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Hon. Brian C. Walsh

Hon. Brian C. Walsh (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Antitrust & Competition
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Cybersecurity & Privacy
Employment Law
Governmental & Public Agency
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon Brian C. Walsh (Ret.) joined JAMS after two decades as a judge on the Santa Clara County Superior Court and 25 years as a litigator in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was the Presiding Judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court in 2013 and 2014 and, by appointment of the Chief Justice, served on the Sixth District Court of Appeal for two years, where he authored over 100 opinions. For the last four years, Judge Walsh presided over complex civil litigation, where he handled cases involving some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, such as Apple, Cisco, Google/Alphabet and HP, hearing complex business, securities, employment, product liability, internet privacy and trade secret cases.

Judge Walsh is known for his integrity, knowledge of the law and procedure, work ethic and judicial temperament. He has also been a leader in supporting civility and professionalism. As president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, he was the architect of its Code of Professionalism, which was used as a model for the California Attorney Guidelines of Civility and Professionalism adopted by the California State Bar, and he continues to teach on those issues.

With his breadth of experience and his optimism that all disputes can be settled, Judge Walsh is able to recognize when a case can be resolved before trial and able to help parties achieve that resolution. Showing great respect for all parties, he encourages attorneys to put their differences aside and work together toward settlement.  As one legal newspaper reported, “Walsh has had plenty of practice getting warring parties to lay down their swords. Those who’ve seen him do it say he uses a dash of diplomacy and an endless supply of patience to push opposing sides to a deal.”

Judge Walsh has extensive experience conducting settlement conferences and mediations, as well as presiding over cases start to finish. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Walsh was the managing partner of McTernan, Stender, Walsh, Weingus & Tondreau.

Representative Matters

  • Banking
      • Settlement of multiple lawsuits against bank for allowing professional private fiduciary to abscond with large funds of several different plaintiffs
      • Trial involving allegations of bank allowing elder abuse and improper release of large funds
      • Putative class action alleging bank wrongfully assessed overdraft fees
      • Claims alleging illegal servicing of home loan, including misrepresentation and improper refusal of modification, resulting in improper foreclosure
  • Business Commercial
      • Competing multi-billion-dollar insurance companies litigating over market share and raiding of top producers
      • Various contract disputes between corporations involving data center performance, financial and operational mismanagement, technology licensing agreements, etc.
      • Various post-acquisition disputes arising out of sales of businesses
      • Disputes regarding alleged violations of noncompete agreements and duty of loyalty
      • Software development and software/system integration disputes
      • Shareholder disputes in the context of sale of corporation
      • Many disputes regarding corporate ownership and IP control arising from change of control provisions and shareholder buyouts in high-tech start-ups as well as fully funded corporations
      • Numerous disputes between partners or co-owners as to management and possible dissolution of various business enterprises
      • Investor suits against board of directors’ decision to merge for stock and cash
      • Various commercial lease and mortgage/foreclosure disputes
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Class action/mass torts challenging improper labelling and distribution of defective pharmaceutical products
      • Multiple nationwide plaintiffs’ claims for injuries sustained from defective medical device
      • Putative class action for conversion and quantum meruit, alleging that corporation’s operating system and mobile phone applications passively transfer data without consumer consent 
      • Bellwether trial in nationwide class action regarding manufacturer’s appliance product defect
  • Cybersecurity & Privacy
      • Claims adjudicated under the California Invasion of Privacy Act and anti-wiretapping statutes
      • Litigation challenging protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
      • Class action against large high-tech firm regarding allegations of illegally taking and misusing individual identifying information
      • Case involving board of director and C-suite responsibility for allowing a foreign entity to hack billions of customer accounts
  • Employment Law
      • Numerous trials and settlements involving wrongful terminations, pregnancy discrimination, gender discrimination, age discrimination, race/cultural background discrimination, sexual harassment and hostile work environment
      • Adjudicated, settled or tried numerous lawsuits challenging wage statement violations, meal and rest break policies and practices, failure to pay overtime and other alleged wage and hour violations
      • Putative class actions and California Private Attorneys General Act cases arising out of alleged misclassification of temporary service employees, gender pay gap, illegal time-rounding, off-the-clock security bag checks, failure to compensate route sales drivers and commissioned employees, and other violations of California Labor Code
      • Putative employment class action alleging harassment, discrimination and retaliation based on employees’ expressing political views deviating from majority of fellow employees
      • Wrongful termination and retaliation cases by employees who allegedly were whistleblowers by challenging allegedly illegal company practices
      • Alleged breach of noncompete clause executed with out-of-state insurance company
      • Union member seeking injunction against officers for breach of fiduciary duty
      • Various cases involving allegations of improper use of trade secrets, breach of duty of loyalty and noncompete agreements, including trade secrets involving software and hardware computer technology
  • Governmental & Public Agency
      • Disputes among sanitation districts and cities regarding improper accounting and sharing of capital and operating expenses
      • Class actions against cities alleging improper imposition of taxes under Prop 218 and Prop 26
      • Claims involving state water rights and claims involving California Safe Drinking Water Act
      • Numerous writs of mandate involving final administrative orders and decisions of municipalities, state agencies and other government entities
      • Allegedly improper imposition by city of municipal utility tax based on federal excise tax statute
      • Writs of mandate challenging approval of projects in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to require environmental impact reports and by improperly approving them
      • City enforcement of municipal ordinance against business as unfair competition under Business and Professions Code Section 17200
  • Intellectual Property
      • Numerous cases alleging trade secret misappropriation of such technology as genomics, epitaxy recipes and wafer substrates, and electronic stock-trading software
      • Employer suits against competitor and former employees for alleged trade secrets theft, breach of duty of loyalty and unfair competition
      • Theft of traded secrets by foreign government-sponsored corporation
      • Illegal use of customer lists and product design and marketing information
  • Personal Injury
      • Settled or tried numerous cases involving injuries or death arising out of vehicle accidents, including those involving buses, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles and automobiles
      • Settlement and/or trial of various traumatic brain injury and wrongful death cases
      • Settled and tried numerous claims alleging sexual abuse and human trafficking
      • Numerous personal injury cases involving wildfires, premises liability, workplace safety, amusement park rides, roadway design and medical procedures
      • Many claims dealing with insurance coverage denial and claims in excess of policy limits
  • Professional Liability
      • Multiple trials and settlements involving professional negligence claims against lawyers and medical professionals
  • Securities
      • Consolidated putative class actions for alleged misrepresentations and omissions in the registration and prospectus issued in connection with IPO
      • Consolidated shareholder and derivative actions challenging the sale of technology company after revelation of vast security breaches by foreign government-sponsored hackers
      • Putative shareholder class action alleging actionable misstatements in sale of one corporation to another
      • Action involving fraudulently induced private investments into startup company
      • Various consolidated shareholder derivative actions arising from allegations that officers and directors breached their fiduciary duties and committed other misconduct, including causing billions of dollars of fines to be imposed by foreign governments for antitrust violations, collusion with competitor technology corporations, failure to address alleged culture of discrimination against women at the company, etc.
      • Consolidated putative class actions for securities fraud brought by shareholders against a dominant vendor in advanced packaging of semiconductors for false and misleading information in registration statement and prospectus prepared in the course of acquiring a competitor through a reverse triangular merger
  • Unfair Competition
      • Cases alleging violations of the California Unfair Practices Act and Cartwright Act
      • Various class actions alleging false advertising and unfair competition against an internet retailer, major seafood brand, etc.
      • Class action against an internet retailer alleging violation of California automatic renewal law (Business and Professions Code Section 17600)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Selected Honors

