Hon. James Lambden

California Court of Appeal, (Ret.)

First District, Division Two

​​Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee • Appellate Consultant

Justice James Lambden brings to his ADR practice nearly four decades of experience as a trial lawyer, trial court judge and Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal.

Cannabis Disputes

Representative Cases

  • Multistate lawsuits and arbitrations resulted from parties’ failed efforts to fund $30m vertically integrated seed-to-dispensary company with farms, processing, and sales (including industrial hemp/CBD) located in several states. Interlocking surety agreements, loans, and allegations of fraudulent misappropriation of loan proceeds prevented early resolution but informed ongoing efforts to reach a global settlement through piecemeal resolution of pending litigation.

  • Agricultural neighbors agreed to a joint venture to form corporation to exploit unused warehouse for indoor cultivation with county permit. Project collapsed upon theft of product with allegations that one party was responsible and had also engaged in illegal dumping and damage to real property.
    Former felons partnered in indoor cultivation and accused each other of burglary and sale of product out-of-state. Resolution by a “walk-away” agreement.

  • Two partnerships agreed to open a dispensary in a location with prime development potential and executed a lease with an option to purchase. Litigation ensued, including an unlawful detainer action by the lessor and a three-way dispute over which entity was the master tenant with the right to purchase and exploit the planned residential development. The litigation jeopardized the option agreement as well as dispensary’s permit, which had been issued by the city in anticipation of the residential development. Early resolution by mediation saved the project.

  • Landlord attempted to rescind the lease of property formerly operated as a restaurant and converted for manufacture of wholesale edible cannabis products. Issues included state health and safety regulations pertaining to food manufacture and the city’s permit policy pertaining to non-retail cannabis locations. Mediation resulted in modification of the lease and clarification of the city’s policies.

  • A joint venture by a numerous individuals and partnership entities to operate a dispensary devolved into dueling lawsuits over the percentages of various interests claimed by the parties. Attempts to obtain injunctive relief threatened to disturb the revenue generated by continued operation. Through mediation the parties recognized the folly of the asserted ownership interests that totaled more than 100% and compromised to reach a resolution.

  • Access to parking was an issue in a dense urban location where the dispensary’s operations were disrupted by the landlord’s construction project to expand an adjoining business. Each side threatened injunctive action. Peace was achieved through a mediated agreement for the parties to share construction expenses in order to also expand the dispensary’s parking area as part of the project.