Skip to main content
Download VCard
Hon. David Thompson (Ret.)
video thumbnail

Hon. David Thompson (Ret.)

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business & Commercial
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Family Law
Personal Injury/Torts
Professional Liability
Real Estate & Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. David A. Thompson (Ret.) joined JAMS after a distinguished 24-year career on the bench. As a Court of Appeal Justice for nine years, he authored hundreds of opinions on civil litigation issues. As a Superior Court Judge for 15 years, he conducted hundreds of civil trials and heard thousands of civil motions.

Justice Thompson was in private practice for 14 years with two large civil firms. He handled general business, construction defect, landlord-tenant, product liability, and real property related litigation. He also helped clients acquire, develop, finance, lease, and sell commercial and residential real property.

He is highly regarded by counsel for his keen intellect, friendly demeanor, and real-world experience. His approach to problem-solving is practical, cooperative, objective, deliberate, and thoughtful. He is also known for his raw talent, fairmindedness, common sense, and uncompromising commitment to excellence.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated business, construction, employment, insurance, estate, probate and trust disputes
  • Performed neutral evaluation and conducted mock argument in high stakes appeals
  • Served as discovery referee in construction defect and mortgage-backed securities cases
  • Authored significant opinions on alternative dispute resolution issues
  • Represented clients in arbitrations, mediations, settlements, and transaction negotiations
  • Completed Mediating the Litigated Case, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Representative Matters

  • Appellate
      • Performed neutral evaluation and conducted mock argument in high stakes appeals
      • Authored more than 700 appellate opinions and concurred in thousands more
      • Participated in thousands of appellate oral arguments and writ proceedings
      • Represented clients in civil writs and appeals
  • Banking
      • Authored appellate opinions on wrongful foreclosure and lender liability issues
      • Represented clients in real property secured lending transactions and related litigation
  • Bankruptcy
      • Authored opinions about the effect of bankruptcy actions in state court cases
      • Represented clients in bankruptcy court automatic stay litigation
  • Business & Commercial
      • Authored opinions in business and commercial cases, including significant opinions on attorney fees, contract interpretation, business transactions, corporate governance, and discovery abuse
      • Conducted dozens of business and commercial trials, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and business tort causes of action
  • Civil Rights
      • Authored noteworthy opinions on constitutionally protected speech and anti-SLAPP motions
      • Presided over wrongful arrest and excessive use of force civil rights trials
  • Construction Defect
      • Authored numerous opinions in construction defect and related construction liability cases
      • Served as discovery referee in construction defect cases
      • Presided over and represented clients in construction defect and soil subsidence litigation
  • Construction
      • Authored opinions on variety of construction and construction contract issues
      • Presided over multiple trials regarding construction and contracting disputes
      • Represented clients in stop notice, mechanics lien, and completion bond matters
  • Employment Law
      • Wrote opinions and conducted trials involving age, race and sex discrimination and harassment and other Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claims; wrongful termination and retaliation claims; disability and pension benefits claims; and wage and hour and other PAGA claims
  • Environmental Law
      • Authored multiple opinions on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and related issues
      • Authored notable opinion on Coastal Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
      • Presided over and mediated several complex and substantial estate, probate, and trust disputes
      • Authored opinions on accounting, lack of capacity, elder abuse, and undue influence issues
      • Authored significant opinions concerning trust interpretation and trustee malfeasance
  • Family Law
      • Authored opinions on common family law issues including dissolution; child and spousal support; child custody and visitation; grandparents rights; marital property valuation and division; marital settlement agreements; and attorney fees
  • Insurance
      • Authored opinions regarding insurance coverage, policy interpretation and bad faith
      • Presided over insurance coverage and insurance bad faith trials
      • Mediated extensive insurance fraud prevention act case
      • Represented clients in disciplinary litigation with the Department of Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
      • Authored opinions on misappropriation of intellectual property and trade secrets
      • Represented clients in major trademark, trade dress and unfair competition litigation
  • Personal Injury/Torts
      • Wrote opinions on personal injury, product liability, government tort claim and immunity issues
      • Presided over personal injury and wrongful death trials, involving negligence; dangerous condition of public property; governmental immunity; premises and product liability; nuisance; assault and battery; sexual molestation; malicious prosecution; and defamation
      • Represented clients in product liability and a wrongful death actions
  • Professional Liability
      • Authored significant opinions on legal malpractice, attorney ethics, attorney disqualification and opinions on many medical malpractice issues including expert witness designation and testimony, standard of care, statute of limitations, summary judgment and MICRA
      • Presided over legal malpractice, malicious prosecution, and attorney fee trials and medical malpractice trials on failure to properly diagnose methicillin-resistant staph aureus brain infection leading to catastrophic stroke and failure to timely diagnose cancer resulting in death
  • Real Estate & Real Property
      • Authored opinions on diverse real property issues, including conditional use permits, CEQA and other land use; broker disclosure and compensation; easements and adjoining property owner rights; purchase and sale transactions; homeowner’s associations (HOA); leases; and foreclosure
      • Conducted trials involving adverse possession; HOA’s and CC&R’s; inverse condemnation; nuisance; partition; purchase; specific performance; and unlawful detainer
      • Maintained broad real estate transaction practice helping clients buy, sell, develop, finance, and lease master planned communities, shopping centers, hotels, and apartments
      • Represented lenders and borrowers in all kinds of real property secured and multi-family development bond-financed transactions
      • Represented companies and individuals in title insurance coverage, lien priority, foreclosure cases and accessory apartment class action litigation

