Judge Dahlquist joined Judicate West following 20 years of distinguished service to the San Diego County Superior Court. He was a Civil Independent Calendar judge for 14 of those 20 years, handling all types of civil cases from beginning to end, including case management, motions, bench trials, and jury trials. He also spent three years in a trial department, handling trials of all types, including probate, family and civil trials, and another three years as a Family Independent Calendar judge.

During his judicial tenure, he was the Supervising Judge of the North County Courthouse and a member of the Superior Court’s Executive Committee. He also conducted many settlement conferences, leading to the strongly held belief that nearly every case can be resolved successfully out-of-court, without the expense, aggravation, and uncertainty of continued litigation.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Dahlquist was in private practice for more than 20 years, where he litigated a wide variety of civil matters in federal and state courts, both for plaintiffs and defendants, and advised clients on avoiding and resolving disputes.

Practice Areas
  • Business/Commercial
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Family Law
  • Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith
  • Personal Injury including Wrongful Death
  • Probate
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Real Estate
Hobbies & Interests

Judge Dahlquist enjoys spending time with his large extended family, traveling and exploring old mining and ghost towns.

Legal Career
  • Full-time Neutral, Judicate West (2024-Present)
  • Judge, San Diego County Superior Court (2003-2024); Civil Independent Calendar (2007 – 2016, 2019 – 2024); Supervising Judge & Assistant Supervising Judge, North County Branch (2015 – 2018); Executive Committee of Court (2017 – 2018); Criminal, Civil, Probate & Family Trials (2007, 2017 – 2018); Family Law Independent Calendar (2003 – 2006)
  • Partner, Latham & Watkins (1982-2003)
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Chicago Law School (1982)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Brigham Young University (1979)
  • Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Civil Jury Instructions (2010 – 2023)
  • Lopardo Inn of Court, Master and President (2007 – Present)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Judicial Board of Governors and Judicial Advisory Board (2010- Present)
  • California Judges Association, Advisory Committees and Member (2003 – Present)
  • American Bar Association Business Law Section Committee on Environmental Energy and Natural Resources, Chair, Vice Chair, Programs Chair & Member (1992 – 2003)
  • Rancho Bernardo Community Planning Board, Elected member (1987 – 1989)
Achievements & Awards
  • AV/Preeminent Rating with Martindale Hubbell
  • President’s Award, North County Bar Association (2012)
  • Chair, Pro Bono Legal Counsel and Board Member, Arthritis Foundation San Diego Area Chapter (1990 – 2001); Received ‘Volunteer of the Year (1996)
  • Board Member, Combined Health Agencies of San Diego (1996 – 1998)
  • Order of the Coif, University of Chicago Law School (1982)
  • Member and Associate Editor, University of Chicago Law Review (1981 – 1982)
  • Authored numerous articles for legal publications including North County Lawyer Magazine
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. Robert P. Dahlquist, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.


  • Dispute among owners of closely-held construction company about enforcement of a “buy sell agreement” upon the death of one of the owners
  • Dispute among co-owners of a financial planning firm upon the break-up of the firm
  • Claim by investor in oil exploration and production company for fraud and related causes of action against company’s owner
  • Dispute between buyer and seller of a bridal business, including claims of fraud
  • Claim by technology services company for services provided to an agricultural business and cross-claim for deficient performance
  • Dispute among co-owners of a metal fabricating business, including claims for breach of fiduciary duty, conversion and accounting
  • Dispute among co-owners of an agricultural business, including claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and accounting
  • Claim by investor in start-up technology company for fraud and other alleged misconduct
  • Dispute between co-owners of a restaurant concerning division of the proceeds from the sale of the restaurant
  • Dispute between a real estate developer and a construction company concerning an agreement to construct homes, including claims for fraud and breach of contract
  • Claims by fitness center franchisees against the franchisor
  • Dispute between buyer and seller of a day care business and the real property associated with the business
  • Dispute among co-owners of an automotive accessories business, including claims of breach of contract and fraud
  • Dispute between automotive products supplier and a customer concerning alleged deficiencies in the products sold and amounts claimed to be owing
  • Dispute between a real estate developer and a construction company concerning the development of an apartment complex, including claims of alter ego liability
  • Claim by buyer of racing business against seller for breach of contract and fraud, including claims of alter ego liability

