Hon. David S. Milton (Ret.)

Profile

Hon. David S. Milton brings 24 years of judicial experience towards resolving civil disputes in alternative dispute resolution. Exceptionally knowledgeable about the law and human behavior, Judge Milton has settled  hundreds  of  cases,  ranging  from  two-­‐party  disputes  to  complex  multi-­‐party  litigation,  as  the settlement department judge for the Northeast District.

Believing that, irrespective of complexity and size, all cases deserve the same degree of dignity, Judge Milton handles each case with the utmost care. Parties appearing before him have commended his dedication to their case, his virtuosity on legal issues and his ability to connect with the parties.

Areas of Expertise

  • Real Estate
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury, including Premises & Products Liability
  • Civil Rights / Officer Involved Use of Force
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Business & Commercial Contract
  • Also experienced in resolving: Family Law, Probate and Wage & Hour

Legal Experience

  • Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court 1995 ‐ 2014
    • Settlement Department
    • General Civil Trials
  • Assistant Chief Trial Counsel, State Bar of California 1994 ­‐ 1995
  • Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Marion County – Indianapolis 1992 ­‐ 1994
  • Judge, Los Angeles Municipal Court 1987 ­‐ 1992
  • Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County 1979 ‐ 1987

Education & ADR Training

  • Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution – Pepperdine School of Law, Mediation Training 2012
  • Indiana University School of Law, JD 1978
  • California State University Los Angeles, BS 1975

Professional Licenses & Associations

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Indiana (inactive)
  • California Real Estate Broker License

Personal

  • Beijing University, Guest Lecturer on “Survey American Justice Systems”
  • Chinese Bar Association (Shenzhen, China), Speaker on “Legal Ethics”
  • United States Army Reserve (6 Years)

Representative Cases

Breach of Contract

  • Plaintiff purchaser of real property initiated an action for specific performance and filed a lis pendens notice after Defendant seller, an LLC, entered into a subsequent agreement to sell the property at a higher price. One of the LLC’s two managers refused to perform on the earlier contract alleging that the executing manager lacked authority to enter into the purchase agreement.
  • Plaintiff alleged that he paid $30,200 for tuition to attend Defendant’s private university on the basis that the university would provide Form I-20 for Plaintiff’s immigration status change, and that the tuition and fees would be refunded if Plaintiff was unsuccessful with the status change. Plaintiff’s M-1 application was rejected and Defendant refused the refund the tuition and fees. Defendant cross-complained against Plaintiff alleging breach and misappropriation of property.

