Neutral Profile



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


During Judge David De Alba’s 21 years on the Sacramento Superior Court, he gained a statewide reputation for flexibility and fairness. In addition to serving as a Presiding Judge, he has sat in the probate, criminal, and civil trial courts and complex and settlement conference departments. In general civil, he presided and settled cases including but not limited to lemon law, personal injury, TBI injuries, and real estate matters. In complex civil, he presided over hundreds of claims involving wage and hour, mass torts, employment, and many other class actions.

Prior to being appointed, he was an attorney at the Office of the Attorney General defending the state in personal injury, civil rights violations, wrongful death, and inverse condemnation lawsuits. Most notably, he defended the State of California in hundreds of lawsuits alleging inverse condemnation as a result of the historic 1986 floods in Northern California. Having spent his 43-year legal career in the Capital City, he tried and settled cases with lawyers from all over California; there is not much he hasn’t seen over the course of his career.

Judge De Alba has been involved with many organizations and bar groups for dozens of years and is greatly admired by lawyers and the community at large. Many comment on how he always gives of himself and “he is the type of guy, you want to go to a baseball game with.” Judge De Alba said, “I was fortunate to have gained a broad and extensive experience both as a trial judge and settlement conference judge. My most rewarding days were when I was able to help litigants settle cases- I am here to listen and help!”

Practice Areas

  • All types of Personal Injury including Wrongful Death and Sexual Assault
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment
  • Lemon Law
  • Professional Negligence
  • Products Liability
  • Real Estate

Experience Summary

During the course of a legal career spanning four decades, Judge De Alba has been involved in a wide variety of cases as both a Superior Court Judge for Sacramento County, and as a lawyer with the Office of the Attorney General.

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Hobbies & Interests

Judge De Alba enjoys swimming, reading, politics, and exploring the California coasts! His parents were born in Mexico, and he is fluent in Spanish. The eldest of six, Judge De Alba and his siblings were all born and raised in Northern California.


"Judge De Alba is an avid intellect with a penchant for justice who is willing to go the extra mile to reach the right result."
- Civil Trial Attorney and California Super Lawyer 2022

"Having tried and handled many cases throughout the entire state, I can easily say that Judge DeAlba is one of the best; He is the most prepared and knowledgeable jurist I have appeared before. He understands the law and has the ability to break down complex cases so that each side understands their strengths and weaknesses. In past settlement conferences, this has served him well in bringing the parties together."
- Civil Rights and Employment Trial Attorney and Former President of ABOTA, Sacramento Valley Chapter

"Thank you to Judge De Alba for his time and effort in settling our case. He did a terrific job and I look forward to working with him again."
- Shareholder at a Top Firm and Northern California Super Lawyer

Links and Articles

Experience Summary


• Presided over jury trials alleging unlawful use of excessive force, wrongful death, and unlawful police practices.


•Presided over dozens of Construction Defect cases.


• Presided over jury trials alleging wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, failure to promote, and hostile work environment claims in both private and public employment.

•Notably, Judge De Alba was the trial judge in the landmark case of Miller v. California Department of Corrections, a precedent-setting hostile work environment case.

•He also presided over a six-week jury trial in which four female deputies sued the Sacramento County Sherriff with claims of a hostile work environment.


Experience as both a lawyer and as a judge in cases that allege the taking of private property by public entities.

• As an attorney representing the State of California, defended against hundreds of claims of inverse condemnation as a result of the historic Northern California floods in 1986.

• As a judge, presided over similar claims brought by property owners against various California agencies.


• Presided over dozens of jury trials involving claims of personal injury arising from accidents involving claims of catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, and traumatic brain injuries.


•Presided over two judicial council coordinated actions alleging the manufacture and distribution of defective products in violation of the Song-Beverly Warrant Act and Business and Profession Code Section 17200.

•Presided over the Ford Explorer Rollover Class Action cases in a 57-day bench trial impacting 430,000 consumers.

•Presided over all of the Northern California Ford Focus/Fiesta Defective Transmission cases, regarding the DPS26 transmissions.


• Presided over multiple jury trials alleging medical, legal, and dental malpractice.


•Presided over various jury trials alleging public entity liability for employment matters, injury cases, wrongful termination of contracts and privacy violations.


•Experience with a variety of real property disputes involving homeowners’ associations to multi-million-dollar disputes between land developers.


•Presided over a four-week bench trial involving claims of misappropriation of alleged removal of an investment brokerage account information by a broker who transferred to a multi-national investment firm.

Legal Career

  • Neutral, Judicate West (2022-Present)
  • Judge, Superior Court of Sacramento County; Handled approx. 300 settlement conferences as a civil judge, presiding judge, and in the probate and settlement conference department (2001-2022); Supervising Judge, Civil Settlement Department (2021-2022); Presiding Judge (2018-2020); Assistant Presiding Judge (2016-2018); Supervising Judge, Civil Division (2016-2018)
  • Judicial Council, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (2018-2019); Vice Chair (2019)
  • Supreme Court State Bar Trustees Nomination Committee, Chairperson (2013-2016)
  • Judicial Council of California (2011-2015); Including Technology Committee, Vice Chair (2013-2015)
  • Special Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento (1999-2001)
  • Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento; Emphasis on Civil Division, Tort and Condemnation, Criminal Division, and Criminal Appeals and Trials (1979-1999)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law (1979)
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley (1976)
  • Civil Mediation, National Judicial College (2023)
  • Board of Trustees, Sacramento County Public Law Library (2002-2011; 2019-2021)
  • CJER Qualifying Ethics, Faculty Member (2019)
  • Bernard Witkin College for New Judges, Faculty (2005)
  • CJER Criminal Law Education Committee (2003-2007)
  • CJER Criminal Law and Procedure, Faculty Member (2003-2007)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member (2014-Present)
  • California Judges Association, Member (2001-Present)
  • California Latino Judges Association, Member (2001-Present)
  • Hispanic National Bar Association (2001-Present)
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Member (1979-Present)
  • Sacramento Cruz Reynoso Bar Association (1979-Present)

Achievements & Awards

  • American Board of Trial Advocates - ABOTA "Judge of the Year" (2021)
  • Cruz Reynoso Bar Association “Defensor de Justicia” Award (2021)
  • Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association “Judge of the Year” Award (2016)
  • Sacramento County Bar Association “Judge of the Year” Award (2011)
  • Latino Journal “Outstanding Judge of the Year” Award (2011)
  • Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Achievement (1999)
  • Governor’s Safety Award (1997)
  • Sacramento County Unity Bar Award (1989)

Legal Experience

  • All types of Personal Injury including Wrongful Death and Sexual Assault
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment
  • Lemon Law
  • Professional Negligence
  • Products Liability
  • Real Estate

Recent Representative Cases