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Hon. Franz E. Miller
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Hon. Franz E. Miller (Ret.)

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

Hon. Franz E. Miller (Ret.) joined JAMS after 16 years of service on the Orange County Superior Court. His tenure at the court was equally divided between the Family Law Panel and the Civil Law Panel, where he was supervising judge during the last two years of that assignment.

Judge Miller handled thousands of matters, tried more than 500 contested cases and settled many cases that were destined for trial. He served as settlement officer on highly contested matters. The superior court’s settlement program afforded him the ability to focus on case dynamics and to resolve cases that might otherwise have moved on to lengthy, expensive trials.

Judge Miller came to the bench with vast and varied legal experience, including more than 13 years of litigation involving more than 30 jury trials and 13 years as a senior staff attorney at the Court of Appeal. He taught in local law schools as an adjunct professor for over 20 years. 

During his legal career, Judge Miller was very active in the Orange County legal community, serving as president of the Orange County Bar Association in 1997, and in his local community, where he was a planning commissioner.

Judge Miller brings to JAMS his desire to resolve matters in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • 16 years on the Orange County Superior Court bench
  • Handled thousands of matters and tried over 500 contested cases covering a wide array of civil and family law cases
  • Served as settlement officer for the superior court’s settlement program
  • Frequent lecturer before numerous professional organizations on subjects including appellate advocacy, attorney competence and legal ethics, appellate practice, evidence, civil procedure and family law

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Breach of agreement for purchase-sale of multi-million-dollar environmental business
      • Breach of commercial contract between local professional sports team and longtime sponsor
      • Action between foreign bank and local company involving fraud and successor liability issues
      • Major environmental issues regarding gasoline plume migration impacting lease/sale option for commercial property
      • Breach of contract/fraud action regarding sale of luxury/specialty automobile business
      • Action for non-payment of commission for sale of south Orange County golf course
      • Action between major county hospital and emergency transport service over payment of fees per contract; substantial contractual interpretation issues
      • Action between former sports star franchisee against major local restaurant chain regarding discount card use
      • Multi-party multi-phase action regarding ownership and profits of strip club
      • Multiple causes of action involving Vietnamese seafood importing business
      • Fraud case involving millions of dollars in gold coins
      • Partner of multi-manufacturer dealership business defrauded widow of former partner; substantial punitive damages award
  • Civil Rights
      • Settled a longstanding dispute between pro-life advocates and a local college district regarding a workable program to balance the advocates’ free speech rights and the district’s logistical issues
      • Action and cross-actions involving members of Muslim organization’s governing board
      • Civil injunction against massage parlor for alleged acts of prostitution
      • Mandate action by unified high school district involving decision by professional competence commission regarding commission’s declination to discipline teacher
      • Action pertaining to artist excluded from major art festival
      • Civil ADA action relating to placement of gas pump card readers
  • Construction
      • Five-and-a-half-month trial of general contractor’s multi-million-dollar suit against multiple subcontractors involving multiple school projects
      • Action between general contractor and subcontractor regarding installation of industrial printing machines
  • Employment Law
      • Protracted collective bargaining dispute between county and sheriff’s department
      • Wrongful termination action between famous, highly successful entrepreneur and his organizer/coordinator; issue regarding whether termination involved her testimony in a grand jury proceeding against the entrepreneur
      • Wage and hour action involving car wash employees
      • Wage and hour action relating to ostensible carpet cleaning independent contractor
      • Action between former sheriff’s deputy and county involving alleged wrongful discharge; many writs and appeals involved, as well as POBRA issues
  • Family Law
    • Property Division

      • Sophisticated property valuation of aging shopping center
      • Pereira/Van Camp issue involving elderly litigants where employed spouse stayed on as titular executive of iron plant for many years
      • Complex valuation of future stock options for property division
      • Extensive expert and lay testimony regarding fraud and breach of fiduciary duty regarding marital assets by financial planner spouse

      Support/Determination of Income

      • Characterization of “roommate’s share of rent” as income to lessee (published Court of Appeal opinion)
      • Appropriate amount of child support in extremely high earner case (as Court of Appeal senior staff attorney)
      • Numerous cases involving determination of self-employment income

      Date of Separation

      • Date of separation involving couple who lived in separate countries a significant amount of time
      • Date of separation involving couple who lived separately in same house for a number of years


      • Multiple cases involving the reunification of children with substance abusing parents
      • Highly contested custody/visitation matter involving couple who often moved to different states and countries
      • Complex custody/visitation alienation case involving case manager professional and three adolescent children whose alliances were split
      • Highly contested custody/visitation issue regarding high-risk child with cystic fibrosis and involving significant interaction with minor’s counsel
      • Appropriate custody/visitation plan for former professional athlete with substance abuse issues involving long-distance move-away
      • Reunification of alienated parent and child in seemingly intractable dispute

