Jeff LaFave has gained an outstanding reputation for his expertise as a plaintiff’s trial attorney. Mr. LaFave has an impressive 19-year track record representing injured families, homeowners, renters, workers and children. For almost two decades, he has specialized in environmental litigation, including representing adults and children made sick by poor indoor air quality in their homes, workplaces and schools. Mr. LaFave has pioneered indoor air quality litigation since helping to successfully resolve the first known mold exposure lawsuit brought in 1992. He has represented hundreds of injured people in poor indoor air quality, sick building, water damage and toxic exposure cases. He has never lost any case, recovering tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his injured clients. LaFave’s expertise is acknowledged by other members of the bar who frequently hire him as a consultant and as co-counsel to help them with their cases.
Mr. LaFave is not just a litigator, but an experienced trial lawyer with an undefeated record in court. In 2006, Mr. LaFave received the Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for his highly publicized trial victory in a mold exposure case resulting in more than a million dollar award for his clients. He is one of the few plaintiff’s attorneys in the indoor air quality/mold exposure field with a proven track record of winning jury trials. An important foundation of his success was built while interning as a Deputy District Attorney with the San Diego County D.A.’s office in 1998 when he was undefeated in a variety of criminal trials. LaFave has also been involved in multiple landmark settlements, including some of the largest monetary victories in mold and indoor air quality cases in California and the United States.
Mr. LaFave is one of the few attorneys who has received technical training in indoor air quality and building remediation, including certification in mold remediation based on IICRC Standard S500 and the American Council of Governmental Industrial Hygienists document Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control. Mr. LaFave currently serves on the advisory board of the Indoor Air Quality Association’s San Diego chapter. He has authored publications and lectured on the subject of indoor air quality and mold litigation as a guest speaker at meetings of such organizations as the California Industrial Hygiene Council, the American Indoor Air Quality Council, the California Real Estate Association and the San Diego County Bar Association.
Mr. LaFave worked from 1991 through 1999 at the prestigious San Diego law firm of Thorsnes, Bartolotta, McGuire & Padilla. In March of 1999, he founded the firm of LaFave & Rice with another former Thorsnes’ attorney, John J. Rice. Mr. LaFave’s practice focuses primarily on building-related illness and environmental litigation, though he also represents plaintiffs in insurance “bad faith”, wrongful death, professional malpractice and other types of cases. He has been actively involved in all facets of the civil litigation system from trial to appeal. Mr. LaFave has represented the interests of individuals, homeowner associations, corporations, partnerships, federally chartered institutions and the United States of America.
Raised in the Midwest, Mr. LaFave has a deep appreciation for the environment. During law school, he helped the Sierra Club with a Clean Water Act lawsuit and also served at the Center for Public Interest Law as a staff monitor with special emphasis in protecting water resources. LaFave’s love for the environment also finds expression in his personal life as a hiker, as well as an avocational archeologist with a special interest in pictographs and petroglyphs.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1987 from the University of Redlands, Mr. LaFave received his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1990. He also studied international law in London with the Institute for International and Comparative Legal Studies. While at USD, Mr. LaFave was published in the Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues and participated in numerous moot court and trial advocacy competitions. He was a member of the Appellate Moot Court Board and was selected to represent USD School of law on the Moot Court National Team and on trial competition teams. He was inducted into the National Order of Barristers and received the American Jurisprudence Award for tort law.
Mr. LaFave passed the California Bar exam in 1990 and was admitted in 1991 to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California. He has also appeared before California Appellate Courts, Federal District Courts, Federal Bankruptcy Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. Mr. LaFave is a member of Consumer Attorneys of California, the San Diego County Bar Association, the California Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, American Inns of Court and Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. His numerous articles have been published by Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and California, the San Diego County Bar Association, the Arizona Bar Association and the Community Associations Institute.