Hon. George Hernandez (Ret.)

Profile

Former Presiding Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court, Hon. George C. Hernandez (Ret.), has been serving the East Bay legal community for over 40 years. He started his career working with low-income clients in Union City as a community-based lawyer in 1979. After a short time in general practice, he was elected Court Commissioner in 1985 by the judges of the Fremont Newark Union City Municipal Court. In 1989, Judge Hernandez was appointed Judge of the Fremont Newark Union City Municipal Court, where he handled criminal cases until his elevation to the Alameda County Superior Court in 1996.

Since his elevation to the Superior Court, Judge Hernandez has served in every civil assignment, culminating in Complex Litigation, where he spent the last four years of his judicial career, and where he presided over one hundred civil jury trials to verdict.  Additionally, Judge Hernandez served as the Master Calendar judge, presided over a Law and Motion department, sat on the court’s Appellate Division, and completed countless bench trials throughout the duration of his time on the Alameda Superior Court.

Judge Hernandez was assigned by the Chair of the Judicial Council as the coordinating trial judge to preside over many Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings (JCCP) involving cases filed throughout the state. His court leadership positions include terms as Presiding Judge, Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division, Presiding Judge of the Fremont Newark Union City Municipal Court, Supervising Judge of the Pleasanton Court, Supervising Judge of the Hayward Court, and Chair of the Superior Court Judges Civil Committee.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Class Action
  • Real Estate
  • Employment
  • Product Liability
  • Toxic Tort
  • Personal Injury

HONORS AND AWARDS

  • Distinguished Service Award for Judicial Officer, Alameda County Bar Association, 2017
  • Judicial Excellence Award, East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, 2007

JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE

  • Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda (1996-2018)
  • Complex Litigation (2013-2018)
  • Trial Judge, Civil Direct Calendar (2009-2013)
  • Trial Judge, Asbestos Calendar/ Open Civil Trial Department (2008)
  • Presiding Judge, Master Calendar, Civil (2006-2007)
  • Assistant Presiding Judge/Supervising Judge, Master Calendar, Civil (2004-2005)
  • Trial Judge, Civil Jury Trials (2001-2004)
  • Supervising Judge, Gale Schenone Hall of Justice (1997-2000)
  • Trial Judge, Civil Jury Trials (1996)
    ​Judge, Municipal Court of California, Fremont-Newark-Union City Judicial District, County of Alameda (1989-1996)
  • Presiding Judge, Criminal Felony Master Calendar (1995-1996)
  • Trial Judge, Criminal Jury Trials (1989-1994)
    Commissioner, Municipal Court of California, Fremont-Newark-Union City Judicial District, County of Alameda (1985-1989)
  • Traffic Court and Alcohol-Related Misdemeanor Driving Offenses (1985-1989)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Private Practice, Xavier & Hernandez, Union City, California (1979-1985)

  • General Practice

Private Practice, Mushrush & Mooney, San Francisco, California (1977-1979)

  • Bankruptcy Trustee Representation, Commercial Collections

Faculty, Ohlone Community College (1975-1977)

  • Instructor: Political Science, Business Law

EDUCATION

  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 1976
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A. in Political Science, 1973

MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS

  • California Judges Association
  • Complex Civil Litigation Judges’ Workshop
  • California Latino Judges Association
  • East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association
  • Women Lawyers of Alameda County
  • Alameda County Bar Association
  • Judicial Council of California

Representative Cases

BUSINESS / BREACH OF CONTRACT

  • Shareholder suit. The dispute involved whether plaintiff was still a director of Defendant Corporation, still a shareholder of Defendant Corporation, and whether the dissolution or merger of Defendant Corporation into another Corporation was null and void.
  • Plaintiff, the brother of the Defendant, filed a complaint against the defendant alleging fraud and deceit, constructive fraud, violation of the Welfare and Institution Code (Elder Financial Abuse) and for cancellation of the Deed. The defendant obtained a document purporting to be a Quit Claim Deed from her father by having her father mark an AX@ on the document in an attempt to have the real property transferred to her exclusively at a time when her father was gravely ill in the hospital.
  • A corporation brought an action alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200, arising from defendant corporation's marketing of a product alleged to be based on a process developed by plaintiff. The trial court granted summary judgment for defendant on all three causes of action on the ground that they were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. The Court of Appeal affirmed.
  • In a case involving the lease of commercial property to operate a grocery store, a separate meat counter and a check cashing business, the court organized, simplified and held a complicated jury trial that resulted in extensive pre- and post-trial motions that included a judgment for punitive damages.
  • In a consolidated action involving two public works projects, a subcontractor sued the general contractor and the public entities over failure to pay. The general contractor cross-complained over failure to complete the contract, failure to pay prevailing wages to its workers and fraud. One of the members of the subcontractor filed bankruptcy after the case was filed. The court issued a partial directed verdict on the issue of standing and the remainder of the case settled.
  • An energy company filed five separate actions including writs of mandamus and complaints for a refund of taxes paid to a city claiming that the city’s charges were a special tax, violated the California Constitution, violated the Commerce Clause and breached a contract with the city. The court made dispositive rulings that narrowed the case and streamlined the resolution of the case.
  • Plaintiff attorney sued his bank for negligence following his deposit of a large check into his trust account that ultimately turned out to be counterfeit. There were issues relating to professional responsibility on the part of both the attorney and the bank that were resolved by the court. Ultimately the jury issued an award that the court adjusted and the case was settled on appeal.

