Hon. David A. Garcia (Ret.)

T: 415-982-5267
F: 415-982-5287
Estates/Probate/Trusts
Hon. David A. Garcia (Ret.) has been a full time neutral at JAMS since 2003, and prior to that served 20 distinguished years on San Francisco’s municipal and superior courts. Known for his energy, intelligence, and thoughtful decision-making, he successfully blends his technical expertise in estate, probate, and trust matters involving complex property and income, and high emotional content to help parties resolve disputes.

Judge Garcia has mediated and arbitrated numerous matters involving will contests, trust amendments, creditor claims, breach of fiduciary duty, distribution of property including personal property and businesses, among others. Judge Garcia is fluent in Spanish as well as English.

Representative Matters 
  • Complex community property dispute involving distribution of dividends from trust and resolution of long term spousal support issues; estate valued at $100 million
  • Discovery Referee of consolidated actions involving a trust dispute regarding alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, and, separately, regarding entitlement to occupancy and ownership of Napa Valley ranch 
  • Mediated the negotiation of a marital settlement agreement involving community property interest in multiple real estate properties acquired during the course of matrimony, and entitlement to proceeds from the sale of the family home; resolution of dissolution actions pending in Nevada and California
  • Resolved an inheritance dispute regarding the division of properties among several brothers; mediation conducted in Spanish 
    Trust, estate, and interrelated partnership dispute in a multigenerational family owned business that included entitlement to Sonoma County ranch; trust and estate valued in excess of $35 million
  • Probate dispute regarding amended trust and related will between original and successive charitable beneficiaries; valued at $15 million 
    Family trust dispute regarding entitlement to works of art valued at $20 million dollars, including claims of heirs and beneficiaries to trust and competing claims by heirs of artist 
  • Mediated intra-family trust dispute regarding breaches of fiduciary duty, supervised sale of commercial property comprising primary asset, and supervised accounting of trust expenditures

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Author of various publications about litigation and ADR in a variety of practice areas, including real estate, employment and commercial litigation, including Rutter Group Landlord Tenant Practice Guide
  • Founder and Board Member, Alta Vista Elementary School, San Francisco, 2009-present
  • Member, California Judges Association, 1983-present
  • Member, San Francisco Conservation Corps, 1987-2000
  • Member: Planning Committee, CJER, Civil Proceedings Bench-Book Project; Planning Committee, CJA Annual Conference, 1990
  • Mayoral appointee, San Francisco Employment and Training Council, 1978-1982
  • "Scholarly Approach," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, October 31, 2014

Background and Education

  • Judge, San Francisco Superior Court, 1990-2003
  • Judge, San Francisco Municipal Court, 1983-1990
  • General Counsel/Executive and Legal Affairs Secretary, California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, 1978-1982
  • Partner, Private Practice, San Francisco, 1974-1977
  • Managing Attorney/Staff Counsel, Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, Mission Law Office, San Francisco, 1971-1973 and 1973-1974
  • Professor of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, 1974-1983
  • LL.M., Yale Law School, 1971
  • J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law, 1970
  • B.A., University of San Francisco, 1967

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