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Hon. David E. Hunter (Ret.)

Hon. David E. Hunter (Ret.)

General Biography
Practice Areas
Governmental/Public Agency
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury/Torts
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. David E. Hunter (Ret.), presided over hundreds of jury trials and resolved over one thousand civil cases in settlement conferences during his 34 years on the Alameda County Superior Court. His skill in reaching resolution is recognized both by the lawyers who have appeared before him and by his fellow judges. On the bench, Judge Hunter earned a reputation for pushing parties to consider settlement where appropriate. He is noted for serving as settlement judge in clergy abuse cases throughout the Bay Area and beyond, individually negotiating and resolving over 80 cases. Additionally, he was often given Complex Civil Litigation Calendar case assignments.

As a mediator, Judge Hunter takes an engaged, evaluative approach. Using his extensive experience, he is able to facilitate the parties’ recognition of legal and evidentiary issues and urge changes of positions to achieve settlement.  When serving as an arbitrator and discovery referee, Judge Hunter is respected for his insightful approach and ability to get to the heart of the relevant issues and decisively arrive at a fair resolution.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Full-time JAMS neutral since 2012, successfully resolving matters in practice areas including business/commercial, employment, real property, personal injury, and professional liability
  • Served on the Alameda County Superior Court for over 16 years; handled all types of civil litigation including breach of contract, civil RICO, construction defects, elder abuse, health care (writs of mandate by medical doctors after exhaustion of peer review proceedings), insurance coverage, landlord-tenant, medical malpractice, patent ownership, products liability, receiverships, toxic torts, trade secrets, trusts and probate
  • Prior to joining the bench, practiced general litigation for over a decade