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Community Leadership Award, Orange County Lavender Bar Association, 2013
  • Community Achievement Award, Orange County Korean American Bar, 2012
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Hispanic Bar Association, 2012
  • Unanimously ranked "exceptionally well qualified" for appointment to the Court of Appeal, California State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, 2012
  • Distinguished Judicial Fellow, Orange County Bar Foundation, 2010
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Narcotics Officers Association, 2009
  • AV Rating, Martindale-Hubbell, 1991-1997

Selected Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Emeritus Board, Project Youth, Orange County Bar Foundation, 2022 - 2023
  • Member, Judicial Advisory Council, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2006-2009
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2001 - 2023
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association, 1983 - 2023
  • Founding Judicial Fellow, Orange County Bar Foundation, Society of Fellows, 2008 - 2023

Selected Professional Activities

  • Presenter, Effective Oral Advocacy, Orange County Bar Association, Appellate Section, 2019
  • Speaker, Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Section, 2014
  • Panelist, Legal Ethics – Do the Right Thing and Avoid Malpractice, Orange County Bar Association, 2012
  • Presenter, Litigation Strategies for the Defense, Association of Corporate Counsel of America, 2011
  • Panelist, Allen E. Broussard Presentation on Professionalism and Civility, Orange County Bar Association and Chapman University School of Law, 2011
  • Participant, Brown Bag Lunch Program, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2011
  • Panelist, Judicial Panel Discussion, American Bar Association, 2010 Ninth Circuit Spring Meeting, 2010
  • Panelist, Winning Motions for Summary Judgment, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2007
  • Panelist, The Art of War Stories – Litigation Lessons Learned, Orange County Bar Association, 2007
  • Judge, College of Trial Advocacy – Direct and Cross Examination, Orange County Bar Association, 2007
  • Panelist, Medical Malpractice Nuts and Bolts, Orange County Trial Lawyers, 2007
  • Student, Mediating the Litigated Case, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, 2006
  • Guest Lecturer, Real Estate Finance, Chapman University Law School, 2006
  • Student, Economics Institute for Judges, AEI-Brookings Center for Regulatory Studies, 2006 and 2004
  • Panelist, Bridging the Gap – Law and Motion, Orange County Bar Association, 2005 and 2006
  • Panelist, Trial Tips from the Bench, Orange County Trial Lawyers, 2004
  • Student, B.E. Witkin Judicial College, Center for Judicial Education and Research, 1999

Selected Publications

  • Leveraging the Experience of Retired Appellate Justices, Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 18, 2022
  • Seven Tips on Appellate Oral Argument, Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 20, 2021
  • Five Tips on Appellate Brief Writing, Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 13, 2021
  • Judicial Profile, Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 7, 2013
  • Judicial Profile, Orange County Lawyer, July 2011
  • Judicial Profile, Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 16, 2008
  • “Q&A with the Hon. David A. Thompson,” ABTL Report - Orange County, Spring 2008
  • Judicial Profile, Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 18, 1999

Background and Education

  • Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal, 2012-2021
  • Assigned Justice (pro-tem), California Supreme Court, 2014 and 2018
  • Assistant Presiding Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 2011-2012
  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 1998-2012
  • Judge, Orange County Municipal Court, 1997-1998
  • Business Litigation Attorney, Morrison & Foerster, 1996-1997
  • Business Transaction Attorney, Morrison & Foerster, 1988-1995
  • Business Litigation Attorney, Rutan & Tucker, 1984-1988
  • Law Clerk to Justice Edward J. Wallin, California Court of Appeal, 1982-1983
  • J.D, Order of the Coif, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983
  • BSBA Finance, Summa Cum Laude, Georgetown University, 1980


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

Search our global directory of mediators, arbitrators and ADR professionals.

Scroll to top