Hon. Jamoa A. Moberly (Ret.)

Profile

After a distinguished and diverse career as a judge for 21 years preceded by a successful career as a litigator and trial lawyer for 20 years, Hon. Jamoa A. Moberly (Ret.) returned to her roots in alternative dispute resolution to serve as a mediator, arbitrator, and referee with ADR Services, Inc.

Judge Moberly was appointed to the bench in 1996 while serving as an effective civil settlement judge pro tem and has come full circle. As a former civil litigator and trial lawyer, Judge Moberly handled and resolved cases in the areas of professional liability, elder abuse, toxic tort, product liability, premises liability, fraud, business disputes, landlord/tenant, class actions and employment claims. Prior to taking the bench, her practice had shifted to focus on conducting mediations and arbitrations.

Judge Moberly brings a caring attitude to dispute resolution grounded in her goal to empower the parties to reach a resolution which is creative and satisfying. She has promoted mediation throughout her judicial career – first, as founding chair of the court’s small claims mediation program, which eventually expanded to include civil harassment, unlawful detainers, judgment debtor, and limited civil matters; and finally, as chair of the court’s arbitration and mediation committee for general civil and probate matters.

After presiding over and resolving a broad spectrum of unlimited jurisdiction civil cases for many years, Judge Moberly capped her judicial service as part of the court’s probate panel. She is known as a “healer of families” and promotes collaborative and creative resolution to help restore families and individuals while also preserving the estate.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Business & Commercial Contract
  • Discovery & Judicial Reference
  • Elder Abuse
  • Employment
  • Professional Liability (Medical, Legal)
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate, Estates & Trusts
  • Real Estate

JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE

  • 1998 – 2017                Judge of the Superior Court, Orange County
    Probate Panel– Trusts and estates, guardianships, conservatorships – 2014-2017
    Civil Panel — Unlimited jurisdiction direct calendar and law and motion – 2006-2013
    Misdemeanor and limited civil trial court, felony drug court –  1998-2005
  • 1996 — 1998               Judge of the Municipal Court, Orange County, Newport Beach
    Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson, April 3, 1996
    Elevated upon court unification, August 1998

EDUCATION

  • 1996, 2017   Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine, “Mediating the Litigated Case”
  • 1976   University of California Hastings College of Law, J.D.
  • 1975   University of California, Davis / University of Florida Summer Law Program
    La Escuela Libre de Derecho, Mexico D.F., Mexico
  • 1972   University of California, San Diego, B.A. cum laude

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • 1980 – 1996                Schell & Delamer,  Partner
    Civil litigation, medical and professional negligence, bad faith, toxic exposures, premises and product liability, wrongful termination.
  • 1979-1980                   Greenberg, Bernhard, Weiss & Karma,  Associate
    Real estate, environmental impact, employment discrimination
  • 1977-1979                   Fleming, Anderson, McClung & Finch,  Associate
    Counseling small businesses and business litigation,  health law, administrative law, class action, family law and real estate.
  • 1976-1977                   Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity,  International Field Representative
    Traveled to law schools throughout U.S. and Mexico to reactivate and to establish new chapters.  Director of professional programs.
  • 1974                            Office of the District Attorney, Sacramento,   Summer extern
  • 1973                            UC Student Lobby to CA State Legislature,  UCSD Student Lobbyist

HONORS AND AWARDS

  • 2014 Distinguished Judicial Fellow, Orange County Bar Foundation Society of Fellows
  • 2011 Judge of the Year, Orange County Women Lawyers Association
  • 2008 Mock Trial Judge of the Year, Constitutional Rights Foundation
  • 2007 Remarkable Woman Award, National Association of Women Business Owners

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • State Bar of California
  • California Judges Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Celtic Bar Association
  • Orange County Trial Lawyers Association
  • UC Hastings Foundation – Board of Trustees
  • Orange County Women Lawyers – life member
  • National Association of Women Judges – life member
  • William P. Gray Inn of Court – member since 1994; board member.