      Other Family Law Issues

      • Dissolution between two major entertainment celebrities with personal jurisdiction and default issues
      • Validity/impact of foreign divorce decree involving determination of foreign court’s jurisdiction
      • Competency of elderly, highly educated spouse to dissolve marriage
      • Highly contested dissolution involving scion of a major real estate development family
      • Complex issues regarding transfer of assets and income earned in foreign country
      • Interpretation and impact of parties’ trust agreement language pertaining to duration of marriage (published Court of Appeal opinion)
      • Extensive evidence regarding transfer of funds to and in a foreign country
      • Alleged misappropriation of marital funds and transfer to children of prior marriage
      • Multistate litigation regarding alleged domestic violence by maternal grandfather on children of marriage with estrangement issues
  • Personal Injury
      • Personal injury action against sushi restaurant arising from sale of raw river crabs resulting in substantial and continuing ill health
      • Action by daughter of decedent for elder abuse and related causes of action arising from substandard assisted living care; substantial punitive damages award
      • Products liability action against major tire maker involving significant foreign discovery issues
      • Fall by disabled person in restroom at Major League Baseball stadium
      • Fall over waiting line rope at major amusement park
  • Professional Liability
      • Legal malpractice action arising from usurious loan transaction with attorney conflict-of-interest issues
  • Real Property
      • Lease dispute between major local sports team and city-owned stadium involving parking that raised significant issue regarding property versus contract aspects of the lease (as Court of Appeal senior staff attorney)
      • Homeowners’ association action against wealthy homeowners for multiple CC&Rs violations
      • Action between wealthy neighbors concerning landscaping and construction incursions
      • Action by homeowners’ association in affluent beach community for unauthorized construction that impinged on neighbor’s right to privacy
      • Prescriptive easement issue involving side yard in high-density housing development
      • Action between land developer and county over tax assessment of undeveloped commercial property
      • Breach of commercial lease on large property with cross-complaint for wrongful eviction
      • Multiple causes of action arising from habitability/retaliatory eviction issues

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Orange County Superior Court
    • Executive Committee, 2004–2008, 2012, 2016–2017
    • Served on numerous committees, including Finance Committee, Temporary Judge Committee, Strategic Planning Team, Judicial Education Committee, Legal Resources Committee, Connecting With Constituencies Committee
  • Orange County Bar Association
    • President, 1997–1998
    • Executive Committee, 1994–1998
    • Director, 1990–1993
  • Member, Master Bencher, Robert Banyard Inn of Court, 1999–Present
    • Board Member, 2004–2010
    • President, 2006–2008
  • Director, Charitable Fund, Orange County Bar Association,1999–2002
  • California Center for Judicial Education and Research Ethics and Fairness Curriculum Committee, 2010–2016
  • California Judicial Council Task Force on Public Information and Education, Commission for Impartial Courts, 2007–2009
  • California Judicial Council Access and Fairness Advisory Committee, 2003–2009
  • President, Board of Trustees, Orange County Law Library, 2001–2002
  • Director, Orange County Bar Foundation, 1994
  • Director, Public Law Center, 1994
  • Member of numerous bar associations, including Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Women Lawyers Association, Celtic Bar Association, Orange County Asian American Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association

Select Awards and Honors

  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Asian American Bar Association, 2013
  • Judicial Excellence Award, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, 2012
  • Judicial Civility Award, Robert Banyard Inn of Court, 2012
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Women Lawyers Association, 2012
  • Judge of the Year, Celtic Bar Association, 2006
  • Judge of the Year, Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County, 2004
  • Attorney of the Year, Orange County Women Lawyers, 2001

Background and Education

  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 2002–2019
    • Family Law Panel, 2002–2007, 2015–2019
    • Unlimited Civil Panel, 2007–2015
      • Supervising Judge, 2014–2015
  • Senior Staff Attorney, Court of Appeal, 1989–2002
  • Adjunct Professor of Law
    • Whittier Law School, 1997–2013
    • Chapman University School of Law, 1996–1997
    • Western State University College of Law, 1991–1996
  • City of Yorba Linda
    • Planning Commissioner, 1989–1994 (Chair, 1992–1993)
    • Parks and Recreation Commissioner, 1984–1989
  • Attorney, Private Practice, 1983–1989
  • Attorney, Orange County Deputy Public Defender, 1976–1983
  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 1974
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1971


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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