Law Seminars International Presents:

An Intensive One-Day Seminar on The Science and Law of

Proving Landslide Claims

Strategies for effectively integrating the science and the law at play in landslide litigation

July 8, 2016

Los Angeles, CA

Download PDF Brochure
Los Angeles - CA


Who Should Order

Attorneys, environmental and real estate professionals, landowners, government officials, and others involved in landslide issues

Why You Should Order

Landslides, caused by heavy El Nino thunderstorms, earthquakes, and flash floods after a four-year drought, are a threat to California communities.

This timely seminar will help scientists understand the policy and legal issues they are asked to address, and will help lawyers understand the legal and scientific theories that are at play in landslide litigation.

Our distinguished faculty of experts, lawyers, consultants, governmental officials, and academics will give tips for effectively integrating the science and the law. You will learn about the current state of the law on liability theories and defenses, and practical tips for assembling the case.

You will gain the knowledge you need to understand these interrelated fields in proving landslide claims. We hope to see you there.

Program Co-Chairs: John S. Peterson, Esq., Peterson Law Group PC and Steven A. Blum, Esq., Blum Collins LLP

What You Will Learn

  • Geologic risk factors, and mechanisms for evaluating them
  • Forensic tools for determining causation
  • Liability theories and defenses: The current state of the law
  • Special considerations when the government is a potentially responsible party
  • The lawyer as quarterback: Assembling the team
  • Timing issues for gathering evidence
  • Consulting vs. testifying experts
  • Case studies of landslide claims from start to finish in different contexts

What Attendees Said

  • "This was a fascinating was a real treat to hear from some subject matter experts. I will definitely recommend to my partners."
  • "Great mix of technical and legal content."
  • "Really good conference. One of the best I've been to."


Friday, July 08, 2016

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

John S. Peterson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Peterson Law Group PC / Los Angeles, CA

Steven A. Blum, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Blum Collins LLP / Los Angeles, CA

8:45 am

The Science of Landslides

New property development: Geologic risk factors, and mechanisms for evaluating them, for construction on or near slopes and on shoreline bluffs

Daniel Pradel, Ph.D. , Professor, Engineering
UCLA / Los Angeles, CA

After the fact: Forensic tools for determining causation and when they need to be applied

Philip J. Shaller, Ph.D. , Senior Managing Scientist
Exponent / Irvine, CA

10:15 am


10:30 am

Liability Theories and Defenses: The Current State of the Law

Causes of action: Liability theories and potentially responsible parties; claims processes; statute of limitations and showing continuing movement; factor of safety analysis in connection with the causation standards

John S. Peterson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Peterson Law Group PC / Los Angeles, CA


Michael L. Moore, Esq. , Principal Deputy County Counsel
Los Angeles County Counsel's Office / Los Angeles, CA

Special considerations when the government is a potentially responsible party: Unique aspects of government claim processes; pros and cons of inverse condemnation as a legal theory

Steven A. Blum, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Blum Collins LLP / Los Angeles, CA

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Practical Tips for Assembling the Case and Presenting the Science at Trial

The lawyer as quarterback: Identifying the technical expertise you need and assembling the team; timing issues for gathering evidence; consulting vs. testifying experts; perspectives on ways to more effectively work together

Daniel Pradel, Ph.D. , Professor, Engineering
UCLA / Los Angeles, CA

Frank Weirich, Ph.D. , Associate Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Iowa / Iowa City, IA

Dale Winchell , Manager
Jax Kneppers Associates Inc. / Walnut Creek, CA

Michael F. Waldron, MAI , President and Principal Appraiser
Waldron & Associates, Inc. / Orange, CA

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Case Studies of Landslide Claims From Start to Finish in Different Contexts: How They Often Look Different at the End; The Ah-Ha Moment When You Figure Out the Secret to the Case

Robert T. Altman, Esq.
ADR Services, Inc. / Los Angeles, CA

Michael B. Geibel, Esq.
Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP / Los Angeles, CA

Patrick E. Catalano, Esq.
Catalano & Catalano / Chula Vista, CA

Rodney Masuda, PG, CEG , Principal Geologist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District / Los Angeles, CA

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Steven A. Blum, Program Co-Chair, partner, Blum Collins LLP,, focuses on real property trials and appeals, including landslides and earth subsidence, flooding, eminent domain, inverse condemnation, land fraud, and boundary disputes.

