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Hon. David Thompson
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Hon. David Thompson (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Civil Rights
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Estate Probate Trusts
Family Law
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Real Estate and Real Property
US Center for SafeSport
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 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 known for his raw talent, fairmindedness, common sense, and uncompromising commitment to excellence.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Arbitrated business, commercial, construction defect, employment, franchise, homeowner association, insurance coverage, and real estate cases
  • Mediated business, cannabis, commercial, construction, defamation, employment, landlord-tenant, loan, malpractice, partnership, real estate, insurance, tort, trust and estate disputes
  • Heard JAMS appeals of arbitration awards
  • Performed neutral evaluation and conducted mock argument in pending appeals
  • Served as court-appointed referee in construction defect and insurance bad faith cases
  • Authored appellate opinions on alternative dispute resolution issues
  • Represented clients in arbitrations, mediations, settlements, and business negotiations
  • Completed Mediating the Litigated Case, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Representative Matters

  • Appellate
      • Conducted neutral evaluation and mock argument in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases
      • Heard arbitration award appeals under JAMS Optional Arbitration Appeal Procedure
      • Authored more than 700 Court of Appeal opinions and concurred in thousands more
      • Participated in thousands of appellate oral arguments and extraordinary writ proceedings
      • Represented clients in civil writs and appeals in State and Federal courts
  • Arbitration
      • Arbitrated business, commercial, construction defect, employment, franchise, homeowner association, insurance coverage, real estate and secured lending cases
      • Wrote opinions on Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and California Arbitration Act (CAA) issues, enforceability of arbitration agreements, and enforcement of arbitration awards
      • Represented clients in voluntary and mandatory commercial and real estate arbitrations
  • Banking
      • Heard JAMS appeal of consumer credit arbitration award
      • Authored 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
      • Arbitrated business purchase and sale disputes
      • Arbitrated music industry promotion breach of contract case
      • Arbitrated national real estate franchisor-franchisee dispute
      • Mediated fitness industry business investment and restructuring matter
      • Mediated cannabis production and distribution disputes
      • Mediated investment advisor partnership dissolution
      • Mediated national law firm digital marketing and promotion dispute
      • Heard JAMS appeal of movie finance and production arbitration award
      • Heard JAMS appeal of cell phone WiFi technology development arbitration award
      • Authored opinions in business and commercial cases, including opinions on attorney fees,contract interpretation, business transactions, corporate governance, and discovery abuse
      • Presided over business and commercial trials involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and business tort causes of action
      • Authored appellate opinions on constitutionally protected speech and anti-SLAPP motions
  • Civil Rights
      • Authored appellate opinions on constitutionally protected speech and anti-SLAPP motions
      • Presided over wrongful arrest and excessive use of force civil rights trials
  • Construction Defect
      • Arbitrated residential construction defect claims
      • Authored appellate opinions in construction defect cases
      • Served as court appointed referee in construction defect matters
      • Presided over and represented clients in construction defect and soil subsidence litigation
  • Construction
      • Mediated construction contract and change order case
      • Authored opinions on construction and construction contract issues
      • Presided over trials regarding construction and contracting disputes
      • Represented clients in stop notice, mechanics lien, and completion bond matters
  • Employment Law
      • Arbitrated employment cases involving age discrimination, race discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation claims
      • Mediated employment matters involving Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), wrongful termination, whistleblower, wage and hour, and Private Attorney General (PAGA) claims
      • Authored appellate opinions and presided over trials involving all kinds of employment claims
  • Environmental Law
      • Authored appellate opinions on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and related issues
      • Wrote appellate opinion on Coastal Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Estate Probate Trusts
      • Mediated estate, probate, and trust disputes
      • Presided over estate, probate, and trust trials
      • Wrote opinions on accounting, lack of capacity, elder abuse, trust interpretation, trustee malfeasance and undue influence issues
  • 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
      • Arbitrated professional liability and medical malpractice insurance coverage claims
      • Mediated insurance coverage and insurance bad faith disputes
      • Mediated qui tam California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (CIFPA) cases
      • Authored opinions regarding insurance coverage, policy interpretation and bad faith 
      • Conducted insurance coverage and insurance bad faith trials
      • Represented clients in licensee disciplinary litigation with the Department of Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
      • Wrote opinions on misappropriation of intellectual property and trade secrets
      • Represented clients in trademark, trade dress and unfair competition litigation
  • Personal Injury
      • Mediated defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims
      • 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 medical device and automobile product liability cases 
      • Represented clients in water-skiing and boating wrongful death action
  • Professional Liability
      • Mediated legal malpractice and other professional liability actions
      • Authored appellate opinions on legal malpractice, attorney ethics, attorney disqualification; and 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 and Real Property
      • Arbitrated homeowner association dispute concerning proposed development
      • Mediated landlord-tenant disputes
      • Mediated real estate purchase and sale matters
      • Wrote appellate opinions on 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
      • Presided over trials involving adverse possession; HOA’s and CC&R’s; inverse condemnation; nuisance; partition; purchase; specific performance; and unlawful detainer
      • Represented real estate transaction practice clients buying, selling, developing, financing, and leasing master planned communities, shopping centers, hotels, and apartments
      • Represented clients in real property secured and municipal bond financed transactions
      • Represented companies and individuals in title insurance coverage, lien priority, foreclosure cases, and in accessory apartment (aka “granny flat”) class action litigation
  • US Center for SafeSport
      • Arbitrated cases under the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement

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 - 2024
  • Member, Judicial Advisory Council, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2006-2009
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2001 - 2024
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association, 1983 - 2024
  • Founding Judicial Fellow, Orange County Bar Foundation, Society of Fellows, 2008 - 2024

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

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