Most California trust and estate litigation occurs in the probate department of the Superior Court, where the assigned judge manages and ultimately decides disputes. Generally, there is no right to a jury trial so the outcome in contested cases rests with the judge, often supported by court staff who conduct file review and legal research.
The first quarter of 2017 brings changes in the assigned judges at the probate departments in Placer County Superior Court and Yolo County Superior Court, while there is continuity at Sacramento County Superior Court.
In Placer County, Commissioner Michael A. Jacques has overseen the probate department in recent years, operating out of Department 40 with a Tuesday afternoon calendar. In December 2016, the Court announced the selection of Todd D. Irby as a court commissioner.
Commissioner Irby began his service in February 2017 and is presiding over the probate calendar on Wednesday mornings in Department 33 on the ground floor of the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. He previously served as Chief Counsel at the California Department of Veterans Affairs and as a Deputy Attorney General. He practiced civil law before entering state service and is a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law.
In Yolo County, the probate department assignment (along with the general civil assignment) has rotated from Judge Timothy L. Fall to Judge Samuel T. McAdam. Judge McAdam is hearing the probate calendar in Department Seven of the new courthouse (opened in 2015 and depicted in the photo above) at 1000 Main Street in Woodland.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Judge McAdam to the Yolo County bench in 2008. He previously was a partner at the Seyfarth Shaw law firm in Sacramento where he primarily practiced employment law. He graduated from McGeorge School of Law, where he has taught employment law as an adjunct faculty member.
Meanwhile, in Sacramento County Superior Court, Judge Steven M. Gevercer begins his second year presiding in Department 129 (the probate unit) at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse on Power Inn Road in Sacramento. In 2016, Judge Gevercer proposed a Probate Court Pro Bono Panel, which is now operating as a project of the Voluntary Legal Services Program as recently reported in the March/April 2017 issue of Sacramento Lawyer magazine.