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  • Retired Federal Bankruptcy Judge
  • Based in Orange County, available Nationwide
  • Mediation Only


After 20 years of service, Judge Goldberg retired from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 9th Circuit, Central District of California, where he presided over and mediated all types of bankruptcy and non bankruptcy related issues including but not limited to class actions involving multiple insurance coverage issues, complex commercial matters involving real estate, banking/lending, title insurance, collateralized debt obligations, securities, patent and copyright issues. During his time on the bench, Judge Goldberg earned a reputation with both the bench and the bar as the "go-to" guy for mediation of all types of problem disputes mediating many hundreds of cases for all other 21 Judges in the Central District.

After his retirement in 2008, Judge Goldberg utilized his people skills exploring new avenues of service such as hospice care, teaching and working with children. All the while his passion for mediation remained front and center so much so that it led to him to teaching an advanced course in mediation skills at the famed Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School . He found it so invigorating that he ultimately decided to continue teaching and became an adjunct professor and to further serve the community as a private mediator with Judicate West. Judge Goldberg has been a featured speaker about bankruptcy, transportation, real estate and family law, plus mediation and effective communication skills. He was a panel speaker at the International Conference of Judges sponsored by World Bank and Pepperdine University at which over 40 nations were present, and he was recently one of four Professors/ judicial mediators to introduce mediation skills to lawyers and judges in the Republic of Uganda.

Many of the attorneys who have worked with Judge Goldberg over the years have commented that although their experience with him as a mediator was initially through the bankruptcy court, his skills are obvious to all and translate well into all other areas of civil litigation. One noted, "He is simply an excellent mediator." Today, having been a private mediator of hundreds of cases for several years, he is best known for being "well prepared," thorough, fair and respectful" and most of all for being a "gifted storyteller in highly emotional cases."

Practice Areas

Hobbies & Interests

Interests include travel, golf, working as a Hospice volunteer, teaching and children's story teller


"Highly skilled, knowledgeable and personable. Very effective. Would love to work with Judge Goldberg again. One of the best mediators I've worked with in a long time."
- Attorney on a Real Estate Land Use Matter

"He saw problems clearly, wad prepared, did not act like a judge, understood the human dynamics, + pushed when necessary."
- Attorney on a business/contractual dispute

"Judge Goldberg has an outstanding temperament for a mediator. He is a great study and tireless in working toward solution."
- Attorney on a business/contractual dispute

"Judge Goldberg was efficient and friendly and it was obvious that he had read all the briefs and position statements that so many participants provided to him. He was very understanding and accommodating. "
- Attorney on a Business/Contractual case

"Judge Goldberg is worth his weight in gold. He is engaging, highly intelligent, an incredibly "quick study." He digests complex matters quickly and is able to penetrate to the heart of the matter. He is creative and able to address disparate interests to achieve resolutions. "
- Attorney on a Commercial Insolvency Issues case

"Judge Goldberg was excellent as always. He was critical in resolving the matter for us."
- Attorney on a Real Property case

"I wanted to thank Judge Goldberg for his superb handling of the mediation yesterday. I was singularly impressed! His professionalism and humanity are exemplary."
- Attorney, Orange County, California

"The mediation Judge Goldberg handled for our client reached a successful conclusion. The settlement was approved. Some clients are more difficult than others - and Judge Goldberg handled our with ease. I look forward to working with him again in the future."
- Attorney, Orange County, California

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Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Private mediator with Judicate West 2009-present.
  • Adjunct Professor Straus Institute for Alternative Dispute Resolution Pepperdine Law School 2009-present
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Central Dist. of Calif. 1988-2008
  • Private Attorney 1970-1988

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • Advanced mediation certificate Pepperdine Law- Straus Institute For Dispute Resolution 2009
  • J.D. University of Colorado 1968
  • B.A. University of Colorado 1965
  • Temple Beth Tikvah (TBT), Board Of Trustees (1992-Present)
  • Inland Empire BK Forum (1988-2010)
  • TBT, President (1989-1991)
  • United Way Orange County, Board Of Directors (1975-1981)
  • Jewish Family Services OC, Board Of Directors/President (1971-1976)

Achievements & Awards

  • Guest Speaker Central Dist Bd of Judges 2012
  • Natl Moot court team and best oral argument Rocky Mt. Region 1967
  • Articles Editor U of Colorado Law Review 1966-68

Legal Experience

  • Insolvency related matters from plan confirmation in complex matters to litigation of issues relating to Fraudulent Transfer; preferences and claims disputes
  • Real Estate disputes
  • Lender Liability
  • Professional liability
  • Contract disputes
  • Business termination

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases



  • Helped partners in a mid size firm negotiate a dissolution of relationship without a dissolution of firm itself inorder to max value for all sides, without any litigation or formal action taken other than mediation


  • Complex title insurance liability case with a seven-figure base exposure plus potential bad faith issues but with some good defense. Used a small third party bond to bring the settlement to over seven-figures.
  • Negotiated some complex issues to reach a resolution on a high-ask claim that lacked certain levels of proof.

