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William Pate

Hon. William C. Pate (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Jenny Truex
T: 619-237-0805
F: 619-236-9032
401 B Street, Suite 2100, San Diego, CA 92101

William C. Pate is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. William C. Pate (Ret.) effectively handles a wide variety of civil matters, including complex cases. Judge Pate joined JAMS following 20 years of distinguished service with the San Diego County Superior Court. During that time, he regularly served as a coordinating judge for Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP), where cases filed in multiple California counties are consolidated to a single court. Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Pate worked for 14 years as a civil litigator in private practice.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Chaired the ADR Committee of the American Bar Association, Torts and Insurance Practices Section
  • Conducted hundreds of mediations including class actions, commercial, employment, products liability and mass torts
  • Conducted numerous mediations arising out of the automobile industry including employment, discrimination, “lemon” law, consumer fraud, and products liability
  • One of a select panel of mediators resolving hundreds of claims arising from the San Diego Wildfires of 2007. Frequently selected to decide wildfire cases submitted to "binding mediation."
  • Particularly knowledgeable in mediating employment wage and hour class actions, employment discrimination matters, and consumer Song-Beverly class actions
  • Selected as special master and discovery referee in complex civil cases, including the Catholic Archdiocese sexual abuse litigation, and gaming issue disputes between Native American Tribes
  • Selected by the presiding justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal to develop and institute a civil settlement program for Division One
  • Served as arbitrator for commercial, employment and other types of disputes

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
    • Breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims against corporation and venture capitalists
    • Breach of contract case involving sale of minor league baseball team
    • Breach of contract involving construction of Hawaiian power plant
    • Breach of contract for legal services involving Mexican law
    • Fraud claim brought by over twenty major corporations against international corporation for fraudulently manipulating increase in copper prices worldwide
    • Malicious prosecution claim by a major league baseball team against a community activist for delaying the construction of a baseball stadium
    • Presided as judge over a 26 day trial involving breach of construction contract case against municipality
  • Class Action
    • Class action against bank for overcharging for fire insurance on mortgaged property
    • Class action against bank for using improper interest calculation methods
    • Class action against major wireless communications provider for various billing and contract termination practices; class was nationwide with over 50 million members
    • Class action for wages due for installing cabinets on residential construction projects
    • Several class actions for wages for claimed non-exempt employees in “manager” positions in retail sales
  • Construction Defect
    • Construction defect claims arising from the construction of major municipality’s convention center
    • Presided as judge over HOA construction defect case against developer
  • Employment
    • Substantial experience in resolving wage and hour individual and class action claims based on overtime, off-the-clock, commissions, bonuses, meal and rest breaks, regular rate of pay calculations, wage statements, donning and doffing, reimbursement claims, misclassification, waiting time penalties, seating accomodation, and PAGA violations involving national corporations
    • Disputes arising out of whistle-blower status, discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation claims
    • Employee's racial discrimination case against municipality
    • Wrongful termination case against local television station
    • Wrongful termination of corporate executive
  • Insurance
    • Complex coverage dispute against insurers handling claims related to flood damages arising from excess agricultural irrigation water that caused sea level to rise 
    • Mediated and arbitrators hundreds of FEMA-related claims from the 2007 San Diego wildfires
    • Represented homeowners in fire claims against insurance companies
    • Discovery referee regarding discovery disputes prior to trial
    • Breach of contract against major insurance company, settled after 8 days of trial
    • Breach of fiduciary duty by title insurance company
    • Claim between excess and primary insurers arising from crane accident resulting in wrongful death
    • Claim of bad faith against international insurance company over failure to pay claim of major league baseball team for injury to pitcher
    • Insurance bad faith case against insurance company
    • Claim of bad faith against international insurance company arising from damage to ship that drills offshore oil wells
  • Product Liability
    • Products liability case against a crane company
    • Products liability case by HOA against developer for using polybutelene pipes
    • Two cases arising from helicopter crashes -- military helicopter and law enforcement helicopter
  • Professional Liability
    • Medical malpractice case brought by professional baseball player. Sale of body parts by a crematorium, tried two of several coordinated cases
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Fellow, Academy of Court Appointed Masters
  • Outstanding Jurist Award, 2006, San Diego County Bar Association
  • Alba Witkin Award for Humanitarian Judge of the Year, California Judges Association, 2006
  • Master, Enright Inn of Court
  • Member, California Trial Court Budget Commission, 1991-2001
  • California Judges Association, 1986-present
  • Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Torts and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association, 1983-1984
  • Chair, Resolutions Committee, California State Bar’s Conference of Delegates, 1981
  • Contributing Editor and Lecturer, Rutter Group’s California Civil Procedure Before Trial
  • Teacher, Court Budget Course for Presiding Judges and Court Administrators, California Trial Courts
  • Lecturer, Rutter Group’s Yearly Civil Procedure Update; California Judicial Educational Research; California Judges Association; California Continuing Education of the Bar
  • "Neutral Infuses Negotiations with Dose of Reality," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, September 23, 2011
  • Judge, Superior Court San Diego County, CA, 1986-2006
    • Judge, Civil Independent Calendaring Dept., 1990-1992 and 1996-2006
    • Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court, 1993-1995
  • Clerk, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1971-72
  • Officer, Marine Corps, 1966-69

Counsel Comments

    • “I heartily applaud Judge Pate for his initiative in seeking to make the damaged communities of our state better than they were before the hurricane, and the positive impact he has had on the lives of others. He has demonstrated a level of commitment and accomplishment that is truly extraordinary in today’s world, and deserves our sincere admiration and respect.”

      - Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Indian Law
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Securities
Available nationwide


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