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CLASS ACTION

  • Wage and hour class action against a national bank. This case actually consists of 3 cases. Class numbers 28,643 persons, who were employed by the bank as personal bankers. Case involves both state and federal claims.
  • Class action in which plaintiffs contend that defendant, a state employer, entered into contracts by implication with its employees, promising to provide them state-sponsored medical benefits. The state defendant allegedly breached this implied contract by entering new management contract with a federal agency who would take over providing retirement medical benefits for ex-employees, which apparently were worse than those provided by the state. Plaintiffs sought peremptory writ of mandate directing the state to restore state-sponsored group health coverage to class members and their families and also requests that the state be directed to provide restitution and damages, with interest, for any losses suffered as a result of the impairment of their contractual rights.
  • Class action case alleging that defendants (who ran nursing facilities) committed unfair business practices and violated Consumer Legal Remedies Act by advertising to clients that they provided skilled nursing care, when in fact they persistently failed to maintain statutorily required staffing levels and otherwise failed to provide adequate care. Parties reached settlement.
  • Wage and hour class action case involving workers who staff various events (as usher, ticket taker, parking attendant, etc.). There are 3,699 class members, consisting of non-exempt employees of defendants. Plaintiffs primarily alleged that they did not receive meal and rest breaks, and that they weren't paid for all hours worked because they had to show up for work as much as an hour before they were paid to punch in.
  • Wage and hour class action involving truck drivers. Class has 389 members, consisting of all defendant's non-exempt drivers in California. The drivers claimed that they were not given rest or meal breaks and worked through meal periods without compensation.
  • Handled wage and hour class action case with 233 class members against defendant marketing company. Court granted preliminary approval of class action settlement.
  • Handled a consumer class action for placing unsupported information regarding health benefits on the labels of coconut oil. Labels were changed immediately after the company received CLRA notice, but the litigation was necessary anyway in order to get the defendant's insurer involved.
  • In a nationwide consumer class action seeking recovery of travel-related insurance premiums, the court granted motions for summary judgment on issues of conversion, heard and decided the trial in two phases covering contract interpretation and the conduct of the parties. All of the court’s decisions were upheld on appeal.

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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT

  • In a huge South County development, multiple plaintiffs claimed damages from alleged construction defects including land slippage. After many law and motion decisions, the parties settled the cases in stages monitored by the Court.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Wrongful termination dispute wherein plaintiff was terminated from her employment and the parties disagreed over the reasons she was terminated. Plaintiff, who was a manager, alleges that she was wrongfully terminated from her position because she complained about her employer submitting a report containing false data regarding the employer's minority and women employees to a federal agency that monitors affirmative action requirements and she complained about discrimination by her employer against minority employees. At the time of the termination, employer was undergoing an audit by the federal agency. Plaintiff further claimed that the timing of her termination was related to that audit and designed to prevent her from revealing the correct data to the agency during that audit.

ENVIRONMENTAL

  • In a case involving alleged industrial pollution, the State of California and the County jointly filed this case against major communications defendants alleging claims for violation of Hazardous Waste Control Law (H&S Code section 25100 et seq.) and Unfair Competition Law (B&P Code 17200 et seq.).
  • Handled dispute involving a cannabis club that generates marijuana smoke, a chemical governed by Proposition 65, without providing required warning labels. A settlement was reached wherein the defendant’s products will now have appropriate warning labels since marijuana smoke cannot be eliminated.

LANDLORD / TENANT

  • Current and former residents of mobile home park, many of whom had signed leases providing for a general reference, sued park owners, alleging that owners failed to properly maintain the common areas and facilities within the park, and otherwise subjected the residents to substandard living conditions. Residents sought declaratory and injunctive relief. Owners petitioned to compel arbitration.

PERSONAL INJURY

  • Automobile service station operator brought asbestos action against numerous defendants, alleging negligence and products liability. After lawsuit proceeded to trial against single Michigan manufacturer of brake parts, judgment was entered on jury verdict for operator on negligence and products liability claims. Manufacturer appealed, and operator cross-appealed.
  • Traffic accident victim brought personal injury action against driver and State. Following a jury verdict in favor of victim, judgment was entered for victim, awarding costs jointly and severally. State appealed. Court of Appeal affirmed.

PROBATE, ESTATES & TRUSTS

  • Conservatorship dispute. Objectors allege that the former conservator has breached his fiduciary duty owed to the conservatee throughout the course of the conservatorship. Objectors requested that their objections be upheld and that a surcharge order be entered against the Former Conservator. The court ordered a surcharge and removed the conservator.

REAL PROPERTY

  • Neighbor dispute wherein Plaintiff alleged that Defendant trespassed onto his property and cut down or topped foliage. The plaintiff ultimately produced no evidence as to the identity of the perpetrator of the specific incident plaintiff testified he discovered. The plaintiff argued that the proof implicating defendants related to motive and opportunity, and that the defendant had a motive to cut down foliage to either “create” or “preserve” a view of San Francisco Bay. Defendants claimed they already had a view when the foliage was allegedly cut.

WAGE & HOUR

  • Wage and hour class action against a national bank. This case actually consists of 3 cases. Class numbers 28,643 persons, who were employed by the bank as personal bankers. Case involves both state and federal claims.
  • Wage and hour class action case involving workers who staff various events (as usher, ticket taker, parking attendant, etc.). There are 3,699 class members, consisting of non-exempt employees of defendants. Plaintiffs primarily alleged that they did not receive meal and rest breaks, and that they weren't paid for all hours worked because they had to show up for work as much as an hour before they were paid to punch in.
  • Wage and hour class action involving truck drivers. Class has 389 members, consisting of all defendant's non-exempt drivers in California. The drivers claimed that they were not given rest or meal breaks and worked through meal periods without compensation.
  • Handled wage and hour class action case with 233 class members against defendant marketing company. Court granted preliminary approval of class action settlement.