Judge Sarmiento is a distinguished former Settlement Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. During his 26-year tenure, he led hundreds of successful settlement conferences in cases across a broad span of practice areas such as general business commercial disputes, employment, malpractice, and personal injury. While on the bench, Judge Sarmiento implemented the first Santa Monica Court personal injury Civil Referee Assisted Settlement Hearing (CRASH) program where he personally participated in 10+ personal injury-related settlement conferences per week.

As a mediator, Judge Sarmiento is noted for his dogged determination and follow-up when a case does not settle on the day of mediation. He prides himself on being extremely diligent in his preparation for every matter he handles. He is also well known for his organization and skills in handling complex and high-stakes matters, for his thoughtful even handed approach and uncanny ability to break impasse with even the most staunchly opposing viewpoints. Many attorneys regard him as "professional, thoughtful, and decisive."

Practice Areas
  • Business/Commercial
  • Construction Defects
  • Employment
  • Entertainment
  • Family Law
  • Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Real Estate
  • Sports
Hobbies & Interests

Judge Sarmiento is an avid surfer and in his spare time plays the guitar in a jazz band.

Legal Career
  • Neutral, Judicate West (2016-Present)
  • Mediator, Arbitrator (2014-Present)
  • Settlement Judge, Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Organized and managed the first Santa Monica court personal injury Civil Referee Assisted
  • Settlement Hearing (CRASH) program
  • Judge, Los Angeles County Superior Court (1993-2014)
  • Judge, Los Angeles County Municipal Court (1988-1993)
  • Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County (1982-1988)
  • Deputy Public Defender, Los Angeles County (1981-1982)
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D., UC Davis School of Law
  • B.A., California State University, Northridge
  • Distinguished Jurist Award, Philippine American Bar Association (2015)
  • Santa Monica Bar Association, Member (2015-Present)
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. Cesar Sarmiento, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.


  • Indemnification cause of action for misrepresentations, mistakes, and omissions in dispute between Mortgage originator and Bank over the sale of mortgage.
  • Settlement of a liquidating trust in bankruptcy.

Complex Commercial

  • Multi-million dollar dispute between investment banking firms over right to commissions from sale of distribution rights for international beverage company
  • Lawsuit regarding fraudulent transfer of property involving millions of dollars, complicated by simultaneous litigations in other states and countries
  • Partnership dissolution lawsuit of major law firm involving rights to profits from pharmaceutical litigation
  • Action against school district for unfairly advertising and charging for adult basic and secondary education classes


  • Contract dispute between major sports franchise and former Head Coach of the organization
  • Breach of contract dispute between movie camera designer/manufacturer and Japanese distributor
  • Dispute between consumers and auto manufacturer regarding defective outboard engines
  • Matter between consumer and luxury car dealership regarding sale of defective vehicle
  • Dispute between general contractor and bank over construction loan on a condominium project
  • Dispute between major Hollywood actor and investors over a new casino/hotel operation in Beirut, Lebanon
  • Breach of Warranty and Breach of Contract in Sale of Manufactured Housing Unit
  • Dispute among members of LLC over Commercial Real Estate investment
  • Breach of contract arising out of a loan agreement. The borrowing party is in the clothing manufacturing business.
  • This is a business dispute. The plaintiff alleged breach of contract and fraud arising out of denial of partnership in the business. The business sells and consults to customers in the Pro Audio, recording studio and live sound production industry.
  • Plaintiff alleged she had entered into a contract to purchase a restaurant. Defendant owner argued that it was not a contract to sell.
  • This case involved a tax dispute between a Law Firm and a City. The City alleged that the law firm had underpaid business taxes.
  • Breach of Contract case between an aerospace parts manufacturer and a refraction company over the rebuilding of a furnace used in the manufacture of parts.
  • Business dispute involving aerospace company and a robotics manufacturing business. Breach of contract over the suitability of a robotics unit for the task it was designed.
  • Virtual mediation of a breach of contract case arising out of a film production. Investors sued the producer for fraud and were seeking a return on their investment.


