Hon. Christopher Cottle (Ret.)


  • Retired Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, 6th District (1993-2001), appointed by Governor Wilson. Associate Justice (1988-1993), appointed by Governor Deukmejian.
  • Judge, Superior Court, Santa Cruz County (1977-1988), appointed by Governor Brown Jr.
  • Santa Cruz County District Attorney (1975-1977) and Assistant District Attorney (1968-1975).
  • Private law practice, San Jose, California, 1967-68 (Berns & Steinberg)


Prior to judicial career, spent 11 years as a trial attorney, first in civil practice in San Jose and later as District Attorney, Santa Cruz County. Civil practice with Berns & Steinberg included business and commercial litigation, personal injury, products liability, insurance coverage, and real estate disputes. As a trial judge and Court of Appeal Justice for 24 years, has extensive experience in civil law and motion, discovery, and trials. Cases covered a broad range of legal and substantive issues involving business and commercial disputes, complex litigation, insurance coverage, environmental pollution, administrative writs, personal injury, premises liability, employment discrimination, wrongful termination, professional liability, estates and trusts, real property, and family law.

Extensive settlement conference experience as Santa Cruz County Superiour Court Judge. Since retirement from the bench in 2001, has been engaged in mediation and arbitration practice. Cases include claims involving personal injury, products liability, insurance coverage, medical malpractice, business and commercial disputes, contracts, misappropriation of trade secrets, unlawful business practices, shareholder lawsuits, partnership dissolution, employment, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, real estate, construction defects, inverse condemnation, automobile dealership disputes, will contests, trust disputes, and family law matters. Court-appointed discovery referee in misappropriation of trade secrets, unlawful business practice, and other commercial disputes.


  • Member: State Bar of California, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey County Bar Associations.
  • Former member: California Judges Association, California Judicial Council Advisory.
  • California District Attorneys Association, 1974-77 (Board of Governors, 1975-77)


  • Instructor (Evidence), Cabrillo College, Santa Cruz, 1972-76.
  • Former law school lecturer and panel member for CJA, CEB, Rutter Group and other CLE programs.


  • J.D. (June 1966), Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California.
  • B.S. (June 1962), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Representative Cases


“Working with Justice Cottle is such a pleasure. At the same time, he is effective, balanced in his approach, and genuinely interested in facilitating supporting resolution. I wholeheartedly endorse him as a mediator.”

“Excellent. Justice Cottle has an ability to make all sides listen to him.”


Articles / Publications