Hon. Douglas G. Carnahan

Hon. Douglas G. Carnahan

Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner, Retired

Commissioner Carnahan was assigned to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Southwest District from 2000 until his retirement in 2013. His caseload emphasized probate, conservatorship, guardianship, civil and small claims matters. Well regarded by the local bar for his fairness, intelligence and broad legal experience, Commissioner Carnahan was the 2003 recipient of the South Bay Bar Association’s “MacFaden Award,” honoring jurists who have made a significant contribution to the interests of the bench and bar. He has a calm but formal manner that lends itself to the resolution of disputes in different forums.


  • Lectured and taught before numerous court-sponsored continuing judicial education groups on civil procedure topics and substantive civil law
  • Author of several law-related books and of over 200 columns (for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and other publications) on law and judicial practice and ethics
  • Adjunct professor (at various times) at: Whittier Law School, Loyola Law School, University of West Los Angeles Law School, the Northrop University Law School, the USC Law Center Paralegal Program, the UCLA Extension, El Camino Community College, West Coast University. Taught courses in Probate; Business Law; Real Property; Evidence; Remedies; Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation; Civil Procedure; and Torts
  • Member: State Bar of California; South Bay Bar Association, Benjamin Aranda III American Inn of Court


Civil matters of all types, with emphasis on products liability, real estate (including landlord-tenant and the Davis-Sterling Act), personal injury and matters within the jurisdiction of the probate court


Commissioner Carnahan served on the Los Angeles Municipal Court, South Bay Judicial District, from 1984-2000 and, after the two courts consolidated, continued as a Superior Court Commissioner from 2000-2013. Prior to his judicial service he was a civil litigator, emphasizing tort litigation in state and federal court, much of that practice being devoted to products cases and other insured litigation.

All during his judicial career, he handled mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences, law and motion matters and all phases of civil trials. He presided over numerous emotionally charged matters, including those involving family disputes, domestic violence, restraining orders and small claims. He sat in the first preliminary hearing in the South Bay of a three-strikes felony case, and also in the case of Peters v. Honda, in which the plaintiff sought damages for alleged misrepresentation of mileage figures in a mass produced automobile.

Since retirement, Commissioner Carnahan has continued the teaching and writing careers that he maintained while on the bench and, in addition to his ADR practice, has devoted time to legal consulting, primarily in the probate arena, and to pro bono work in the area of housing litigation, for the Inner City Law Center in Los Angeles.


  • J.D., University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco (1975)
  • B.S., Engineering, UCLA (1968)
  • CJER Judicial Education Training Course (2005)
  • M.P.W. (Masters of Professional Writing), University of Southern California (2008)

Commissioner Carnahan is available throughout California.

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