John S. Peterson, Program Co-Chair, president and managing shareholder, Peterson Law Group PC, focuses on eminent domain, inverse condemnation and other complex real estate and business cases with an emphasis on jury and non-jury trials. He is experienced in the representation of real estate valuation, business valuation, landslide, subsidence, CEQA, environmental, land use, subdivision, lease, construction defect and developer agreement disputes.
Full bio and contact info for John S. Peterson at Peterson Law Group PC

Robert T. Altman was appointed to the Superior Court in 1980 and spent twenty years on the bench where he received the Outstanding Trial Jurist Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He now practices as a private judge at ADR, handling mediations and arbitrations involving civil law. Mr. Altman has been named by the Daily Journal as a "Top Master Neutral" and as one of the top mediators in California, and by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the top entertainment mediators in California.

Patrick E. Catalano, partner and founder, Catalano & Catalano, focuses on insurance-related legal matters, and real estate and real property disputes which occur from construction defects, or commonly in California, property damage from landslides. He is experienced in resolving landslide cases for homeowners.

Michael B. Geibel, partner and Chairman of the Insurance Defense Department, Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP, focuses on civil litigation and appeals as well as arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association. He is lead trial counsel on insurance defense cases within the firm, and, in addition to defense of common personal injury and property damage claims, is experienced in slope failure and subsidence litigation, toxic mold claims and remediation.

Rodney Masuda, PG, CEG, Principal Geologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, is experienced in engineering geology and geotechnical engineering. He has performed and directed the performance of a number of geologic and geotechnical investigations of distress to structures and improvements, including investigations of landslides.

Michael L. Moore is Principal Deputy County Counsel at the Los Angeles County Counsel's Office.

Daniel Pradel, Ph.D., PE, GE, DGE, UCLA Professor, Engineering, and Vice President of Shannon & Wilson, in Glendale, CA, is a registered Geotechnical Engineer and a registered Civil Engineer in California and several other states. He is experienced in landslide investigations and in the design of landslide repairs, and has performed numerous earthquake, settlement, seepage, retaining walls, expansive soils, and foundation engineering investigations.

Philip J. Shaller, Ph.D., Senior Managing Scientist and head of the Geo Group, Exponent's Civil Engineering practice, is an engineering geology consultant specializing in the assessment and mitigation of geologic hazards. He is experienced in the investigation of landslides, debris flows, alluvial fan flooding, post-wildfire flooding hazards, expansive soils and collapsible soils.

Michael F. Waldron, Pre sident and Principal Appraiser, Waldron & Associates, Inc., is a field appraiser and real property consultant, with a focus on eminent domain assignments. He concentrates on complex litigation issues and has provided testimony as expert and arbitrator. His application of valuation methodologies and valuation opinions have been tried and affirmed in Superior Courts, Appellate Courts and the California Supreme Court.

Frank Weirich, Ph.D., is Associate Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences, at the University of Iowa. He is involved with the studies of high energy environment sediment dynamics, fire impacts on fluvial, mass wasting and overall landform dynamics, dynamic process measurements, basin scale experimentation, multi-dimensional sensor arrays, and the use of geophysical techniques in geomorphology.

Dale Winchell, Manager, Jax Kneppers Associates Inc., provides expert witness deposition testimony, and has qualified and testified at trial and arbitration throughout California, and in federal trial. He represents developers, contractors, homeowners, homeowners' associations, insurance companies, universities, hospitals and building owners on behalf of both plaintiff and defense.
Full bio and contact info for Dale Winchell at Jax Kneppers Associates Inc.

Firm Links


Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: Law Seminars International is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. This program qualifies for 6.75 California MCLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

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