Representative Matters

  • Auto
      • Handled many personal injury claims arising out of auto accidents; issues involved include causation, nature and extent of the injuries, insurance disputes such as underinsured and uninsured motorists, and damages calculation
      • Handled a number of personal injury claims against transit agencies by passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists involving issues such as negligence, medical issues including traumatic brain injuries, cognitive and psychological deficits, and resulting insurance dispute
      • Uninsured motorist matter involving disputed discovery issues concerning production of medical records and the right to privacy
      • Dispute between a bicyclist and the driver of a car parked alongside a public roadway for injuries the bicyclist sustained from an open car door
      • Driver of a pick-up truck died after colliding with a semi-trailer truck that over-shot a left hand turn; deceased was under the influence and had a revoked license
      • Personal injury dispute involving an auto accident between a major grocery store delivery truck and a motorcycle
  • Business/Commercial
      • Breach of contract matter involving a question about the ownership of equipment and improvements made to property being leased
      • Dispute in which an educational group allegedly misrepresented the accreditation status of certain doctoral programs
      • Matter involving the commercial finance leases and service agreements of computerized management systems of auto and recreational vehicle dealerships
      • Dispute regarding a residential loan modification agreement
      • Breach of licensing agreement of an analog transmission tower; issues included maintenance of the facility, federal regulations of analog and digital broadcasting, and contractual prohibitions against sub-letting
      • Breach of contract dispute regarding a memorandum of understanding between manufacturer and purchaser companies digital communication technology
      • Dispute regarding the re-sale of a luxury vehicle and alleged fraudulent representations regarding its condition
      • Matter involving the ownership of a Brazilian steak house based on an oral contract and a term sheet that was not signed; seller allegedly rescinded when buyers failed to make required payments
      • Dispute between siblings that formed an LLC to facilitate their joint investment in commercial real estate in two different states; issues involved bookkeeping, appraisal, and eventual buyout
      • Pacific Coast Container, Inc. v. Zim American Integrated Shipping Co., RG07-330657, maritime contract dispute involving interpretation of Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement, Court’s judgment affirmed by Court of Appeal
      • Cortes v. Cortes, RG08-369935, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment
      • Safeway v. Pivotal, 2001-028498, breach of contract involving anti-trust issues, judgment affirmed by Court of Appeal
      • JP Morgan v. Jaber, RG11-563755, appointment of receiver after default on promissory note/commercial security agreement
  • Construction Defect
      • Residential housing development project that involved multiple disputes including defects on the units and failure to build the units with the specified contractual period
      • As a judge, tried many cases involving defective work in remodeling private dwellings, breach of public works contracts based on claims of negligence/defective work, contractors’ licensing issues, disputes regarding bidding on public and private contracts, and mechanics liens, stop notices and bonding disputes
      • Jones vs. Eden Housing Management, VG04-153398, alleged defective construction of a large apartment complex; defect allowed water intrusion causing toxic mold resulting in asthma.  Numerous expert witnesses testified about the construction process including a roofer who constructed an exemplar roof in front of the jury
      • In re: SCADA Cases, JCCP 004364, construction disputes concerning San Francisco Water District’s supervisory control and data acquisition system (“SCADA”).  Four month jury trial included numerous expert witnesses testifying about the construction process, including delays and RFI and change order disputes and involved tech issues, e.g. satellite uplink
  • Elder Abuse/Sexual Abuse
      • Young boy was sexually abused by soccer coach who was an employee of defendant; defendant company had knowledge of the inappropriate conduct on their premises and using their company vehicles
      • As settlement judge, negotiated and resolved 56 Clergy III abuse cases pending in Alameda County including cases pending in the Court of Appeals. Subsequently mediated clergy cases pending in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Contra Costa Counties
      • Bergman v. Wing Chin, H-205732-1, first elder abuse case ever tried by a jury on the issue of the failure of a healthcare provider to properly treat pain; jury verdict of $1.5 million. Plaintiff’s counsel states that some of the current CACI jury instructions were modeled after the jury instructions in this case.
      • Brian B. v. Jonathan Tampico, V-016546-8, sexual abuse of a minor, court disallowed defendant’s expert’s testimony, court’s decision affirmed by Court of Appeal
  • Employment
      • Handled numerous wage and hour disputes with claims including failure to pay overtime, failure to provide proper meal and rest breaks, failure to maintain payroll records, failure to provide itemized statement of wages, and failure to provide adequate facilities
      • Dispute regarding failure to provide reasonable accommodation and harassment
      • Matter in which a supervisor allegedly made comments about the employee’s sexuality and citizenship and subsequent to the investigation of the incident, the employee was terminated; employer maintains legitimate business reasons for termination, employee alleges wrongful termination
      • Former employee alleged sex discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination against employer for protocols that were intended to hide her pregnancy
      • Multiple employees alleged they were denied payment by employer for accrued vacation time after termination; employer made claims of wrongful removal of proprietary information and breach of contract
      • Wage and hour dispute between employee and employer where in-kind payment was allegedly made without a written agreement; parties also had a romantic, cohabiting relationship and each made defamatory statements on the internet against each other 
      • Pico v. Regents, 2002-060035, disability discrimination case
      • Margaret Dufresne v. City of Hayward, 2002-067063, hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation, judgment affirmed by Court of Appeal
      • Mayne v. Northern California Carpenters, RG07-350175, violation of CFRA rights, retaliation, disability discrimination – disparate treatment
