• Available in San Diego, Southern California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


Thomas Sharkey has been an active trial lawyer for over 50 years, handling a wide variety of cases in state and federal court. During his career, he has tried hundreds of cases, including personal injury, products liability, professional negligence (legal, medical, dental, accounting, real estate), insurance bad faith and insurance coverage, construction, employment, real estate, securities, aviation and business/commercial matters. He began his Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) practice in 1989, focusing on mediations, arbitrations, and serving as a special master in complex matters as well as a discovery referee. He has extensive mediation training including the Advanced Mediation Workshop at Pepperdine University. He has served as a Judge Pro Tem in the San Diego Superior Court. He has successfully mediated over 2,700 cases and has served as an arbitrator in approximately 75 cases in a wide variety of matters.


Hobbies & Interests

When not working as an ADR professional or engaged in various legal bar association activities, Mr. Sharkey enjoys spending time with his family (wife, children and grandchildren), reading (history and biographies), investing (stocks/bonds/real estate), personal fitness (home gym) and flying private airplane (private pilot/instrument rated).


Mr. Sharkey has a good even handed approach and calm demeanor.
- Attorney, Santa Ana, CA

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • ADR Neutral (2000 - present)
  • Higgs Fletcher & Mack (of counsel) 1999-2000
  • McInnis Fitzgerald Rees Sharkey & McIntyre (partner) 1968-1999
  • Hewitt Klitgaard McMahon & Sharkey (partner) 1963-1968
  • Dattan Sharkey & Peterson (partner) 1960-1963

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • San Diego Defense Attorneys Association
  • Southern California Defense Counsel
  • Licensed California real estate broker
  • Licensed private airplane pilot, instrument rated
  • Master, Enright Inn of Court (member Board of Directors)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 1981 to present
  • American, California and San Diego County Bar Associations, 1960 to present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), advocate, 1967 to present
  • ABOTA, member national Board of Directors, 2000-2005
  • Law school, University of San Diego, J.D. (summa cum laude), 1959
  • Undergraduate, San Diego State University, B.S. Business/economics, 1954
  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (President 1963)

Achievements & Awards

  • San Diego Law Library Foundation Witkin Award for Excellence in Practice of Law (2014)
  • Best Lawyers in America (1995-2015)
  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame (2010)
  • Honorary Order of Coif, USD School of Law (2010)
  • San Diego Business Journal Who's Who (1998)
  • Daniel T. Broderick III Memorial Award for Civility, Integrity and Professionalism (1990)
  • San Diego Defense Lawyers Award of Recognition (1987)
  • USD School of Law, Distinguished Alumnus (1978)

Legal Experience

  • Employment
  • Mass Torts/Catastrophic Injuries
  • Business/Commercial
  • Professional Negligence
  • Insurance
  • Real Property
  • Construction defect
  • Elder Abuse
  • Aviation
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
  • UM/UIM - Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases



  • Mediator in crash of turboprop aircraft resulting in multiple deaths
  • Mediator in crash of private aircraft on final landing approach due to wake turbulence/pilot error resulting in death of pilot and severe injuries to passenger
  • Mediator in crash of private aircraft due to icing resulting in death of pilot and passenger
  • Mediator in crash of private aircraft in Mexico resulting in two deaths and injuries to two passengers
  • Mediator in case involving wire strike by helicopter on pleasure flight at Catalina resulting in two severe injuries
  • Mediator in case involving helicopter crash during training flight resulting in death of pilot and severe injury to student

Complex Commercial

  • Discovery master and mediator in complex suit by multiple plaintiffs against title insurance company regarding sale of condominium units


  • Mediated multi-million-dollar business dispute between competing international travel agencies
  • Arbitrated high-stakes business dispute involving termination of CEO and buyback of CEO's stock in computer software LLC dissolution


Construction Breach Of Contract

  • Discovery referee in construction defect case regarding multi-million-dollar residence and claims against general and sub-contractors involving indemnity and additional insured insurance issues


Labor Code

  • Arbitration of a wrongful termination dispute of a vice-president of a for-profit university who alleged retaliation for his whistle-blower complaint re: violations of Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley statutes.

Wage and Hour

  • Served as mediator and arbitrator in numerous cases involving claims of wrongful termination, sexual harassment/retaliation, wage and hour, meal breaks, rest breaks and PAGA claims


Bad Faith

  • This is a bad faith case against an insurance carrier for failing to provide coverage for loss to an apartment building HOA under the "additional collapse" coverage of the policy


  • Mediated damage and bad faith claim by the insured against insurer for damage to building caused in a fire and insurer's claim of policy rescission because of alleged policy application misrepresentations by the insured.

Intellectual Property

IP Trade Secrets

  • Mediated a dispute between employer and former employee regarding claims of wrongful termination, unfair competition, and misappropriation of trade secrets in violation of California Uniform Trade Secret Act.



  • Mediated dispute between tenants-in-common owners of large office/commercial property

Professional Malpractice

Medical Malpractice

  • Discovery referee in medical malpractice case against hospital and physicians

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Discovery referee in complex suit to collect multi-million-dollar judgment involving claims of fraudulent transfer of property and alter ego claims

Real Estate

Breach Of Contract

  • Arbitrated suit seeking rescission/damages between seller and purchaser/developer of parcel of raw land

Real Property

  • Special master in case involving closure of 500-unit Mobile Home Park by City of San Diego and payments of benefits pursuant to MRL law


Catastrophic Injury

  • Mediator in case of multiple injuries and deaths resulting from collapse of construction canopy over sidewalk involving complex primary/excess insurance issues
  • Mediated case against public entity for dangerous road condition when car ran off road while traversing a curve resulting in catastrophic injuries to passenger

Civil Rights

  • Mediated complex case including seven-figure claim for damages by student expelled from university for alleged cheating in an examination which was reversed by the appellate court on petition for writ of mandamus on due process grounds.

Elder Abuse

  • Served as mediator and arbitrator on numerous cases involving claims of elder abuse/financial abuse against health-care providers

General Negligence

  • Mediated case involving serious injuries to a passenger on a "party bus" returning from a wine-tasting trip when passenger was dancing on the moving bus. The legal issue involved whether a "party bus" is a common carrier or a private charter.

Malicious Prosecution

  • Mediator in numerous malpractice cases against doctors, hospitals and lawyers alleging negligence and breach of standard of care

Personal Injury

  • Mediator in case involving injuries to pilot and student against aircraft rental company
  • Mediated and arbitrated numerous UM/UIM cases

Premises Liability

  • Mediated case against public entity and its subcontractor when trolley passenger fell at construction site and was injured resulting in paraplegia, including complex primary/excess insurance issues

Product Liability

  • Discovery master and mediator in complex product liability suit against medical device manufacturer and malpractice claim against physician who used the device during surgery
  • Discovery master and mediator in 500 coordinated cases regarding claims against medical device manufacturers including complex primary/excess insurance issues

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


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

Sacramento Mediation