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Hon. Ronald M. Sabraw

Hon. Ronald M. Sabraw (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Antitrust & Competition
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Financial Markets
Personal Injury
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Hon. Ronald M. Sabraw (Ret.) has earned a reputation as a highly skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable judge in handling all aspects of complex litigation. During his seven years of service as the complex litigation judge in Alameda County, Judge Sabraw handled hundreds of complex litigation matters, including numerous consumer, employee, and securities class actions, mass tort claims, complex coordinated cases, anti-trust, unfair business practices, real estate disputes, construction defect, Proposition 65 environmental claims, CEQA administrative writs, and insurance coverage claims.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Conducted hundreds of mandatory settlement conferences in all categories of civil litigation over twenty years as a judge
  • Complex litigation, 2000-2006; helped design and implement the Alameda County Superior Court’s first complex litigation department
  • Civil trials, case management, and settlement conferences, 1998-2000
  • Civil law and motion, 1993-1995
  • Family law, 1989-1991

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Clayworth v. Pfizer, Inc., Dkt.. No. RG04-172248. Cartwright Act claim brought by numerous retail pharmacies alleging a price fixing conspiracy among numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers to set a price floor. Court managed case aggressively to permit timely and appropriate discovery. Defendants ultimately prevailed on summary judgment asserting the “pass on” defense. Appeal expected.
      • Peoplesoft v. Oracle, Dkt. No. RG03-101434. Business tort claims regarding interference with contracts in connection with hostile takeover. Court conducted case management conferences every two weeks to resolve discovery disputes and to manage a wide range of issues. Case resolved following resolution of motions in limine.
      • Grafton v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Dkt. No. 2002-56106; Grafton v. Union Bank, Dkt. No. 2002-086160; Kipperman v. Sheppard Mullen, Dkt. No. RG03-087483. Claims against accountants, bank, and lawyers following collapse of Ponzi scheme. Court rendered numerous law and motion rulings on relationships and duties between and among the affected entities.
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Schwartz v. Visa and MasterCard, Dkt. No. 822404-4. Consumer claim regarding disclosure of currency conversion fees. Court addressed many significant (pre-Proposition 64) issues regarding California’s Unfair Competition Law. Following a six month bench trial the Court issued a 125 page Statement of Decision. Schwartz v. Visa, 2003 WL 1870370. The matter was settled on appeal.
      • Cell Phone Termination Fee Cases, JCCP 4332. Coordinated consumer class actions regarding early termination fees and handset locking. Court addressed issues concerning adequacy of disclosures and effect of class-wide counterclaims against consumers. These matters are still pending.
      • Cross-Country Bank Cases, JCCP 4380. Coordinated consumer class actions regarding alleged unlawful charges by credit card issuer. Court addressed issues concerning adequacy of disclosures and effect of class-wide counterclaims against consumers. These matters are still pending.
      • Match v. Pet Food Express, Dkt. No.RG03-127285. Consumer class action regarding allegedly contaminated pet food.
  • Construction Defect
      • BRE v. M. H. Podell, Dkt. No. RG03-087132. Construction defect case arising from the purchase, during the final phases of construction, of a large apartment complex constructed by the seller. The Court decided significant contract interpretation issues and managed significant discovery. Settlement was finally negotiated by the Court and the Special Master.
      • County of Contra Costa v. Arntz Builders, Dkt. No. RG05-197197. Construction defects in the remodeling and renovation of the Contra Costa County juvenile hall. There were numerous insurance coverage issues and construction defect claims asserted before the matter was settled.
  • Employment Law
      • Savaglio v. Wal-Mart, Dkt. No. C-835687-7. Employee class action by Wal-Mart employees alleging numerous violations of California’s labor laws. Managed case from inception through judgment, including significant discovery, law and motion, a three and a half month jury trial, a week-long court trial, and a year of post trial motions. Savaglio v. Wal-Mart, 2006 WL 3626295.
      • Thayer-Ogden v. Pottery Barn Kids, Dkt. No. RG05-199128. Employee class action by assistant store managers alleging misclassification of plaintiffs as “exempt” from overtime requirements. Class certification denied. Thayer-Ogden v. Pottery Barn Kids, Inc., 2006 WL 3378686.
      • Dunbar v. Albertson’s, Dkt. No. RG04-146326. Employee class action by assistant store managers alleging misclassification of plaintiffs as “exempt” from overtime requirements. Class certification denied. Dunbar v. Albertson's, Inc. (2006) 141 Cal. App. 4th 1422.
      • O’Hara v. Factory 2-U., Dkt. No. 834123-5. Employee class action alleging misclassification of plaintiffs as “exempt” from overtime requirements. Court initiated use of privacy waiver letters approved in Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc. v. Superior Court, 2007 Cal. LEXIS 553. Class certification granted.
  • Personal Injury
      • Clergy III cases, J.C.C.P. No. 4359. This coordinated proceeding included 150 clergy abuse cases filed throughout Northern California. The Court held monthly case management conferences and hearings on substantial law and motion and discovery issues. All 150 cases were successfully concluded within two and a half years of coordination.
      • Sulzer Hip Cases, J.C.C.P No. 4165 and 4170. This coordinated matter included hundreds of California plaintiffs who received defective prosthetic hip replacements. The matter was managed aggressively and all cases were resolved as part of a national settlement administered through a federal MDL proceeding.
      • Welding Product Cases, J.C.C.P. No. 4368. This coordinated matter includes claims by 80 persons allegedly injured by exposure to toxic manganese fumes. The cases presented complex case management and discovery issues. These matters are still pending.

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

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

  • Registered Mediator, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Listed in "Best Lawyers in America", 2022, 2024
  • Recognized as a "Best Lawyers, Arbitration," Best Lawyers in America, 2023
  • Recognized as a "Best Lawyer," Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Northern California Best Lawyers in America, 2022
  • Recognized as a Top California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2010
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda/Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, 2005
  • Member, Judicial Council of California, 2000-2003
  • Member, Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council, 1997-1999 (Chair 1999)
  • Author, Making Sense of “ The General Public” Under B & P Section 17200, ABTL Report, Volume 13, No. 3, summer 2004,
  • Author, EMPOWERING JURORS, Creative Techniques Learned From the Wal-Mart Trial, California Courts Review, Fall 2006
  • Public Member, California State Board of Dental Examiners, 1985-1987
  • "Neutral Followed in His Father's Legal Footsteps," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, March 7, 2008
  • "Forthright and Forthcoming," ADR Profile,Daily Journal, July 31, 2015

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court, County of Alameda, 1989-2007 (Presiding Judge, 1996-1997)
  • Judge, Municipal Court, County of Alameda, 1987-1989
  • Private law practice, Bell, Sheppard & Faria, Fremont California, 1977-1979; Partner, Sabraw, Fudenna, Schenone & Peck, 1979-1987
  • Deputy DA, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, 1976-1977
  • J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1975
  • B.A., cum laude, University of the Pacific, 1972


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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