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Civil Litigation - Private
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average rating is 5 out of 5
average rating is 2 out of 5
Judge Carter is a bit wacky, but VERY hardworking and industrious. The reviews below regarding 'bullying' counsel into settling cases are spot on: he will often make off the cuff veiled threats towards counsel during hearings, and order counsel to try to resolve cases (even when they are not worth settling). He also requires counsel to be VERY well prepared at hearings. If you are even a minute late for your hearing, be prepared to suffer his wrath. While I did not witness this firsthand, a colleague advised me that when counsel from a fairly big firm showed up late to a pre-trial hearing due to bad traffic, he ordered the counsel to book a hotel room in Orange County to ensure he was never late to the ensuing trial. I also personally witnessed him reaming a high ranking AUSA who showed up late to a criminal sentencing hearing, which is quite rare to see. His hearings won't be so much be an argument of the legal merits of your motion (he has certainly read them), but more of an inquisition into whatever facts he wants to know in order to determine how to utilize his own philosophy in reaching his decision. Sometimes his questions seem entirely irrelevant to the issue at hand, but make sure you know the case forwards and backwards. On multiple occasions, I witnessed him stop proceedings during the morning calendar when an attorney didn't know the answer to one of his (seemingly irrelevant) questions, and continue the matter to the afternoon calendar...thus forcing counsel to spend their entire day in his courtroom. On one of these occasions, multiple attorneys were from out of town and were forced to reschedule cross-country flights to comply with this unexpected development. His judicial philosophy is VERY favorable to the 'little guy' in the case, so be forewarned if you represent a corporation or government entity. At a scheduling conference hearing prior to mine, he made disparaging remarks about my client (saying something like 'at least your client isn't X corporation'), which came across as highly unprofessional to me. In another hearing involving a dispute between two corporations, he asked counsel which of the corporations had higher earnings the prior year to determine who would bear the costs of a private mediation. Needless to say, he will bend over backwards for pro per litigants and will not sanction a 'smaller' litigant, no matter how frivolous their filings are. While I am not a fan of his temperament, his opinions and orders seem to be well researched and on point. He definitely takes his lifetime appointment as a license to do whatever he wants, but at least he seems to have some authority to support his positions. So, I suppose you could do a lot worse.
7/15/19, 2:16 AM
Hon. David O. Carter

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