Complex Commercial

  • Co-owner disputes re stock devaluation due to losses of a professional sports team

Consumer Class Action

  • Analyzing the economic effect of a putative class action case where available funds versus scope of damages are not in sync so case has to be analyzed from an economic and business perspective as a driving force.


  • Contract dispute re medical equipment leasing and financing
  • St. Ct. business dispute with bank asserting a check kiting scheme with in multiple auto dealerships, and the owners suing for defamation
  • Lender liability re financing representations on loans to a ocean front B&B
  • Vehicle flooring dispute and the financing related thereto. To generate funds to finance a structured liquidation
  • Initiated discussions to resolve pre litigation contract disputes re power plant reconditioning issue involved over $200 million at issue
  • Mediated and resolved complex plan structure to deal with a 25 million dollar lease rejection claim.
  • Complex and emotional dispute by an artist who was defrauded by prior owner of dealership. Residual corporate art was in dispute with new plan agent and settlement included swaps of art at a seven-figure amount for some cash and reduction of both admin and general unsecured claims in excess of that sum.
  • This unusual family business dispute which has gone on since 2012 with litigation from 2014 was unique as it was a primary dispute between father and son so many emotional and financial issues and interests had to be dealt with. Settlement included engaging an expert for the mediator to help define value (which both sides accepted for the mediation) and this allowed for a decent frame of a settlement.
  • Large judgement against a city would have forced it into a Ch. 9 BK without settlement. Extensive multi-day negotiations to resolve multi faced intergovernmental processes and restricted income distribution and to devise sharing of third party litigation plan as well as a structured 20 plus year payout.
  • Seller and broker liability and collectability issues which resulted in payment by seller to buyer of a six-figure amount over time and payment by Broker of a five-figure amount.
  • This was a very complex negotiation trying to solve both legal, factual, economic, and political considerations in addition to creating terms and conditions that would make it both feasible and durable. The settlement has now been fine tuned and will go to the respective government entities for public presentation and approval.
  • This was a easement/adverse possession dispute. Highly contentious and emotional. Title company played a big roll in helping to forge a resolution of a very costly case to try.
  • With both millions of potential tax liability as well as a contentious divorce, the setting was ripe for bank to get a small percentage of cash on its guarantee claim before the potential bottom fell out and a BK could end up being filed due to tax issues. Due to divorce proceedings had to make the settlement in parts to cover the divorce issues as well. All sides extremely happy.
  • While the dollar amount of the case is in question; the mediation shows my perseverance and patience to listen and debate with the M&A people as well as the litigation side to settle this before any formal litigation filed on on of the two matters, all of which revolved around a company purchase for $18 million that went sour along with a key employee claim that he was entitled to 20% of the sale price.
  • Case involved some of the complexities in Mortgage Back Securiies litigation and how to develop settlement concepts when the key party is not there.
  • Break up of a professional partnership practice in the middle of a epidemic shutdown made getting to yes much more complex than usual. All done without any litigation being initiated!

Corporate Governance

  • Settled claim for officers liability due to gross negligence so it would be covered by D&O insurance as well as coverage defense of 'insured v. insered exception to coverage


  • Business dispute over value/ loss of value in marketing a "genre" website
  • Complex alleged Ponzi scheme with bank as a lender and estate trying to obtain back Letter of Credit payments made by TP's on loans to debtor. Complex legal and accounting issues settled via written mediator proposals post final session. Required extensive review of careful document reading and analysis. Creative approaches were required to reach settlement.


  • Contractor- Workman's Comp insurer dispute on alleged mis-rating hundreds of employees to gain millions in benefits
  • Lawsuit with FDIC successor re alleged lender liability for failure to fully fund a $20 million construction project.
  • Complex lease dispute between a municipal agency; tenant; and underlying lender
  • Fraudulent transfer claim against a "to big to fail" entity re a major real estate project settled for $18 million
  • Mediated dispute between duel owners of a cemetery on a buy out and its evaluation including endowment funds
  • Mediated whether a substantial attorney retainer was earned or secured or had to be turned over to the BK estate
  • Complex real property option for ownership of Beverly Hills Property
  • Mediate BK plan issues and bank financing terms to get to a consensual plan
  • Complex case on issues regarding money with two loans; two title insurance companies; lender issues and hostility; and a borrower-debtor in bankruptcy. Created a settlement that includes selling a house with equity but contributing added cash to create added equity cushion to live on for 59 year old single woman.
  • Mediation re post judgment collection of a discrimination judgment that would have put the defendant company into insolvency if not settled
  • One piece of a complex 30 million purchase of property and litigation rights. Negotiation reflects the creativity and merger of legal, factual and business realities when a public agency is involved.
  • Utilized a lot of creativity to bring all parties, including non participating parties together for potential global settlement.
  • This dispute involved three major mediations; all of which settled. First was the disputes between four factions of the church which had been in State court litigation for over 6 years, and resulted in the filing of a Ch 11 BK, which was run by a trustee who had me mediate the IR dispute. After 4 half days of interviews with each faction, and two days of major mediation, we reached a global church agreement on how much each faction received from sale of property.. The second phase related to disputes between the buyer and a public agency over a parking building and issues caused by the church dissolution litigation which was also settled with a complex agreement on use and purchase option. The most recent issue had to deal with complex parking and land easement rights between the buyer and the adjacent owner who had parking rights. After again multiple months of mediation and negotiation it fell together in our last session.
  • This was really a narrow economic issue and much more a deep emotional issue where "rabbinic" listening skills and lots of empathy was needed to build trust and a willingness to end the wars where only the lawyers would be winners. Lots of technical problems had to be solved to get a final deal together.