  • Business dispute breach of contract along with allegations of fraud by both sides. The business did billing of insurance companies for Dentists.
  • Plaintiff suing Defendant for fraud and for stealing his money. Defendant was a money manager/investment consultant and agreed to manage Plaintiff's money.
  • Breach of Contract and fraud allegations arising out of the sale of insurance business.

Lemon Law

  • This case involved a Vehicle Dealer Bond issued pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 11711. The Principal, defendant in an interpleader action, refused to indemnify the Surety for the amount of the bond.

Construction Breach Of Contract

  • Condominium owner suing her Home Owners Association for repair to common and private areas of condo complex.
  • General Contractor sued owner over dispute involving the construction of an apartment complex. The Plaintiff was arguing the original contract was abandoned and that he was entitled to recover an amount in excess of the Guaranteed Maximum Price.

Construction Defects

  • Disputes involving commercial, residential, and condominium projects involving all trades
  • Dispute regarding 10,000 square foot home in Beverly Hills between owner and general Contractor and related cross complaints
  • Lawsuit involving four-unit condominium project between builder and general contractor over delays and defects
  • Dispute between general contractor and subcontractor hired to do excavation, shoring, and concrete work on condominium project
  • Matter between dentist and architect over planning, design, and construction of dental office
  • Indemnification action by general contractor against subcontractors arising from construction on Beverly Hills mansion
  • Matter between dentist and architect over planning, design, and construction of dental office
  • Lawsuit involving comedy club suing contractor over work performed to building
  • Professional negligence case against an architect.

Breach of Contract

  • Employment dispute involving Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) against national fast food franchise
  • Mediated breach of employment contract dispute with investment banking firm and employee regarding equity interest in the company
  • Mediated breach of duty of loyalty and theft of trade secrets case between Mortgage Company and its President


  • Handled countless employment cases involving both small businesses and large national corporations involving discrimination based on gender, race religion and disability, sexual harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, overtime, misclassification and pregnancy disputes
  • Dispute involving breach of employment contract and unlawful termination of executive of major movie industry special effects company
  • Mediated a pre-filing disability discrimination with failure to accommodate matter between a credit card company and employee
  • Mediated disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, retaliation and wage and hour dispute involving an international airline company
  • Employment discrimination case against a fast casual restaurant chain. Plaintiff alleged that the restaurant terminated her because she was pregnant.

Hostile Environment

  • Matter arising from employee alleging sexual harassment claims against major metropolitan county office

Sexual Harassment

  • Employment wage and hour case, with allegations of sexual assault.
  • Sexual harassment case arising out of a dentist's office. Additional claims of discrimination based on gender were made by multiple employees.
  • Employment case: Plaintiff alleged discrimination, unlawful termination based on pregnancy and sexual harassment.
  • This was sexual assault and harassment, hostile working environment in the work place employment case.

Wage and Hour

  • Employment case. Issues: 1) independent contractor vs employee status and 2) commissions owed.
  • Handled countless employment cases involving both small businesses and large national corporations involving discrimination based on gender, race religion and disability, sexual harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, overtime, misclassification and pregnancy disputes
  • Numerous wage and hour, overtime claims, meal and rest period actions against national fast food franchises and retail chain stores

Whistleblower Wrongful Term

  • Plaintiff alleged he was wrongful terminated for reporting fraud on a public transportation project.

Wrongful Term & Discrimination

  • Employment case. Plaintiff alleged she was constructively terminated due to racial discrimination.

Wrongful Termination

  • Claim against national retailer resulting in multi-million dollar settlement
  • Numerous actions against national fast food franchises and retail chain stores Dispute involving unlawful termination of executive of major movie industry special effects Company
  • Failure to accommodate and wrongful termination claim against national retailer resulting in multimillion dollar settlement
  • Mediated dispute involving wrongful termination based on pregnancy and disability against insurance company employer
  • Employment dispute involving Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) against national fast food franchise
  • The Plaintiff was a caregiver for the decedent. He sued the Trust that employed him for overtime wages and penalties.

