• Retired Federal Bankruptcy Judge
  • Available in San Diego, All of California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


Judge Hargrove served as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of California for 23 years and also served as Chief Bankruptcy Judge from 2001 to 2006. He presided over all types of bankruptcies including complex Ch. 7 and 11 cases, as well as cases involving business, commercial and real estate matters. He retired in 2008 and has been actively volunteering and speaking on financial literacy in the community. Many attorneys have said he has the perfect blend of bench and litigation experience to serve as a Neutral in any type of insolvency or other related commercial dispute. Those who regularly appeared before him, describe Judge Hargrove as conscientious and courteous, extremely thorough, diligent and fair.


Hobbies & Interests

He enjoys travel with his wife, his annual trip to Notre Dame to watch his beloved Fighting Irish play football, jogging, gardening, and working out.

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • 1985-2008 United States Bankruptcy Judge, Southern District of California
  • General Courts-Martial Judge, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve ( 1984-87)
  • Member by designation, Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (September 1997 and July 1999)
  • Consultant to the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives Coordinating
  • Committee Judicial Feedback Task Force (September 1999 - January 2008)
  • Member California State-Federal Judicial Council (1995-98)
  • Member/Moderator of numerous panels on Bankruptcy Continuing Education
  • Member of the Bankruptcy Law Consulting Group, California Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California (1989-93)
  • Adjunct Professor -California Western School of Law (1986) Bankruptcy Course
  • Law offices of John J. Hargrove (1984-85) General civil litigation and business Bankruptcies
  • Law offices of Britton & Hargrove ( 1983-84) General civil litigation and business bankruptcies
  • Strauss, Kissane, Davis &Hargrove (1980-83) General civil litigation and business bankruptcies
  • Weeks, Willis, Hoffman & Hargrove ( 1976-80) General civil litigation and business bankruptcies
  • Law offices of Gant & Asaro (1972-76) Business and real estate litigation plus business bankruptcies
  • United States Marine Corps ( 1968-72) Capt. Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • Admitted to practice of law, New York, (1968), California (1971)
  • JD, University of Notre Dame Law School (1967)
  • BA, University of Notre Dame (1964)
  • Naval Justice School (1968)
  • Military Judge's School (1984) - Commandant's List (top 20%)
  • San Diego Unified School District, Financial Literacy Task Force (2005-present)
  • San Diego United Way, Income Vision Council ( 2007-present)
  • Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) 2005-present)
  • President, University of Notre Dame Alumni Association ( 1988-89)
  • Trustee (ex-officio), Board of Trustees, University of Notre Dame (1987-89)
  • Member-Board of Directors University of Notre Dame Alumni Association (1985-89)
  • Pepperdine Law School - "Mediating the Litigated Case" (2012)
  • Panel member- United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of California, Mediation Program
  • Panel member-Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, Civil Mediation Program

Achievements & Awards

  • Judge Hargrove has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. award for Distinguished Service as a Judge (2010), Distinguished Service award by City of San Diego (2008) as well as being inducted into the Archbishop Molloy High School Hall of Fame (2010) for the Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) program which he started in San Diego in 2005 and educates high school students in financial literacy.
  • Additionally, he has received the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" for service with the 1st Marine Division, Republic of Viet Nam (1970) and Platoon Honor Man, Platoon Leaders Class, U.S. Marine Corps.

Legal Experience

  • All bankruptcy/insolvency related matters
  • including plan issues
  • restructuring
  • sale of assets
  • breach of contract
  • claim objections
  • collection and turnover actions
  • discharge-ability matters
  • fiduciary duties
  • fraudulent transfers
  • lien avoidance
  • mortgage modification
  • objections to exemptions
  • preference actions
  • validity of lien proceedings
  • Chapter 9 issues
  • complex business/commercial disputes
  • mortgage/foreclosure

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases



  • Bankruptcy Dischargeability of state court sexual harassment judgment


  • Violation of Bankruptcy Discharge Injunction

Professional Malpractice

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Bankruptcy Legal Malpractice

Downtown Los Angeles

601 S. Figueroa
Ste 4000
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 213.223.1113
Fax      : 213.223.1114

Los Angeles Mediation

West Los Angeles

11601 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 2040
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310.442.2100
Fax      : 310.442.2125

Mediators Los Angeles

San Diego

402 W. Broadway
Ste 2400
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619.814.1966
Fax      : 619.814.1967

San Diego Mediation

Santa Ana

1851 East First Street
Ste 1600
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714.834.1340
Fax      : 714.834.1344

Orange County Mediation

San Francisco

100 Pine Street
Ste 1950
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.266.1242
Fax      : 415.266.1243

San Francisco Mediation


980 9th Street
Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.394.8490
Fax      : 916.394.8495

Sacramento Mediation