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David Sugden



**Breaking News**

Since 2003, The Trial Attorneys has identified the top litigation and trial lawyers across the country. Each June The Trial Attorneys selects just one leading attorney in each state to appear in its directory. This past June, The Trial Attorneys selected Dave Sugden as its sole recommended attorney for California for 2023/2024. Click here for more.

Dave Sugden is a business trial lawyer. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”) and has been recognized since 2020 as one of the “Top 50 Super Lawyers in Orange County,” and has been listed since 2021 in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Lawyers” annual publication. Mr. Sugden has won several seven- and eight- figure jury verdicts and judgments for corporate plaintiffs and has successfully defended several high-stakes cases for corporate defendants. Mr. Sugden has tried cases to verdict in multiple states, and he has served as lead counsel in matters in California, Colorado, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Mr. Sugden has tried cases to verdict involving a variety of claims, including intellectual property, employment, environment, contract, and trade secrets. Mr. Sugden is the founder and creator of Evidence at Trial, where he teaches live and online trial and evidence courses for attorneys.

Recent Jury Verdicts:

$9,000,000 Verdict: In September 2022, a Los Angeles jury awarded Mr. Sugden’s clients $9,000,000 in a breach of contract case wherein Mr. Sugden’s client alleged that the defendants (and cross-complainants) failed to pay for goods delivered. The defendants and cross-complainants alleged the goods were defective and non-conforming. Mr. Sugden’s clients prevailed on all claims and successfully defended all claims alleged in defendants’ cross-complaint.

Complete Defense Verdict: A San Bernardino jury rendered a complete defense verdict in favor of LA Fitness following a three-week trial. The plaintiff alleged wrongful termination, disability discrimination, and retaliation. The plaintiff asked to jury to award $2.9 million in damages.

Complete Defense Verdict: A unanimous jury rendered a complete defense verdict in favor of a prestigious private university in federal district court in Los Angeles. The plaintiff alleged violations of the Federal Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, and other related claims. The plaintiff sought more than $1.18 million plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. Mr. Sugden was retained less than two months prior to trial.

Complete Defense Verdict: A complete defense verdict in favor of a prestigious private university following a three-week jury trial in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County. The lawsuit involved detailed claims of sexual harassment and discrimination, pregnancy harassment and discrimination, constructive discharge in violation of public policy, failure to prevent harassment and physical disability discrimination and unpaid overtime and missed meal and rest breaks. The plaintiff asked the jury to award more than $3 million in damages.

$1.026 Million Verdict: A jury awarded Mr. Sugden’s client more than one million dollars in a case involving trade secret misappropriation and related claims. The three-week jury trial took place in the Superior Court of California, Orange County.

Other Notable Verdicts And Judgments:

$47.4 Million Verdict

A unanimous jury ordered a corporate defendant to pay Mr. Sugden’s corporate client $47.4 million following a three-week jury trial in federal court.

$20 Million Judgement

A $20 million judgment followed a surprise search and seizure with U.S. Marshals wherein Mr. Sugden and his investigation team located and found direct evidence of trade secret misappropriation.

Complete Defense Verdict

A complete defense verdict following a three-week jury trial in a toxic tort case for a leading oil company. The plaintiff asked the jury to award at least $8 million in damages.

Complete Defense Verdict

A complete defense verdict following a jury trial in a sexual harassment case for a prominent clothing retailer. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning with a unanimous defense verdict.

Complete Defense Award (Arbitration)

A complete defense judgment following an arbitration trial in a sexual harassment case for a leading insurance agency.

Equitable Relief Award (PRO BONO)

Following a three-week trial, Mr. Sugden’s client was awarded additional braille education and related services, which had been improperly denied by the student’s school district.


Mr. Sugden is the author of Gray Markets: Prevention, Detection, and Litigation (Oxford University Press 2009), which highlights the strategies and theories to protect brand owners from the black and gray marketing of their products. “[Mr. Sugden] brilliantly analyzes the consequences of this market and offers practical solutions to reduce the troublesome gray market potential. He has fashioned an enduringly valuable treatment of an urgently pressing problem for the marketplace.” – Ken Starr, former Court of Appeals judge, Solicitor General, and Independent Counsel

 Community and Pro Bono Work

Mr. Sugden has volunteered for the Disability Rights Legal Center wherein he worked with low income parents of children with special needs to help obtain educational services on behalf of their children. Mr. Sugden has also litigated pro bono matters for low income litigants through Orange County’s Public Law Center.

Mr. Sugden served on the Foundation Board of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (“CHOC Children’s”) and currently serves on Pepperdine Law School’s Board of Advisors.

Education and Background

Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Mr. Sugden first came to California to play NCAA Division I baseball at Pepperdine University in Malibu. As a senior, Mr. Sugden was named to the “All-West Coast Conference Team.”

Mr. Sugden was then awarded a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Pepperdine University. As a graduate student at Pepperdine, Mr. Sugden’s honors included being featured in the 24th Annual Edition of The National Dean’s List. Mr. Sugden finished first-place in The Annual Dalsimer Moot Court Competition.