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Hon. Terence Bruiniers

Hon. Terence Bruiniers (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Terence Bruiniers (Ret.) served as a justice on the First District, Division Five, California Court of Appeal, authoring more than 600 opinions in nearly all areas of the law. He previously served on the Contra Costa Superior Court, where he implemented one of the first programs in the state for electronic filing of court documents. He led the design and implementation of the now statewide appellate e-filing system during his tenure on the appellate court.

Before his appointment to the bench, Justice Bruiniers practiced law for 18 years at ‘the San Francisco firm of Farrand, Cooper & Bruiniers. He handled business and commercial litigation and maintained a transactional practice representing national and international clients in technology-related matters. As a deputy district attorney in Alameda County for seven years, he prosecuted more than 100 jury trials to verdict, including capital cases.

As a trial judge, he earned a reputation for meticulous preparation and thorough familiarity with all matters coming before him. He now serves as a mediator, arbitrator and special master, and handles neutral analysis matters, including mock exercises and appellate review.

ADR Qualifications

  • Justice, First District Court of Appeal, Division Five, 2009–2018
    • Justice Pro Tem, Aug 2006. – Dec. 2006, Feb. 2009 – June 2009
  • Judge, Contra Costa County Superior Court, 1998–2009
    • Presiding Judge, 2007–2008
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2005–2006
    • Supervising Judge, Criminal, 2008–2009
    • Designated Complex Litigation Department, 2005–2007
    • Direct Calendar Civil Department, 2002–2004
    • Supervising Judge, Family Law, 2000–2001
    • Designated CEQA Judge, 2003–2009
    • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers’ Association, 2005

