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Hon. Randa M. Trapp
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Hon. Randa M. Trapp (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Family Law
Higher Education & Title IX
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Randa M. Trapp (Ret.) joins JAMS after serving 18 years on the San Diego Superior Court, including 10 years in the civil division where she presided over all aspects of civil litigation. Judge Trapp was elected to serve two terms on the court’s Executive Committee and was elevated to assistant supervising judge and then supervising judge of the Civil Division. She has presided over more than 100 civil jury trials. During her tenure as supervising judge and as chair of the court's ADR Committee, Judge Trapp reinstated the Settlement Days program in 2019.

During her time on the bench, Judge Trapp presided over discovery disputes, pretrial rulings, trials and settlement conferences. Her experience with complex civil cases includes business, commercial, employment, California Private Attorneys General Act, wage and hour, construction defect, personal injury, traumatic brain injury, medical malpractice, professional malpractice and trade secret matters.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Trapp’s practice focused on construction defect and business litigation with a mid-sized firm, and she was also in-house counsel for a Fortune 100 energy company, where she was appointed assistant corporate secretary for the company’s regulated utilities. In her capacity as in-house counsel, she handled corporate governance issues, negotiated franchise agreements with local municipalities and managed multi-million-dollar personal injury and wrongful death cases stemming from a nuclear radiation leak. 

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Breach of contract involving unsecured note and partnership dispute
      • Business dissolution case involving complicated partnership agreements regarding popular flavored whiskey product
      • Multiple breach of contract cases involving interfamilial disputes, Marvin-type actions, partition matters
      • Major breach of contract/lease issues regarding renovation of shopping mall
      • Complicated breach of promissory note, breach of guarantee of business partnership involving receiver bank, including issues related to applicability of anti-deficiency defense
      • Fraud and breach of contract case involving Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act involving multinational companies; fraud and embezzlement
      • Matter of first impression regarding the doctrine of strict liability involving a multi-million-dollar operator of an online shopping marketplace
      • Hospital termination of service provider resulting in defamation, breach of fiduciary duty and intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage
      • Complicated biomedical distribution contract case with multinational parties
      • Contract/sovereign immunity regarding significant hotel contract with Indian tribe
      • Multiple administrative mandate cases, including wrongful expulsion from law school, permit to demolish historically designated property and other matters
      • Writ of mandate regarding election fraud; city charter issues (invalidate Maintenance Assessment District); challenge to municipality nuisance abatement ordinance
  • Construction Defect
      • Multiple multi-party construction/design defect cases involving schools, courthouse and other structures
      • Breach of warranty, breach of merchantability and strict liability
      • Matters involving prompt payment penalty issues
      • Matters involving right-of-way issues
      • Insurance and failure to defend issues
  • Employment Law
      • Multiple wrongful termination matters, including whistleblower
      • Termination of medical professional for refusal to seek treatment for substance abuse
      • Termination during medical leave
      • Sexual harassment case between COO and CEO at a multi-million-dollar global business entity
      • Class action involving Consumers Legal Remedies Act representative suit; unfair, deceptive act or practices; public works wage and hour (multiple subclasses); and class certification issues
  • Family Law
      • Numerous matters involving child custody, child support, spousal support and disposition of community property issues
      • Seminal family law case enforcing interspousal fiduciary disclosure statutes
  • Intellectual Property
      • Misappropriation of trade secret involving unique entertainment rideshare phone application
      • Trademark infringement, including breach of contract and insurance duty to defend
      • Pharmaceutical/trade secret case involving former employee’s new company allegedly manufacturing identical pharmaceutical with the identical additive
  • Personal Injury
      • Numerous personal injury matters, including traumatic brain injury cases
      • Wrongful death cases, including involving police chase and governmental immunity issues
      • Wrongful death case; industrial accident cases
  • Professional Liability
      • Numerous medical malpractice cases, including wrongful birth, wrongful death, use of off-label products and concealment of financial relationship with supplier
      • Products liability, including spoliation of evidence
  • Real Property
      • Multiple eminent domain matters involving public works projects
      • Eminent domain matter concerning the expansion of a municipal trolley rail project
      • Interpretation and enforcement of international eminent domain proceeding (China) and division of proceeds among family members in U.S and abroad
      • Eminent domain and inverse condemnation involving a property with historical designation
      • Inverse condemnation matter concerning the validity of a lot line adjustment made without notice and affecting a hotel property
      • Inverse condemnation involving plaintiff of insured who owned property with alleged defective sewer hookup
  • Sexual Abuse/Misconduct
    • Allocations, mediations and arbitrations including:

