Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.)

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Civil Rights

Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.) joined JAMS following a judicial career spanning nearly 30 years. She was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in 1992, serving as Chief Judge from 2005 to 2012. Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Gonzalez also worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Arizona and the Central District of California, as well as an attorney in private practice.  She later served as a U.S. Magistrate judge and a San Diego County Superior Court judge.

Whether it is handling claims involving violation of civil rights that occurred upon execution of a search warrant, litigating cases involving false arrests or cases involving excessive force, Judge Gonzalez has formed the bedrock for her well-respected range of knowledge concerning civil rights matters.

Highly regarded among counsel for her fairness and deep knowledge of legal issues, Judge Gonzalez brings an experienced approach to resolving even the most complex and contentious disputes. Her background makes her an ideal arbitrator, mediator, and special master for civil rights cases involving a wide range of issues.  Judge Gonzalez is also fluent in Spanish.

Representative Matters

  • Arrestee 42 USC § 1983 action against county and sheriff deputies alleging unlawful seizure and excessive force, as well as state law claims for negligence, battery, and false arrest
  • Lawsuit brought by plaintiff under 42 USC § 1983 and various state laws against county and deputy sheriff for violating his civil rights that occurred upon execution of search warrant
  • Lawsuit brought under 42 USC § 1983 against city and various officers for wrongful death, excessive force, failure to properly train, and various state law claims
  • Claim against a deputy sheriff for excessive force in use of a Taser
  • Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and Bivens lawsuit brought against the United States and 12 individual named federal agents claiming violations of Fourth Amendment right from unreasonable seizure and excessive force.
  • Claim against a law enforcement officer and county alleging unlawful detention and excessive force
  • Claims of violations of California Invasion of Privacy Act/calls secretly recorded or eavesdropped by employer without knowledge or consent of employees.

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2013
  • Honored at Sixth Annual Judiciary Reception, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, 2013
  • Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award, California Women Lawyers, 2011
  • Outstanding Jurist Award, San Diego County Bar Association, 2008
  • Member, Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • Advisory Board, San Diego La Raza Lawyers
  • Board of Visitors, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Board of Trustees, California Western School of Law
  • Member, California Women Lawyers
  • Member, National Association of Women Judges
  • Judicial Advisory Board, Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego
  • Master, William B. Enright Inn of Court
  • Advisory Board, Federal Bar Association, San Diego Chapter
  • Co-Chair, Federal Practice Task Force of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, 2011-2013
  • Member, Supreme Court Fellows Program Commission, 2011-present
    • Appointed as chair in 2012
  • Chair, Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2010
  • President, Ninth Circuit District Judges Association, 2009-2011
  • Member, Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security, 2008-2013
  • Member, Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, 2007-2010
  • Member, Ninth Circuit Space and Security Committee, 2006-2013
  • Member, Federal Judicial Center Benchbook Committee, 2003-2009
    • Appointed as chair in 2009
  • Member, Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judge System, 1998-2005
  • Founding Member, Latinas in the Law
  • Participant, Children at Risk
  • "Enterprising Evaluator," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, July 17, 2015
  • Honoree, San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame, 2017

Background and Education

  • United States District Court Judge, Southern District of California, 1992-2013
    • Chief, 2005-2012
    • Senior status, 2013
  • Judge, San Diego County Superior Court, 1991-1992
  • U.S. Magistrate Judge, Southern District of California, 1984-1990
  • Associate, Seltzer, Caplan, Wilkins, & McMahon, 1981-1984
  • Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Prosecution Division, District of Arizona and Central District of California, 1975-1981
  • Law Clerk, Hon. William C. Frey, United States District Court for the District of Arizona, 1973-1975
  • J.D., University of Arizona
  • B.A., Stanford University

Disclaimer

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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