Securities Class Action

  • "Innocent" fraudulent transfer claims all 6 or 7 figure issues relating to an alleged Ponzi style scheme affecting hundreds of people


Labor Code

  • WARN act labor dispute and allowance of their claims in bankruptcy plan


  • Early complex analysis of a company growing in size and trying to deal with cash flow issues.

Sexual Harassment

  • Very emotional sexual battery case from a decade ago. No lawsuit so very limited evidence and Defense provided a limited ability to pay.

Wage and Hour Class Action

  • Labor law case with Piercing the veil issues to determine range of collectability in a BK. Many complexities including multi plaintiff groups; and a need for forensic accounting review and payment stretch out along with adequate security. Three full day sessions to get to a wrap-up.
  • Class action case on Characterization of truck drivers and an analysis not only of issues in case but economic realities via intense review of financial data on ability to pay which was the greater dynamic of case.
  • This was a duel mediation with a truck logistic company in both a class action and a individual group of more than 40 workers. The dynamic was how "high" would defendant company go to get a global of both cases and how would it be divided to settle individual law suits and a class action matter about whether truck drivers were misclassified as independent contractors. The negative result would drive the company into bankruptcy and the dynamic was to create a tolerable workout in order to get consent to a global settlement.
  • Class action with a valuation on ability topay as a factor along with the risks in case. Settlement via Mediator's Proposal.
  • Wage and hour issues where Defendant company asserts financial limitations that may dictate the range of settlement in a class action law suit.
  • Complex wage and hour class action pending for many years. Economics was the driver which resulted in a creative settlement.


Environmental Issues

  • While on the bench, he had a trial on water rights law which involved local water districts and even competing private riparian water rights as well as the private sector dealing with inter government disputes and water district issue and avoiding BK.

Govt./Public Agency


  • Dispute on affordable housing concepts and contract construction between a City and builder.



  • Helped find a creative method pre litigation where reports and values and cause of damage were in dispute. Counsel for carrier and carrier were appreciative of the creative economic analysis vs fact/legal interpretation that helped move the case into the settlement range needed.

Directors and Officers

  • Complex D&O issues and competing claims for policy limits created two distinct deals.

Ins. Class Action

  • Multi party class action suit with 13 CGL and E&O Carriers over coverage issues in a 60,000 class action member group for "negligent misrepresentation" to time share buyers. Settled for $15 million

Professional Malpractice

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Professional malpractice case

Real Estate

Breach Of Contract

  • Complex issues regarding 1031 and escrow documentation and how things may have failed. Worked with title insurers as well as counsel for plaintiff who was involved and is the son of the plaintiffs which made things more interesting.
  • Complex probate on a trust violation and error by lender/title co-accused of bad conduct.
  • Complex analysis of disputes between two title companies, both who missed a lien and difficulty in apportioning funds and dynamics in ownership.
  • Multi-title company failure to pick up a deed due to fraud of a third party. Both contributed substantially and the buyer paid the difference to keep the commercial property

Home Owners Association

  • HOA dispute re property easements

Property Damage

  • Virtual mediation of a diminution in value case for a missed easement affecting the commercial property and wildly disputed appraisals.

Real Property

  • Complex and emotional family dispute that included alleged forged notes and trust deeds sold to a third party. Participants to creative settlement included buyer of the note and trust deed; a title company who did not insure the document but provided a defense and thus some end game cash; the sister effected by the disputed trust deed and the sister who sold the disputed trust deed. Due to financial limitations and ability; the most creative part was a very creative payment schedule by the owner of property to insure long term stability; sub affect also included a resolution of other inter family disputes unrelated to the mediation which may someday open door to reunification in the family.


  • Title problem with an alleged fradulent deed and many twists and turns


PI Auto

  • A personal injury underinsured motorist case with both economic and emotional issues leading to a creative settlement above policy limits.

Premises Liability

  • Mediated a complex 10 year litigation over responsibility for hazardous waste removal costs Settled with a structured payout in 8 figures

Wrongful Death

  • Mediated a Personal Injury Auto Wrongful Death case involving premise liability issues with no insurance, so an economic settlement based on financial analysis as a driver to a number.