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Hon. Barry Baskin

Hon. Barry Baskin (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Entertainment & Sports
Estate Probate Trusts
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury & Torts
Real Property & Real Estate
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Barry Baskin (Ret.) is a respected neutral known for his extensive experience in complex civil litigation in various practice areas including business/commercial, intellectual property, class action and employment. His experience as a judge and a lawyer, both plaintiff and defense, gives him the tools to effectively listen to parties, understand underlying issues, analyze and provide parties with the merits of their positions. Judge Baskin works with parties to structure an ADR process that fits the needs of the case. 

When handling a case as a mediator, arbitrator or special master/discovery referee, Judge Baskin is direct in his approach and uses his substantive knowledge to help resolve the matter. His experience as a plaintiff and defense lawyer gives him the unique skill set to fully understand and evaluate the risks associated with both sides of a case and the currency needed to reach a resolution. Throughout his career, he has handled complex litigation involving construction disputes, real property title disputes, neighbor disputes (nuisance, title and easement-related), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims, predatory lending practices, probate and trust disputes, breach of contract disputes, anti-trust and professional negligence claims. 

As a special master and discovery referee, Judge Baskin is diligent and well prepared. With decades of experience handling these matters, he is able to familiarize himself with the filings in cases regardless of complexity, recognizes the need for discovery versus the burden of production and understands what balance to strike.

For 20 years, Judge Baskin served on the Contra Costa County Superior Court, where he served in nearly all divisions of the court, including as the presiding judge from 2019 to 2020. He served six years in the civil division, handling a variety of complex litigation matters, including class actions. He is the first person born, raised and trained in South Africa to be appointed to the bench in California. Judge Baskin was the managing partner of his family’s law firm, Baskin & Partners, in South Africa, where his practice consisted of business litigation and family law. 

As a lawyer, Judge Baskin used mediation often and successfully resolved well over 1,000 matters before trial. Prior to his appointment on the bench, he had a successful career handling complex civil litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. In 1987, he joined Pillsbury Winthrop (formerly Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro), where he handled large commercial cases and served in the firm’s antitrust and intellectual property group. 

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Mediated breach of contract dispute involving allegations of breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, deceit and violation of county ordinance 
      • Mediated complex shareholder dispute and dissolution 
      • Mediated case involving business commercial fraud and compliance 
      • Mediated dispute involving alleged breach of contract involving the purchases of several pieces of art and improper commission
      • Mediated professional malpractice claims
      • Presided over matters involving breach of contract and contractual interpretation, including indemnity agreements, commercial leases and real estate contracts
      • As counsel, defended Fortune 500 companies in complex business litigation, with an emphasis on antitrust and intellectual property rights
      • As counsel, handled the review of data and documents germane to obtaining government approval of a larger merger and acquisition
      • Served as lead trial counsel in complex federal and state court litigation, including successfully defending a $30-million shareholders’ derivative suit
      • As a judge and attorney, handled shareholder derivative actions
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Presided over several motions for approval of class action settlements and California PAGA claims
      • Presided over a class action involving unfair HOA dues-collection practices on behalf of members of many homeowners’ associations, which included alter ego allegations
      • Presided over wage and hour claims brought by employees against their employer for failure to pay overtime
      • As counsel, defended and prosecuted class actions for over a decade; most of them were resolved through mediation
      • As an attorney, defended a nationwide car rental company over its alleged unfair business practices including PAGA claims 
      • As an attorney, served as plaintiff counsel in automobile class action involving charges imposed on customers when the failed to maintain the requisite motor vehicle insurance 
  • Construction Defect
      • Presided over numerous disputes between contractors, subcontractors and purchasers involving various construction defect claims
      • Presided over multiple disputes involving single-family home construction defect disputes
  • Employment Law
      • Mediated case involving breach of employment contract and legal malpractice 
      • Presided over wrongful termination matters, including sex and race discrimination allegations
      • Presided over theft of trade secrets against former employees
      • Presided over employment breach of contract disputes
      • Presided over all claims/counterclaims for a law firm dissolution, including sexual harassment; racial, sexual and age discrimination; wage and hour claims; and class action claims
      • Presided over contractual and statutory claims between a city and its emergency response workers
      • Presided over PAGA disputes
      • Served as a special master in a case involving whistleblower and discrimination claims made by an employee against a renowned hospital 
      • Presided over whistleblower claims 
      • Presided over several emergency arbitrations.
  • Estate Probate Trusts
      • Mediated dispute between a family over trust terms and probate issues 
      • Served as a special master in case involving competing claims to real estate by various surviving family members against trustees and beneficiaries 
      • Presided over trials involving inheritance issues and rights
      • Presided over proceedings involving contested estates, wills and trusts
  • Intellectual Property
      • Presided over a dispute involving members of a rock band and claims of theft of intellectual property and contract rights; claims were fully resolved short of trial and resulted in ongoing concerts/recordings
      • Presided over shareholder disputes, including dissolution proceedings and claims for injunctive relief and summary judgment; the many rulings and settlement efforts resulted in dismissal of all claims
      • As counsel, defended and pursued claims of theft of intellectual property rights
      • As a judge handled numerous cases involving theft of trade secrets and customers involving high tech companies where relief was sought and confidential trade secrets were removed by terminated employees who claimed to be whistleblowers 
      • Presided over a case in which allegations of employee intellectual property theft and whistleblower claims were made 
      • Presided over case where allegations of theft of trade secrets were made, with interim orders being sought 
      • As an attorney and judge, handled unfair competition claims and PAGA issues 
  • Personal Injury & Torts
      • As a judge, handled many wrongful injury cases involving:
        • Premises liability
        • Product liability
        • Vehicular-related matters
        • Uninsured and underinsured motorists
        • Government immunity claims
        • Other tort claims:
          • Serious dog bite
          • Slip and fall
      • As a mediator, resolved multiple serious personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims involving insurance coverage
  • Real Property & Real Estate
      • Mediated title dispute involving neighbors 
      • Presided over and resolved many matters involving real estate contracts
      • Presided over multiple matters involving title and other partnership claims

