Hon. James Lambden

California Court of Appeal, (Ret.)

First District, Division Two

​​Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee • Appellate Consultant

Justice James Lambden brings to his ADR practice nearly four decades of experience as a trial lawyer, trial court judge and Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal.
  • Claim for attorney fees for non-trustee services paid to trustee in surcharge action.

  • Claim of elder abuse by family friend who added purchase option (at below market price) to purported lease agreement and then influenced elder to consummate sale.

  • Administrator failed to close estate and continued to live in estate owned house rent free, leading to surcharge petition and agreement for sale of real estate and division of proceeds with advisement of distribution.

  • Delayed construction of a million-dollar home. Issues involved permitting and non-disclosure with the threatened rescission.

  • Claims by community charities and foundations were mediated after bankruptcy and disbanding of community symphony orchestra. Distribution of endowment funds by a bankrupt charitable organization remains unusual and this case was one of the first to compromise claims in recognition of the original donors' intentions. Charities received $300,000 to support a youth orchestra and education program.

  • Will contest by residual beneficiaries of earlier will after decedent's gardener procured new will shortly before death.

  • Interlocking estates of deceased spouses included such extensive real estate holdings and confusing conveyances that the estates remained open for years until the various claims were settled.

  • Disputes over a large medical office placed in receivership at the request of creditor banks, and involving hundreds of unsecured creditors and accounts receivable, as well as insurance fraud investigations by state and federal authorities.

  • An action against the administrator of estate of a deceased former partner for breach of partnership dissolution agreement and rescission of the dissolution agreement.

  • Probate contested over the question of whether domestic partner could claim an omitted spouse’s interest in deceased partner’s estate and whether their prior domestic partnership agreement remained valid after same-sex marriage was permitted.

  • Following dissolution of marriage by English court, former husband sued wife and her employer for civil partition of pension and savings plans accounts held in wife’s name.

  • The validity of a premarital agreement was at issue when it was signed without benefit of independent counsel.

  • Dissolution of law practice after deaths and retirements of principals involving interlocking trusts, confidential records, employees, and multiple family members.

  • Numerous mediations involving probate disputes with cross-cultural aspects and often involving interpreters.

  • Multi-week mediation of will contest involving disparate family members and assets in excess of $100 million located on three continents.

  • Court appointed discovery referee in $50 million estate dispute involving allegations of destruction of evidence.

  • Surcharge petition by siblings against trustee over mismanagement of a variety of commercial properties in several states.

  • Dispute over management of cattle ranch by sibling trustee and efforts to purchase shares by other sibling beneficiaries.

  • Numerous disputes involving allegations of self-dealing and misappropriation by family members managing estate assets.

Probate, Estate & Trusts

Representative Cases