Skip to main content
Download VCard
Hon. Jill Fannin

Hon. Jill Fannin (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Family Law
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Jill Fannin joined JAMS after serving over 20 years on the Contra Costa Superior Court, where she conducted hundreds of settlement conferences in a wide variety of matters. Appointed to the bench in April 2003, Judge Fannin was the presiding judge for a two-year term starting in 2017. Prior to the bench, she worked as a full-time mediator and arbitrator with JAMS, where she handled a wide variety of matters, including cases alleging wrongful termination, sexual harassment, defamation, misappropriation of trade secrets and insurance bad faith, as well as earth movement disputes among numerous landowners, professional liability cases, landlord/tenant disputes and personal injury claims.

For seven years, Judge Fannin served in the Civil Fast-Track Department, where she handled cases ranging from thousands of dollars to tens of millions of dollars. She was the supervising civil judge in 2023. She also served in the Family Law Division for four years and was the supervising judge of the division in 2012, 2013 and 2014. During this time, she presided over all aspects of family law, such as custody, support, dissolution and division of property. She previously had a federal and multistate practice, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases, with an emphasis on class actions, complex insurance coverage and bad faith litigation.

As a neutral, Judge Fannin is extremely effective in resolving litigation with high emotional content. She is known for her optimistic and dogged efforts to push parties past impasse. She comes to every case well prepared and ready to work with parties to design a resolution process that suits each case’s specific needs.

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • As an attorney, handled trade secret and unfair competition disputes involving computer technology 
      • As a judge, handled claims between business partners and/or former employees regarding breach of fiduciary duty, failure to provide promised shares, fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of asset purchase agreements and dissolution 
      • As a judge, oversaw numerous cases between banks, corporations and other entities regarding breach of contract, unfair business practices, interference with contract and unjust enrichment; many cases entailed complicated damage analyses 
      • Acted as trial and settlement judge in cases involving collection of judgments and alleged fraudulent transfers 
      • As a judge, conducted trials between parties claiming failure to pay for services rendered and unjust enrichment 
      • As a judge, handled breach of contract case involving large family-owned construction business 
      • Presided over complex case involving a dispute between a school district and charter school
  • Construction
      • Acted as settlement judge in cases between contractors and subcontractors concerning negligence, breach of contract, duty to defend, indemnity and change orders  
      • As a judge, oversaw construction defect cases involving single-family homes, subdivisions, HOAs and large commercial projects 
      • Handled cases relating to construction liens and bonds involving architects and construction managers
  • Employment Law
      • As a judge and attorney, handled cases involving claims for temporary and permanent injunctions based on breach of nondisclosure agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets 
      • As a judge, handled several cases alleging retaliation for alleged whistleblowing
      • As a judge, handled cases involving noncompete agreements and requests for temporary/permanent injunctions 
      • Acted as settlement judge in dozens of cases alleging wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, constructive discharge and hostile work environment 
      • Acted as settlement judge in discrimination claims based on age, gender, sexual orientation, race/culture, pregnancy, disability and associated disability 
      • As a judge, handled multiple wrongful termination cases involving California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), failure to prevent discrimination and failure to accommodate
      • As a judge, handled several disputes involving the scope of and/or entitlement to union pensions and/or benefits 
      • Presided over disputes regarding disciplinary actions and termination of union members
      • Presided over Labor Board appeals 
      • As a judge, ruled on numerous petitions to compel employees to arbitrate
  • Family Law
      • As a judge, handled complex dissolutions addressing issues such as characterization of property, complex child custody, and business and asset valuations 
      • As a mediator, handled division of assets involving parties who owned high-end hotels 
      • As a judge, conducted hundreds of hearings relating to child custody, child visitation, child support, temporary spousal support, dissolution and domestic violation restraining orders 
      • Heard dozens of trials concerning date of separation, permanent spousal support, property division, qualified domestic relations orders, move-aways and attempts to set aside marital settlement agreements 
  • Insurance
      • Presided over many subrogation claims between businesses and insurance companies, often including claims for product liability
      • Resolved complex, multiparty insurance matter involving cross-claims and alleged broker liability
      • As a judge, presided over numerous bad faith insurance cases, including cases arising from denied homeowner claims 
      • As a judge, presided over numerous coverage disputes brought against individuals and companies involving the duty to defend and indemnify 
      • As a settlement judge, handled insurance coverage and duty to defend in a wide variety of matters, including personal injury, landlord-tenant, quiet title, HOA, earth movement and fire 
  • Personal Injury
      • As a judge, handled catastrophic injury cases and serious traumatic brain injury cases 
      • Presided over trials and settlements involving sexual and/or physical assaults of minors and adults, as well as injuries on school grounds
      • Presided over personal injury and sexual abuse claims involving public entities, such as counties, cities, school districts and special districts 
      • Mediated case involving massive injuries following a tour bus accident
      • As settlement judge, helped parties resolve numerous cases asserting dangerous condition of public property
      • Acted as settlement judge in dozens of cases alleging elder abuse at nursing homes
      • As both trial and settlement judge, presided over a voluminous number of cases involving serious bodily injuries from automobile, truck and bicycle accidents, as well as slip-and-falls
      • Presided over cases alleging violations of civil rights and the Bane Act
      • Presided over innumerable Song-Beverly Act consumer warranty cases, including aiding settlement and/or ruling on attorneys’ fees provisions
      • As a judge, handled personal injury matters involving uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claims
  • Professional Liability
      • Acted as settlement judge in legal malpractice actions, many involving complicated insurance coverage issues
      • Facilitated settlement in emotionally charged legal malpractice dispute
      • As a judge, handled legal malpractice actions involving medical and nursing boards 
      • Presided over dozens of cases alleging real estate and/or financial broker liability
      • Presided over numerous medical malpractice actions, from ruling on summary judgment motions to supervising settlement conferences
  • Real Property
      • As a judge, helped parties settle many complicated cases involving prescriptive easements, easements by necessity, implied easements and view easements
      • Acted as settlement judge in cases involving inverse condemnation and eminent domain
      • Presided over numerous cases involving landslides and substantial earth movement, often entailing competing claims among neighbors, HOAs and insurers
      • Acted as a trial and settlement judge in matters asserting wrongful foreclosure, breach of forbearance agreements and violations of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights
      • Presided over dozens of emotional cases between family members and/or former friends/partners who jointly own property and are seeking rescission, partition and/or damages
      • As a judge and attorney, handled claims brought by and against HOAs relating to breach of the CCRs 
      • As a judge, handled Americans with Disabilities Act cases involving building code violations 
      • Presided over numerous disputes between buyers, sellers and their respective agents concerning fraud, failure to disclose and breach of contract 
      • As a judge, oversaw many disputes between neighbors relating to trees, landscaping, encroachments, nuisance, trespass and quiet title 
      • As a judge and attorney, handled numerous cases between landlords and tenants, including those arising from unlawful detainer, habitability claims and breach of residential or commercial leases 

