December 28, 1932 - April 1, 1994
Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 1984-1988
Associate Justice, Court of Appeal, 4th District, Division 3, 1988-1994
Henry T. (Hank) Moore, Jr. was born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up in Beverly Hills, where he was senior class president and student body president at Beverly Hills High School, graduating in 1950. He transferred from the University of Texas to USC, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1954.
Both Moore’s father and grandfather were lawyers, and Moore decided to follow in their footsteps. He initially attended USC Law School, serving as associate editor of the law review, but transferred to Harvard Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1957. Moore remained at Harvard an additional year to receive a master’s degree in business and international law in 1958.
Moore joined his brother and father in a Los Angeles law practice, then established his own Century City practice in 1974. Moore moved his practice to Santa Ana in 1979, specializing in probate law, until Governor George Deukmejian appointed him to the Orange County Superior Court in 1984.
Moore was Deukmejian’s first Orange County appointment. He served for two years as the presiding judge of the probate court, and co-authored a legal treatise on probate law. He was one of the county’s first fast-track judges.
Moore became Division Three’s fifth appellate justice in 1988. He was known for his judicial acumen, and his affinity for suspenders.
Moore authored one of the leading opinions on the doctrine of forum non conveniens in products cases regarding the availability of a suitable alternative forum. (Shiley, Inc. v. Superior Court (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 126.) Writing on a matter of first impression, Moore determined that the suitability standard properly focused on where an action could be brought, not where it could be won. “While an alternative forum must be open to the plaintiff and the defendant must be amenable to jurisdiction there, the law does not require that the alternative forum, in order to be ‘suitable,’ provide equivalent relief.”
Moore has been widely cited for a dependency opinion regarding the primacy of the best interests of children: “Children should not be required to wait until their parents grow up.” (In re Rikki D. (1991) 227 Cal.App.3d 1624.) Another opinion in the same year obliged developers to truthfully explain or discuss projects once they voluntarily had undertaken to do so. (Lacher v. Superior Court (1991) 230 Cal.App.3d 1038.)
Moore relied on his background in probate law in drafting Gertner v. Superior Court (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 927, which limited the trial court’s discretion to allow late creditor’s late claims against estates, where the executor mailed the notice of administration of the estate to the address provided by the creditor. According to Moore, the executor had no duty to investigate whether the creditor had a more appropriate address: “A rule justifying a delay caused by a business’s or other entity’s internal procedure in handling mail would reward inefficiency and create havoc in the administration of estates.”
Moore, 61, died in 1994 while still a member of the court following a long battle with leukemia. “I think the one thing that everyone remembers about Hank was his love of the law,” then Presiding Justice David G. Sills said. “It was his whole life.”