Steven M. Vartabedian Justice (Ret.)

Steven M. Vartabedian Justice (Ret.)

Dowling Aaron Incorporated
  • Appeals & Appellate, Arbitration & Mediation
  • California
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Summary

After 29 years of judicial service, 21 years of that as a justice of the California Court of Appeal, Steve is now available for mediations, arbitrations and referee work. He can also give advice on appeals and writs. He has a broad spectrum of experience, as is reflected by more than 180 opinions authored and published by him in the California Appellate Reports. He has a particular depth of experience in cases alleging serious personal injury and product defect, including those alleging punitive damages. He also has a strong background in real estate and construction cases, employment law, medical service disputes and agricultural matters. As both a trial judge and on the appellate bench, he has assisted many parties in settling their cases prior to adjudication.
Prior to taking the bench, Steve was in private practice with Charles Poochigian. His practice emphasized real estate and family law litigation.

Practice Areas
  • Appeals & Appellate
  • Arbitration & Mediation
Fees
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    $400-450/hr
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
California
Professional Experience
Current
Mediator
Current
Of Counsel
Dowling Aaron & Keeler
- Current
Mediation and Arbitration
Justice
California Court of Appeal, 5th Appellate District
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Steve frequently acted as acting presiding justice concerning the thousands of cases he handled. The following is a sampling of published cases authored by him over the past 5 years: Yarick v. Pacificare (2009)179 CA4th 1158. Baker Manock & Jensen v. Sup. Ct. (2009) 175 CA4th 1414. UAS Mgmt. v. Mater Misercordiae Hospital (2008) 169 CA4th 357. Garcia v. Paramount Citrus (2008)164 CA4th 1448. D.H. Williams Construction v. Clovis Unified School Dist. (2007) 146 CA4th 757. Johnson v. Ford Motor Co. (2005) 135 CA4th 137. Horsford v. Cal. State Univ. Trustees (2005) 132 CA4th 359.
Judge
Fresno Superior Court
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Presiding Judge
Fresno Municipal Court
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Judge
Sanger Justice Court
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Education
Santa Clara University School of Law
J.D. / Law
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Honors: Graduated with magna cum laude honors.
California State University - Fresno
B.A. / Political Science
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Honors: Honors graduate
Awards
Outstanding Board Member
Armenian Community School of Fresno
Outstanding Contribution to Education
Sanger Unified School District
Awarded primarily for work with truants and their parents
Professional Associations
American Arbitration Association
Member
- Current
Association of Conflict Resolution
Member
- Current
Fresno County Bar Association
Member
- Current
Center for Judicial Education and Research
Presenter, Appellate Justices Institute
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Consumer Attorneys of California & Central California Trial Lawyers Association
Seminar Presenter: Collateral Source Rule
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Administrative Offices of the Courts
Member, Appellate Courts Legacy Committee
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California State Bar
Program Speaker, Legal Education Program on Appellate Practice
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Member, Board of Visitors
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Center for Judicial Education and Research
Member, Appellate Curriculum Committee
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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Panelist, Symposium--"Victims' Rights in California"
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California Judges Association
Member
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American Bar Association
Member
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Publications
Articles & Publications
Enhancing Sentences with Prior Convictions
23 Pacific Law Journal 1051
Dismissal and Pre-Arraignment Delay
26 Judges' Journal (No. 1) 31
Striking a Delicate Balance in Sex Abuse Cases
24 Judges' Journal (No. 4) 16
Websites & Blogs
Website
Dowling Aaron Incorporated Website
Legal Answers
2 Questions Answered

Q. 1) If two parties have retained attorneys is it too late to go to arbitration? How does one go about initiating arbitrat
A: No it is not too late to arbitrate if you have retained counsel and there is no need to change counsel. In arbitration, the parties and their attorneys pick a third party neutral to decide the dispute. This is usually done for several reasons, including to save the time and costs it might take to otherwise resolve the matter. If the dispute arises from the contract, that contract may have a clause requiring binding arbitration between the parties. If a party demands arbitration and the arbitration agreement is not challenged, then the parties proceed to start the process by selecting an arbitrator. Even if there is no pre-dispute agreement, parties can reach an arbitration agreement whether they are already in litigation represented by attorneys or not.
Q. Can injured P recover from D the full amount of a medical expense where insured negotiates for less than usual charges?
A: This very question is currently being reviewed by the California Supreme Court. A majority of other states view this "negotiated rate differential" as awardable to the P as collateral-source damages. The rationale is that a P's payment of insurance premiums for medical coverage should be viewed as an investment. The P's insurer in turn is able to use the premium dollars paid by many insureds to negotiate discount rates from medical providers. Non-cash consideration is received by the provider in addition to the case payment in the form of preferred provider designation, guaranteed payment, multiple patients and the like. As a matter of policy, the prudent P should receive the full fair market value of these services rather than allowing the tortfeasor to benefit from the discounted cash payment.
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Contact & Map
Dowling Aaron & Keeler
8080 N. Palm Ave., Suite 300
Fresno, CA 93711
USA
Telephone: (559) 432-4500
Dowling Aaron & Keeler - Bakersfield Office
5080 California Avenue
Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93309
USA
Telephone: (661) 716-3000