Entertainment Issues

  • Breach of contract dispute between movie camera designer/manufacturer and Japanese distributor
  • Dispute between major Hollywood actor and investors over a new casino/hotel operation in Beirut, Lebanon
  • Dispute involving unlawful termination of executive of major movie industry special effects company
  • Mediation of case involving NBA franchise and head coach regarding breach of employment contract dispute over salary owed after termination
  • Dispute between agent and television sitcom actor regarding commissions owed Several cases involving musicians and actors against their agent or management over commission disputes
  • Partnership dissolution dispute involving a talent agency
  • Dispute among producers of Sports Documentary over credits and profits distribution


  • Negligence and conversion causes of action arising from the theft of a trailer from a vehicle storage business.

Property Damage

  • The defendant's golf course construction caused mud slide which destroyed Plaintiff's home.


  • Workers Compensation carrier suing the defendant for the recovery of funds paid in workers' comp action. Plaintiff suing for general damages.
  • Insurance subrogation action. The insurance company sued manufacturers and the retailer for selling an allegedly defective remote control car battery. The insured's battery exploded while charging resulting in property damage from fire.

Medical Malpractice

  • Medical malpractice case against 2 doctors. The plaintiff's wife died on the operating table during a surgery to remove a mass in the neck.
  • Medical Malpractice case arising out of a donor nephrectomy
  • Medical malpractice matter against doctor and hospital for death of elderly patient Lawsuit against nightclub resulting from fight involving club bouncers against patrons
  • Medical malpractice case against doctors for over prescribing iron treatment to Plaintiff. Plaintiff was self represented.

Prof Malpractice Accounting

  • The defendant is a CPA. His firm failed to pay employment taxes to the EDD and IRS. The plaintiff was seeking recovery of the interest and penalties the IRS and State EDD imposed. In addition the Plaintiffs were seeking recovery of legal and accounting fees incurred in dealing with the IRS and assessing the amount of their losses.

Breach Of Contract

  • Complicated HOA case involving HOA, Management Company, Foreclosure Co., individual HOA board members and residents. Settlement involved refiling with recorders' office lien assessment documents.
  • Home seller refused to pay sales commission to broker on the sale of a house.


  • Purchase of residential real estate dispute. Buyer cancelled the escrow and the issue was whether the seller was entitled to keep the deposit or if it should be returned to buyers.

Home Owners Association

  • Dispute between homeowners and the Home Owners Association over the location of a bus stop.
  • Homeowners Association dispute. The common area floor joists sunk causing damage to the Plaintiff's condo unit. Dispute is over who has to pay for particular items of damage.
  • Dispute between condo unit owner and HOA over damage to property and failure to comply with CCR's and by laws.


  • Commercial lease dispute involving a health food/juice restaurant. The dispute involved construction on the leased property and the subsequent building code violations. The property owner filed an unlawful detainer to evict the tenant for violation of the lease terms. The tenant filed a declaration relief action. Case settled by a modification of key terms of the lease.

Real Property

  • Disputes between homeowners regarding ocean view obstruction in upscale suburban neighborhood
  • Fence line dispute between apartment building owners in major metropolitan city
  • Adjacent neighbor dispute arising from property owner allegedly dumping construction debris into backyard resulting in landslide hazards
  • Tenant dispute against Homeowners Association (HOA) involving 100+ condominium complexes over construction and repairs
  • Dispute between downhill homeowners against uphill homeowner when mud slide flooded their homes
  • Numerous HOA suits against condominium owners for unauthorized construction
  • HOA disputes with tenants renting units for short-term vacations
  • Lawsuit to have foreign country judgment recognized in California arising from dispute related to real estate transaction
  • Numerous cases involving easement disputes
  • Residential Property dispute between neighbors involving an easement.

Warranty of Habitability

  • Warranty of Habitability case involving 28 unit apartment building.
  • This is a personal injury case arising out of exposure to mold in the Plaintiff's rental apartment.
  • Warranty of habitability case involving131 plaintiffs.

Common Carrier

  • Numerous disputes for injuries sustained by passengers on metropolitan transportation authority buses

Food Safety

  • Plaintiff alleged that she became sick from E.coli virus from dining at the Defendants' restaurant.

