(CN) -Senior Judge David R. Thompson of the 9th Circuit died Saturday of a “sudden illness,” the court announced. He was 80.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Judge Thompson, who served this court with distinction for 25 years,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said in a statement. “He was an esteemed jurist, highly regarded by his colleagues and by the many lawyers who argued before him.”
President Ronald Reagan appointed Thompson to the 9th Circuit in 1985. He ranked 19th in seniority among the circuit’s 48 active and senior judges, taking senior status in 1998.
In recent years he served as the court’s death penalty case coordinator.
During his 25-year tenure with the 9th Circuit, Thompson wrote several important opinions, including Wood v. Ostrander, a 1989 decision that established the standard for deliberate indifference in police misconduct cases. He also authored the en banc ruling in Bunnell v. Sullivan, a 1991 opinion that established the standard for evaluating complaints of disabling pain in Social Security cases.
Thompson was based in San Diego, where he was born and worked as an attorney for 28 years. Funeral services are to be held at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, 2128 Chatsworth Blvd., San Diego, on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 26.