LEADERSHIP

  • National Association of Women Judges, District Director (CA, NV)
  • International Association of Women Judges, Delegate: London, Tanzania, Washington, D.C.
  • William Gray Legion Lex Inn of Court, Executive Board
  • Los Angeles and Orange County Bar Associations, Conference of Delegates
  • Constitutional Rights Foundation, Coach, Mock Trial Judge 1996-2005, 2009-Present
  • Constitutional Rights Foundation, Judicial Advisory Board
  • Juvenile Peer Court Advisory Board, Peer Court Judge 2009-Present
  • UC Hastings Alumni Association Board of Governors, 1989-2000, President 1999-2000
  • Orange County Women Lawyers Association, Executive Board Member
  • Wilshire Bar Association, Board of Governors
  • Orange County Law Library, Board of Trustees 2009-2017, President 2013

COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • Lector, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church
  • Irvine Children’s Fund – Irvine Junior Games
  • National Charity League – Irvine chapter
  • Meals on Wheels, driver.

Representative Cases

BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL CONTRACT

  • Dispute arising from a general partnership formed to build commercial storage facilities in the Inland Empire which were never finished. Project was conceived by an accountant / investor advisor whose clients were enticed to invest as partners. Investors sought recovery of their investment and damages for securities violations.
  • Dispute arising between sales distributors and company with innovative insulation product whereby distributors would develop and implement a radical marketing plan and distribution structure in exchange for exclusive distribution rights over the West Coast. Issues involved market viability of product, distribution chain, breach of fiduciary duty and enforceability of oral and written contracts.
  • Dispute involving contract to build a website and e-commerce system for a healthcare products company. Designer contended company thwarted performance and third party interfered with relationship.
  • Dispute arising from enforceability of an arbitration award on grounds the arbitration agreement for binding arbitration was unenforceable. Property owner failed to appear relying on the general contractor to take care of the dispute although the contract with the arbitration agreement was directly between the electrical contractor and the owner, circumventing the general contractor.
  • Dispute arising from breach of contract between supplier and healthcare product manufacturer. Issues involved whether chondroitin sulfate from China was adulterated and potentially diluted with seaweed and whether manufacturer breached contract by rejection.
  • Dispute arising between small business commercial tenants and new landlord regarding intentional misrepresentations of CAM charges and triple net rent calculations, failure to do deferred maintenance and wrongful evictions. Multiple inaccurate reconciliations of CAM charges. The LLC also did the property management. Managing partner of LLC lived in penthouse of this beach property and passed on some of his bills to tenants.
  • Dispute arising from foreclosure on collateral and enforcement of promissory notes following workout and recapitalization of multiple loans made to oil exploration company founded by the debtor. Founder was alleged to have made large improper personal advances and potentially had violated the foreign corrupt practices act. Personal notes were entered into to help secure very substantial financing which fell through after a preliminary audit. The workout and recapitalization followed.
  • Dispute arising from attempt to challenge arbitration award. Parties had stipulated to binding arbitration with a specific arbitrator (a disbarred attorney) who both sides stated had previously handled affairs for both. Party challenging the award asserted the extent of prior relations regarding his adversary and the arbitrator were more extensive than previously disclosed.
  • Dispute arising from omission of a “call provision” in a tenant in common agreement for purchase an apartment building and assignment of their interests to the property to tenancy in common. Omission of the call provision thwarted the majority owners’ attempt to lease the mineral rights in the property to a utility. Minority owners objected and also objected to subsequent offers to sell. The legal malpractice claim for absence of the call provision was time barred.
  • Dispute arising from attempted purchase of car dealership. Issues involved a prolonged due diligence phase, difficulties in obtaining the manufacturer’s approval of the prospective buyer and discrepancies regarding the which were the operative agreements.
  • Disputes arising from acquisition of company with unlicensed software by company which provided emergency notification services and voice broadcasting for entities. In anticipation of expansion and going public, the acquiring company received twenty million in loans from hedge funds. Numerous law firms were involved in the due diligence phase which was pushed through by the directors and CFO. Purchase proceeded in spite of the under-licensed software at urging of its CFO. Any claims against the law firms were later time barred due to CFO’s actual knowledge. The acquired software did not integrate well and the unlicensed and pirated software required costly rewrites. The company soon started to lose customers and defaulted on the loans. Suits followed against the acquired company and its software developer, the acquiring company’s directors and the law firms.
  • Dispute arising from distribution of partnership profits in truck freight shipping business. Over ten years earlier an alleged oral partnership was formed whereby one partner contributed financial backing and location and the other, clients and management of daily operations. The property was leased from the financing partner by the operating partner’s business. Profits were to be split equally. For over ten years the partnership was extremely lucrative. Dispute arose after the operations partner moved out and started up a competitive business. Issues arose as to whether there was a partnership and whether profits had been properly distributed. The accounting aspect was referred to an accounting referee.
  • Dispute arising out of an unhappy relationship following formation of a condominium association to manage a medical office building purchased for the doctors’ medical practices and surgery center. The entities for the majority owners’ practices descended into litigation with claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty against the individuals and attempts to gain control of the board complete with secret meetings. A parallel arbitration proceeding resulted in a partition by sale of plaintiff’s ownership interest mooting the claims asserting associational interests and potential basis for attorney fees. Defendants later sought recovery of attorney fees however there were no prevailing parties.

