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Michael G. Watters Expert Witness, Trial Attorney, Litigation Consultant

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW
EXPERT WITNESS
LITIGATION CONSULTANT

EXPERIENCE.  SERVICE.  RESULTS.

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Michael Watters American Bar Association
0+ YEARS

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

Michael Watters Rated AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell
0+ YEARS

RATED A/V PREEMINENT

Michael Watters United States Marine Corps
0+ YEARS

MILITARY SERVICE

0+ DAYS

IN TRIAL (2009 – 2015)

+ 100 Days on 10 Cases (1994 – 1997): family law, personal injury, business litigation, employment discrimination (2), bankruptcy, malicious prosecution, and legal malpractice.

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TO VERDICT

 + 30 More Trials to Judgment with Cases in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, San Francisco, Alameda, and Orange Counties and Litigated Cases in Solano, Contra Costa, Humboldt, Lake, Riverside and Sacramento Counties.

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ARBITRATIONS

+ 50 Mediations Through the American Arbitration Association (AAA) Mediation Center and Handled Arbitrations in Sonoma, Marin and Napa County Courts.

Michael Watters Cal Berkeley Undergrad
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BACHELOR’S IN BUSINESS ADMINSTRATION

Michael Watters Haas School of Business MBA
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MASTER’S IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Michael Watters Hastings College of the Law JD
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JURIS DOCTOR

1969 – 1971 MICHAEL G. WATTERS SERVED ON ACTIVE DUTY IN VIETNAM WITH THE 3RD BATTALION, 5TH MARINES.

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW

  • COMPLEX CIVIL LITIGATION
  • CASE / TRIAL AUGMENTATION
  • APPEALS / WRITS
  • FAMILY LAW – DIVORCE, CUSTODY, PROPERTY DISPOSITION

EXPERT WITNESS

CONSULTANT

  • LITIGATION TRAINING
  • LITIGATION COACHING
  • DEPOSITION TRAINING
  • CASE EVALUATION – SECOND OPINION, STRATEGY, LOGISTICS
CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION
Michael Watters Expert Witness

MICHAEL G. WATTERS

Member of the California Bar (No. 63140)

Michael Watters AV Rated Preeminent

5.0 OUT OF 5.0 PEER RATING

Michael Watters Super Lawyers

TOP RATED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

Michael Watters Avvo Rating Featured Litigation Attorney

RATED EXCELLENT

GRADUATES FROM MICHAEL G. WATTERS’ FORMAL TRAINING PROGRAM INCLUDE 3 SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES, 1 LAW SCHOOL DEAN, 1 STATE SENATOR AND MANY SUCCESSFUL LITIGATORS.

Michael G. Watters is a trial attorney with extensive trial as well as appellate experience. He heads the Litigation Department and is the firm’s Managing Partner. He was born in Richland, Washington. Mr. Watters specializes in all aspects of trial work, with emphases on complex civil litigation, business litigation, employment litigation, Santa Rosa family law and insurance. He also defends professional licensees. He has handled many appeals.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1967 from the University of California at Berkeley. He then attended its Graduate School of Business Administration (now the Haas School) and earned an M.B.A. degree in 1968. Mr. Watters then served as a U.S. Marine Corps officer on active duty from 1969 to 1971, with tours of duty on Okinawa and in Vietnam serving with the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V.” Following active duty he was certified as a Judge Advocate, qualified and competent to perform the duties of Trial Counsel and Defense Counsel of the General Courts Martial of the Armed Forces of the United States. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserve for 20 years, retiring in 1991. In 1990 he was called to active duty in support of Operation Desert Shield. He attended Hastings College of the Law, University of California, graduating with a J.D. in 1974. He then moved to Santa Rosa and was an associate with the law firm of Spridgen, Barrett, Achor, Luckhardt, Anderson & James, becoming a partner in 1980. In 1982 he founded this firm along with Laurence K. Sawyer, now a retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge, John R. O’Brien and Daniel E. Davis.

Mr. Watters is a member of the State Bar of California and the Sonoma County, Marin County and American Bar Associations. He is a member of the bar of various United States District Courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Court of Military Appeals.

Mr. Watters has been active in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Since 1979, he has been an Arbitrator for the Sonoma, Marin, and Napa County Superior Courts. In Mr. Watters’ ADR practice, he conducted more than 50 mediations through the American Arbitration Association (AAA) Mediation Center and handled a number of arbitrations for the AAA (Commercial Arbitration Panel). He arbitrated more than 100 cases for the Sonoma, Marin and Napa County Courts. He has been a Superior Court Judge (Pro Tem) for Sonoma County, trying a medical malpractice jury trial, as well as several divorces. In addition, he has been a Judge (Pro Tem) for the Marin County Courts and a Sonoma County Municipal Court Judge (Pro Tem), hearing Small Claims Court cases. He has been a Kaiser party arbitrator in five matters. He served as a Hearing Officer for the Judicial Review Committee of several local hospitals regarding Medical Staff privilege issues. For many years, he has sat as a Pro Tem Settlement Conference Panelist for the Sonoma and Marin County Courts. He has also been appointed from time to time as a Special Master and a Discovery Referee by the Sonoma County Superior Court. He is a panelist for the Discovery Facilitator program as well as the Demurrer Facilitator program.