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Professional Trainings and Activities

  • Adjunct Professor, Criminal and Constitutional Law, John F. Kennedy University School of Law, 2011
  • Moot Court Judge for High School Competitions, 2002–2021
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), 1987, 1988

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of California, 1986–present
  • Member, Ethics Committee, California Judges Association (CJA), 2008–2011
    • In 2010, Judge Baskin served as a CJA liaison to assist judges statewide receiving complaints or proceedings from the Commission on Judicial Performance.
  • President, Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust, 1992–2002
    • The Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust recognizes and awards four outstanding teachers in the county each year.
  • Member, Panel of Arbitrators, American Arbitration Association, 1991–2000
  • Member, Probation Monitor, California State Bar Court, 1991–1994
  • Member, Committee on Rules and Procedures of Court, California State Bar, 1991–1994
  • S. Supreme Court, 1991
  • Supreme Court, South Africa, 1979

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers’ Association, 2009
  • Recipient, Major Contributions Award for Pro Bono Work, Contra Costa County Bar Association, 1999

Selected Publications

  • “Summary Judgment After Matsushita,” Anti-Trust, ABA, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1987 (assisted in preparation of the article).
  • “To Discover or Not to Discover, That Is the Contradiction,” South African Law Journal, 1981.
  • “Recognizing and Prosecuting Class Actions,” Contra Costa Lawyer, June 1997.
  • “Reflections of a South African–Born Jurist,” Contra Costa Lawyer, April 2005.
  • “How to Survive the Social Media Frenzy,” The Bench (the official journal of the California Judges Association), Spring 2011.

Background and Education

  • Superior Court, Contra Costa County, 2002–2022
    • Presiding Judge, 2019–2020
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2017–2018
  • First District, Division Four, California Court of Appeal
    • Justice Pro Tem, August–December 2012
  • Farrow, Bramson, Baskin & Plutzik, Walnut Creek, CA
    • Partner, 1989–2002
  • Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, San Francisco, CA
    • Associate, 1987–1989
  • Baskin & Partners, South Africa
    • Managing Partner, 1983–1986
    • Partner, 1979–1983
  • Law Degree; Oliver Schreiner School of Law; University of the Witwatersrand; Johannesburg, South Africa; 1978


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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