurement of the hand. Plaintiff also suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome and complex reflex pain syndrome. Both the products liability case, and the substantial workers compensation lien were resolved.

Wrongful Death

  • Mediated settlement of wrongful death claims that arose when a driver died after his car collided with a police car that was proceeding to an emergency without lights or sirens.

Downtown Los Angeles

601 S. Figueroa
Ste 4000
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 213.223.1113
Fax      : 213.223.1114

Los Angeles Mediation

West Los Angeles

11601 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 2040
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310.442.2100
Fax      : 310.442.2125

Mediators Los Angeles

San Diego

402 W. Broadway
Ste 2400
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619.814.1966
Fax      : 619.814.1967

San Diego Mediation

Santa Ana

1851 East First Street
Ste 1600
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714.834.1340
Fax      : 714.834.1344

Orange County Mediation

San Francisco

100 Pine Street
Ste 1950
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.266.1242
Fax      : 415.266.1243

San Francisco Mediation

Sacramento

980 9th Street
Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.394.8490
Fax      : 916.394.8495

Sacramento Mediation