Neutral Profile



  • Based in Northern California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


After serving on the Sacramento Superior Court bench for 18 years, In 2020, Judge Abbott retired and is available to serve as a Mediator, Arbitrator and Private Judge. During his tenure on the bench, he presided over civil and criminal jury trials, civil case management calendars, complex civil cases and law and motion. Judge Abbott has earned a reputation as a fair, intelligent and flexible judge and was awarded Judge of the Year by several organizations.
Before his judicial career, he was a trial attorney for over 25 years in a tort litigation practice emphasizing products liability, professional negligence, general personal injury and insurance bad faith. He was known as a respectful adversary trying dozens of cases and was admitted into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) where he is still currently an active member.
Judge Abbott stated, “My goal as a professional neutral is to assist the parties to achieve settlement and resolve disputes with dignity, creativity and respect. Judges don’t settle cases, lawyers and litigants do.”

Practice Areas

  • Products Liability
  • Professional Negligence
  • Wrongful Death
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • All Types of Personal Injury
  • Complex Litigation and Coordinated Actions

Experience Summary

Judge Abbott has been involved in a wide variety of cases as a trial lawyer for 28 years and a trial judge for 18 years.

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Hobbies & Interests

Judge Abbott has been a Rotarian for 30 years and is an advocate for literacy in public schools and serves on the advisory board of the Sacramento Chapter of Reading Partners a nonprofit that tutors children in reading and spelling. He also enjoys playing golf, bicycle riding, reading, traveling and crossword puzzles.


"Judge Abbott was a great trial judge, is both wise and honest, and call’s the balls and strikes as he sees them. He has been a consistent contributor to the Sacramento legal community and represents the level of excellence that most just aspire to. "
- Sacramento Attorney

Links and Articles

Experience Summary


• Breach of contract involving a construction of a power facility

• Breach of contract involving software development companies

• Breach of a Health services contract for indigent care reimbursement

• Removal of general partner of a law firm

• Law partnership dissolution

• Stock re-purchase agreement; indemnity

• Breach of franchise agreement involving a motor vehicle company

• Breach of an Entertainment contract which resulted in payment of royalties

• Public construction contract, sewer system

• Insurance brokerage agreement with alleged fraud


• Constructive wrongful termination, defamation, retaliation

• Wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment

• Racial discrimination, retaliation

• Failure to provide reasonable accommodation, retaliation

• Whistleblower, retaliation, wrongful termination

• Wage and hour dispute, complex case


• Pricing dispute for medically uninsured patients

• A complex case involving Indigent medical care reimbursement

• Invasion of privacy, disclosure of HIV status


• Malicious prosecution arising from enforcement of waste disposal contract

• Malicious prosecution and predatory eviction, abuse of process

• First amendment rights, malicious prosecution


• DUI, wrongful death

• Lumbar spinal injury, surgical instrumentation, cage fusion

• Cervical spinal injury, disk excision with instrumentation

• Low impact, cervical spinal injury with disk excision

• Negligent maintenance and repair, traumatic brain injury

• Negligence by interstate carrier causing catastrophic injury; vicarious liability


• Legal malpractice and fraud resulting from non-compliance with California Tort Claims Act

• Legal malpractice pertaining to creation of a conservatorship

• Legal malpractice, involving enforcement of judgment

• Medical malpractice, obstetrics care resulting in post-partum injury

• Medical malpractice, diagnosis and treatment of atroke

• Medical malpractice, diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia

• Medical malpractice, management of psychiatric care

• Medical malpractice, failure to diagnose endometrial cancer

• Medical malpractice, failure to diagnose intervertebral disk injury


• Automobile, uncontrolled acceleration, wrongful death

• Automobile, defective tire, rollover, wrongful death

• Automobile, Lemon Law

• Construction heater, resulting in burns

• Defective passenger restraint which resulted wrongful death and settled with a structured settlement


• Police pursuit which resulted in a traumatic brain injury

• Dangerous condition of public property, highway design resulting in a catastrophic injury

• Negligent operation of emergency vehicle and resulted in a wrongful death

• Dangerous condition of public property, premises liability

• Dangerous condition of public property, pedestrian crossing resulting in a traumatic brain injury


• Electric signage, commercial lease

• HOA dispute, ownership of common area

• HOA, home improvement and maintenance

Legal Career

  • Full Time Neutral, Judicate West (Present)
  • Judge, Sacramento Superior Court (2002-2020), Assistant Presiding Judge 2008-2009 and 2018-2019, and four years as Supervising Judge at the Carol Miller Justice Center
  • Judge, Sacramento Veterans’ Treatment Court (2014-2019)
  • Trial Attorney, Abbott & Nolen (1996-2001)
  • Trial Attorney, Law Office of David W. Abbott (1990-1996)
  • Trial Attorney, Gessford & Abbott (1983-1990)
  • Trial Attorney, Gessford, Sevey & Alpar (1981-1983)
  • Trial Attorney, Freidberg Law Corporation (1978-1981)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D. University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1973)
  • B.A. University of California, Berkeley (1970)
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association (1978-Present)
  • Member, Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association (1978-2002)
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates, ABOTA, Sacramento chapter (1993-Present)
  • Member, California Judges Association (2002-2020)
  • Member, Wiley Manuel Bar Association (1996-2005)

Achievements & Awards

  • Distinguished Judicial Service Award, CCTLA 2019
  • Judge of the Year award, Sacramento Bar Association 2017
  • Judge of the Year award, ABOTA, Sacramento chapter 2011
  • Judge of the Year award, CCTLA, 2008

Legal Experience

  • Products Liability
  • Professional Negligence
  • Wrongful Death
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • All Types of Personal Injury
  • Complex Litigation and Coordinated Actions

Recent Representative Cases