Lemon Law

  • Multiple motor vehicle lemon law claims

Construction Breach Of Contract

  • Claim by contractor for additional money allegedly due on sewer lift station project
  • Dispute between general contractor and property owner concerning construction of a high end luxury home
  • Dispute among homeowner, general contractor and subcontractors regarding alleged defects in work performed
  • Claim by homeowner concerning allegedly defective work performed for a remodel of a luxury home in Rancho Santa Fe
  • Competing claims between a homeowner and a contractor arising from the construction of a custom home in Rancho Santa Fe

Breach of Contract

  • Claim by a marketing professional for unpaid wages and cross-claims for breach of contract
  • Claim by a commissioned salesperson for unpaid commissions due on the sale of high-tech products; dispute as to the personal liability of the owner


  • Claim by a computer store worker for disability discrimination and failure to accommodate

Pregnancy Discrimination

  • Claim by a restaurant worker for pregnancy discrimination
  • Claim by a veterinarian assistant for pregnancy discrimination

Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

  • Claim by an analyst for sexual orientation harassment/discrimination/retaliation; the plaintiff’s supervisor was discharged after an internal investigation
  • Claim by a manager of a public agency for sexual harassment/retaliation
  • Claim by an office worker for sexual harassment and constructive discharge due to unwanted sexual advances and sexual communications in the workplace

Wage and Hour

  • Multiple cases, including class actions and PAGA actions, involving wage and hour claims, meal/rest breaks, and misclassification claims

Wrongful Term & Discrimination

  • Claim by a computer programmer for harassment, retaliation, and wrongful discharge, with the employer asserting the plaintiff was laid off as part of a long-planned reduction-in-force

Wrongful Termination

  • Claim by a hair stylist for unpaid wages and wrongful termination; the hair stylist and business owner had a romantic relationship that soured

Environmental Issues

  • Multiple toxic tort claims by neighbors of contaminated sites
  • Multi-party dispute concerning rights to groundwater
  • Claim by a homeowner that a remediation company failed to remediate mold and asbestos
  • Multiple claims by tenants regarding harmful exposure to mold in their homes
  • Claim by neighboring business for alleged damage caused by a chemical spill
  • Claim by purchaser of former plating facility against sellers, brokers, lawyers and others
  • Multiple cases challenging proposed projects under CEQA and other laws
  • Toxic tort claim by a person allegedly exposed to a hydraulic fluid spill
  • Multiple claims by governmental entities and private parties seeking recovery of environmental clean-up costs

Family Law Issues

  • Many contested cases involving custody, child support, spousal support and property division
  • Multiple contested “move away” child custody disputes
  • Multiple “palimony” cases, including claims against a professional athlete and a medical doctor
  • Contested child custody disputes involving claims of molestation
  • Contested adoptions by step-parents and others

Bad Faith

  • Multiple coverage disputes and bad faith claims arising from third-party lawsuits alleging releases of hazardous substances
  • Multiple coverage disputes arising from construction defects and earth movement
  • Coverage dispute and bad faith claim arising from water damage at policyholder’s home
  • Coverage dispute arising from a snowmobile collision
  • Coverage dispute presenting the issue of whether a grandchild was a covered household member
  • Dispute between a general contractor and its insurance carrier as to the amount of premium due for a contractor’s general liability policy


  • Dispute among family members and decedent’s “significant other” as to the validity of a holographic will leaving the decedent’s property to the “significant other”
  • Dispute among surviving family members as to ownership of decedent’s collection of show cars
  • Multiple contested proceedings seeking to remove or surcharge a trustee due to alleged misuse of trust assets
  • Multiple disputes among children and step-children (and step-parents) concerning the validity of estate planning documents and the distribution of assets
  • Multiple cases involving accountings, challenges to proposed plans of distribution, compensation to fiduciaries, and similar matters
  • Multiple cases involving persons living in a decedent’s residence after decedent’s passing
  • Multiple disputes as to whether, under prior law, certain probate petitions qualified for a so-called “safe harbor” determination

Medical Malpractice

  • Multiple claims by residents or family members of residents of residential care facilities for alleged elder abuse occurring at the facilities
  • Claim by elder homeowners for financial abuse arising from loans secured by the elders’ home
  • Multiple claims for financial elder abuse arising from the sale of goods or services to elders
  • Claim for financial elder abuse by a widow who loaned the defendant hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • Claim for medical malpractice by patient after neck surgery
  • Claim for medical malpractice by patient diagnosed with dementia
  • Claim for medical malpractice against anesthesiologist for using alleged excessive amounts of anesthesia
  • Claim for dental malpractice by patient who was hospitalized for a chest infection after dental visits
  • Claim for dental malpractice by a patient who was hospitalized after dental procedures performed under anesthesia

