Frank Damrell

Hon. Frank C. Damrell (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Robyn Shaldone
T: 916-830-7126
F: 916-565-7780
1415 L Street, Suite 700, Sacramento, CA 95814


Hon. Frank C. Damrell (Ret.) is a full-time neutral armed with extensive experience gained over a distinguished legal career. During his tenure on the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Judge Damrell presided over numerous civil and criminal jury and bench trials and has written opinions and orders in the fields of environmental law, federal tort claims, civil rights, employment law, antitrust, copyright and patent law, banking, real estate, commercial law, complex white collar crime, including RICO, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and immigration fraud. He has substantial experience mediating complex matters in federal court.

Judge Damrell was appointed to the bench in 1997 by President Clinton and served on a number of national and circuit judicial committees including being appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

A nationally recognized advocate for civic education, Judge Damrell has lead numerous charitable, educational, political, and cultural organizations and activities. He founded Operation Protect and Defend, the principal civics education program in the Sacramento area and has been invited to speak at conferences of educators, law schools, and bar associations across the country.

Judge Damrell is described by attorneys as fair, reasonable, and pragmatic. His enthusiasm makes him a quick study, taking efforts to understand the issues of a case inside and out.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Served 14 years as a Federal Judge, presiding over a full range of motions, managing discovery, and conducting settlement conferences
  • Resolution of hundreds of pretrial matters
  • Management of Special Master and complex litigation
  • Appointed to numerous national and circuit judicial committees, including the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
    • Mediated to resolution a contract dispute matter between a global coffee chain and their supplier of packaging.
    • Successfully mediated a breach of contract dispute involving a major grocery chain and a company contracted to design an online sales and delivery service platform
    • Has conducted  neutral evaluations, including mock arbitration hearings, involving business, commercial, and contract disputes
    • American Bankers Association v. Bill Lockyer, 239 F.Supp.2d 1000 (2003). Case regarding federal preemption of California Financial Information Privacy Act, which determines what information needs to be shared by credit card issuers to consumers.
  • Employment
    • Has handled numerous matters between employers and former employees involving wage & hour issues as well as misappropriations and unfair competition claims
    • Successfully mediated matter between a company and terminated employee regarding ownership of code written for the company
    • Resolved a trade secret matter involving the former employee of an agricultural firm
    • Mediated claims by restaurant employees where owner hired undocumented employees and allegedly took advantage of them regarding hours, wages and accommodations, also included unlawful detainment claims
    • Successfully settled matter involving former employee of agricultural firm starting new firm and allegedly using trade secret techniques and attempting to take client lists from former employer
    • Dennis Service v. Union Pacific Railroad, No. CIV. S98-2327 FCD DAD (2001). Case brought by locomotive engineer against employer alleging discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA ) for failing to reasonably accommodate a medical condition
  • Civil Rights and Constitutional Law
    • Successfully mediated several excessive force or wrongful death matters involving police officers or law enforcement
    • Arezou Mansourian, Lauren Mancuso, Nancy Nien-Li Chiang, Christine Wing-Si Ng v. Board of Regents of the University of California at Davis, Lawrence Vanderhoff, Greg Warzecka, Pam Gill-Fisher, Robert Franks, & Lawrence Swanson, 757 F. Supp.2d 1030 (E.D. Cal. 2010). Discrimination case involving female students being removed from the varsity wrestling team.
    • Plans, Inc. v. Sacramento City Unified School District, 752 F.Supp.2d 1136 (2010). Alleged violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by a publicly funded school district and addressed whether or not a certain belief fell under the definition of “religion.”
    • Federal Election Commission v. California Democratic Party, No. CIV. S-03-0547 FCD DAD. (E.D. Cal. Feb 12, 2004). Case regarding the interpretation of federal election laws and whether or not certain mailings and radio advertisements were in violation.
  • Antitrust
    • Handled a med-arb alleging price fixing in violation of the Cartwright Act as well as issues of fraud, and false advertising occurring over a 10 year period.
    • Process Specialties, Inc. v. Sematech, Inc., E.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2001. Matter involving California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and whether or not violation of another states laws could predicate a claim.
  • Class Action 
    • Western Duplicating Inc. v. Riso Kagaku Corporation, No. CIV. S 98-208 FCD GGH (E.D. Cal. Nov 20, 2000). Antitrust case brought by a retailor of ink and masters against a manufacturer of digital duplicators.
  • Intellectual Property 
    • Yellow Cab Co. of Sacramento v. Yellow Cab Co. of Elk Grove, Inc., 266 F.Supp.2d 1199 (2003). Case involved alleged Lanham Act violations as well as false advertising, unfair competition, and intentional interference with prospective business advantage.