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Dispute between principals of venture capital firm following expulsion of a member; breach of contract, breach of non-compete agreement, breach of fiduciary duty
      • Dispute between members of a dental practice on withdrawal of a principal; breach of contract, breach of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, breach of fiduciary duty
      • Claims by owners of hotel properties against former management for fraud, conversions, breach of fiduciary duties
      • Claims by commercial landlord for breach of lease/non-payment of rent, effect of governmental Covid based use restrictions on obligation to pay rent.
      • Suit between mortgage lenders over failure to repurchase loans (court designated referee)
      • Claims by vehicle lessees for misrepresentations/fraudulent concealment of vehicle histories
      • Claims by and against internet service providers for breach of contract/breach of terms of use/terms of service
      • Administrative special master on multiple claims against provider of embryo preservation services
      • Claims alleging breach of terms of charitable trust providing senior housing
      • Morrical v. Rogers (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 438: Action to determine the validity of an election of corporate directors may be based on an alleged breach of fiduciary duty or conflict of interest.
      • Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. v. Actelion Ltd. (2013) 222 Cal.App.4th 945: Foreign manufacturer of hypertension drug sued a foreign competitor, its executives and its domestic subsidiary after the domestic company notified plaintiff that it would discontinue development of plaintiff’s hypertension drug under preexisting licensing agreement. Among other claims, plaintiff alleged intentional interference with contract, interference with prospective economic advantage, breach of a confidentiality agreement and breach of confidence.
      • Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. v. CoTherix, Inc. (2012) 204 Cal.App.4th 1: Antitrust matter alleging conspiracy to breach license agreement in preparation for merger. No violation of Cartwright Act; merger was not a trust under Cartwright Act.
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 203 (review granted and opinion superseded by Facebook, Inc. v Superior Court (2018, 4 Cal.5th 1245):
      • Writ of mandate to quash subpoena duces tecum served by criminal defendants on Internet social network operators. Stored Communications Act (SCA) does not violate Confrontation Clause in prohibiting pretrial disclosure of murder victim's social network account contents; SCA did not violate Compulsory Process Clause or due process in prohibiting pretrial disclosure of victim's social network account contents. (California Supreme Court confirmed as to non-public postings)
      • Consumer Privacy Cases (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 545: Award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to “clear sailing agreement” complied with applicable law and was not unfair to class members; difference between maximum amount of attorney's fees which defendant bank agreed to pay amount of fees and costs actually awarded did not constitute a surplus belonging to class members.
      • Cellphone Termination Fee Cases (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 298: Consumer class action against cellular telephone carriers challenging early service contract termination fees (ETFs). Regulation of cellular telephone ETFs as liquidated damages provisions was not preempted rate regulation; carrier did not engage in a reasonable endeavor to estimate fair compensation in setting ETFs; evidence supported finding that ETF amounts were not set based on actual or estimated loss; and carrier failed to establish that its ETFs were alternative performance provisions.
      • Cellphone Termination Fee Cases (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 1380: Members of the class in a class action challenging ETFs filed objections to settlement requiring carrier provide a common fund of $21million from which legal fees and costs would be paid and from which certain class members would be reimbursed. Notice of settlement was not misleading or incomplete; incentive payments to named class representatives properly approved by trial court.
      • Tucker v. Pacific Bell Mobile Services (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 201: Putative class action against cellular telephone service providers for alleged violations of Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) in allegedly making false and deceptive representations in the promotion, marketing and sale of airtime bucket plans. Subscribers failed to allege (1) community of interest on issue of causation as to fraud and CLRA claims; (2) community of interest on issue of reliance as to UCL restitution claims; and (3) measurable amount of class-wide restitution under UCL, but subscribers stated claim for class-wide injunctive relief under UCL.
  • Construction
      • Responsible for management and trial of all complex construction defect litigation in Complex Litigation assignment, including contribution and indemnity claims and insurance coverage questions
      • City of South San Francisco v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 881: Workers' compensation matter involving allocation of liability for public safety worker carcinogen exposure between successive employers. employment discrimination action under Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), expert witness fees as costs under the offer of judgment statute, even if the employee's case was not frivolous, but trial court was required to scale the amount of the expert fee award after considering the relative resources of the parties.
  • Employment Law
      • Mediation and arbitration of wrongful termination/FEHA claims
  • Environmental Law
      • Claims by tenants in lower income urban housing against multiple owner/management entities for breach of lease and habitability issues
      • Beacon Residential Community Assn. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1301 (review granted and opinion superseded by Beacon Residential Community Assn. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (2014) 59 Cal.4th 568: As an issue of first impression, design professionals owe duty of care to third parties in construction of residential housing. (California Supreme Court confirmed)
      • T-Mobile West LLC v. City and County of San Francisco (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 334: Wireless telephone service providers brought action against city for declaratory and injunctive relief challenging city's wireless facility site permit ordinance. City's wireless facility site permit ordinance is not subject to implied preemption on its face by the Public Utilities Code provision authorizing telephone lines; city's wireless facility site permit ordinance is not subject to direct conflict preemption on its face by the Public Utilities Code.
        Coyne v. De Leo (2018) 26 Cal.App.5th 801: Landlord/tenant matter in which evidence that landlord's transfer of property was a sham was relevant and admissible in unlawful detainer action against elderly tenant under Ellis Act.
  • Intellectual Property
      • Dispute between principals of medical device startup following withdrawal of principal; ownership of intellectual property, breach of funding obligations, breach of contract
  • Personal Injury
      • Leonard v. John Crane, Inc. (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1274: Wife could pursue loss of consortium claim against defendant even though husband's asbestos exposure predated marriage.
      • Johnson v. ArvinMeritor, Inc. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 234: Products liability action against automotive parts manufacturers for injuries alleged to have been caused by secondary exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. No support for inference of specific exposure to asbestos-containing material; supplier of brake assemblies was not strictly liable under a design defect theory.
  • Real Property
      • Single family home construction defects

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Mediation Certification, National Judicial College, 2018
  • Language Access Implementation Task Force, 2015–2018
    • Chair, Technology Solution Subcommittee
  • Information Technology Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council,1999–2017
    • Chair, 2012–2016
    • Vice-Chair, 2005–2011
  • Vice-Chair, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, 2007–2008
  • Vice-Chair, Judicial Science Education Committee, 2005–2007

Background and Education

  • Partner; Farrand, Cooper & Bruiniers; 1981–1998
  • Deputy District Attorney, Alameda County, 1973–1980
  • J.D.; University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall); 1973
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A.; University of California, Berkeley; 1969
  • Berkeley Police Officer, 1967–1973
  • United States Marine Corp Reserve, 1965–1971


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