David Darnell Attorney

David J. Darnell

Partner, Trial Attorney David Darnell Attorney

David J. Darnell is a highly experienced trial attorney with an impeccable track record. In other words, he delivers results and helps clients win.

A skilled Orange County business attorney, Mr. Darnell specializes in business, contract and complex commercial matters, as well as disputes involving corporate governance, fiduciary duties, partnerships, fraud and other torts.

Mr. Darnell has obtained significant wins for clients in trials, arbitrations, and mediations. One case, in particular, involved the defense of a multi-million dollar claim in a 6-week jury trial, which resulted in a net monetary award to his client who was only a defendant in the action. He has also obtained numerous multi-million dollar judgments, verdicts, and settlements for plaintiffs.

Some of Mr. Darnell’s successful cases include:

  • The complete dismissal of all claims against his clients based on California’s litigation privilege in Civil Code section 47, which was recently affirmed in its entirety in a published opinion by the California Court of Appeal.
  • A lengthy shareholder dispute that resulted in the total dismissal of plaintiff’s case against his clients on the first day of trial. Prior to trial, plaintiff made a settlement demand for $2 Million, which was rejected. Mr. Darnell and his clients thus appeared ready to proceed on the first day of trial, where they were prepared to present evidence and testimony showing plaintiff had been stealing from the company. This prompted plaintiff to request a settlement conference, where he ultimately caved and agreed to dismiss all of his claims and give up all of his shares in the company for $0, which was truly a remarkable result.
  • A $2.453 Million judgment after jury verdict in a trade secrets case against a former employee. After a three week trial, the jury unanimously (12-0) found in favor of his client and against a former employee who had unlawfully taken and used client lists and other proprietary information to solicit and steal customers away from his employer. The jury awarded compensatory damages of $1.16 Million, plus punitive damages of $200,000. In addition, through post-trial motions, the Court awarded injunctive relief, along with attorney’s fees and costs, resulting in a total judgment for $2.453 Million.
  • A significant win at arbitration wherein his client prevailed on all affirmative claims and also successfully defended all counterclaims, which thereafter resulted in a confidential settlement.
  • A judgment for more than $2.7 Million, on which he collected 100% of the judgment, plus interest and costs.
  • A compete defense for his clients after an eight-day trial in which the plaintiffs had sought more than $7 million dollars on claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. After hearing the evidence and closing arguments, the trial court found in favor of Mr. Darnell’s clients and against the plaintiffs on all counts. In addition to zero liability, his clients were awarded more than $17,000 in costs.
  • A $15.5 million settlement for his client in a case involving claims of illegal dividends and breach of fiduciary duty against corporate officers and directors.
  • A judgment for more than $1 million after a federal jury trial.
  • A very favorable settlement for clients who were sued in a wrongful death case arising out of unfortunate circumstances and presenting substantial risks of losing everything they owned. The settlement preserved their assets and brought closure to an emotionally charged lawsuit.
  • The total dismissal of a case against his clients based on alleged constitutional and due process violations.
  • A $695,000 arbitration award for his client in a breach of contract case.

Mr. Darnell obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he majored in Communications and Environmental Studies. He earned his law degree at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, where he participated in the Southwestern Moot Court Honors Program and served on its Board of Governors. While in law school, he won the prestigious Best Brief award and was a Semi-Finalist in oral argument in the National Moot Court Competition.

As a professional, Mr. Darnell has been selected as a Super Lawyer, a rating awarded to the top 5% of all attorneys in the state, in every year since 2015. In addition, in 2012, 2013 and 2014, he was selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a peer nominated honor bestowed on the top 2.5 % of all attorneys in the state who are 40 years of age or under.

Mr. Darnell is an active member of the California state bar and is licensed to appear and try cases before every state court in California, as well as the United States District Court for the Southern, Central, Eastern and Northern Districts of California, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyer: 2015 – Present
  • Rising Star by Super Lawyers, 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • Best Brief, Medal for Excellency in Advocacy, American College of Trial Lawyers National Moot Court Competition, 1999
  • Semi-Finalist, Medal for Excellency in Advocacy, American College of Trial Lawyers National Moot Court Competition, 1999
  • Best Writer Finalist and Oralist Finalist, 1998 Southwestern Intramural Moot Court Competition

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of California, Litigation Section
  • Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Section
  • Federal Bar Association, Orange County Chapter
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter
  • Robert A. Banyard American Inn of Court