THOMAS E. SHARKEY, ESQ.

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

Introduction

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.

Specialties

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).

Testimonials

I recently mediated a very difficult highway design case with Tom Sharkey. He continued to follow through over the course of several weeks after the initial mediation failed to settle the case, and he finally got the deal done.
- Plaintiff's attorney, San Diego

Thank you very much for your help on this case. It is a pleasure working with you.
- Defense attorney, San Diego

I have used Tom several times both as a mediator and as arbitrator, and I have found him to be cordial, knowledgeable, fair-minded and effective.
- Plaintiff's attorney, San Diego

It is always a pleasure to mediate with you. You are on my short list of 'go-to' mediators.”
- Plaintiff's attorney, San Diego

Mr. Sharkey, we could not have settled this case without your hard work.
- Plaintiff's attorney, San Diego

Tom, I must say that you have the golden touch. Most of the cases I bring to you are tough ones, but you have been instrumental in getting most of them settled. The presiding judge should give you an award.
- Plaintiff's attorney, San Diego

Tom, I want to thank you again for your great skill and your remarkable ability to keep an even keel even when there are lawyers pounding on the table in front of you. You are as good as they get.
- Defense attorney, San Diego

Your efforts in the recent mediation were very effective. I would not hesitate to refer a client or friend to you in the future. Your professionalism was much appreciated.
- Plaintiff's attorney, San Diego

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Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • ADR Neutral (1990 - 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

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

Achievements & Awards

  • San Diego Law Library Foundation Witkin Award for Excellence in Practice of Law (2014)
  • Best Lawyers in America (1995 to present)
  • 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)
  • 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

Business/Commercial

Aviation

  • 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
  • Mediator in action by pilot and passengers for severe injuries caused in crash of private plane due to engine failure caused by cracked cylinder
  • Mediator in case involving damage to twin-engine aircraft against maintenance facility when strut in main gear collapsed
  • Mediator in wrongful death action by heirs of pilot and passenger killed when aircraft lost power on takeoff because of fault O-ring in turbocharger

Complex Commercial

  • Discovery master and mediator in complex suit by multiple plaintiffs against title insurance company regarding sale of condominium units
  • Discovery referee and mediator in action between title insurance companies for wrongful poaching of employees and interference with escrows and other business activities
  • Discovery referee and mediator in 500 coordinated cases involving cold therapy medical devices

Contractual

  • 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

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
  • Mediator in case involving rescission of contract to purchase seagoing yacht because of alleged defects in vessel
  • Mediator in action for dissolution of partnership and claims by limited partners that general partner wrongfully profited by usurping a lucrative partnership business opportunity

Construction Defects

  • Mediated case against general contractor and subcontractor by owner of commercial building for water intrusion from defective window installation
  • Mediated claim of serious injuries by welding inspector against general and subcontractor when he fell through an improperly guarded opening in floor

Employment

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.

Sexual Harassment

  • Mediator in an action involving claims of sexual harassment by female employees against supervisor and employer

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
  • Mediated wage and hour claims by sales representative who claimed he was employee but misclassified as independent contractor by company

Wrongful Termination

  • Mediated wrongful termination claim by fireman against fire district employer
  • Mediated wrongful termination claim against school district by president of community college

Insurance

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
  • Mediator in bad-faith action against auto insurer for refusing to settle claim by pedestrian for serious injuries caused by carrier's insured
  • Mediator in action between two insurers for contribution to settlement paid to injured third party because of negligence of insured

Coverage

  • 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.

Probate

Probate

  • 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
  • Mediator in numerous malpractice cases against doctors, hospitals and lawyers alleging negligence and breach of standard of care
  • Mediated case against doctor and hospital – plaintiff suffered neuropathy after C-section which was followed by a laparotomy because of abscess
  • Mediated medical malpractice claim alleging lack of informed consent against neurosurgeon from spinal fusion surgery
  • Mediated wrongful life claim against hospital and doctors by parents of baby born with Down syndrome, claiming that additional screening tests would have detected the condition
  • Mediated claims of patient against hospital for failure to follow up after a mass was found on lung x-ray, leading to terminal cancer – settlement included potential wrongful death claims
  • Mediated claim of client against attorney for damages caused by alleged malpractice

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
  • Mediated claim by homeowner against developer for blocking view corridor.

Tort

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.
  • Mediated case of serious injuries suffered by a developmentally disabled plaintiff against sheriff’s department caused during wrongful arrest.

Elder Abuse

  • Served as mediator and arbitrator on numerous cases involving claims of elder abuse/financial abuse against health-care providers
  • Mediated case for elder abuse claims of elderly resident because of complications from severe bedsores while a resident in care facility.

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.

Personal Injury

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

PI Auto

  • Arbitrated case involving catastrophic injuries to passengers in commuter van injured in accident with large truck rig.

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
  • Mediated claims of multiple tenants for property, inventory and loss of business claims caused by fire.

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
  • Mediated case involving serious injuries to gym patron caused by failure of gym equipment.
  • Mediated case involving fire damage to home caused by fault oven.

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