HON. DAVID R. CHAFFEE (RET.)
MEDIATOR • ARBITRATOR • DISCOVERY REFEREE
After a twenty-five year career as a judge of the Orange County Superior and Municipal Courts, Hon. David Chaffee (Ret.) brings a wealth of civil litigation experience to bear as a neutral at ADR Services, Inc. Eighteen of his years on the bench were devoted to general civil trial work, with an additional almost two years assigned to handle probate and mental health calendars and trials. Considered approachable, friendly, and courteous, Judge Chaffee was named the recipient of the 2012 Civility Award by the Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
In addition to presiding over hundreds of civil jury, court trials, and probate trials covering a wide array of civil disputes, Judge Chaffee's experience prior to his appointment to the bench also provides him with unique insight into a number of civil practice areas. Immediately after law school, Judge Chaffee served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice for four years, where he handled numerous criminal appeals, federal civil rights and habeas corpus litigation, criminal trials, and administrative and licensing matters. Moving to the Office of the County Counsel for the County of Orange, Judge Chaffee then handled probate cases for six years, followed by a five year assignment handling tax litigation representing the Assessor and Tax Collector. He then spent five years as the County’s designated CEQA counsel, handling environmental and land use litigation, before being appointed to the bench in 1994.
Judge Chaffee served the Orange County Court as a member and/or alternate of its Executive Committee, as a subcommittee chair for long-range planning, and as the Orange County judicial representative and member of the board of California Judges Association. Outside his work for the Court, Judge Chaffee is the former president and a current member of the board of directors of the William P. Gray Legion Lex Inn of Court; a member of the board of trustees for Devil Pups, Inc., a youth citizenship program allied with the United States Marine Corps; and a founding and current member of the Beach Crew Alumni Association supporting the Long Beach State rowing teams.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT, COUNTY OF ORANGE 1997-2019
2006-2019 General Jurisdiction Civil Trial Panel
2004-2006 Harbor/South Court Panel
1998-2004 General Jurisdiction Civil Trial Panel
1997-1998 Probate and Mental Health Panel
JUDGE OF THE ORANGE COUNTY HARBOR MUNICIPAL COURT 1994-1997
1997 Elevated by Governor Wilson to the Superior Court
1994 Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson
DEPUTY AND SENIOR DEPUTY COUNTY COUNSEL, COUNTY OF ORANGE 1978-1994
1989-1994 Designated assignment as CEQA counsel for the County. Represented the Board of Supervisors, the OC Sheriff’s Department, OC Environmental Management Agency, and various other county departments in environmental and land use litigation.
1984-1989 Represented OC Assessor and OC Tax Collector in tax litigation matters, including real property valuation, change in ownership reassessment events, treatment of corporate real property assets, and tax collection issues.
1978-1984 Represented OC Public Administrator/Guardian in hundreds of decedents estates and probate conservatorship matters.
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 1974-1978
1974-1978 Criminal Division with short-term nine month assignment on loan to the Administrative Law Section of the Civil Division
2012 Recipient of the Civility Award by the Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
1973 J.D., Loyola Law School of Los Angeles
Law Review; St. Thomas More Law Honor Society
1969 B.A., California State University, Long Beach
Judge Chaffee is admitted to practice before all the courts of the State of California; the United States District Courts for the Southern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California; the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and the United States Supreme Court.