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EMPLOYMENT

  • Dispute arising from termination of long-term commissioned, high earning sales persons by credit card processing sales company after they refused to sign a broad non-compete and nondisclosure agreement. The sales persons were locked out and personal property retained in response. Shortly afterward, the employees were fired and management brought a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets which the employees countered with wrongful termination, Labor Code violations, Business and Professions 17200 claims and underpayment of wages.
  • Dispute arising from unionized employee accountant’s claims of discrimination due to employer’s failure to engage in interactive process regarding deficient performance after promotion. Matter involved major depression and other psychological conditions. Returning employee to prior position where he was successful was not made available.
  • Dispute arising from termination of field claims adjuster due to customer survey responses after the adjuster returned to work following heart attack and had been assigned a different territory. Employer asserted the responses had been altered by employee. Employee asserted employer failed to engage in the interactive process and to make reasonable accommodation. Employee sought punitive damages along with loss of earnings due to coerced publication of grounds for termination to prospective employers.
  • Dispute arising from police dispatcher claim of hostile workplace, discrimination due to sexual orientation and disclosure of privileged worker compensation psychotherapy records among co-workers. There were claims of retaliatory actions by her employer. The privileged records included details about the domestic relationship, foreclosure on the home and cancer scare.
  • Dispute arising from retaliatory discharge arising from complaints of a hostile workplace on grounds of racial discrimination and sexual innuendos/harassment.
  • Dispute arising from company’s refusal to pay legally blind highly successful sales person and interference with prospective business advantage. Issue of independent contractor status and whether company’s loan to him was usurious. Sales person claimed unfair competition by company in selling product below cost to compete with him.
  • Dispute arising from alleged misappropriation of trade secrets after some employees left and set up a competing business in an office configured the same as employer.
  • Dispute arising from restaurant manager’s claim for unpaid wages based on records maintained by the employee over long period of time. Potential language barrier. Issues arose after termination.
  • Dispute arising from employer’s demands that salon employees speak English among themselves when in the presence of customers. Claims of hostile work environment and racial discrimination.

