Hon. Mark L. Eaton (Ret.)


Judge Eaton has a well-deserved reputation for being dedicated, innovative and a highly successful facilitator of settlements.  Such skills earned him the 1995 Trial Judge of the Year award by the Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association.

  • Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, retired January 4, 1999
  • Currently specializes in mediation, in civil, family law and probate matters
  • January 12, 1982:
    Appointed Judge of the Superior Court, County of Alameda.  Unopposed for election (six-year term) 1982, 1988 & 1992
  • January 1997 – January 1999:
    Civil jury and non-jury trails, adoptions, case management and settlement calendars
  • June 1989 – January 1997:
    Supervising Judge of the Superior Court Eastern Division.  Presided over the Family Law, Probate, Adoption, Law and Motion, case management and settlement calendars
  • January 1987 – June 1989:
    Civil jury and non-jury trials
  • January – December 1986:
    Judge Juvenile Court
  • December 1982 – January 1986:
    Presiding Judge, Criminal
  • April 1, 1978 – May 30, 1978:
    Pro-Tem Justice, Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, division 2 (Assigned by Chairperson of the Judicial Council)
  • January 30, 1976:
    Appointed Judge of the Municipal Court Livermore/Pleasanton Judicial District, County of Alameda; Unopposed for election (six-year term) 1978


1966 – 1976   General Partner
Miller, Critchfield & Eaton (now Miller, Critchfield, Eaton & Noonan)
Specializing in general civil litigation, family law, guardianships, adoptions, business, and Workers’ Compensation.

1964 – 1966   Associate, Miller, Haygood & Critchfield


  • Brandeis University – Waltham, MA (1956-1960)
    B.A. – History and Political Science
  • Stanford University School of Law – Palo Alto, CA (1960-1963) J.D.
  • California Bar Exam – Fall 1963. Admitted to Bar – January 1964
  • Mediation Training Program (40 hours) – Mediation Office of Steven Rosenberg (2000)
  • Numerous seminars and courses presented by the CA Judges Association, CA Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), CEB, and Rutter group on all areas of law including employment, landlord-tenant, evidence, family, contracts, settlement techniques, etc. (1976 – 1999)
  • 1962 – 1963 School year – Volunteer student legal aid advisor (10 hours/week)
    Santa Clara Legal Aid Society – received award as outstanding student legal aid advisor – May 1963
  • 1964 – 1968 Reader – State of California Bar Examiners – grading Spring and Fall bar examinations and summer first year bar examinations

Professional Activities

  • Member, California Judges Association (1976 – present)
  • Member, California Alameda & Eastern Alameda County Bar Associations (1964 – present)
  • California Center for Judicial Education & Research (CJER)
    o   Seminar leader for one-week orientation session for newly-appointed judges
    March 1977 – March 1981
    o   Faculty member (Criminal pre-trial and law and motion)
    New Judge Orientation Sessions (3) – 1985
    o   Faculty member (sentencing misdemeanants – 4 hours and criminal law and motion – 16 hours)
    Continuing Judicial Studies Program – January 1981
    o   Seminar leader for two-week session for newly-appointed judges – July 1986
    o  Seminar leader for Family Law and Procedures Institute – March 1990
    o   Alameda County Bar Association Faculty Member – success in Law & Motion Seminar – Spring 1993-1997
    o   The Rutter Group Faculty Member – Family Law Update – 1995
  • Instructor – Alameda County Sheriffs Academy – 1976-1985
  • Trustee, Vice President & President, Alameda County Law Library (1988 – 1997)
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyer Association
    o   1995 Trial Judge of The Year
  • Valley Memorial Hospital – Livermore, CA – Director, July 1982–July 1985
  • Pacific Health Care – Director, September 1985–June 1989
  • Alameda County Legal Aid Society – Director, 1970-1992
  • Moderator for Livermore-Pleasanton Community Television panel shows (3)
  • Judge Pro Tem in San Leandro-Hayward Municipal Court, Livermore-Pleasanton
  • Municipal Court, Livermore Justice Court and Pleasanton Justice Court
  • Volunteer legal advisor for over 30 non-profit corporations and associations including
    o   Southern Alameda County Head Start Program, Inc.
    o   CAPE (Community Association for Pre-School Education)
    o   Health Care Concerns Committee, Inc.
    o   Nursery School Scholarship Fund
    o   Project Southwest
    o   Latin Organization for Betterment, Inc.
    o   Livermore Cultural Arts Council, Inc.
    o   Livermore Civic Chorus
    o   Livermore Bicentennial Organization
    o   Valley Ecology Center
    o   Churches (16)
    o   PTA’s (4)

Community Activities

Student Education Loan Fund, Director, 1968-1976; President, 1971-1972

  • Livermore Active 20-30 Club, Member, 1964-1968; President 1967-1968
  • City of Livermore Beautification Committee (Appointed by City Council), Member, 1968-1971; Vice Chairperson, 1968-1969
  • City of Livermore Ad Hoc Human Relations Commission (Appointed by City Council), Member, 1968
  • Valley Communities Economic Opportunities Organization, Member, Legal Advisory Board – 1966-1967
  • Livermore Chamber of Commerce, Director, 1966-1972; Education Committee Chairperson, 1966-1968; Vice President (civic development), 1968-1969
  • ACCORD (A Coordinating Committee to Overcome Racial Division), Member, 1968-Present
  • Livermore Valley Jewish Community Center Trustee, 1970-1971
  • TEAM (Elementary School PTA), Executive Committee, 1974-1975

Took active role in support of all school and park district bond and /or tax elections as follows:

Livermore Schools
1969: Finance Chairperson
1971: Area Chairperson
1975:  Area Chairpersonoo

Chabot College
1972: Area Chairperson

Park and Recreation District
1972: Executive Committee

  • Valley Memorial Hospital – Director, 1983 – 1986
  • Axis Community Health – Director, 2001 – Present
  • Tri Valley Conservancy – Director, 2001 – 2011
  • Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center – Director, 2014 – Present
  • Congregation Beth Emek – Trustee, 2015 to present

Representative Cases


  • Trust amendment signed when settlor aged 98. Petitioners disinherited, allege settlor incompetent and acted due to undue influence and fraud. medical records do not reveal any lack of competence and drafting attorneys state believed settlor competent. Settlor paid own bills maintained checking acc't and paid taxes.
  • Trustee seeks approval of actions objected to by a former girlfriend and mother of decedent's child who has filed a claim for future child support of $500,000. Trustee and mother of decedent and other children have objected.
  • Settled case where “lost” Will named girlfriend from 25 years ago as sale beneficiary - three distant relatives claim under law of intestacy, and thee of four parties petition to be administrator. The case settled with $3,500,000 being divided between the 4 claimants.
  • Settled case to leave entire estate to his children fall separate property specifically.

Real Estate

  • Dispute re ownership of garage located between two dwellings - resolution involved grant of lot line adjustment.