General Negligence

  • A natural gas provider alleged a cause of action for inverse condemnation against an electricity supply company and a City. The gas provider alleged that the electricity supply company's power surge caused damage to City's water pipe which caused 6-figures worth of damage.
  • Plaintiff sued a cemetery because of a botched burial. First, the casket would not fit into the grave sight because the handles were too wide. Then, they had to open the casket, move the body around, tear out the lining and unscrew the handles. This took place at the grave sight as the family members observed the whole process.

Personal Injury

  • The plaintiff suffered second and third degrees burns on most of his body from an apartment building fire. Parties agreed to a seven-figure settlement.

PI Auto

  • Bad faith insurance arising out of a personal injury auto/pedestrian accident.
  • Car accident case involving high profile political/celebrity personality.
  • First party insurance case arising out of a car on bike accident. Defendant driver was underinsured.
  • Motor scooter accident involving broken tibia and fibula and disputed TBI.
  • Countless lawsuits involving automobile accidents, premises liability, slip and fall, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and wrongful death
  • Dispute arising from head trauma injury resulting from individual falling from motorized two-wheeled personal transport vehicle

PI Sexual Assault

  • Plaintiff alleged sexual abuse against the mother of one of his high school friends.

Premises Liability

  • Laborer injured on construction site. Along with the usual issues involved in personal injury cases, this case involved complications relating to the Worker's Compensation lien.
  • Dispute against large coastal municipality when individual was injured after wave swept her off a breakwater structure
  • Mediated premises liability case where a woman fell through an improperly filled construction ditch while running through a college campus
  • Mediated serious injury claim involving an employee on a college campus Mediated premises liability matter on private college campus where stage collapsed on an assembly attendee
  • Mediated numerous injury matters occurring in parking lot and parking structures
  • High-profile celebrity case. Actor/comedian accused of assaulting a driver.

Product Liability

  • Breach of contract involving Hardwood Floor manufacturer.
  • Dispute against major metropolitan city for improper roadway design
  • Property damage case involving the Homeowners Association with multiple parties, subrogation actions and insurance issues.
  • The Plaintiff alleged that the stem on the bicycle broke causing him to crash. The Plaintiff argued that the metal alloy used in the stem was not suitable for use as a bicycle stem.

Toxic Torts

  • Disputes involving toxic mold complaints

Wrongful Death

  • Wrongful death claim against major metropolitan city when elderly man tripped and fell in airport parking structure
  • Mediated high-speed freeway accident case involving multiple vehicles and injuries including a wrongful death claim
Sarmiento is the best. Always gets the job done!
- Founding Partner of a Firm Based in Beverly Hills
Prepared, experienced, so very skilled. Wonderful!
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto Dispute
Judge Sarmiento knows how to get the job done, and who to strongarm given the facts of the case.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto case
The matter was somewhat complex as it involved claims in both workers' compensation and a civil suit with separate sets of counsel on the two matters. Judge Sarmiento was able to guide the parties and counsel to a negotiated resolution that would not have seemed feasible at the start of the process.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury / Catastrophic case
The experience was great! Judge Sarmiento was a true professional, a great fair mediator.
- Attorney on a Defamation Case
Judge Sarmiento is a quick study, knows the law cold, and has a very practical problem-solving approach. He is also very friendly and easy to talk to. In our case, he was efficient and direct getting the parties to a resolution on a case I thought would never settle. I highly recommend Judge Sarmiento as a mediator.
- Attorney on a Construction Breach of Contract case
Judge Sarmiento's bench experience and communication skills contributed greatly to completing our mediation successfully.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto Dispute
Judge Sarmiento was great. He thoroughly read the briefs and analyzed the case prior to the mediation. He was very effective and completely honest with how he valued the case and the evidence that both sides had presented. You could tell that he really wanted to help settle the matter for a fair and reasonable number.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury case
Hon. Cesar Sarmiento, Ret.
Based in Los Angeles | Available in All of California
Case Manager: Amanda Muñoz