      • Title IX hearings for colleges and universities
      • SafeSport training

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Fellow, Academy of Court Appointed Neutrals, 2023
  • Member, Sports Lawyers Association, 2023
  • Multi District Litigation (MDL) Certification, Duke Law School, 2022
  • Judicial Excellence Award, California Association of Black Lawyers, 2022
  • Vincent Monroe Townsend Award, National Bar Association, 2021
  • Sarah J. Harper Humanitarian Award, National Bar Association Judicial Council, 2021
  • Outstanding Jurist Award, San Diego County Bar Association, 2021
  • Living Legend Award, National Bar Association, Region IX, 2021
  • Trailblazer, San Diego County Women's History Hall of Fame, Women’s Museum of California, 2021
  • Excellence Award, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation, 2020
  • Belva Lockwood Award, Lawyers Club of San Diego, 2018
  • Unsung Hero Award, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, 2017
  • Sankofa Award, National Bar Association (NBA), 2009
  • Bernard S. Jefferson Judge of the Year Award, California Association of Black Lawyers, 2008
  • Woman of the Year, 79th State Assembly District, 2004
  • Randa Trapp Day, City of San Diego, October 15, 2001
  • Member, Advisory Board, Lawyers Club of San Diego, 2005– present
  • Member, Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), 2014- present
  • Co-Chair, International Litigation Subcommittee, Business Law Section, American Bar Association, 2019 - present
  • President, American Judicial Council Foundation, 2018–present
  • President, J. Clifford Wallace Inn of Court, 2015–2020
  • Chair, Judicial Advisory Committee, ABTL, 2015–2020
  • Treasurer, National Association of Women Judges, 2018–2019
  • Chair, Judicial Council, NBA, 2014–2015
  • President, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, 1990
  • Life Member, Regional Director, California Women Lawyers, 1989–1990
  • Life Member, Board Member, California Association of Black Lawyers, 1990, 1992–1993
  • President, Southeastern Economic Development Corporation, 1994
  • Trustee, San Diego County Retirement Board, 1997–2000
  • Director, San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1995–2001
  • Veteran of the United States Navy, Honorable Discharge, 1979
  • Adjunct Professor, University of San Diego School of Law, 1993-2013
  • Frequent Speaker
    • All aspects of civil litigation and jury trials
    • Implicit bias
    • TBI Med Legal Conference, Brain Injury Association of California
    • The Electronic Discovery Institute
    • Civil Law Institute, Center for Judicial Education and Research
    • Annual Meeting, ABTL

Background and Education

  • San Diego Superior Court 2003–2021
    • Supervising Judge, Civil Division, 2020–2021
    • Assistant Supervising Judge, Civil Division, 2019
    • Chair, ADR Committee, 2019–2021
  • Center for Judicial Education and Research, 2013-2021
    • Chair, Civil Law Curriculum Committee, 2019–2021
    • Faculty, Civil Law Institute, 2013
  • Sempra Energy, 1995–2003
    • Assistant Corporate Secretary, SDG&E and Southern California Gas Company, 2000-2003
    • Counsel, Commercial Law Sections, 1998-2003
    • Counsel, Litigation Section, 1995-1998
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1985
  • B.A., San Jose State University, 1982


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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