A respected trial judge for over 22 years until his retirement in April 2019, Judge Lesley Holland’s practice is devoted to resolution of legal disputes through mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and related ADR services. Drawing on four decades of legal experience as judge and practitioner – including 30 years’ experience litigating, adjudicating, managing and settling civil and probate cases – Judge Holland is uniquely qualified to assist people, businesses, and government entities resolve cases concerning trusts and wills, commercial transactions and contract disputes, personal injury and medical malpractice, construction defect and products liability, and employment matters.
In the course of countless settlement conferences, Judge Holland earned a reputation as an effective and creative settlement judge. For example, shortly after his assignment to the civil department, in a case brought by a general contractor hired to repair aging infrastructure conveying water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to the City/County of San Francisco, Judge Holland successfully used a mediator’s proposal to break impasse at the end of a long day of negotiation.
In another instance, in the middle of an antagonistic and increasingly expensive trial between a homeowner and an HOA, the trial judge asked Judge Holland for assistance. Conferring with the sides in separate caucuses and reaching out to the HOA president who participated via speakerphone, Judge Holland succeeded in bringing the litigants to a mutually beneficial resolution that ended the trial.
More recently, Judge Holland facilitated settlement of a complex commercial case involving approximately 10,000 separate transactions between a leading provider of natural hazard disclosure reports and a nationwide escrow company. The parties estimated that trial would consume 6-8 months and the trial judge requested that Judge Holland conduct the mandatory settlement conference. Despite the litigants’ antipathy, stoked after many years of difficult litigation, Judge Holland persisted until the early evening of the second day when the parties signed a comprehensive settlement agreement.
One of Judge Holland’s most interesting trials arose from a dispute among descendants of famous conservationist John Muir concerning a trust created to manage Muir’s legacy – including his handwritten journals and drawings, his notes and photos, his personal correspondence as well as his personal library. Judge Holland managed the litigation and rendered judgement following a lengthy bench trial. Following final judgement, the trustees donated the entire collection to the University of the Pacific. You can learn more about UOP’s John Muir Center at https://www.pacific.edu/academics/schools-and-colleges/college-of-the-pacific/about/centers-and-institutes/john-muir-center.html.
Other notable cases include:
- Andal v. City of Stockton (adjudicated taxpayers’ action challenging constitutionality of City’s assessment of emergency services “fee”);
- BAPH3 v. Padilla (managed lengthy jury trial of complex business case);
- Boliou v. Stockton Unified School District (in a matter of first impression, adjudicated writ action by teacher against school district for attorneys’ fees and costs following District’s unilateral decision to withdraw disciplinary charges);
- Frontier Land Companies v. Jeld-Wen (managed jury trial of contract action between developer and subcontractor/supplier);
- Hogan Family Trust (managed and adjudicated complex and contentious trust dispute among siblings/beneficiaries);
- Lang v. Geweke Auto Mall (managed lengthy jury trial of serious personal injury claim);
- Meyers v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (managed jury trial of Federal Employees Liability Act claim);
- Morada Area Association v. City of Stockton (adjudicated consolidated cases challenging proposed general plan’s water supply analysis);
- Rivertree Partnership v. Reed Leasing Group (adjudicated lengthy complex commercial dispute between grower and sand/gravel extractor);
- State of California Agricultural Labor Relations Board v. Arnaudo Brothers (managed ALRB action against a grower seeking injunctive and other relief);
- Stockton Black Leadership Council v. City of Stockton (adjudicated election-year challenge to incumbent mayor’s re-election bid in light of term limits language in the City Charter);
- Stockton Police Officers’ Association v. City of Stockton, and Stockton Firefighters’ Local 456 v. City of Stockton (managed contentious litigation between police and fire unions and the City and City Manager during the run-up to City’s municipal bankruptcy);
- Stockton Unified School District v. California Interscholastic Federation (adjudicated school district’s lawsuit challenging CIF’s authority to determine and enforce player eligibility rules);
- Tabaie v. Stockton Unified School District (managed jury trial of wrongful termination claim);
- Tracy Alliance for a Quality Community v. City of Tracy (adjudicated writ proceeding challenging approval of EIR and underlying development agreement);
- Tucker v. Center for Sight (managed jury trial of medical malpractice claim);
- Walnut Producers of California v. Diamond Foods (adjudicated dispute concerning interpretation of arbitration agreement);
- Young v. State Water Resources Control Board (adjudicated writ action by diverse water interests alleging denial of due process following Board’s issuance of a cease and desist order);
- Yuba County Water Agency v. State Water Resources Control Board (managed and adjudicated five consolidated lawsuits transferred to San Joaquin County by stipulation).
Judge Holland graduated from Occidental College and earned his J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. In February 2019, Judge Holland completed Pepperdine University School of Law/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution’s renowned and intensive 42-hour mediation program – “Mediating the Litigated Case”.
Holland recently served on the executive board of the California Judges Association and presently serves on the executive board of the California Judges Foundation. Judge Holland is a past president of the Judge Consuelo M. Callahan Inn of Court and current member of local bar associations in San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Stanislaus counties. Holland also holds memberships in a number of professional organizations including the American College of Business Court Judges, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and Association for Conflict Resolution.