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MEDICAL/LEGAL MALPRACTICE

  • Dispute involving failure to diagnose and properly treat healthy male triathlete for severe pain arising several days after routine colonoscopy resulting in pelvic abscesses and bowel obstruction. Complex surgery was performed requiring removal of a section of small intestine, an ileostomy and meshing. Second surgery to reverse ileostomy and long recovery causing change in lifestyle and loss of income.
  • Dispute involving one-step mastectomy and breast reconstruction for woman with very large implants and reconstruction with same size implants. Stage one cancer in situ. Post-operative wound necrosis and prolonged treatment including hyperbaric chamber to save tissue. Eventually multiple surgeries required to treat and eventually reconstruct breasts using smaller implants, extensive scarring, loss of consortium.
  • Dispute arising from refusal to medically treat young adult male for severe pain relative to bladder catheter while on psychiatric hold and refusal to voluntarily admit for further psychiatric care although suicidal and insurance had been confirmed. Parents brought wrongful death action after son’s suicide several days later with hospital prescribed medications. Punitive damages sought as dependent adult.
  • Dispute arising from extensive dental implants and patient’s dissatisfaction with outcome.
  • Dispute arising for wrongful death of elderly female convalescent home patient brutally attacked by male patient residing in adjoining room and suffering from alcoholic dementia.
  • Dispute arising from convalescent home patient suffering respiratory failure after being given cough suppressant at bedtime.
  • Dispute arising from permanent facial numbness and lip drool following unapproved procedure and product for lower root canal by general dentist.
  • Dispute arising from collapse of therapy table during physical therapy treatment and whether subject to MICRA .
  • Dispute arising from whether son had authority to agree to arbitrate convalescent care claims arising from father’s care.
  • Dispute involving IV tubing breaking off under the skin during hospitalization and extensive tissue and nerve damage to forearm.
  • Dispute arising from burns due to cauterizer device causing fire during surgery.
  • Dispute arising from bone necrosis due to postoperative wound infection during initial hospitalization for hip replacement, followed by repeat replacement surgery due to improper transfer while recovering at skilled nursing facility. Permanent leg shortening and dangling hip as the result.
  • Dispute arising from death due to syphilitic heart following seemingly routine heart valve replacement. Adult children did not know of father’s early medical history also undisclosed to medical providers.
  • Dispute arising from failure to monitor airway during thyroid surgery attributable to overtired anesthesiologist resulting in traumatic brain injury to married mother of young children.
  • Dispute arising from root resorption and need to replace teenage patient’s upper and lower front teeth. Orthodontist claimed roots resorbed and teeth permanently loosened due to patient’s noncompliance and failure to maintain scheduled appointments.Dispute arising from failure of dentist to recognize oral cancer during multiple dental exams and treatment, resulting in delayed diagnosis requiring removal of part of jaw and tongue.

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PERSONAL INJURY

  • Dispute arising from sexual battery, social media defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress involving a transgender individual. Damages included usurping the website rights of the transgender victim’s professional name.
  • Dispute arising from dog bite injuries to mail carrier and whether landlord was responsible for friend of tenant’s dog.
  • Dispute arising from injuries due to slip and fall at shopping center food court suffered by Mexican residents while visiting family here. Matter involved loss of income as a Quinceanera seamstress, loss of consortium and medical treatment including surgery in Mexico. Attorney fees awarded to plaintiff post trial for defense failure to accurately identify location of the fall during discovery.
  • Dispute arising from cervical injury to restaurant patron due to loaded serving tray dropped onto patron’s neck by server at fine dining establishment. Scope of injury highly contested although patron had no prior history and completed multiple epidurals.
  • Dispute arising between competing bicoastal money changers in close knit immigrant community involving claims of defamation, interference with prospective business advantage, and battery requiring a discovery referee and interpreters.
  • Dispute involving a truck running over a bicyclist as the middle age man was peddling on the sidewalk in the daylight with no obstruction to driver’s view. Truck driver was exiting a private parking area. Liability and extent of damages highly contested.
  • Dispute involving an early morning collision between a right turning double trailer dump truck rolling over a bicyclist as the bicyclist was entering a crosswalk on a green light. Bicyclist suffered a very serious degloving injury and crushing of the legs and after multiple surgeries returned to a physical job.
  • Dispute arising from coverage for an auto accident and whether the adult divorced daughter was a member of the household under her parents’ policy.
  • Dispute arising from traumatic brain injury arising from minor rear impact auto accident and claim made after new counsel entered for plaintiff.
  • Dispute arising from beer cans falling down onto supermarket patron’s head. Elderly active woman claimed post-concussion syndrome and husband claimed loss of consortium.
  • Dispute arising from multiple sewage backups from common area into elderly couple’s vacation beach condo causing extensive property damage to interior and mold remediation. Husband, still practicing medicine in Arizona, claimed substantial loss of income and both claimed physical injuries and loss of use and enjoyment. Property management company had hired inept contractors resulting in the repeated backups.
  • Wrongful death action arising from negligent left turn by elderly woman driver who had suspected early stages of dementia. Elderly longtime live-in boyfriend was killed. Their relationship had spanned over thirty years. Action brought by decedent’s adult children against her doctor for failure to notify DMV and her family of her possible dementia and fitness to drive.

