Judge Nadler has developed a reputation for settling challenging legal disputes throughout his career as both a judge and mediator. As a judge for 20 years on the Sonoma County Superior Court, Judge Nadler focused on resolving complex civil matters and case management prior to trial. As a neutral, he is known for his clear and focused understanding of the factual and legal issues and understanding the personal dynamics of the parties.
While on the bench, Judge Nadler was elected presiding judge by his judicial colleagues for two terms. He was appointed to consecutive terms to the Judicial Council of California by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of California. He was appointed as a pro tem justice to the First District Court of Appeal in 2022. As a judge and neutral, he resolved highly emotional and complex cases, and was recognized by the Court of Appeals as a “most experienced” jurist in McClain v. Kissler 39 Cal.App.5th 399 (2021).
Prior to appointment to the bench, Judge Nadler was an AV-rated attorney. His law practice included antitrust, personal injury, complex business litigation, construction defect litigation and employment matters.
- Administrative Law
- Presided over a developer’s challenge as to whether a project qualified as a “public work” within the meaning of California’s Prevailing Wage Law
- Presided over petition for writ of mandate challenging county agricultural commissioner’s issuance of erosion-control permit for a vineyard under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
- Presided over numerous matters involving writs of mandate, including CEQA challenges involving the development of wineries
- Business Commercial
- Presided over a fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and breach of contract case involving a proposed $30 million resort project
- Presided over partnership disputes involving directors and partners concerning allegedly improper transactions
- Presided over matters involving breach of contract, partnership disputes, consumer protection and loans
- Construction Defect
- Represented parties involving multiparty construction/design defect disputes involving large-scale multi-home development projects
- Presided over insurance and case management issues arising from construction/design multi-home development projects
- Mediated construction disputes between owner and subcontractor involving construction of residential real estate
- Cybersecurity Data Breach
- Presided over an action involving data disclosure and privacy claims arising in a commercial context
- Presided over sexual harassment, discrimination (gender, age and race) and wrongful termination cases
- Determined numerous wage and hour class action motions for approval of settlements
- Presided over cases for wage and hour, meal break and Labor Code violations
- Presided over matters involving wrongful termination, discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment and hostile work environment
- Presided over matters involving disability, failure to accommodate and age discrimination
- Estate Probate Trusts
- Mediated actions brought by beneficiaries of a trust involving elder abuse, damages and restitution of trust property
- Mediated actions by family members alleging undue influence by deceased’s relative
- Appointed as discovery referee for estate litigation
- Personal Injury Torts
- Tort claims adjudicator in clergy sexual abuse actions and university mass tort settlements
- Mediated claims for premises liability, including slip-and-fall property hazards
- Settled, presided over and tried hundreds of cases arising from auto, pedestrian, bike and motorcycle accidents involving significant injuries
- Real Property
- Mediated an action for nuisance and injunctive relief involving adjoining property owners
- Presided over eminent domain claims relating to “big box” construction impacted by a state project to expand a freeway
- Mediated land use issues involving a winery and adjoining land owners
- Presided over a prescriptive easement claim involving adjoining properties
- Presided over and mediated multiple claims between neighbors involving easements, parking, landscaping, encroachments, views, privacy, noise and harassment
- Presided over HOA issues involving short-term rentals
- Presided over matters involving commercial lease disputes, residential lease disputes and landlord-tenant disputes involving habitability
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
- Member, Judicial Council of California (Appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of California), 2014–2019
- Resolution of the California Assembly (Recognizing outstanding service to the people of the County of Sonoma), 2011
- Certificate of Recognition, California State Legislature, 2009
- Resolution of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (Recognizing judicial service to the County of Sonoma), 2014
- Faculty, B.E. Witkin Judicial College of California, 2004–2019
- Civil Discovery, 2004–2019
- Experts, 2009–2013
- Civil Settlements, 2014–2015
- Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco School of Law, 1996–2010, 2014–2015
- Discovery Practice, 1996–2010
- Advanced Civil Litigation Practice, 2014–2015
- Applied Evidence, 2014–2015
- Continuing Judicial Studies Program; Civil Discovery, Attorneys’ Fees and Sanctions, Evidence in Civil and Criminal Cases, Evidence and Motions, Civil Law and Motion, 2006–2008
- Continuing Judicial Studies Program, Civil Law Overview for Experienced Judges, 2008
- Nadler, Bettinelli, Piasta, “California Civil Discovery Handbook,” West Publishing Company, 1992.
- Continuing Education of the Bar, “Action Guide: Compelling Discovery,” Fall 1986.
- Continuing Education of the Bar, “Action Guide: Compelling Discovery Under the 1986 Civil Discovery Act,” Spring 1988.
- Continuing Education of the Bar, “California Civil Discovery Practice” (4th Ed. 2006), Chapter Consultant: Taking and Defending Depositions, Interrogatories, Demands for Inspection.
- Co-Author, “Introduction to Civil Discovery,” San Francisco Daily Journal, 2016
- The Bar Journal, Sonoma County Bar Association, “Musings from the Bench: Responding to Discovery: Gamesmanship, Working It Out, and Sanctions,” Vol. 38, Issue 1, Summer 2014.
Representative Speaking Engagements
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Who Gets Mom’s Watch? Suggestions for a Successful Trust/Estate Mediation,” 2023.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Evidence in Law and Motion Proceedings,” 2022.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Civil Discovery,” 2021.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Trials and Settlement Conferences Over Zoom,” 2020.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Civil Trial Workshop” (Closing Arguments), 2019
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Judicial Independence,” 2019.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Civil Best Practices,” 2016.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Request for Admissions,” 2016.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Getting It Admitted Into Evidence,” 2015.
- Sonoma County Bar Association, “Tips From the Judges,” 2012.
- Faculty, Judges Institute, “Civil Law and Motion Practice: Recent Developments” and “Collaborative Courts Roundtable,” 2012
- Faculty, Civil Law Institute, “Civil Case Management and Trials” and “Discovery Update,” 2011.
- National Business Institute (Walnut Creek and Sacramento), “What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know,” 2011
Background and Education
- Arbitration Mediation Center, 2022–2023
- First District Court of Appeal, Division 4 (pro tem), 2022
- Sonoma County Superior Court,2002–2022
- Presiding Judge, 2009–2011, 2018–2019
- Assistant Presiding Judge, 2008–2009, 2016–2017
- Criminal Division, 2002–2004, 2009–2011, 2016–2017
- Family Law Division, 2005–2006
- Civil Division, 2007–2009, 2012–2015, 2019–2022
- Lanahan & Reily,2001–2002
- Abbey, Weitzenberg, Kelly, Nadler & Emery, 2000–2001
- Williams, Wester, Hall & Nadler, 1996–1999
- Hirschfield and Nadler, 1982–1996
- Alioto & Alioto, 1980–1982
- J.D., University of San Francisco Law School, 1979
- B.A., cum laude, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1976
- Phi Beta Kappa
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