  • Estate Probate Trusts
      • Dispute involving multiple family trusts in which one of the trustees was deceased and other in poor health; issues included the appointment of a conservator for the remaining trustee, disagreements over the execution of the advanced healthcare directive, as well as the accounting by the trustee
  • Intellectual Property
      • Dispute between companies over trademark usage, agreement unclear whether it was a licensing agreement or an attempted assignment of the mark, also at issue was the geographical area where in the mark could be used
      • Mohanrao v. Jaiswal, 2002-071195, trade secret and patent ownership case
      • Numerous intellectual property related discovery disputes
  • Other Personal Injury
      • Matter involving injuries sustained by a developmentally challenged plaintiff that was assaulted by a group with gang affiliation
      • Raimondi v. Ford Motor Co., H-197262-5, products liability case based on a design defect. Plaintiff sustained catastrophic injuries. Verdict over $51 million, judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeal
      • Helm, Streed, Krasky v. Lincoln Air Conditioning, RG07-346948, three air traffic controllers claimed injuries sustained from toxic fumes emitted from a sealant used by defendant on plaintiffs’ job site, judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeal
      • Noushfsar v. Shayesteh, CH-195769-5, Civil RICO case, Court’s judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeal
      • Abousleiman v. Walgreen, RG10-520010, defamation and privacy
      • Koopen v. Aberle, HG06-266136, boat accident resulting in a catastrophic brain injury, jury verdict of nearly $6 million plus Court’s additur of $6 million
  • Premises Liability
      • Matter involving multiple plaintiffs who were shot by an unknown assailant at a party with 600 attendees; issues of premises liability, including whether the ballroom had adequate security
      • A developmentally disabled child that suffered seizures was bullied on a bus and brought claims for premises liability against the bus company
      • Premises liability matter involving a stairwell at a hotel that did not have a guardrail; plaintiff suffered from vision impairment, failed to see the ledge, fell into the stairwell and was seriously injured
      • Handled a number of slip and fall matters involving determination of liability involving supermarkets, hotels, city governments, and regional utility companies
  • Professional Liability
      • Resolved a number of professional liability matters including legal, accounting, and real estate; issues involved include fee and commission disputes and failure to disclose conflicts
      • Handled medical malpractice matters involving issues including negligence and compliance with standard of care
      • Handled the insurance coverage issues related to a legal malpractice matter that also alleged breach of fiduciary duty and fraud
      • Lemon Law matter brought by purchaser against the agent for failure to investigate and discover defects that made car unsafe to drive; agent alleged dealer was at fault for not disclosing damage after an independent inspection
      • Arnold v. Breza, 2002-077200, breach of fiduciary duty, removal of trustee, four-month jury trial
      • Page v. Carper, 2001-018444, medical malpractice case involving VBAC delivery with uterine rupture resulting in catastrophic brain damage to infant, jury verdict of $14.8 million against hospital and doctor
  • Real Property
      • Dispute between a commercial tenant and lessor for breach of contract because the lessor violated a restrictive covenant that prohibited leasing to a business offering similar services
      • Wrongful foreclosure matter which involved issues with loan payments, notice of default, and refunded property taxes, as well as the alleged violation of an agreement to postpone foreclosure sale
      • Landlord/Tennant dispute over a number of issues including habitability, sexual harassment, and wrongful eviction
      • Complex real estate transaction on a high-value property where the deed of trust was forged
      • Breach of warranty of habitability (water intrusion and mold) against an apartment complex which caused heath issues for plaintiff, including complications to her pregnancy and delivery of her child
      • Matter involving breach of habitability claims including electrical and sewer problems, rodent infestation, and mold; other issues included limited insurance coverage and whether the statute of limitations was tolled  by the continuing nature of the violations over a nine-year period
      • Quiet title action in a residence which was used as a guarantee on a loan
      • Retaliatory eviction matter; court had ruled in favor of the tenants because of improper service of three-day notice but dispute remained as to other contractual terms applied
      • Liability claims against a property management company by a tenant that suffered injuries as a result of poor maintenance of facilities
      • Davis v. Busk, 2004, negotiated a settlement for 124 tenants against their landlord for almost $4,000,000
      • Numerous cases involving Rent Ordinance Violations
  • Wrongful Death
      • Wrongful death claim against a medical service company for the death of a disable veteran who died after his wheelchair tipped over in a transport van while being taken to a dialysis center for treatment

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

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

  • Member, Alameda County Bar Association
  • Member, Alameda County Law Library Board of Trustees, 1985-Present
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda-Contra Costa Lawyers’ Association, 2002
  • Municipal Court Judge of the Year, Southern Alameda County Bar Association, 1984 and 1989
  • Chair, Alameda County Judicial Coordinating Committee, 1982-1985
  • Member, Alameda County Law Library Board of Trustees, 1985-Present
  • Faculty, B. E. Witkin Judicial College of California, 1985
  • President, Association of Municipal Court Judges of Alameda County, 1980-1982
  • "First Hand Advice," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, September 20, 2013

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court of Alameda County, 1998-2012
    • Appellate Division of the Alameda County Superior Court, 2007-2008
    • Coordinated Judge, 1995-1997
  • Judge, San Leandro-Hayward Municipal Court, 1978-1995
    • Presiding Judge, four years
  • David E. Hunter, Attorney at Law, 1973-1978
  • Associate, Abel, Kyle & Hunter, 1967-1972
  • J.D., UC Hastings College of Law, 1967
  • B.A., Economics, Brigham Young University, 1964 
  • Foreign language: German
  • Owned and operated a 6,000-acre cattle ranch for 20 years


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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