Judge Di Cesare draws on nearly 49 years of legal experience and brings a wealth of knowledge, professionalism, and compassion to the private sector to serve as a mediator, arbitrator, and private judge. During his two decades of distinguished service for the Orange County Superior Court, Judge Di Cesare presided over hundreds of jury trials, non-jury trials, and settlement conferences. He served on the Unlimited Civil Panel for 15 years and presided over a wide variety of civil disputes including personal injury, real estate, employment, eminent domain, professional negligence, and complex cases. Before and during the pandemic, he served as Civil Supervising Judge for almost two years. The court was able to quickly pivot to provide a courtroom for civil cases and he is extremely proud of the number of cases tried during that time. As Supervising Judge of Civil, he managed all civil case types including complex civil matters and he was also responsible for policy development and getting matters out to trial. As a Complex Civil Panel Judge, he managed class actions, wage and hour, PAGA, water rights, construction, and many others.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, he spent almost 29 years as a civil practitioner handling all types of personal injury and business disputes. Judge Di Cesare has a profound appreciation and respect for the legal system and the attorneys who practice within it. In addition to serving in various leadership roles including the Board of the Consumer Attorneys of California, Public Law Center, Board Member and President of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, and Board or Judicial Advisory Board of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers for more than 10 years, he has been a mentor to law students and young lawyers throughout his career.

As an attorney, he was an active participant in both the Orange County Court Temporary Judge Program and the Orange County Court Arbitration Program. In his judicial capacity, he served on the Orange County Superior Court Executive Committee as a member or alternate for more than 10 years and was the chair of the court’s State of the Court Program. For years, he was the co-chairperson and speaker for the Orange County College of Trial Advocacy. He has presented numerous lectures on substantive and procedural topics to bar associations and law school programs. Judge Di Cesare’s dedication has been recognized by his peers, most notably as a recipient of the Orange County Bar Association’s highest honor, the Franklin G. West Award. He believes that mediation and resolution of matters, whenever possible, is an integral part of the Justice System.

Practice Areas
  • All types of Personal Injury including Product Liability
  • Business/Contractual
  • Employment
  • Insurance/Bad Faith
  • Lemon Law
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Medical Negligence
  • Real Estate including Eminent Domain
Hobbies & Interests

Judge Di Cesare enjoys any activities that involve any of his 10 grandchildren. Travel is always enjoyable, especially when accompanied by his wife of over 50 years. Food and wine are an Italian must and he also enjoys working on his golf skills when time permits.

Legal Career
  • Full-Time Neutral, Judicate West (2022-Present)
  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court (2001-2022)
  • Partner, Di Cesare & Behle, Specializing in Personal Injury, Business Litigation, Intellectual Property (1999-2001)
  • Sole Practitioner, Law Offices of James Di Cesare, Specializing in Personal Injury, Business Litigation (1985-2000)
  • Partner, Di Cesare & Weaver, Specializing in Personal Injury, Business Litigation (1976-1985)
  • Associate Attorney, Aitken, Bradshaw & Andres, Specializing in Personal Injury, Business Litigation (1973-1976)
  • Army National Guard (1969-1975)
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D. Pepperdine University School of Law (1973)
  • B.A. California State University, Fullerton (1969)
  • Strauss Institute, Mediating the Litigated Case (2021)
  • Faculty, OC Court Temp Judge, School of Law Training Program
  • Orange County Superior Court Executive Committee, Member or Alternate
  • State of the Court Program, Chair
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) , Former Board Member and Former Judicial Advisory Board Member
  • Orange County Bar Association, Former Board Member
  • Orange County Bar Association, Civility Task Force, Co-Chair (2020 – Present)
  • The Gray Inn of Court, Past President
  • Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, Board Member and Past President
  • Celtic Bar Association , Member
  • Saint Thomas More Society, Member
  • William P. Gray Legion Lex Inn of Court, Board Member and Past President
  • Lex Romana, Founding Member
  • Legal Aid Society, Former Board Member
  • Public Law Center, Former Board Member
  • Certificate, General Personal Injury, Consumer Attorneys of California
Achievements & Awards
  • Lex Romana Hon. J. Alfano Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)
  • Pepperdine Preceptor of the Year (2017)
  • Daniel’s Inn Vernon Hunt Jr. Memorial Award (2015)
  • Franklin G. West Award, Orange County Bar Association (2015)
  • Judge of the Year, Orange County Women Lawyers (2014)
  • Judge of the Year Award, Orange County Business Litigation Section (2013)
  • Judge of the Year Award, Celtic Bar Association (2011)
  • Judge Oliver Award for Judicial Integrity, Compassion & Courage, Orange County Trial Lawyers (2009)
  • George Francis Judicial Civility Award, American Board of Trial Advocates OC Chapter (2008)
  • OCTLA Top Gun Personal Injury Trial Lawyer of the Year (2000)
  • Recipient, Consumer Attorneys Presidential Award
  • Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services, State Bar of California (1998)
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. James J. Di Cesare, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.