    • McKesson Information Solutions, Inc. v. Bridge Medical, Inc., 434 F. Supp.2d 810 (E.D. Cal. 2006). Patent Infringement suit involving the intentional nondisclosure of material information.
  • Governmental/Public Agency
    • Mediated a matter involving the fees of an independent, publicly owned utility company which provides electric service, irrigation water and treats surface water for drinking
    • Successfully resolved a pre-litigation matter regarding inaccurate record keeping of regulated prescription drugs by a doctor’s office.
    • Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Community v. Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, April 21, 2009. Case involving Class III Gaming compacts entered into by two federally recognized Indian tribes.
  • Personal Injury
    • Has mediated a number of personal injury matters involving issues such as elder abuse, product liability, and wrongful death
  • Environmental Law
    • Lake Tahoe Watercraft Recreation Association v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 24 F.Supp.2d 1062 (1998). Plaintiffs were watercraft manufacturers, retailers, and users challenging the legality of the TRPA and an ordinance prohibiting the discard of unburned fuel and oil from the operation of watercraft propelled by arbureted two-stroke engines
    • Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, Wilderness Watch, Laurel Ames, & Ann McCampbell v. Jack Troyer, USDA Forest Service & Gary Schiff, No. CIV. S-05-1633 FCD KJM. (E.D. Cal. September 1, 2005). Case involved the application of rotenone formulations and potassium permanganate to particular bodies of water in California as part of a plan to recover or protect a species of fish
    • Baykeeper and its Deltakeeper Chapter, & Natural Resources Defense Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. Civ. S-06-1908 FCD/GGH. (E.D. Cal. Sep 20, 2006). Challenge to a dredge and fill permit authorized by the defendant based on the harmful environmental impact
    • Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, Wilderness Watch, Friends of Silver King Creek, Laurel Ames, & Ann McCampbell v. United States Fish and Wildfire Service, Alexandra Pitts, United States Forest Service, & Jeanne M. Higgins, 814 F.Supp.2d 992 (2011). Plaintiffs argued that project to restore a species of fish was in violation of the National Environmental Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Wilderness Act and that national and state environmental impact reports/statement should be set aside
    • California Independent System Operator Corporation v. Reliant Energy Services, Inc., 181 F. Supp.2d 1111 (E.D. Cal. 2001). Suit brought by company responsible for controlling and maintaining the state electric power transmission grid regarding responses by generators to emergency dispatch instructions
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Memberships and Professional Activities
    • Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to, Delta Stewardship Council, 2013-Present
    • Appointed by California Chief Justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, as Vice Chair of the State Steering Committee on the Power of Democracy, 2013-Present
    • Appointed by Chief Justice, John Roberts to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, 2008-2011
    • Member, Judicial Branch Committee of the United States Judicial Conference, 2001-2004 and 2007-2011
    • Member, National Advisory Committee of Federal Judicial Pay, 2008-2009
    • Chair, Judicial Branch Subcommittee on Civic Education for the Federal Judiciary, 2001-2004
    • Member, 9th Circuit Education Committee, 2002
    • Vice Chair of the Board, The Foundation for Democracy and Justice, 2014-Present
    • Director, Close Up Foundation Board, Washington, D.C., 2012-Present
    • Director, Justice Anthony Kennedy Learning Center in Sacramento, 2013-Present
    • Served on the Board of Advisors for the National Conference on Citizenship, 2004-2008
    • Founder, Operation Protect & Defend, a civics education program for high school students in the Sacramento area, 2002
    • Appointed Chair of the California State Consumer Advisory Council by Governor Jerry Brown, 1975-1980
    • Appointed to the California State Consumer Advisory Council by Governor Ronald Reagan, 1973-1975
    • President, Consumer Federation of California, 1972-1975
    • Served on the Board of Overseers, McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, University of San Francisco, 2005-2006
    • Served on the Board of Trustees, University of California, Merced, 2005
    • Served on the Board of Regents, University of Santa Clara, 1986-1994
    • Served on the Board of Visitors, University of Santa Clara Law School, 1983-1994
    • Member, California Bar, admitted 1965
  • ADR Profiles
  • Principal, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, 2011-2015
  • Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 1997-2011
  • Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios & Ladine, 1968-1997
  • Deputy District Attorney in Stanislaus County, 1966-1968
  • Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, 1964-1966
  • L.L.D. (Hon.), Santa Clara University, 2005
  • L.L.B., Yale Law School, 1964
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1961



Practice Areas

  • Antitrust/Competition Law
  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Federal Judge
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Securities
Available nationwide


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