Civil Rights

  • Refuse collection truck, operated by defendant waste disposal company, collided with plaintiff, an on-duty motorcycle officer, resulting in serious bodily injury. Biomechanical, accident reconstruction, and medical expert testimony was presented.
  • Automobile accident where employee rear-ended the plaintiff causing serious bodily injury including crushed vertebra in cervical spine. Plaintiff no longer could perform the duties required for his business, suffered significant weight loss, and a stooped posture. His mental health declined, marked by severe bouts of depression, alcohol and pain mediation excesses.
  • Plaintiff was a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. While he was walking in a pedestrian cross-walk, the defendant, an 18 year old, failed to stop at the cross-walk, striking plaintiff, resulting in serious bodily injury. Plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial for inadequacy of jury award.
  • Personal injury matter involved a traffic accident between the plaintiff, a motorcyclist and the defendant, operator of a motor vehicle. Accident reconstruction and medical experts were called by both sides.
  • Premises/product liability case resulted in catastrophic personal injury to plaintiff. Required extensive surgical repair, loss of income, quality of life, and consortium. The defendants included furniture manufacturer and premises owner, a large luxury apartment complex.
  • Product liability case involved clothes dryer that caught fire causing major damage to premises. Plaintiff asserted design defect. Defendant asserted improper maintenance.
  • Product liability and negligence case where plaintiff alleged that an automobile ignition part was defective and caused a fire to occur inside his vehicle. The fire burned plaintiff’s garage and home. Causation experts were required.
  • Claim for medical negligence after defendant performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy that resulted in post-operative complications. Evidence revealed that defendant failed to occlude blood and bile leakage into the abdominal cavity causing super infection. During a remedial surgery, the second surgeon inadvertently punctured the bowel.
  • Medical negligence case arose from injury that occurred during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The defendant asserted that although he was mistaken when he transected the incorrect duct, he was not negligent due to the condition of the surgical field. Numerous experts were called on the complex negligence and damages issues.
  • Case involved a claim of professional negligence by plaintiff who was crippled after foot surgery performed by the defendant. Plaintiff’s evidence demonstrated that cutting his heel, and other post-surgical procedure caused permanent damage to his foot.
  • Case involved botched cosmetic surgical procedures. Plaintiff asserted medical malpractice, breach of contract, intentional and negligent misrepresentation. Defendant asserted affirmative defenses.
  • The defendant, a wealthy owner of a record company, engaged in a pattern of conduct toward plaintiff including purchase of her employer’s business, and thereafter terminating her employment. Defendant hired investigators to assist with stalking, defaming and creating false evidence against plaintiff. Compensatory and punitive damages were sought.
  • Collision between two commercial vehicles resulted in a suit for property and other economic damages. Plaintiff truck operator deceased from unrelated causes. Suit brought by wife for costs for repair and loss of vehicle use. Accident reconstruction experts and accountants were called on causation and damages issues.
  • The defendant contracted with third-party for design-build of school buildings. Plaintiff assumed the contract and proceeded to completion. Issues involved failure of defendant to provide power to site, disruption, reasonable access, false starts, rain delay, and cross assertions by the defendant.
  • Case involved professional malpractice wherein the plaintiff hired the defendant to provide plans for a large retaining wall adjacent to a hillside. Plaintiff hired unlicensed laborers for excavation and grading. During excavation, a portion of the hillside fell upon a worker, causing serious bodily injury. Issues included employment relationship of injured party, worker’s compensation coverage, and citizenship status.
  • Plaintiff and defendant were partners who incorporated a Voice-Over Internet (VOI) business. The defendant, who owned other businesses, took money from VOI and used its resources to fund the other businesses. Through various fraudulent means, the evidence showed that the defendant misappropriated more than $1.5 million giving rise to presentation of complex forensic accounting evidence.
  • Plaintiff operated a private school in the defendant city. Defendant “yellow-tagged” and ordered the facility closed during mid-semester, and refused to re-inspect after remediation. The issue was whether the defendant used constitutional and valid code enforcement provisions in an unconstitutional manner that resulted in improper taking of the property.
  • Declaratory relief and contract rescission action involved the sale of a large parcel of realty located in the defendant city. Initially, city declared the parcel to contain two separate buildable lots. Thereafter, city notified owner that the parcel contained five buildable lots. After sale of the property to plaintiffs, bona fide purchasers, defendant again reversed its decision and declared the property to contain only two buildable lots.
  • Plaintiff contracted to purchase interest in automobile dealership. Approval by parent company was refused. Plaintiff claimed $725k earnest money deposit constituted sufficient performance to excuse minor non-compliance. Plaintiff claimed interference with economic advantage after defendant nearly shut down dealership. Defendants showed that Plaintiffs sold vehicles without paying for them, that defendant had security interests in the vehicles; and that Plaintiff was in default under financing and security agreements.
  • Plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries sustained while operating motorcycle that collided with a vehicle operated by an underinsured senior citizen. The city proffered “Design Immunity” defense. Issues involved whether a causal relationship exited between the plan and the accident; whether the plan was approved by an employee with discretionary authority; and whether substantial evidence existed to support reasonableness of the plan.
  • Plaintiff’s vehicle was recalled in 2003. The recall notice warned of possible ball-joint failure and the possible consequences for failure to repair. Address for Plaintiff was provided through service records maintained by the Defendant. The accident occurred approximately seven years after the recall notice. Another issue was whether the accident was caused by ball-joint or tire failure.
  • Premises liability case where plaintiff alleged she fell and sustained injuries at the defendant’s restaurant after slip and fall. Plaintiff declined medical assistance. Notice and causation were the major issues.
  • Plaintiff alleged premises liability, negligence, false arrest, malicious prosecution, assault & battery, and conspiracy against defendant homeowners association and individual association members.
  • Complaint alleged implied equitable contractual and/or tort indemnity, breach of contract, intentional fraud, and declaratory relief. In addition to monetary damages and injunctive relief, a request was made to invalidate judgments against Plaintiff by non-parties.
  • Fraud claim by plaintiff who gave promissory notes to help fund a proposed retail shopping complex. Defendants asserted that the funds were an investment, and that the project was hampered because of inability to acquire necessary contiguous property and city permits.
  • As an agent/broker for plaintiff insurance company, defendant transferred clients to a competitor company. Defendant disobeyed cease and desist order by continuing to transfer clients.
  • Defendant tour bus company, required plaintiff drivers to transport clients to Las Vegas for “turn-around” gaming entertainment. Drivers were required to remain on tour bus and “on-call” until return to California. Drivers also were required to clean vehicle after clocking-out.

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Elder Abuse

  • Plaintiffs alleged elder physical abuse and wrongful death of decedent who had reached 91+ years of age. Decedent had been in the care of Defendants, a senior healthcare provider, for approximately 18 months preceding death. Immediately before death, decedent’s general diagnoses included diabetes, hypertension, anemia, hyperlipidemia, urinary tract infection, sepsis, atrial fibrillation, skin integrity issues, as well as a number of other physical/mental deficits. Plaintiffs alleged that the conditions that caused death were attributable to gross neglect amounting to oppressive conduct.

Employment

  • Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Defendants and parent companies for racial and gender discrimination. Plaintiff alleged hostile work environment following formal complaints to DFEH/FEHA. In addition, Plaintiff alleged that she was assaulted, battered, and falsely imprisoned by a security guard employment by Defendants. The submissions by the parties exceeded 9,000 pages, and issues involved spoliation of evidence, motions to quash SDTs, sanctions, attorney fees, and apportionment of costs.

Probate

  • Life insurer interpleaded policy proceeds due to adverse claimants. Decedent designated her domestic partner of 36 years as 100% beneficiary. Decedent’s children challenged the Domestic Partnership designation, and further challenged the entitlement with a conflicting document. The children also urged that the designation was due to fraud, duress, and undue influence.