Know Your Superior Court Judge: Elihu Berle

Elihu Berle, Judge, at the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County. Judge Berle was appointed Superior Court Judge in 1996 by former governor Pete Wilson.

From 1996 through 1998, Judge Berle presided over felony criminal trials.

Since 2008, he has served as the Supervising Judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court Civil Department.


Judge Berle earned his undergraduate degree in 1965 from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He then went on to receive his M.B.A. from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Commerce in 1968. After graduate school, Judge Berle earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1969.

Most of Judge Berle’s legal career was in private practice specializing in business and commercial litigation.

Membership and Service

Judge Berle is a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Small Claims Advisory Committee, the National Conference of State Trial Judges, the National Judicial College, and the Judicial Council of California Civil.

Notable Court Cases

In early 2018, Judge Berle made a controversial ruling against Starbucks Corporation and other coffee companies ruling that coffee sellers must provide a cancer warning label to comply with California’s Proposition 65 law. This decision prompted California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to ask the court to remove Judge Berle from the case citing his lack of impartiality and prejudice. Numerous government agencies and the coffee industry have argued the ruling was in poor judgment and there is no research to support the claim that coffee causes cancer. In fact, research has shown that coffee has a variety of health benefits. Since then, the FDA has publicly weighed in stating the latest research “does not support a cancer warning for coffee”. Such as label could confuse consumers and mislead them to believing that drinking coffee is dangerous. Misleading labels could, in turn, violate federal law.

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