Hon. William S. Dato See Rating Details
Superior Court
San Diego County
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Attorney Average Rating:   8.2 - 5 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   4.0 - 3 rating(s)
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Only items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating.

General Rating Criteria

* Temperament (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Scholarship (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Industriousness (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
* Ability to Handle Complex Litigation (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Punctuality (1=Chronically Late,10=Always on Time)
* General Ability to Handle Pre-Trial Matters (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
* General Ability as a Trial Judge (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
Flexibility In Scheduling (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)

Criminal Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Plea Discussions (1=Not at all Involved, 10=Very Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Pretrial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Trial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Sentencing Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)

Civil Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation (1=Not at all Evenhanded,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Involvement in Settlement Discussions (1=Not at all Involved,10=Very Involved)
General Inclination (1=Pro-defendant, 10=Pro-plaintiff)

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What others have said about Hon. William S. Dato


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA11396
Judge Dato is a superb, fair-minded judge who carefully explains his rulings, which are notable for their fairness and clear statement of points and authorities. He is one of the best judges in San Diego Superior Court.


Comment #: CA10255
I feel blessed that Judge Dato was assigned to my traffic case. The directional road signs were confusing where placed. Judge Dato took the time to examine my 'google maps' photos of the intersection, before deciding in my favor. It takes an expertly skilled judicial officer to be able to acertain the full meaning of the law, then apply it in a fair and unbiased manner.


Comment #: CA10158
I have witnessed more than once this judge use his personal opinion instead of the law, bringing forth injustice to the community in which he serves. How Judge Dato remains on the bench is beyond me.


Comment #: CA6414
Rating:Not Rated
I served as a juror on a trial with Judge Dato. He was very intelligent, even tempered and fair. Highly recommend him!

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA3867
One of the true shining stars of the San Diego bench. Friendly, smart, and unbiased. He is clearly tied for first place among the county's best civil department judges. Intelligent and applies common sense.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA3190
This judge's entry displays the limits of allowing anyone to vent about anyone else publicly. Internet/comment feedback is here to stay, but these reviews must be taken together as a whole, in a sufficient number to gain a momentum of consensus. By almost all accounts among private lawyers, Judge Dato is one of the most evenhanded and pleasurable judges a litigant can hope to deal with. He's the kind of judge that will make either side a copy of something in a pinch, basic kindness. He's a former appellate lawyer, which means superior written work will not be lost on him. He's a former plaintiff's class action lawyer, so the suggestion that he's anti-plaintiff is silly. The very fact that some entrant thought he was anti-plaintiff probably says more about his judicial independence than any leaning or bias he holds toward one side or the other. Indeed, he speaks to ABTL -- the business lawyer group -- which is mostly composed of attorneys representing larger institutions and interests and he has been involved in the higher ranks of consumer attorneys, which generally advocates for the plaintiff's side. When he first came on the bench, he put out a memo providing suggestions to lawyers about good writing, a document every person in the United States should read at least once. Over time, his reviews will gravitate to what lawyers that appear before him regularly already know: when you pulled Judge Dato, you got lucky.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: CA2361
This judge is rude, interupts counsel, refuses to follow the law, is bias against plaintiffs and does not have the
temperment or fitness to be a judge. Favortism is evident. Why are these incompetents assigned.


Comment #: CA2293
This is a public admonishment: Judicial Commission Rules duty to re-assign.
I am attempting to file a request for my case assignment to be moved to another department because of a refusal to acknowledge rightful application (order) for writ alternative mandamus; the refusal was a hostile act of spite to perpetuate further crime and because a plaintiff is pro se; pro se seems have been the main expressed reason for refusal or a WAMI does NOT have to be limited to a lower court/governmental body. A WAMI can be issued to an individual for orders restraining a corporation if there is evidence of civil right violations (public responsibility). He's saying paying rent is an evictable offense. Because Dato ignored the civil rights codes clearly listed through-out the pro se documents; his irrational hostility
only presents a lack of judicial fitness. And then he assigned legal council for the defendant: the supposed attorney he assigned declares employment for a criminal organization that has persistently stalked/assaulted this same plaintiff since 2004 (this being the 3rd rental property where plaintiff has been attacked by the same supposed attorneys for eviction or home invasion robbery by false pretense or defamatory accusations against this same plaintiff for paying rent.
I'm heading straight to the USDOJ to file an assault charge against Dato: because that's what he did, that's what he is towards me, a criminal assailant aiding/abetting criminals to harm this plaintiff for not being a vagrant.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA1706
Generally, I only criticize Superior Court judges in San Diego County, however, Dato is the exception. I watched him as an Appellate Court judge for over an hour handling traffic court appeals and the like and I have never seen a public official SO patient, understanding and deferential with the general public. Well beyond what was necessary. When it came to interacting with attorneys, his demeanor, rightfully, changed and he "handled" matters efficiently and effectively. 10 years of practicing law and only one other Sup. Ct. judge, Hon. Jeffrey Miller, displayed similar traits. Likewise, unfortunately, Dato will be snatched up by the Federal District Court or the local Appellate Branch. Rare mix of intelligence, patience, factual/legal thoroughness and genuine public servitude not found in judges or individuals. Peculiar and welcomed anomaly.