Trellis Blog - Legal Analytics

Judge Analytics: A Closer Look at Our Most Visited Judges

May 1, 2019 12:44:00 PM / by Caitlin Davis

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Here at Trellis, we have been curious about how our visitors have been using our website. Last week we identified the most visited judge biographies as well as the most visited judge reports. Here is a closer look at our most popular sitting judges, the Hon. Mitchell L. Beckloff and the Hon. David W. Abbott.

The Hon. Mitchell L. Beckloff

The Hon. Mitchell L. Beckloff is a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court in California. He was appointed to the bench in 2007 by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He filled the vacancy created by the retirement of Judson Morris.

He is a registered Democrat.

Judge Beckloff received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1983. He went on to earn his J.D. from Loyola Law School in 1989. While at Loyola, he served as Editor of the Law Review.

After graduating from law school, Beckloff joined the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro in 1989 as an associate. In 1992 he became an attorney for Auxiliary Legal Services. He entered into private practice in 1994 and became the founding partner for the law firm Groman and Beckloff. He joined the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1999 where he served as a court referee until 2001 when he became a Superior Court Commissioner. Beckloff was serving in that capacity at the time of his appointment to the bench in 2007.

During his time on the Superior Court, Judge Beckloff was named a supervising judge for the Probate Department in 2009.

He also served as a panelist for the Continuing Legal Education program.

Here is his Judicial Strategy Report.

And a few notable cases:

Mark Magidson et al. vs. Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement (BS170769)

Mark Magidson et al. filed a petition for writ of mandate challenging the legality of Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement District’s action to impose a third assessment. The petitioners, who own real property situated within the boundaries of the Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement District, claim that the defendants have imposed large assessments on them in order to finance a beach preservation and dunes habitat restoration project. This is a project that has been approved by the California Coastal Commission, with a projected cost of over $105 million. This approval, however, requires the consent of all affected homeowners. The petitioners assert that they have not consented to the necessary encroachments for the dunes restoration and, as such, are not subject to any assessments to finance the improvement project.

Joyce Okpara vs. Department of Public Health (BS170197)

The California Department of Public Health revoked Joyce Okpara’s Nurse Assistant Certifications on April 29, 2016. According to the Department of Public Health, Okpara “restrained a resident in a wheelchair using a bedsheet while [she] was employed by the Windsor Gardens Convalescent, in Long Beach, California.” In response to the revocation of her credentials, Okpara pursued her rights to an administrative appeal. This appeal was subsequently denied by the administrative law judge, who determined that Okpara had intentionally violated the policies of Windsor Gardens Convalescent. Okpara, however, sought to challenge the penalty imposed by the Department of Health for being overly excessive. In his ruling, Judge Beckloff concluded that this is not a matter for the court to decide, as “the propriety of a penalty imposed by an administrative agency is a matter vested in the discretion of the agency.”

The Honorable David W. Abbott

The Hon. David W. Abbott is a judge for the Sacramento County Superior Court in California. He was appointed to the bench in 2001 by former governor Gray Davis.

Judge Abbott graduated with his B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. He went on to earn his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1973.

Prior to attending college at UC Berkeley, Abbott enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1968. During his four years of active duty, he served as a second lieutenant assigned to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, and to the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan. Wood also served as a judge advocate in the JAG Corps where he reached the rank of Captain.

After graduating from law school, Abbott spent 25 years in private practice. During that time, he specialized in professional and products liability, industrial accidents, insurance bad faith, and personal injury cases.

While on the bench, Judge Abbott presided over criminal and civil trials and also served as an assistant presiding judge and as a supervising judge.

He has served on the Court Executive Committee and the Local Rules Committee.

In 2016, he was named the Judge of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar Association.

Abbott also served as a judge pro tem in mandatory settlement conferences for the local courts, and as an instructor for the California Judicial Education and Research Center.

Here is his Judicial Strategy Report.

And a few notable cases:

Inder Singh et al. vs. Wilbur-Ellis Company et al. (34-2016-00196704-CU-MC-GDS)

Inder Singh et al. own various properties throughout San Joaquin County, where they farmed 240 acres of almond trees and wine grapes. They alleged that SemiTropic ordered, organized, and supervised the dissemination of Roundup and Polaris, two herbicides that inadvertently caused severe damage to their permanent plantings. When SemiTropic deployed aerial and ground sprayings to its properties in order to remove all vegetation from Bouldin Island, it did not adequately protect against the chemicals drifting onto adjacent farmland. SemiTropic, however, claimed that the Emergency Services Act renders it immune from any liability.

Cerbone vs. Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento (34-2013-00140297-CU-WT-GDS)

Cerbone was a high school football coach at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School alleged that he was wrongfully terminated for reporting a sexual hazing scandal in his football program. A jury determined that he was wrongfully fired and that the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento had retaliated against him when it publicly named him responsible for the football players’ actions. Jurors awarded him $900,000 in compensatory damages. He also received a $4 million settlement that covered all causes of action.

Learn more about other judges here! You can also peruse our database of dockets to learn more about how individual judges have ruled on cases in the past.

Written by Caitlin Davis

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