Dec 01, 2017
David P. Freitas
Dec 01, 2017
By Gary T. Ragghianti
David Prince Freitas died in Italy on October 26. He had been hospitalized almost two weeks previously in grave condition from respiratory failure. We all knew his condition was serious and we all were advised that his prognosis was guarded. Still news of his death stunned me. It still does and I know will for quite a long time.
David was a member of a pioneering Marin County family. He grew up on the Freitas Home Ranch where Terra Linda is now. He worked in the title business before he went to law school. Our first words were spoken in a courtroom in the 1970s, on opposite sides of a case. We became friends and then great friends and later law partners.
David became one of the best and most talented trial lawyers this county has ever produced. His reputation preceded him and grew continually over the years and he became a respected member and officer in the leading trial lawyer professional organization in the country: the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). David was always most proud of his membership in this invitation-only organization.
David’s longtime colleague and fellow ABOTA member Dan Kelly wrote the following upon receipt of news of David’s passing; he recounts David’s many achievements as a trial lawyer:
"Dave served as our Chapter President in 1993, was President of Cal ABOTA, and represented us on the National Board of Directors. He also served as President of the Northern California Association of Defense Counsel and in 1985 was the recipient of the Exceptional Performance Award from the Defense Research Institute. In addition to his proud membership (Diplomate) in ABOTA, Dave was elected to membership in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers."
David taught me, and others as well, a great deal about how to act in a courtroom and how to question witnesses. His tactics and strategy discussions were priceless. I shall always fondly remember his actions when we were involved in a jury trial representing co-defendants. I became a little agitated, violating one of his most-preached rules to never show any emotion—no matter what happens in the courtroom. I sprang to my feet to say something I probably shouldn’t when he grabbed my arm, pulled me toward him and said, “Sit down. We learn when we listen.” Indeed we do. He also imparted another gem I have carried with me and tried to employ throughout my career, “When you win a big case, remain calm and act like you have been in the end zone before.”
In the early 2000s, David joined me in the practice and shortly thereafter we changed the firm name to Ragghianti/Freitas. It remains our firm name today and I hope it will forever.
To have had a friend like David for nearly 5O Years makes me a very fortunate man. It remains very hard to grasp that I will never see him again. I lost a spectacular friend and this legal community lost a bright shining permanent star.
He is survived by his wife Patty, and his three daughters, Diane, Nancy and Megan.
Goodbye to a dear dear friend, may you rest in peace.
Gary Ragghianti is a partner with Ragghianti | Freitas and has practiced law in Marin County since 1969. He has been involved in the representation of civil litigants as well as public agencies for over four decades. At one time, Gary represented four of the eleven cities in Marin as well as several other public entity clients.