Published Appellate Opinion

Moore v. Superior Court (2020) 57 Cal.App.5th 441


(2021) Obtained restraining order forcing client’s sister to immediately vacate elderly mother’s home.

(2020) After five-day trial, prevailed against party seeking to rescind designation of client as beneficiary of ~$1MM retirement account.

(2019) After five-day trial, prevailed in action to satisfy child support judgment from deadbeat father’s beneficial interest in ~$10MM trust. Successfully argued that court should allocate attorney fees against not only respondent trustee but also trustee’s counsel, with court further ordering that such fees be paid individually and not from trust funds.

(2019) After four-day trial, prevailed in court-initiated contempt proceedings against opposing counsel. Successfully defended and argued appeal, which resulted in a published opinion.

(2017) After two-day trial, prevailed in action for partition of elderly client’s real property. Successfully argued that client’s extensive efforts to settle justified attorney fee award. Handled significant post-trial and appellate work.

(2017) After one-day trial, prevailed in bifurcated defense of ~$2MM trust contest on grounds of statute of limitations. Drafted lengthy order, which court substantially adopted without change.


(2022) Brought petition to compel accounting and remove self-dealing trustee who sought to take real property worth millions. In mediation, not only settled case but also favorably severed other non-trust financial relationships.

(2022) Brought petition to force trustee to interpret terms of $6MM trust according to their plain language and in favor of beneficiary clients, where trustee had previously chosen an interpretation that benefitted herself as residuary beneficiary. Settled case in mediation.

(2021) Defended trustee in action brought by family member to contest trust and remove/ surcharge trustee. Settled case in mediation.

(2021) Working with drafting attorney’s malpractice counsel, defended trustee-beneficiary client in action brought by disinherited grandchildren seeking to obtain a share of assets based on drafting attorney’s errors. Settled case in mediation.

(2020) Litigated contested action to appoint clients as trustees, while defending against vitriolic, years-long disputes brought by criminal family member over damages and control of trusts. Settled case in mediation.

(2020) On behalf of three clients representing ~15 total family members, brought petition to contest $8MM trust that elderly settlor created with “help” from live-in caregiver after wife’s death, where trust primarily benefitted caregiver. Settled case in mediation spanning numerous countries and continents.

(2020) On behalf of foster daughter, brought action to contest trust that settlor created to benefit caregiver after wife’s death. Settled case in mediation.

(2020) Defended trustee client in beneficiary’s action for removal and surcharge. Settled case in mediation.

(2019) Defended trustee client in action to remove and surcharge him, brought by brother-beneficiary who had been deported to Europe due to criminal activity. Settled case in mediation.

(2019) Successfully argued for court to exercise its discretion, on its own motion, to remove co-trustee who was causing wasteful conflict. Settled remaining issues in mediation with probate judge.

(2018) After substituting in as counsel for trustee in $2MM trust case, reformulated strategy to protect client against opposing counsel’s ongoing attacks. Obtained a favorable settlement after engaging in multiple mediation sessions with probate judge.

Other Cases

(2022) Obtained court order allowing trustee client to complete sale of real property and fund trust, overriding trust beneficiary’s unreasonable obstruction of escrow and sale.

(2022) As court-appointed guardian ad litem, investigated and determined best interests of proposed ward in guardianship case despite substantial language barrier.

(2021) As court-appointed special administrator, worked with private investigators to identify, notify, and interview intestate decedent’s potential heirs. Worked with police while addressing heir’s mental health issues. Assisted decedent’s widow to advance the probate administration.

(2021) Successfully reformulated trustee client’s strategy to remove hostile sister as co-trustee of trust created to benefit third sister.

(2021) Brought several actions under numerous theories to obtain inheritance promised by decedent to boyfriend of predeceased daughter. At opposing party’s request and despite opposing counsel’s known litigiousness, settled case immediately.

(2021) Defended co-trustee/ beneficiaries from action seeking to establish that decedent had exercised a power of appointment. After parties stipulated to submit the issue on pleadings and further briefing in order to avoid costs of trial, court entered judgment in favor of clients.

(2021) As court-appointed trustee, sold real property and otherwise administered trust for benefit of several hostile beneficiaries.

(2020) As court-appointed guardian ad litem, represented interests of incapacitated elderly woman in heavily litigated trust and conservatorship matters.

(2020) Represented settlors’ daughter/ life estate beneficiary, in prolonged negotiations with several large public universities/ residuary beneficiaries, to terminate and divide trust on terms that were more favorable to client.

(2020) As court-appointed trustee, administered trust for benefit of several hostile beneficiaries.

(2019) Defended trustee client facing consequences of having failed to account for trust assets for 14 years.

(2019) Represented decedent’s widow in spousal property petition, obtaining an appropriate fractional share interest in real property despite the property being titled in decedent’s name only.

(2019) Sought rescission of challenging residential care contract based on mistake and lack of capacity; obtained full repayment of nearly $300K paid by elderly client.

