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Hon. Richard D. Aldrich (Ret.)

Hon. Richard D. Aldrich (Ret.)

General Biography
Practice Areas
Class Action and Mass Tort
Construction Defect
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury/Torts
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Richard D. Aldrich (Ret.) joins JAMS following his distinguished 25-year judicial career, most recently serving as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, Second District.  Previously, he served on the Ventura County Superior Court.  During his time on the bench, Justice Aldrich authored many significant opinions and made major contributions to the advancement of ADR.  He was also instrumental in defining processes for complex case management.

In private practice, Justice Aldrich practiced civil trial law and tried cases in diverse areas, including medical malpractice, legal malpractice and complex civil cases, including class actions, products liability and catastrophic personal injury.  He successfully handled disputes involving real property, construction defect and toxic torts.  Justice Aldrich has had extensive experience in insurance coverage disputes and fair claims-handling practices.  As a lawyer, he handled numerous insurance bad-faith claims.

Justice Aldrich frequently speaks on ADR-related topics and has nearly 20 years on the faculty of the B.E. Witkin California Judicial College, teaching Civil Settlement Techniques.  He has also taught seminars on best practices in handling insurance claims.   

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Participated as settlement officer in hundreds of matters
  • Instrumental in inaugurating Ventura County’s multi-door courthouse early dispute resolution program
  • Served as chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee for the Ventura courts
  • Instrumental in inaugurating the Second District Appellate Settlement Conference and Mediation Program
  • Chaired the Complex Litigation Task Force for the California Judicial Council, which published “Deskbook on the Management of Complex Civil Cases”

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
      • Numerous breach of contract matters
      • Partnership/joint venture disputes
      • Unfair competition matters under Business and Professions Code Section 17200
      • Statutory claims concerning the validity of the Hotel Service Charge Reform Ordinance enacted by the City of Los Angeles
  • Class Action and Mass Tort
      • Handled numerous appeals involving class actions where the main issue was whether the trial court erred in granting or denying certification of the class.  The underlying cases involved many issues, from wage and hour employment to insurance coverage.
  • Construction Defect
      • Homeowners' lawsuit against developer for construction defects involving condominium project
      • Construction defect litigation regarding a large apartment complex alleging architect failed to supply sufficient support for the foundation resulting in cracks in the units, wall buckling, and other defects
  • Employment
      • Wage and hour disputes seeking class certification for employees seeking to recover unpaid wages, penalties and damages alleging Labor Code violations, failure to timely pay wages upon termination and failure to pay an additional hour of reporting time and failure to issue a wage statement that complied with the Labor Code
      • Wrongful termination claims, including hostile work environment caused by harassment and retaliatory firing for reporting perceived misdeeds to governmental agency
      • Several cases brought under Code of Civil Procedure Section 1085 (writ of mandate) to compel a governmental agency or officer to discharge statutory duties
      • Interpretation of the Los Angeles County's Employee Relations Ordinance as it pertains to disclosure of non-union employees' personal contact information
  • Insurance
      • Insurance coverage cases
      • Interpretation of coverage and exclusions
      • Analysis of claims-handling practices
      • First-party (insured) bad-faith litigation
      • Analysis of coverage under excess insurance policies
  • Personal Injury/Torts
      • Injuries resulting from alleged defective highway design
      • Actions involving multiple deaths and catastrophic burn injuries to residents of an apartment building due to negligent maintenance and involving tens of millions of dollars recovered
      • Personal injury and wrongful death claims
      • Litigation under the Government Tort Claims Act (Government Code Section 900, et seq.)
      • Defamation involving a public official's suit against a newspaper
      • Civil suit alleging false arrest, false imprisonment and defamation brought by the publisher of a Los Angeles legal newspaper against the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Superior Court and the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court
  • Product Liability
      • Lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for allegedly defective drugs
      • Injuries from alleged automobile design defects
  • Professional Liability
      • Medical malpractice claims including allegations of: failure to diagnose serious medical conditions leading to death; anesthesia malpractice leading to profound brain damage and total paralysis; and failure to diagnose spinal dislocation leading to quadriplegia
      • Legal malpractice claims, including allegations of alleged negligence in forming a limited partnership, resulting in liability as a general partner, and alleged failure to answer complaint by lawyer on behalf of a famous personality
  • Real Property
      • Matter concerning interpretation of the statutory exemption provided by Government Code Section 37361, subdivision (c) for noncommercial property owned by a religious organization

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.


  • Recipient, Jurist of the Year Award, California Judicial Council, 2006
  • Recipient, Chief Justice Roger J. Traynor Appellate Justice of the Year Award, Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles (CAALA), 2000
  • Featured, "L.A.'s Most Powerful Judges," Los Angeles Business Journal, February 2000
  • Recognized, Outstanding Jurist, Ventura County Bar Association, 1992–1993
  • Recipient, Trial Judge of the Year Award, Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association, 1992
  • Recipient, "Trial Lawyer of the Year" Award, American Board of Trial Advocates, California, 1990
  • Recognized, Best Lawyers in America, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
  • Recognized, "A Sampling of California's Most Respected Lawyers," California Lawyer Magazine, September 1989


  • Fellow, The American College of Trial Lawyers, 1984–Present
    • California State Committee
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1988–Present
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), 1973–2019; 2021–Present
    • President, Los Angeles Chapter, ABOTA, 1986
    • Vice President, Los Angeles Chapter, ABOTA, 1985
    • Secretary, Los Angeles Chapter, ABOTA, 1976
    • Executive Committee, Los Angeles Chapter, ABOTA, 1981–2019; 2021-Present
    • Chair, CAL, ABOTA, 1986
    • National Board of Directors, ABOTA, 1990-1999
    • Chair, Civil Justice Committee, ABOTA 1987–1991
    • National Chairperson, Region 10, ABOTA, 1992–1993
    • National Chair, Civil Justice Award Committee, ABOTA, 1992–1993
  • Member Emeritus, Board of Regents, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), 2002–Present
    • Chair, Board of Regents, LMU, 1999–2001
    • Vice Chair, Board of Regents, LMU, 1997–1999.
  • Board of Directors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2003–2006

Professional Activities

  • Chair, Complex Litigation Task Force for the California Judicial Council, 1997
    • Co-Author, "Deskbook on the Management of Complex Civil Cases"
  • Chair, Business Court Study Task Force, 1996
  • Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Ventura Courts, 1992–1994
  • Chair, Select Committee on Trial Court Coordination Implementation, 1994
    • Formulated California Rules of Court and Standards of Judicial Administration
  • Member, Judicial Council of California, 1998–2002
    • Chair, Civil and Small Claims Standing Advisory Committee
    • Chair, Case Management and Delay Reduction subcommittee
    • Chair, California Judicial Administration Conference, 1997, 2003
    • Chair, Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts on the Fair and Efficient Administration of Civil Cases, 2003
  • Faculty, Civil Settlement Techniques, B.E. Witkin Judicial College of California, 19 years

Background and Education

  • Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Three, 1994–2017 
  • Judge, Ventura County Superior Court, 1991–1994
  • Private practice, civil trial law, 1963–1990
  • J.D., University of California Los Angeles, 1963
  • B.A., Loyola Marymount University, 1960


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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