Hon. Garrett Olney (Ret.)


Hon. Garrett Olney (Ret.) has dedicated his career to public service and the art of conflict resolution. Judge Olney served as a Judge of the Superior Court for Plumas County from 1989 to 2006. As a judge in a small county, Judge Olney was for half of his active career on the bench the primary judge for all civil, probate, and family law cases in the county, handling each case entirely from commencement, through discovery, pretrial and trial.

While on the bench, Judge Olney honed his knowledge and skills by attending the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution’s mediation course for judges, leading him to become a strong advocate for alternative dispute resolution. He recognized the value of settlement for people involved in legal disputes and introduced mandatory settlement conferences for all civil cases in Plumas County, demonstrating his dedication to streamlining and improving the process of resolving disputes in a timely and efficient manner. He also introduced mandatory settlement conferences for small claims and landlord/tenant litigation, with close to 80% of cases resolving before trial.

In addition to his local duties, Judge Olney participated in a Judicial Council program that involved traveling throughout the state for a week each month. This program gave Judge Olney a fine appreciation for the diverse issues facing litigants throughout the state. He recognized that while the issues might be different, the need for mediation remained the same. Judge Olney was able to dedicate his time and expertise in teaching fellow judges in civil law through the California Judicial Education and Research (CJER) program.

After almost two decades on the bench as an active judge, where he presided over a diverse array of cases, Judge Olney transitioned to the Assigned Judges program, bringing his invaluable experience to bear throughout Northern California. His participation in this program has exemplified his unwavering dedication to equal access to justice, and ensuring every dispute is approached with an even-handed perspective.

Driven by his commitment to alternative dispute resolution, Judge Olney joined ADR Services, Inc. in 2023 to focus on providing mediation, arbitration, and discovery referee services. With a natural ability to facilitate communication and a deep understanding of human dynamics, he has embraced this role with enthusiasm, seeking to help litigants by fostering consensus and promoting understanding outside the traditional courtroom setting.


  • 2023-Present: Neutral, ADR Services, Inc.
  • 2007-2023: Judge, Temporary Assigned Judges Program, State of California
  • 1989-2006: Judge of the Superior Court, County of Plumas
  • 1980-1988: Private Practice, Quincy, California
  • 1975-1980: Deputy District Attorney, Office of the Alameda County District Attorney


  • 1972-1975: J.D., University of California at San Francisco (formerly Hastings) Law School
  • 1968-1969: Oxford University, England
  • 1964-1968: B.A. cum laude, University of Notre Dame, Indiana


  • 1969-1972: United States Army, Heidelberg, Germany


  • Commercial Contract/General Business
  • Family Law
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate


• Alpine
• Amador
• Butte
• Calaveras
• Colusa
• El Dorado
• Glenn
• Lassen
• Modoc
• Nevada
• Placer
• Plumas
• Sacramento
• Shasta
• Sierra
• Siskiyou
• Sutter
• Tehama
• Trinity
• Yolo
• Yuba


Judge Olney is proficient in German and Spanish. He holds a certificate to teach English as a second language. For ten years, he taught English as a second language in the evenings in Plumas County, as well as in Mexico and Nicaragua.

Representative Cases


“I thought Judge Olney was excellent. He was very prepared and thoroughly reviewed the materials and had given a lot of thought to various resolution possibilities. Judge Olney talked with me for a half hour the day before the mediation and asked for follow up information. I appreciated that. He was ready and had a good way about him—I would use him again. The case settled rather quickly because of all the leg work beforehand.”