(2018) Drafted successful opposition to post-trial motion in which opposing counsel sought to have client pay nearly $1MM in attorney fees and costs.

(2017) Administered $5MM trust, avoiding litigation despite extremely adversarial and suspicious sibling/ co-trustee environment.

(2016) Devised and executed successful strategy to defeat, before incurring significant litigation expenses, inflammatory will contest brought by adult siblings against beneficiary client.

(2016) Obtained restraining order against daughter seeking to prevent sale of elderly mother’s house.

(2016) Obtained order declaring plaintiff a vexatious litigant; filed successful motion to dismiss appeal.

(2015) Handled probate of computer scientist killed in avalanche, including resolution of multifaceted and contentious litigation over disputes brought by business partners as well as former spouse, while also addressing cutting-edge digital privacy issues.

(2015) Convinced hostile trustee to change prior allocation of $4MM in trust assets to comport with trust instrument, favoring beneficiary client and avoiding litigation.

(2015) Drafted petition to recover funds that co-trustee wrongfully withheld; settled matter shortly after filing, recovering all funds and fees sought by client.

(2015) Drafted successful petition for determination of entitlement to distribution, allowing charity client to take under ambiguous will provision.

(2015) Defended intestate decedent’s biological son in decedent’s new wife’s action to disinherit him. Obtained favorable settlement despite the fact that son had been adopted into a different family.

(2014) Drafted successful opposition to trustee’s petition for extraordinary fees, in which opponent claimed fees for 15 years of retrospective hourly work amounting to over $500K; used detailed analysis of legislative history to successfully oppose motion for reconsideration of same.

From Our Clients

paula gerhardt
paula gerhardt
Dave Parnell oversaw the research, writing of orders, the management of filings and court dates for an extensive Family Trust Litigation that I was involved in as a co-defendant. In addition he developed a legal strategy that enabled our side to stop the case in it's early stages and avoid prolonged litigation. He prepared the case for a very streamlined effective trial. At all stages of the process, Dave was always accessible, extremely detailed in reviewing multiple drafts of filings with me and my co-trustee and well beyond patient in explaining to us each step of the way through the legal process. By keeping us in-the-know about deadlines and court appearances Dave provided us with additional certainty and clarity that everything was on track. Ultimately, the detailed final order that Dave wrote was strong enough that the Judge's own final order copied it verbatim. Most importantly, Dave's expertise and compassion for seeing justice delivered gave me the peace of mind to navigate through a previously unknown and complex legal process. I highly recommend working with Dave Parnell, I felt like I was part of his team.
kenneth moye
kenneth moye
Dave Parnall was hired to help me in an estate litigation case to distribute assets to beneficiaries. I had never been involved in any type of litigation, but knew it would be expensive and time consuming. My biggest worry was how to navigate the legal maze, court system, and deal with opposing attorneys without stressing out and going broke. It was my good fortune to find Dave as my attorney who led me step-by-step through the entire case to conclusion over a 3-year period. After I established my goals for the case, he developed a strategy to attain them. No matter how complex events became, he remained focused on my goals. I really appreciated his efforts to avoid conflicts throughout the case, but was also willing to remove the gloves when it was necessary. Dave was a calming voice when things got heated in the case and clearly outlined my options at each stage of the litigation with their pro and cons. He was acutely aware of helping me keep the billable hours to a minimum by letting me do some of the leg work such as preparing statements, hiring appraisers, and contacting the beneficiaries. Dave consistently kept me up to date on the case and replied to my phone calls and emails within 24 hours or sooner. Can’t say enough how I appreciate Dave’s expert legal abilities and genuine empathy for me and my case.
Maria Elena Rodriguez
Maria Elena Rodriguez
Mr. Parnell took on our complicated elder/family case and stayed with during the many long months it took to resolve. He was a compassionate advocate and advisor, navigating with us through a change of judges, and seemingly endless continuations of the case. He was tenacious but elegantly avoided conflict with the opposing party. Yet he never shied away from it when their demands were unreasonable. We felt he generally cared about us, his clients, and was cost-conscious without ever compromising his service. The goals he set and explained to us were largely accomplished. We never felt neglected or shut out of the loop during this long ordeal. He welcomed and answered all questions we had along the way. I recommend him highly.
Rene Mandel
Rene Mandel
Dave expertly and effectively handled an aggressive opposing counsel and a highly complex set of beneficiaries. He developed a solid strategy and always kept sight of it. In fact, he was so good that when our case was over, the opposing law firm hired him!
Bryna Barsky
Bryna Barsky
Dave has helped me with a very complex legal issue for years now. He is an incredibly intelligent, ethical, competent and empathetic attorney. He writes legal briefs that are compelling and articulate. He goes above and beyond for his clients, often working after hours and weekends....whatever it takes to get the job done. He was amazing during trial, organized, composed, and respected by the Judge. He won a very difficult case for me and I am forever grateful. I couldn't have asked for a better attorney for my case.

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