Know Your Judge: Suzanne Bolanos

Apr 11, 19 Know Your Judge: Suzanne Bolanos

San Francisco’s Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos was appointed Superior Court Judge in 2003 by Gov. Gray Davis and held the distinction of being the first Hispanic woman on the San Francisco bench.

Judge Bolanos was born to immigrant parents from Chile and Peru and began her legal career working for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Senator Edward Kennedy and Vice President Al Fore helped catapult inexperienced Bolanos to the Superior Court bench.

Judge Bolanos is still new to the bench, so many attorneys find they have to educate her on some aspects of the law which are new to her. With experience comes wisdom which Bolanos will surely gain with more years on the bench.

Education

Judge Bolanos earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California and is a 1989 graduate of Yale Law School.

Notable Court Cases

Monsanto and its herbicide products have been in the news lately. In 2018, Judge Bolanos reduced an award of $289 million down to $78.5 million even though there was clear evidence that Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup was a “substantial factor’ in causing a California man’s cancer. The jury members determined that Monsanto manipulated public opinion and misled people about the risks of their product and held the company liable. The jury awarded the California man $289 million in damages -which $39 million was actual damages and $250 million was punitive damages designed to punish Monsanto. However, Judge Bolanos took it upon herself to reduce the jury’s award down to $78.5 million because she felt the amount was too high. By the way, $250 million seems like a lot of money except it is only five days worth of sales for Monsanto. Since the Judge reduced the punitive damages, Monsanto was only punished for one day’s worth of sales.

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