  • San Francisco Bay Area Trial Judge of the Year, American Board of Trial Advocates, 2019
  • Professional Responsibility Award, State Bar of California, 2016
  • Outstanding Jurist Award, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 2014
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Santa Clara Trial Lawyers, 2012
  • Unsung Hero Award, Santa Clara County Bar Association Diversity Committee, 2011
  • Salsman Award for Contributions to Community/Profession, 2002
  • Professional Lawyer of the Year, Santa Clara County Bar Association,1999

Memberships and Professional Activites 

  • Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Northern California, 2017–present
    • Co-Editor, ABTL Report, 2019–present
  • California Judges Association, 2000-present
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, 1975–present
  • Attorney Civility Task Force, California Lawyers Association, 2020–present
  • Virtual ADR Training, JAMS Institute, 2021 
  • California State-Federal Judicial Council, 2003–2020
  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law, 2019
  • Language Access Plan Implementation Task Force, 2015–2019
  • Chair, Trial Court Presiding Judges’ Advisory Committee, 2013–2014
  • Member, Judicial Council of California, 2013–2014
  • Chair, Task Force on Trial Court Fiscal Accountability, 2013–2014
  • Trial Court Financial Accountability & Efficiency Committee, 2011–2013
  • Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee, 2013–2014
    • Funding Methodology Subcommittee, 2012–2014
  • Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, 2002–2013
  • State Bar Attorney Civility Task Force, 2006–2008
  • State Bar Task Force on Support for Legal Services, 2006–2008
  • Judicial Branch Budget Advisory Committee, 2002–2003
  • Chief Justice Task Force on ACA 1 (Judicial Elections), 2001
  • Attorney Member, Judicial Council of California, 1994–1998
  • Chair/Founder, California Bench-Bar Coalition, 1993–1994
  • President, California Association of Local Bars, 1992–1994
  • President, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 1992
    • President Elect, 1991
    • Secretary, 1990
    • Board of Trustees, 1988–1989
  • Labor and Employment Law Section, California State Bar, 1984–2000 (Ex. Comm., 1984–1988)
  • Board of Directors and General Counsel, Creative Computer Solutions Inc., 1988–2000

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, 2000–2020
    • Complex Civil Litigation, 2017–2020
    • Presiding Judge, 2013–2014
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2011–2012
    • Family Justice Center Courthouse Construction, 2008–2016
    • Chair, Superior Court Budget Committee, 2007–2012
    • Civil Trials, 2003–2004, 2007–2009, 2011–2012, 2015–2016
    • Family Law, 2009–2010
    • Felony Trials, 2005–2007
    • Appellate Division, 2005
    • Supervisor, Misdemeanor Direct Calendars, 2002
    • Misdemeanor Direct Calendar, 2001
  • Pro Tem Justice, Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District
    • May 1, 2004 – January 17, 2005
    • July 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011
    • June 1, 2015 – September 30, 2015
    • June 1, 2016 – November 30, 2016
  • McTernan, Stender, Walsh, Weingus & Tondreau, 1975–2000
    • Managing Partner, 1989–2000 (San Francisco and San Jose)
  • Legal Aid of Monterey County, 1972–1974
    • Co-Director, 1973–1974
  • J.D., University of California at Berkeley School of Law, 1972
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame, 1969


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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