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David Semelsberger

David  Semelsberger Photo
David Semelsberger Partner


David has been with the firm since its inception in 1987. His practice focuses on business law, real estate, and civil litigation.

David has represented individuals, businesses, and homeowner associations. He has testified as an expert in court cases and as an advocate before the State Legislature on pending legislation.

Examples of Attorney Semelsberger's Courtroom Work

His achievements include many successful trial and arbitration results, such as:

  • A small corporation’s recovery against a lawyer for failure to register securities.
  • A property owner against a business for failure to maintain adjoining premises.
  • An individual against a large U.S. housing corporation for fraud
  • The defense of a La Jolla art gallery accused of insurance fraud
  • A sports clothing manufacturer for damages against a printing company
  • A small entrepreneur against a foreign corporation over the the rights to a new invention
  • A multimillion dollar jury award on behalf of a public charity
  • And in 2014, with Jim Allen, a $111 million jury verdict awarded to 61 San Jose homeowners.

He has obtained multimillion-dollar settlements in cases involving nuisance, negligence, breach of contract, and housing habitability claims.

Honors & Achievements 

On four different occasions, David Semelsberger's success in the courtroom has earned him the Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award

  • In 1994 following a six-month jury trial and a $5 million verdict on behalf of San Bernardino homeowners
  • In 1998, after an eight-week jury trial and a verdict in excess of $2 million on behalf of San Diego homeowners
  • In 2005 when he and his partner represented a nonprofit corporation that builds housing for low-income citizens. This three-week jury trial resulted in a $4 million verdict
  • After a three-month jury trial in San Jose and verdict of $15 million compensatory and $95 million punitive damages.

David earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Durham, England and St. Vincent College and graduated magna cum laude. Attorney Semelsberger studied law at the University of Notre Dame, Law Center in London and later received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, at the University of San Diego. During his time there, he acted as executive editor of the law journal, En Banc.

Areas of Practice

  • Business
  • Condemnation
  • Mobile Home Law
  • Real Estate
  • Civil Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1982
  • U.S. Federal Court, 1982


  • J.D., cum laude, University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California, 1981
  • B.A., magna cum laude, St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, 1978

Representative Appellate Cases

  • Pelletier v. Eisenberg, 223 Cal. Rptr. 84 (Cal. App. 4th District, 1986)
  • County of San Diego v. Rancho Vista Del Mar, 16 Cal. App. 1046 (Cal. App. 4th District, 1993)
  • Cummings v. Capistrano Terrace Ltd., Fourth District, Div. 3, 2013 WL 180141 (2013)

Honors and Awards

  • America’s Top 50 Lawyers-California (2023)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers Honoree (2017-2024)
  • Top Lawyers Honoree, San Diego Magazine (2013-2022)
  • 2020 Dean of USD School of Law Recognition as a Distinguished Alumni
  • AV Preeminent Lawyer Martindale-Hubbell Rating for 30 Years
  • California’s Million Dollar Verdicts, The Recorder (2012, 2015)
  • CAOC 2017 California Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist
  • Top Ten Plaintiffs’ Verdicts of 2014, L.A. Daily Journal
  • Outstanding Trial Lawyer, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (1994, 1998, 2005, 2015)
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year Nominee, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (1993)
  • Received the Marvin Kratter Award for Constitutional Law from USD Law School
  • Received the American Jurisprudence Awards for Constitutional Law and Evidence

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
  • Sustaining Member, San Diego Trial Lawyers Association (1982–1989)
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • California Bar Association, Real Property and Litigation Sections


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