Contractual

  • Mediated a case involving bad faith and fraud against a commercial establishment.

Lemon Law

  • Arbitrated a lemon law litigation case against a leading, global, luxury vehicle supplier.

Breach of Contract

  • An employment case involving an international company.

Wage and Hour

  • An employment case regarding a long-time employment relationship. Labor and Civil Code allegations with intentional torts.

Wage and Hour Class Action

  • Wage and Hour Class Action involving claims of failure to provide meal and rest periods, failure to pay for all hours worked, and failure to reimburse for equipment used for business purposes, among others.

Wrongful Termination

  • Mediated a wrongful termination case in which the plaintiff claims she was terminated due to medical leave requests.
  • Mediated an employment case involving the discharge of a key employee.
  • Mediated a case regarding the discharge of a key employee.

Bad Faith

  • Mediated a case involving a residential homeowner's insurance policy.

Workers Comp Coverage Issues

  • A case involving governmental liability in regard to electrical power and the maintenance of power facilities.

Medical Malpractice

  • Arbitrated a medical malpractice case against a medical center.

Breach Of Contract

  • Mediated a case involving a breach of contract for a listing agreement due to medical practice.
  • Successfully mediated a complicated a real estate escrow case.
  • Mediated a case involving fraud and breach of contract title issues.

Buy/Sell

  • Mediated a case involving the partition and accounting relating to prime real estate.

Home Owners Association

  • Mediated a homeowners association case.
  • A real estate case involving housing discrimination.

Landlord/Tenant

  • Mediated a real property dispute over the ownership of a property versus the trust.

Neighbor Dispute

  • Litigation involving a neighbor property dispute.

Real Property

  • A complex real estate transaction involving claims and cross-claims of fraud and misrepresentation, and quiet title in the acquisition of real property.
  • A real estate property case involving a line dispute.
  • Mediated a case involving a controversy relating to the sale of real property.
  • Mediated a construction dispute involving the licensure of contractors and a subcontractor.
  • Mediated a real property case involving commercial vehicle business and loans.
  • Mediated a commercial real estate partnership dispute.
  • Mediated a real property case involving the division of property.

Warranty of Habitability

  • Handled a mediation involving infestation of a commercial property.

Assault and Battery

  • Mediated an assault and battery case in a neighborhood.
  • Mediated a case regarding assault and battery in a commercial setting.
  • Mediated a case involving criminal conduct in an apartment building, which resulted in personal injury.

Catastrophic Injury

  • Public liability case involving the maintenance of a roadway. The case involved a motorcycle and alleged failure to maintain a left turn pocket.

Personal Injury

  • Resolved a highly disputed liability construction site personal injury case involving a very serious injury.
  • Plaintiff tripped and fell on an open hole on public property sustaining injuries to her leg, ankle, and foot.
  • Mediated a case where the plaintiff had a fall on public property.