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations 

  • Member, Executive Committee, Contra Costa County Superior Court, 2012–2020, 2023
  • Member, California Judges Association 
    • Executive Committee, 2013, 2014
    • Civil Law and Procedure Committee, 2014–2020
      • Chair, 2016–2018
      • Vice Chair, 2015
  • Member, Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee, 2018–2023
  • Elected Member, Executive Committee of Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, 2017, 2018
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency, Judicial Council, 2014–2017
  • President, Women’s Section, Contra Costa County Bar Association, 2001
  • Member, Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court, 2000–2005
  • Member, California Woman Lawyers
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
    • Board Member, 1995–1996

Selected Awards and Honors 

  • Alumnus of the Year, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2017
  • Trial Court Judge of the Year, Alameda Contra-Costa Trial Lawyers’ Association, 2013

Selected Trainings and Teachings  

  • Instructor, Ethics and Trials, New Judges Orientation
  • Faculty, Family Law Overview Course, Contra Costa County Superior Court, 2013

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court, Contra Costa County, 2003–2024
    • Civil Fast-Track Department, 2015–2017, 2019–2023
      • Supervising Civil Judge, 2023
    • Presiding Judge, 2017, 2018
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2015, 2016
    • Family Law, 2011–2014
      • Supervising Family Law Judge, 2012, 2013, 2014 
  • Neutral, JAMS, 2000–2003
  • Of Counsel, Morison-Knox Holden Melendez & Prough LLP, 1998–2000 
  • Associate, Chavez & Gertler LLP, 1995–1998 
  • Associate, Farrow, Bramson, Chavez & Baskin, 1993–1995 
  • Associate, Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, 1989–1993
  • Associate, Kornblum & McBride, 1987–1989
  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1987
  • B.S., Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley, 1983 


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