U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, an 11-year veteran of state and federal courts in Los Angeles, died on Oct. 8. She was 52.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District announced the news but did not disclose the cause of O’Connell’s death. The judge collapsed at an event at the Los Angeles federal courthouse on Sept. 15, according to the Santa Monica Observer.
Chief Judge Virginia Phillips said in a statement that O’Connell, nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, had “made an indelible mark” on the court.
“Judge O’Connell justly earned her reputation as a brilliant and exceptionally hard working judge,” Phillips said. “Those who appeared before her appreciated her wisdom and fairness, as well as her innovative use of technology in the courtroom. Her judicial colleagues and all members of the court family were vastly enriched by her generosity, energy and dedication to justice.”
A graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law, O’Connell worked as a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster from 1990 until 1995. She worked for a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District’s criminal division until 2005, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Obama nominated O’Connell to the federal bench in November 2012. The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination unanimously five months later.
O’Connell oversaw about 150 jury trials during her tenure on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to a federal court-provided biography. As a federal judge, she granted final approval in 2015 to a $15 million class action settlement involving allegations that Herbalife International of America Inc. was operating a pyramid scheme. In June, O’Connell dismissed a class action alleging that the National Football League’s DirecTV package violated antitrust laws.
O’Connell taught courses at Pepperdine and Loyola law schools as well as the B.E. Witkin Judicial College. She was also a board member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.