Bernie Barmann is a mediator and business trial attorney who for more than twenty-eight years has effectively represented businesses and individuals in a wide variety of civil disputes in state and federal courts throughout California and in other jurisdictions. Prior to joining Kuhs & Parker in 2011, Bernie practiced for twenty years in Los Angeles—more than twelve of those years with O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Bernie was also a partner in the Los Angeles litigation firm Hirschmann & Barmann LLP, and an associate with Proskauer Rose LLP in Century City.
In 2015, Bernie obtained a $16.7 million jury verdict as lead counsel in a trial of a breach of contract action for a major renewable energy firm which formed the basis for a $22 million judgment that included $4 million in pre-judgment interest and over $1 million in attorney’s fees.
Bernie has successfully represented clients in trial courts, on appeal, and in alternative dispute resolution settings, including mediation and arbitration, on a variety of matters including contract and other business disputes, eminent domain, water rights, real property, fraud, unfair competition, trade secrets, false advertising, mass torts, consumer class actions, patent litigation, antitrust, insurance coverage, legal malpractice and attorney fee disputes. In addition to his mediation and litigation practices, Bernie serves as legal counsel to the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District and the Greater Bakersfield Separation of Grade District.
J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1990 (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar)
B.A., cum laude, Economics-Accounting, Claremont McKenna College, 1988
Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Mediating the Litigated Case 42-hour course, Pepperdine School of Law
U.S. Courts of Appeals
U.S. District Courts
-Eastern District of California, 2012
-Southern District of California, 1991
-Central District of California, 1990
A graduate of Bakersfield’s West High School and an Eagle Scout, Bernie was a two-time California State Champion in policy debate and a member of a Kern County Champion Academic Decathlon team that placed third in California. He earned a B.A. in economics-accounting, cum laude, from Claremont McKenna College in 1988. In his junior year at CMC a faculty committee nominated him to participate in the Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education (3-3) program with Columbia University. During the summer between college and law school in 1987 (during the Iran-Contra hearings), Bernie was an intern in Washington, D.C., for Bakersfield Congressman Bill Thomas. Bernie earned a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1990, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and authored a Note titled Third-Party Candidates and Presidential Debates: A Proposal to Increase Voter Participation in National Elections, published in the Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems. Later that year he joined the Los Angeles-based international law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP and was admitted to the California Bar. During 2000, he served as Deputy General Counsel to the Rampart Independent Review Panel appointed in the wake of the Rampart scandal to investigate and report on LAPD operations, policies, and procedures. Bernie currently is an adjunct professor at the Kern County College of Law where he teaches Civil Procedure, serves on the Board of Directors of the Kern County Bar Association, and is a founding member and President of the West High School Alumni Association. He is a Rotarian and Director with Bakersfield West Rotary, has served as an attorney coach for a high school mock trial team, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. In his free time, Bernie is a drummer in a local rock band, La Revancha, which plays popular English and Spanish music, and is an avid cyclist.
Bernie’s career accomplishments include:
- 2017-successfully opposed a condemning agency’s motion for prejudgment possession in an eminent domain matter and later successfully moved for dismissal of the proceeding and obtained an award of litigation expenses including $76,900 in attorney’s fees.
- 2016-obtained judgment of dismissal for an enrolled agent (licensed tax practitioner) defending a professional negligence and fraud action.
- 2015-obtained $22 million judgment as lead counsel for a major renewable energy firm in a breach of contract action; a five-week trial produced a $16.7 million jury verdict and post-trial motions yielded awards of more than $4.6 million in prejudgment interest and over $1.2 million in attorney’s fees and costs.
- 2015-obtained summary judgment and award of attorney’s fees for renewable energy clients defending a fraud and breach of contract action in which the plaintiff sought over $3 million in damages.
- Secured voluntary dismissal of $500,000 breach of contract action against water district.
- Represented landowners and water rights holders in the Antelope Valley Groundwater Cases.
- Represented quarry operator in dispute with landowner regarding water rights.
- Obtained summary judgment for owners of 153 acres of agricultural land against claims for specific performance of contract to sell the property and for breach; defended judgment on appeal.
- Represented public entity in several eminent domain proceedings; co-lead trial counsel in five-day bench trial, obtaining favorable rulings on all issues including exclusion of a leading valuation expert’s opinion testimony.
- Obtained civil harassment restraining order and attorney’s fees award against client’s neighbor who had filed a restraining order request against client; neighbor’s request was denied.
- “Deposition Czar” for team of more than forty partners, counsel and associates, supported by 150 contract attorneys and paralegals in an antitrust action in which we obtained a $1.25 billion settlement for AMD. Responsible for coordinating deposition preparation efforts and related document review for over 300 depositions and 400 million pages of electronic data.
- Led team of associates and paralegals in responding to all discovery of major aerospace client in several high profile toxic tort actions brought in federal and state court by several thousand residents of Burbank, California, alleging personal injuries and wrongful death allegedly stemming from air and groundwater contamination occurring over several decades.
- Obtained arbitration award granting a refund of fees to former clients of a global law firm that initiated the arbitration claiming the clients owed over $1 million in fees.
- Successfully argued appeal in asbestos litigation matter; court of appeal affirmed ruling granting motion to dismiss or stay action on forum non conveniens grounds.
- Represented financial advisor in SEC and U.S. Attorney’s Office investigations of Ponzi scheme; no charges pursued against client, though client’s partner served prison time.
- Obtained partial reversal on appeal of trial court judgment entered against the parents of a former child actress while the parents were represented by other counsel.
- Member of trial team that successfully defended a real estate partnership against claims on a $16 million promissory note; conducted all discovery and law and motion practice.
- Defeated $8 million alter ego claim brought against an award-winning independent film producer by summary judgment.
- Obtained summary judgment, defeating royalty claims against an international music publisher by composer of background cues for several popular TV series.
- Wrote and argued demurrer, sustained without leave to amend, against civil RICO claims in a commercial licensing dispute relating to exercise videos.
- Represented liability insurers in several coverage and bad faith matters involving multi-million dollar underlying claims, including environmental claims; obtained summary judgment in several matters, settled others on terms favorable to clients.
- Represented innovative manufacturer of power management technology (MOSFETs and IGBTs) in successful prosecution of patent litigation against competitor.
- Represented computer manufacturer in patent litigation brought by individual claiming to have invented certain display and user interface features.
- Successfully prosecuted two misdemeanor jury trials in a trial advocacy program.
- Wrote first drafts of successful motion to dismiss, respondent’s brief in the Tenth Circuit, and opposition to petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in antitrust matter for major airline.