Mr. Watters is a veteran of numerous Superior Court jury trials. He has tried cases in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, San Francisco, Alameda, and Orange Counties and has litigated cases in other counties, including Solano, Contra Costa, Humboldt, Lake, Riverside and Sacramento. He has represented clients in hearings before the Board of Medical Quality Assurance (BMQA), the Psychology Examining Committee (PEC) and the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Appeals Board. He has personally tried to verdict more than 40 jury trials, as well as more than 30 court trials to judgment. A number of the jury trials were lengthy, including a number spanning many months. Between 1994 and 1997, Mr. Watters was in trial more than 100 days in 10 cases in the following areas: family law, personal injury, business litigation, employment discrimination (2), bankruptcy, malicious prosecution, and legal malpractice. In each case, the firm’s clients prevailed except for the one day bankruptcy trial.

In 2002, he was in trial for 20 days on three cases including business litigation (fraud in sale of a business) and two family law matters (one setting aside a 14-year-old judgment based on duress and the other defeating a premarital agreement). In his insurance defense practice, he lost only one jury trial in his career.

In a four year period (2009-2013), Mr. Watters was in trial for more than 200 days in nine trials including three civil jury trials, a 73-day mega divorce trial (along with Steve Cavellini and Joseph A. Piasta II) – In re Marriage of Davenport, three employment law cases consolidated for court trial (along with David J. Leonard), defense of a soldier in a military jury general court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Washington) as well as a 43-day divorce trial (with Steve Cavellini) – In re Marriage of Nessinger.  The Nessinger judgment was upheld by The Appellate Court in 2018; Noreen Evans handled the opposing brief for our client.  All but the two jury civil trials resulted in great success for the firm’s clients; one of the jury trial verdicts was overturned successfully on appeal handled by Deirdre Taber Kingsbury based on judicial error (2011). That case, Bonfigli v. Strachan and Smith, was re-tried (with Peter Bumerts and Deirdre Kingsbury) in late 2012 with a jury verdict in our client’s favor of more than one million dollars based on fraud and financial elder abuse. A substantial amount of attorneys’ fees were also awarded to our client. In the Davenport case (involving a marital estate of 60 million dollars), the firm’s client, Mrs. Davenport, ended up with her half of the community estate plus an award of more than five million dollars payable from her ex-husbands’ share of the community property. This included more than two million dollars in attorneys’ fees based on Family Code Sections 271, 1101 and 2030. In 2014 Mr. Watters also assisted a former partner in a 72-day jury trial – Cardoza v. Reed – resulting in a verdict of more than 18 million dollars for our clients. Mr. Watters cross-examined the main defendant, David H. Reed, among others. He also did the final, final, closing argument.

Mr. Watters has also been handling appeals since 1975 (most of which have not been certified for publication) and has a number of reported appellate decisions, including Warth v. Department of Justice (1979) 595 F.2d 521, 50 A.L.R. Fed. 331 (Freedom of Information Act); Mill Valley Refuse v. Superior Court (1980) 108 Cal.App.3d 707 (indemnity from late settling co-defendant prior to judgment / CCP § 877); Butler v. Hathcoat(1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 834 (five year statute); Gregori v. Bank of America(1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 291 (attorney disqualification); Flatt v. Superior Court (1994) 9 C.4th 275 (consultant to petitioner regarding attorney’s duty to existing client); Hall v. Harker (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 836 (judicial misconduct during trial/malicious prosecution); Musser v. Provencher (2002) 28 Cal. 4th 274 (a trial attorney for Mr. Provencher); and Bonfigli v. Strachan (2011) 192 Cal. App. 4th 1302 (financial elder abuse, real estate fraud and power coupled with an interest). In re Marriage of Davenport(2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1507 (pre-trial award of attorneys fees per Family Code Section 271; criticized for being too aggressive and not civil enough in its representation of its client – but our client eventually prevailed at trial (see trial results above) after Husband was repeatedly impeached; Husband finally admitted at trial to destroying 65 banker boxes containing much of the couple’s accounting, business, banking and financial records, once he became aware a divorce was in the works and within days after he falsely promised to make them available to Wife’s first attorney.) A second destruction of more current records was also proven after he was served with the Petition a month later.

Mr. Watters is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Way of Sonoma-Mendocino-Lake (now United Way of the Wine Country) (1993) and was its General Campaign Chairman (1990). He is a member of the local Salvation Army Advisory Board. He has been on the faculty of Empire College School of Law and was a Professor of Law (Torts). Mr. Watters has been named to Super Lawyers for Northern California since 2007. Mr. Watters has been rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell for over 25 years.

Over the years, Mr. Watters has participated as a panelist in any number of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) programs. Recently he has focused his efforts on the subject of depositions. He has made the following MCLE presentations to the Sonoma County Bar:  “Deposition Basics” in March 2011 and “How to Take the Deposition of an Expert Witness … Any Expert!” in September 2011. “Deposition Objections” is in preparation. He is now offering his services as an expert witness as well as a litigation coach.

(Revised 4/6/2015)

10.0Michael G. Watters
Michael G. WattersReviewsout of 12 reviews
Michael Watters of O
0 + YEARS

SINCE 1982
MANAGING PARTNER

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MEMBER STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA; SONOMA COUNTY, MARIN COUNTY & AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATIONS; UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH DISTRICT; AND UNITED STATES COURT OF MILITARY APPEALS.

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