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PROBATE, ESTATES & TRUSTS / ELDER ABUSE

  • Dispute involving trust contest. Nephew challenged recently drafted trust by childless bachelor uncle whereby trust provisions gifted most of uncle’s property to his longtime tenants/neighbors on grounds of undue influence.
  • Dispute arising from trust accounting and failure to fund sub-trusts coupled with challenges to expenses incurred in preparing trust properties for sale. Breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Dispute arising from amendment to trust while aunt on hospice. Petition to invalidate amendment on grounds of lack of capacity and undue influence thereby reinstating gift of aunt’s home to nephew rather than to charities.
  • Dispute arising from son’s petition to invalidate trust and amendments on grounds of undue influence, to invalidate transfer of deceased father’s residence to the daughter, removal of her as trustee and establishment of constructive trust.
  • Dispute arising from challenge to mother’s holographic will leaving all of estate to son. Challenge by daughter involved whether mother executed all of the document and if so, whether it was the product of undue influence, fraud or mistake.
  • Dispute arising from failure to properly account over period of years and whether longtime accountant for trustor decedent should be removed, as well as to compel distribution.
  • Dispute arising from daughter taking control of very substantial amount of cash stored in residence of parents, whether the cash was an asset of the trust, demand for return of cash, and whether parents had capacity to amend trust making her trustee.
  • Dispute arising from management of longtime business of parents, whether conservatorship necessary, appointment of care manager and lesser alternatives to care of their persons and estate.
  • Dispute arising from management of trust while trustor declining and in need of conservatorship. Challenge to trust administration, return of trust properties and surcharge.
  • Dispute arising from disposition of residence to elderly trustor’s prior caregiver who had befriended her during temporary stay at skilled nursing facility. Allegations of undue influence.
  • Dispute arising from whether parents had capacity to enter into amended trust as asserted by children and whether mother was unduly influenced by father, and whether conservatorship necessary for either.
  • Dispute arising from temporary disappearance of mother with younger new boyfriend. Mother was showing signs of mild dementia and question arose whether a conservatorship was appropriate, and if so, parameters.
  • Dispute between siblings arising from refusal to distribute trust estate and excessive administration expenses.
  • Dispute arising from refusal of sibling to vacate deceased parent’s residence and to allow inventory and disposition of property by other siblings.
  • Dispute arising from girlfriend and sister of seriously injured middle age man and competing claims re care, visitation and asset management.
  • Disputes arising from visitation with elderly mother among numerous children, where mother should reside and with whom. Many disputes in this regard have involved divorced parents of developmentally disabled adult children, spouses of elderly and between new spouses or partners if there are children of prior relationships. Same issues arise if there are care issues regarding the elderly parent.
  • Dispute arising from interpretation of conflicting provisions in will re who are beneficiaries.
  • Dispute arising from rehabilitated parent’s desire to terminate longstanding guardianship of minor and to move child to out of county residence.
  • Dispute arising from visitation with conserved adult disabled child between divorced parents with one parent living out of state.
  • Dispute arising from breach of fiduciary duties by successor trustee of irrevocable trust and wasting of trust assets, issues of legal malpractice by drafting counsel and failure to advise successor trustee child re duties. Matter involved a generous and healthy parent who formed an irrevocable trust to minimize her susceptibility to her adult children.
  • Dispute arising from amendment to trust gifting residence to mother’s in-home companion kept secret from daughter while she was also serving as successor trustee of otherwise sizable trust. Secret was kept several years including by drafting attorney and independent reviewer until death of trustor.