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Claim for attorney malpractice arising from a loan made by a client to an attorney
  • Multiple claims for attorney malpractice presented as cross-claims in cases seeking collection of attorney fees
  • Claims for attorney malpractice arising from services provided in underlying matters involving partnership disputes, family law matters, probate matters and contract disputes
  • Claim for professional negligence against an accounting firm and an insurance broker for tax shelter advice
  • Claim against a civil engineer and contractor for alleged negligence in addressing earth instability problems at the claimant’s home

Real Property

  • Multiple claims by property purchasers against sellers and brokers for alleged failure to disclose material information
  • Multiple requests for partition of co-owned properties
  • Multiple claims by tenants of alleged defective conditions in rented properties
  • Multiple disputes between homeowners and HOA’s concerning alleged violations of CC&R’s, including claims for attorney fees
  • Dispute among bidders at a foreclosure sale concerning the rights acquired at the foreclosure sale
  • Claim by purchaser of real property and lien holder for fraud and other causes of action arising from the recordation of allegedly false documents in the chain of title
  • Multiple disputes concerning private road/driveway easements and other easements
  • Dispute between commercial property tenant and landlord concerning CAM charges, property maintenance and claimed right of landlord to end the tenancy
  • Multiple disputes between landlords and tenants concerning alleged property damage and repair costs
  • Multiple disputes among family members as to whether family members living in a home were tenants or co-owners
  • Claim by the owner of a fractional interest in a resort that the proposed sale of the resort was invalid
  • Challenge by property owner to a city’s short-term residential rental property ordinance
  • Multiple claims by property owners that foreclosure sales were invalid
  • Dispute among multiple property owners concerning sharing of costs for a sewer extension benefitting multiple properties
  • Dispute among time share owners and governing body concerning validity of rules for making time share reservations

Catastrophic Injury

  • Claim by a pedestrian high school student hit by a truck while walking to school
  • Claim by a plaintiff against a trucking company and the truck driver for traumatic brain injury, resulting in adverse personality changes, after an auto collision
  • Claim by a worker who fell through a skylight on the roof of a commercial building, landing on the concrete floor below
  • Claim by a worker who was injured when an air conditioning unit exploded
  • Claim by people struck by a truck on a sidewalk outside a bar
  • Multiple other cases involving claims of significant injury, and life care plans, for injured plaintiffs

Personal Injury

  • Claim by a tenant who tripped and fell in a common area of the tenant’s community
  • Claim by a pedestrian who tripped and fell while walking near a railroad crossing
  • Claim by a customer who tripped and fell on a step at a restaurant/bar
  • Claim by a homeowner who tripped and fell while walking through the parking lot of the condo complex
  • Claim by a worker who fell from a tree on the defendant’s property

PI Auto

  • Claim by a pedestrian hit by a car making a right turn at an intersection
  • Claim by auto driver against truck driver and his employer for injuries after an alleged unsafe lane change
  • Claim by driver rear-ended on a freeway off-ramp.
  • Claim by driver involved in a multi-car collision, where one driver fled the scene and was never identified and the parties disputed which driver was the primary cause of the collision
  • Claim by motorcyclist against motorist who pulled out in front of the motorcycle
  • Claim by motorcyclist against motorist who made a u-turn in front of the motorcycle
  • Claim by a worker in a crane’s “work bucket” after the crane was struck by a bus

PI Bicycle

  • Multiple claims by bicyclists for alleged defects with their bicycles, resulting in bicycle crashes

Wrongful Death

  • Claim for wrongful death of golfer whose golf cart went over a cliff while golfing
  • Claim for wrongful death by surviving family member of a man shot and killed by a security guard
  • Claim for wrongful death of a man who fell off a roof at a construction project
  • Multiple claims for wrongful death from auto collisions and bicyclists struck by autos
  • Claims for wrongful death of people killed when a bluff at the beach collapsed
  • Claim by surviving parent of a young man killed in a snowboarding accident
Hon. Robert P. Dahlquist, Ret.
Based in San Diego | Available in All of California
Mediation Case Manager: Laura Ashborn
Arbitration/Private Judging Case Manager: Samantha Finlen