Summer 2019 • Issue 66, page 1

Profile of Judge Robert Moss, Department C-14 Civil Panel, Orange County Superior Court

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Judge Robert Moss, Department C-14 of the Orange County Superior Court Civil Panel, was appointed to the bench by Governor Gray Davis and sworn in on May 31, 2002, or just over 17 years ago. During his judging career, he has served on the Complex Litigation Panel and as Supervising Judge for the Civil Panel.
  • His favorite assignment: sitting on the Civil Panel and overseeing jury trials.
  • His accolades as a judge include Judge of the Year Award Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (2005), the Jerrold Oliver Award from the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (2007), and the George Francis Civility Award from the Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (2010).
  • His most controversial case: resolving the alleged misuse of California vehicle license fees.

Judge Moss has appointed receivers (discussed below) but primarily for condemned housing where the receiver’s charge is to bring a house or apartment building up to code to cure health and safety deficiencies.

So where did it all start? How did Robert Moss end up being an Orange County Superior Court Judge? This future Judge Moss came into this world in Elkhart, Indiana, but his family soon moved to Chicago (where he admits to still having a lot of relatives). A few years later, his family moved west, and Glendale, California became his new home during his adolescent years. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of California Irvine – his was the first four-year class to graduate from the “brand new university” back in 1968 (his residence during his college years – Balboa Island – tough duty). Next he attended Loyola Law School, earned his JD, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1973. While at Loyola, he was a member of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Honor Society.

After law school, our future judge beat a hasty path back to Orange County. His legal career includes an Associate Attorney and later Partner at the Orange County firm of Parker, Stanbury, McGee, Babcock & Combes (1973 to 1987). He was a founding member of the firm, Howard, Moss, Loveder, Strickroth & Parker from 1987 until his appointment to the bench. His focus: general litigation including personal injury, insurance bad faith, construction defects, professional malpractice, among other specialties. His professional associations during these periods include the Orange County Bar Association, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, Association of Business Trial Lawyers and Association of Defense Trial Lawyers (Santa Ana Representative). After becoming a Judge, his memberships include the California Judicial Counsel, Vice President of the California Judges Association, and Member of the American College of Business Court Judges – these are just a few of his professional organizations as a Judge.

As you might expect, there is a personal side to Judge Moss. He met his wife Jill during a sailing trip in the Caribbean. She was from Seattle, and the logistics soon became an issue. Jill made the move to So. Cal. and became the wife of a future judge. They have two daughters (both married and living in Orange County across the street from each other – making grandparent visits logistically efficient). They will soon have three grandchildren. As an Orange County resident, Judge Moss has lived on Balboa Island (college days), Newport Beach, San Juan Capistrano, Huntington Beach and for the last 30 years near the famous Wedge on the Peninsula Point of Newport. Hobbies have included sailing (where they met and he has done a TransPac, in addition to sailing as far south as Puerta Vallarta, Mexico and racing in San Francisco Bay), golf, and bicycle riding (for years, Judge Moss biked from Newport Beach to the Courthouse via the Santa Ana Riverbed). On the return trip, Jill would ride half way and the would bike to home together. His latest hobby: easy to predict – grandkids.

What are the Judge’s views on and experiences with Receivers? Judge Moss views the appointment of a Receiver as an extreme remedy, suggesting that the conditions must be pretty bad. These occur in a divisive partner/shareholder dispute that negatively affects the operation of a business, or the deficient housing circumstances mentioned above. Overall, his experience with receivers is and continues to be favorable. He applauds his alma mater, Loyola Law School, for serving as the academic sponsor for the California Receivers Forum, which has the dual goal of both educating receivers, counsel and even Judges as to the ins and outs of receivership and in the process, raising the bar of professionalism.