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REAL ESTATE

  • Dispute arising from aborted sale of struggling restaurant. Restaurant lessee claimed escrow was delayed causing default in rent and reduced sale price due to lessor’s failure to disclose nonconforming use of patio area. Commercial landlord sued for rent and to enforce personal guarantees.
  • Dispute arising from sale to bona fide purchaser of an undeveloped hillside parcel described as a buildable parcel which had not been properly subdivided and was subject in part to mortgage on adjacent developed parcels. Reformation of deed was required to clear title.
  • Dispute arising from mysterious chopping down of mature trees blocking upper landowner’s ocean view and anonymous identity of perpetrators combined with lack of ties to upper landowner.
  • Dispute arising from asserted encroachment on driveway of upper hillside owner due to construction of custom mansion below requiring extensive modification of plans and retaining walls to respond to the objections.
  • Dispute arising from refusal to honor purchase agreement for ocean view property and interference with contract.
  • Dispute arising from refusal to negotiate contract to purchase property to build a cemetery within extensive acreage designated to include a cemetery.
  • Dispute involved multiple entities and multiple issues as to feasibility, changes in plans once development of infrastructure commenced, location for cemetery and which parties responsible after economic downturn.
  • Dispute arising between owners of adjacent hillside properties regarding nature and scope of non-exclusive easement granted to upper property, claims of trespass, claims of obstruction of rights to use paved portion as a roadway and whether unpaved portion may only be used as a footpath.
  • Dispute arising between coastal neighbors regarding trees blocking upper owner’s panoramic ocean view, resulting in settlement calling for cutting the trees to chimney height and recovery of attorney fees reserved. Trees were not cut down as agreed and substantial attorney fees sought.
  • Dispute arising from shortfall on construction loan for residential units due to economic downturn. Forbearance on loan negotiated to enable sale of the units to proceed. Once all the collateral was sold bank sought balance of loan from the developers individually and as trustees of their family trusts.
  • Dispute arising from default on restaurant/pub lease payments and tenant’s claims of nuisance and interference with quiet enjoyment due to noxious odors emanating from common sewage pipes. Issues involved profitability of the business and causal relationship of odors to profits, attorney fees and guarantor obligations.
  • Dispute arising from sale of a beachfront home with an un-subdivided second parcel and unit to an alleged third party at below market. Lessees had a valid right of first refusal in their lease which the owner developer breached in order to enter into a collusive short sale to discharge his loan and to preserve his opportunity to realize profit from future subdivision and sale of the property as two units for full market value.
  • Dispute arising from attempt to enforce a contract for sale of three undeveloped parcels in hillside beach community. Purchase agreement drafted by buyer’s agent had a condition whereby seller was to grade lots and put in a driveway to render the lots buildable. The lots were in a very high value habitat zone with a watercourse, open space conservation and steep topography. Buyer was an experienced real estate appraiser. The seller was mistaken as to the potential for city approval of the necessary grading and the requirements for a driveway to subdivision standard. Contract was rescinded by seller after extensive attempts to comply for over a year and escrow extensions. Buyer sought loss on the bargain assuming lots were buildable in excess of one million.

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