Hon. Richard S. Flier (Ret.) has settled or conducted trials dealing with the full spectrum of legal issues during his twenty years as a Superior Court Judge. His career included three separate tours as a Civil Fast Track judge handling issue conferences and settlement conferences as well as trials and summary judgment motions. Recognized as a patient, courteous and perceptive judge who has a tremendous capacity to quickly grasp issues, he is very effective in guiding parties toward resolution.
- Judge, Superior Court, County of Contra Costa. Elected June 5, 1984 (defeated Judge David E. Pesonen) for term commencing January 7, 1985. Re-elected in 1990, 1996 and 2002.
- Assignments included Civil Fast Track, General Trials, Family Law, Criminal Calendar and Appellate Department.
- Committee Assignments included Budget Committee (Chair), Court Reporters’ Committee, Criminal Law Judges, Fast Track Judges, Recognition Committee and Social Committee.
- Deputy District Attorney, Contra Costa County, October 1973 – January 1985 (1977 set record for most Felony Trial Days in a year). Assignments included Misdemeanor trials, Preliminary Examinations, Felony Trial Team, Felony Expediter and Richmond Felony Filing Deputy.
- Hearing Examiner, California Office of Administrative Hearings, State General Services Administration, San Francisco, March 1972 – September 1973.
- Law Clerk, Law Firm of Parichan & Krebs, Fresno, California summer of 1968
Held numerous part-time non-legal jobs while attending high school through law school. This included a multi-year stint as a cook, carhop, soda jerk and dishwasher at the family restaurant, a sales clerk in Men’s Clothing and a seasonal sales manager in Linens (Macy’s).
- Trial Judge of the Shell oil spill cases which tried to verdict, 1989
- Trial Judge of the Bank of the West case regarding the definition of “advertising” coverage.
- Jones Act wrongful death to an engineer aboard a tanker.
- Sexual harassment claims involving employees of large corporations.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Extensive settlement experience in a wide variety of complex legal issues and problems from “slip and fall” to wrongful death, professional malpractice, employment problems, eminent domain, real estate, construction issues, insurance, business and commercial.
- Assigned exclusively to civil matters, 1988 – 1991, 1999 – 2000 and 2002
- Served as a judge in Bench-Bar Settlement Program.
- Regularly assigned additional settlement conferences and mediations even while not on the Civil Bench.
- Noted for patience, persistence, inventive solutions and the ability to resolve difficult cases involving difficult people.
- Conducted numerous bench trials involving attorney fee disputes, sight-line property disputes, contract interpretation, inverse condemnation, statutory interpretation, construction issues and partnership dissolution.
- “Strategic Negotiation Skills” given in Woodstock, Vermont October 15-19, 2009 by Pepperdine University School of Law, 18 hours of training.
- “Mediation Training” presented by Steven Rosenberg in Marin County, March 2005. This was a 40 hour program over a period of two weeks.
- “Mediation & Conflict Resolution Seminar” presented by Ronald Kelly. This was done through UC Berkeley Extension, Continuing Education Unit (CEU), April 2005. This was also a 40 hour program
Honors, Memberships and Professional Activities
- Member, California State Bar Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2011 –
- Judge of the Year, Italian American Bar Association, 2010
- California Judges’ Association, 1985 – present
- Robert G. McGrath American Inns of Court, 1999 – present
- Contra Costa County Trial Judge of the Year, 2000, ACCTLA
- Panelist, “Civil Case Management,” 1999, Contra Costa County Bar Association in conjunction with Superior Court ADR.
- Moderator, “Courtroom Conduct: Tactics, Ethics, Contempt and Common Sense,” 1991, CEB
- Panelist, “Law and Motion Practice in the Bay Area,” 1990, Barristers’ Club of San Francisco
- Alumni Association, Hastings College of the Law
- Alumni Association, University of California
- Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill, (President 2004 – 2005)
- California Marching Band Alumni Association
- Moderator, CEB Program, “Courtroom Conduct: Tactics, Ethics, Contempt and Common Sense,” 1991
- Panelist, “Civil Case Management,” 1999 sponsored by Contra Costa County Bar Association – Litigation Section and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
- Diablo Valley College, Law Day Speaker, Liberty Bell Award
- J.D., 1971, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, Round Winner, Moot Court Competition
- B.A., 1967, University of California, Berkeley, Political Science
- 1972 admitted to the California Bar, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
“I hadn’t ever mediated a case with Judge Flier. Boy was that a BIG mistake. He was incredibly thorough and hit the ground running before the mediation ever began. He came up with out-of-the-box solutions and actually helped me resolve a much bigger case than the one I thought I was pursuing. He is now one of the top on my list of mediators. I would recommend him in a heartbeat!”
“Judge Flier was a very effective mediator in a difficult industrial accident case.”