Steven M. Vartabedian Justice (Ret.)

Contact: 559.432.4500
Law School: Santa Clara University School of Law - Santa Clara University
Jurisdiction: California


About Steven M. Vartabedian Justice (Ret.)
After 29 years of judicial service, 21 years of that as a justice of the California Court of Appeal, Steve is now available for mediations, arbitrations and referee work. He can also give advice on appeals and writs. He has a broad spectrum of experience, as is reflected by more than 180 opinions authored and published by him in the California Appellate Reports. He has a particular depth of experience in cases alleging serious personal injury and product defect, including those alleging punitive damages. He also has a strong background in real estate and construction cases, employment law, medical service disputes and agricultural matters. As both a trial judge and on the appellate bench, he has assisted many parties in settling their cases prior to adjudication.
Prior to taking the bench, Steve was in private practice with Charles Poochigian. His practice emphasized real estate and family law litigation.
Directory Practice Areas
  • Appeals & Appellate
  • Arbitration & Mediation
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    • $400-450/hr
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Professional Experience
Of Counsel, Dowling Aaron & Keeler
Mediation and Arbitration
Justice, California Court of Appeal, 5th Appellate District
Steve frequently acted as acting presiding justice concerning the thousands of cases he handled. The following is a sampling of published cases authored by him over the past 5 years: Yarick v. Pacificare (2009)179 CA4th 1158. Baker Manock & Jensen v. Sup. Ct. (2009) 175 CA4th 1414. UAS Mgmt. v. Mater Misercordiae Hospital (2008) 169 CA4th 357. Garcia v. Paramount Citrus (2008)164 CA4th 1448. D.H. Williams Construction v. Clovis Unified School Dist. (2007) 146 CA4th 757. Johnson v. Ford Motor Co. (2005) 135 CA4th 137. Horsford v. Cal. State Univ. Trustees (2005) 132 CA4th 359.
Judge, Fresno Superior Court
Presiding Judge, Fresno Municipal Court
Judge, Sanger Justice Court
Santa Clara University School of Law - Santa Clara UniversityJ.D.Law
Honors: Graduated with magna cum laude honors.
California State University - FresnoB.A.Political Science
Honors: Honors graduate
Professional Activities
Presenter, Appellate Justices Institute Center for Judicial Education and Research 2010-2010
Seminar Presenter: Collateral Source Rule Consumer Attorneys of California & Central California Trial Lawyers Association 2010-2010
Member, Appellate Courts Legacy Committee Administrative Offices of the Courts 2006-2010
Program Speaker, Legal Education Program on Appellate Practice California State Bar 1995-1995
Member, Board of Visitors Santa Clara University School of Law 1992-1994
Member, Appellate Curriculum Committee Center for Judicial Education and Research 1991-1994
Panelist, Symposium--"Victims' Rights in California" University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law 1992-1992
Outstanding Board Member, Armenian Community School of Fresno
Outstanding Contribution to Education, Sanger Unified School District
Awarded primarily for work with truants and their parents
Professional Associations
Member, American Arbitration Association
Member, Association of Conflict Resolution
Member, Fresno County Bar Association
Member, California Judges Association
Member, American Bar Association


Articles & Publications
  • Enhancing Sentences with Prior Convictions
    23 Pacific Law Journal 1051
  • Dismissal and Pre-Arraignment Delay
    26 Judges' Journal (No. 1) 31
  • Striking a Delicate Balance in Sex Abuse Cases
    24 Judges' Journal (No. 4) 16


Website: Steven M. Vartabedian's Website Profile
Website: Dowling Aaron Incorporated Website
Blog: California Appellate Lawyer Blog



Dowling Aaron & Keeler
8080 N. Palm Ave., Suite 300
Fresno, CA 93711
Telephone: 559.432.4500
Dowling Aaron & Keeler - Bakersfield Office
5080 California Avenue
Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93309
Telephone: 661.716.3000