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HON. MICHAEL G. VIRGA, RET.

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

Introduction

Judge Virga retired from the Sacramento Superior Court where for over 22 years he presided over civil and criminal jury trials, civil case management conferences, and preliminary hearings. He also served as the Supervising Settlement Judge for over ten years and managed all of the assigned mediators and cases in the program until he retired. He also conducted daily settlement conferences and co mediated over 600 cases in many areas of civil and commercial litigation such as personal injury, construction defect, real estate, product liability, employment and general breach of contract cases.

His reputation of always making himself available, strong settlement skills and caring about everyone he works with earned him accolades in the legal community with both sides.

Practice Areas

Hobbies & Interests

Judge Virga enjoys playing pickleball and tennis. He enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren and is also a big fan of the Sacramento Kings, the Sacramento River Cats, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Francisco Giants.

Testimonials

"I was very pleased with Judge Virga. He was prepared when we arrived, he knew the facts and was tough on both sides. He forced each side to address the weaknesses and risks of their case but also, in my opinion, fairly evaluated the case. We settled for a very reasonable amount and I thought his negotiating approach was appropriate for that particular matter."
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto Dispute












Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Full Time Neutral, Judicate West (Present)
  • Judge, Sacramento Superior Court (1994-2016)
  • Judge, Sacramento Municipal Court Bench (1992)
  • Deputy District Attorney (1981-1992)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D. Santa Clara University Law School (1981)
  • B.A. Santa Clara University (1978)
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Member, Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member, California Judges Association
  • Member, Asian Bar Association of Sacramento
  • Member, Italian Cultural Society, Arbëreshë Club of Sacramento
  • Milton Schwartz Inns of Court
  • Coordinator, Gordon D. Schaber High School Mock Trial Competition
  • National Mediation Training – Judicial College

Achievements & Awards

  • Named, “Judge of the Year,” by Sacramento County ABOTA in 2016
  • Named, “Judge of the Year,” by Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association in 2005
  • Named, “Judge of the Year,” by Sacramento County Bar Association in 2004

Legal Experience

  • Personal Injury
  • Construction Defect
  • Real Estate
  • Product Liability
  • Employment
  • General Breach of Contract

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases

Business/Commercial

Contractual

  • Complicated case involving professional malpractice and fraud.  There were liability issues, damage issues and insurance coverage issues.  Parties and experts were present which helped in resolving this matter.

Fraud/Misrepresentation

  • A complex case involving a state commission and the recipient of grant monies provided by the commission.  The amount in issue was almost 3 million dollars.  The challenges in resolving the case centered on business fraud, breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation as well as insurance coverage issues.
  • A complicated corporation dissolution case where digging into corporate records became necessary.  Another complicating factor was the plaintiff and defendant were brothers with plaintiff accusing defendant of misappropriating corporate funds while plaintiff was serving a prison sentence.
  • A competitor was successful in posting false negative reviews of the plaintiff business and at the same time posting fake positive reviews of defendants' competing business.

Construction

Construction Defect Mold

  • A construction defect case involving property damage, also a personal injury claim based on medical issues plaintiffs claimed were result of mold. In addition to the personal injury claim there was a request for pain and suffering general damages.

Construction Defects

  • An inverse condemnation and negligence case brought against the city of San Francisco and the contractor the city hired to perform replacing old sewer pipes. The sewer pipes were located beneath the street adjoining plaintifff's home and business. Plaintiff alleges vibrations from jack hammering and cars driving over steel grates covering the areas jack hammered caused cracks inside and outside of her home, plaster to fall from ceiling and walls as well as structural damage. Other neighbors have complained and one neighbor also brought a lawsuit making same allegations

Employment

Discrimination

  • An arbitration brought by plaintiff for employment discrimination.  There were issues concerning plaintiff's disability, retaliation, and failure to participate in the interactive process.

Sexual Harassment

  • A complex case involving breach of contract, sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment, fraud, international misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, unlawful termination, conversion, unfair business practices, and intentional interference with economic interest. 

