Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, January 27, 2012


Page 1


Superior Court Judge Carl J. West Slates Retirement


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl J. West is retiring, a court spokesperson said yesterday.

West, 60, will hold court for the last time today, the 18th anniversary of his appointment to the bench by then-Gov. Pete Wilson. The jurist, who could not be reached for comment, will officially leave office Feb. 29.

The Pasadena native attended Loyola Law School , graduating in 1977 and being admitted to practice in 1978. While in private practice, West was primarily involved in personal injury, commercial, and real estate litigation.

He was an associate with the firms of Stockdale, Peckham, Estes, Ramsey, Lawler & Iroillo and Severson, Werson, Burke & Melchior prior to joining the Pasadena firm of Hahn & Hahn, where he remained as a partner until his appointment to the Los Angeles Municipal Court. Wilson elevated him to the Superior Court in 1996.

He was assigned to a felony trials department for less than one year before being  assigned to a direct calendar civil department in the North Central District. He became the supervising judge of that district, helping to implement the controversial 2001 plan that consolidated the district’s civil cases in Glendale and criminal cases in Burbank.

He has been assigned to a complex litigation court at Central Civil West since 2002, and has been responsible for a number of consumer class actions, securities and commercial claims, toxic and mass tort claims, and insurance coverage claims involving significant primary and excess exposure. Judge Kenneth Freeman is due to take over West’s docket, beginning Monday.

West also has been hearing a suit by the ACLU over what it claims are denials of the state constitutional right to a free public education, based on the widespread practice of making students pay fees for some classes, activities and exams. He ruled yesterday that the suit may go forward.

“The state itself bears the ultimate authority and responsibility to ensure that its district-based system of common school provides basic equality of educational opportunity,” he wrote.

Among his best-known cases are Abel v. Lockheed-Martin Corporation, a toxic tort case involving over 2,000 plaintiffs and 65 defendants relating to groundwater contamination, multiple cases involving the attempted expansion of a Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, insurance coverage cases relating to the environmental/contamination claims at Southern Pacific Railroad facilities, the Coordinated Rezulin Cases involving tort claims relating to the use of a diabetes drug, and the Coordinated Groundwater Cases, involving claims of over 3,000 plaintiffs relating to alleged groundwater contamination in the San Gabriel Valley.

He has served on the boards of the Pasadena Bar Association, Polytechnic School in Pasadena, Wellness Community-Foothills, and Pasadena Rotary Club. He has also been a panelist and advisory board member for The Sedona Conference, a nonprofit institute that studies antitrust, complex litigation, and intellectual property issues.


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