PI Auto

  • An auto v bike case in which the defendant did not stop and was followed by a witness who provided the license plate number to police. Low medicals involved.
  • A case involving a truck versus an auto with major injuries.
  • A case involving a big rig truck vs an ambulance collision. The driver of the truck fled the scene and continued his route.
  • A public entity case involving significant injuries and a truck versus auto collision.
  • A case involving a motorized bike versus pedestrians on a public road.
  • A case involving a motorcycle collision on the freeway.
  • Mediated a case involving a truck causing a personal injury. The truck lost a tire and hit a personal vechicle.
  • Mediated a multi-vehicle case involving a big rig truck.
  • Mediated a case with a truck and an automobile accident involving serious injury to minors.
  • Mediated a case involving a truck and automobile accident.
  • Mediated a truck case involving a big rig truck.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a paraplegic middle-aged person.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a truck.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a big rig truck.
  • Mediated a personal injury case involving an automobile and a motorcycle with major injuries.
  • Mediated a case involving the negotiation of payment of personal money above the policy limit in a major damage case.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a big rig and a truck.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a rideshare company.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a major big rig truck accident.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a big rig truck from a major freight company.
  • Mediated a personal injury auto case involving a truck from a major shipping company.

PI Sexual Assault

  • A case involving a minor plaintiff who was sexually assaulted by a government employee.
  • Mediated a personal injury sexual assault case with child molestation involving a church employee.

PI Sexual Molestation

  • A matter of child abuse involving an educational facility.

Policy Distribution

  • A binding mediation on insurance proceeds.
  • Multiple plaintiffs claim compensation as to tender of policy limit including minors.
  • Mediated the distribution in a high-value injury case involving multiple parties.

Premises Liability

  • A warehouse equipment accident involving severe injuries.
  • A case involving assault and battery at a business establishment.
  • A premises liability case involving hospital grounds.
  • A multi-party trip and fall case involving government property.
  • A trip and fall case in a parking lot over a tire stop at a national restaurant chain.
  • Apartment complex water damage caused the ceiling to fall on the plaintiff causing injuries.
  • Automatic equipment failure resulting in injuries at a large, national grocery chain.
  • Mediated a case involving a slip and fall in a supermarket.
  • Mediated a case involving a slip and fall at a hotel property.

Product Liability

  • Case in which an auto product failure causes personal injury.
  • Mediated a case with a discovery referee for depositions in major cases.
  • Mediated a liability case involving automotive products.
  • Mediated a product liability case involving forklift litigation.
  • Mediated a case involving product liability in the automobile industry.

Settlement Allocation

  • Multi-party auto vs bus collision involving major injuries including paraplegia. Mediation was to allocate the policy limits tendered by the insurance carriers to the numerous plaintiffs.

Toxic Torts

  • A multiparty homeowners association matter involving home asbestos and extensive home remediation and subsequent damages.

Wrongful Death

  • Mediated a personal injury auto wrongful death case involving multiple fatalities and multiple vehicle collisions.
Judge Di Cesare is an amazing mediator. I have done probably 10 mediations with him and all but one has settled.
- Attorney on an Insurance Policy Distribution Case
Judge Di Cesare is my go-to mediator. He works magic in mediation for the parties.
- Attorney on a Medical Malpractice Case
The Judge is a good man. He did his job very well!
- Attorney on a Real Estate/Real Property Case
Judge Di Cesare did an incredible job for us. I highly recommend him.
- Attorney Awarded Trial Lawyer of the Year by CAOC
I was very pleased and satisfied with Judge Di Cesare as our neutral. I look forward to using him again in the future.
- Attorney on a Premises Liability Case
Judge Di Cesare was fantastic. Even though our case did not settle, it was not because of a lack of effort. The time, attention, and sensitivity he showed to my client was very appreciated.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Sexual Molestation Case
Judge Di Cesare came prepared and had a fantastic (and persuasive) bedside manner. We would definitely use him again. One of my favorite Judges when he was on the bench. Now, he's one of my favorite mediators.
- Attorney With Over Two Decades of Experience
Judge Di Cesare was known as an attorney who was trustworthy, knowledgeable, and experienced, and his reputation was only enhanced when he went on the bench. He is familiar with jury verdicts and the law and can advise all parties with confidence and assurance. He is a judge that both sides can trust.
- Founding Partner of an Employment Law Firm
Hon. James J. Di Cesare, Ret.
Based in Orange County | Available in All of California
Case Manager: Valerie Cano