Wage and Hour

  • Wage and hour case brought by employee of small company.  Plaintiff had a solid case.  Defendant had limited financial ability to pay. Case resolved by parties realizing a settlement pre-filing was advantageous for many reasons including attorney fees, costs , penalties and significant toll on professional and personal life of parties.

Real Estate

Breach Of Contract

  • The case involved a real estate transaction where the buyer claimed the seller failed to make sufficient disclosures or attempted to conceal disclosures that had buyer been aware of buyer wouldn't have consummated a sale or would have asked for repairs to be made or would have negotiated a different price.
  • The case involved a commercial lease requiring deciding on what lease terms meant.  The commercial property involved a company worth close to 40 billion dollars.  The property housed the data centers critical to the operation of the company.  Main issue was the condition of the of the property after the lease terminated.

Buy/Sell

  • A fraud, breach of fiduciary and negligence case involving a real estate transaction involving a plaintiff wiring cash to purchase real property.  A fraudster successfully hacked the realtor's computer, and viewed emails that specified the precise money owed for the purchase.  The hacker then sends a realistic email appearing to be from realtor to plaintiff with wiring instructions to the fraudster's bank account.  Fraudster got away with almost half of the amount plaintiff wired.  Plaintiff sues realtor and title company for remainder. Fraudster was never located.

Landlord/Tenant

  • Real property transaction concerning a lease of commercial property.  Defendants executed a personal guaranty on a 5 year commercial lease involving an indoor tanning salon in a shopping center.  Market conditions, change in laws concerning age of customers and tax laws  decimated defendants cash flow and they abandoned the lease.  Case settled at an amount that compensated plaintiff for losses and provided defendants a financial ability to pay costs of the settlement.

Tort

Personal Injury

  • Trip and fall matter at strip mall.  Defendant is a contractor installing new concrete steps and yellow disability pad.  Plaintiff trips and falls.  Plaintiff brings action against both contractor and property manager.  Contractor files cross complaint against property manager.
  • Slip and fall case where plaintiff slipped on frozen sidewalk, legs in air, fell on back and side.  Negotiations stalled at mandatory settlement conference in Superior Court.  Plus, there were time constraints at the MSC. 

PI Auto

  • Rollover accident involving UPS truck, a mother and 3 children in another car. Various injuries including broken wrist, broken elbow and knee injury.  Claim of continuing depression related to accident by mom.  Anxiety, knee pain, neck pain, depression and back pain by mother is claimed as future issues.  Defense disputes extent of future damages concerning mom.  Mom has pre-existing back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and depression. 
  • Rear end admitted liability case.  Plaintiff's experts and Defendant's expert agree on past medical specials.
  • Catastrophic injury automobile accident.  Significant comparative fault. 
  • Truck versus motorcycle accident.  Truck brakes asit is approaching motorcycle at 4 way intersection.  Plaintiff hears brakes and turns around.  Before truck can run him over, Plaintiff leaps off of motorcycle.  Broken hand, road rash, knee and ankle injuries.
  • Defendant 1 driving van with students from Defendant 1's daycare facility.  Minor passenger plaintiff (7 years old) is a passenger in the van.  Defendant 2 driving SUV.  Accident occurs near intersection of Tracy Blvd and Center Court Drive in Tracy.  Plaintiff makes claim of traumatic brain injury with related side effects for the last 7 years.  Both Defendants dispute the severity of the TBI as well as whether side effects and length of mental health issues were related to the accident.
  • Arbitrated an Underinsured motor vehicle case brought by claimant against State Farm.  Heard testimony of 3 experts and plaintiff at arbitration hearing.  Considered claimant's expert CPA deposition testimony and report to calculate wage loss.

Premises Liability

  • This was a premises liability/defective product case involving a trip and fall on a mat manufactured by one Defendant at another Defendant's grocery store.  Significant liability, coverage, causation and damages issues.  A mediator's proposal was issued. 
  • A plastic sale sign blew off of pallet of flowers directly beneath plaintiff's feet causing him to have a hard fall. Disputed liability.