Hon. John W. Kennedy, Jr. (Ret.)

T: 909-942-5942
F:909-889-2162
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Hon. John W. Kennedy, Jr. (Ret.) brings to his dispute resolution practice 47 years of experience as a judicial officer and trial attorney. Judge Kennedy joined JAMS after a distinguished 20-year judicial career in several San Bernardino County courts. He served 2 1/2 years as San Bernardino County's first full-time Presiding Judge, presiding over both the Superior and Municipal Courts.

Judge Kennedy also has decades of accounting experience, having worked for his father’s accounting business growing up and later working as an accountant during and after college. That has given him specialized insight into issues that regularly arise during the ADR process.

These issues include computing past and future lost profits, determining the value of income-producing real estate, calculating damages, computing trust distributions between income and principal beneficiaries, analyzing forensic CPA or evaluation testimony, computing allocation of profits between general versus limited partners and other accounting matters involved in business, commercial, insurance, family law and real estate disputes.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Extensive experience in hearing and settling cases in a wide variety of fields including product liability, medical malpractice, inverse condemnation, wrongful termination, insurance coverage and bad faith, toxic torts, mass torts, premises liability and business disputes; significant experience in business management and accounting
  • Involved in settling a variety of complex commercial disputes
  • Spent the last 6 years on the Superior Court handling settlement, law and motion, and trials of complex civil cases; in that assignment, he was responsible for managing and trying the court's longest and most complicated multiple-party civil matters
  • Involved in the settlement of construction defect cases while on the bench
  • Considerable experience in family law, having spent 3 1/2 years as the Supervising Judge of the San Bernardino Family Law Departments and settling more than 1,000 disputes

Representative Matters

  • Since joining JAMS in 2000, Judge Kennedy has mediated and arbitrated more than 1,500 cases, including:
    • Nine-figure class action settlement of investor claims against individual trustees in Medical Capital securities litigation
    • Eight-figure settlement of merger and acquisition group’s breach of contract dispute with national bank
    • Nine-figure arbitration award in Hotels Nevada hotel/casino breach of contract dispute
    • Eight-figure arbitration regarding failure of race track’s artificial surface
    • Multiple eight-figure settlements of condemnation and inverse condemnation cases

Comments from Counsel

  • Business/Commercial: "Judge Kennedy is tireless, patient, amiable, never loses his ability to remain warm and caring. He understands issues really well. He is good at reading people. Judge Kennedy goes to a lot of trouble bending over backwards to get a fair result. He is up-front and extremely intelligent. He's a quick study." -- Attorney specializing in Complex Civil Litigation
  • Business/Commercial: "Judge Kennedy is the most diligent mediator that I've ever had. He will find a settlement with a difficult case. Judge Kennedy has a way of putting the parties at ease. He is good at diffusing hostile situations." -- Attorney specializing in Complex Business
  • Personal Injury: "All of my experiences with Judge Kennedy have been positive. He is friendly and has the ability to suck you in. He has tremendous experience with the San Bernardino Court and community. Judge Kennedy has a frank way of telling the parties what they can expect." -- Attorney specializing in Complex Personal Injury
  • Personal Injury: "Judge Kennedy is a nice person; he treats lawyers with courtesy, patience, diplomacy and tact. He's smart, knows what the issues are and quickly recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of a case. He doesn't use a saw to cut the baby in half. Judge Kennedy has the courage to make a ruling without worrying about his next meal ticket. He's not worried about being politically correct. He is the first judge that walks on water without getting his feet wet." -- Attorney specializing in Complex Personal Injury (Product Liability)
  • Employment: "Judge Kennedy is very bright and a quick study. He is well versed in employment law. He is a caring person and is not afraid to let it show. He is very effective in sensitive and emotional matters. He will tell you if he thinks your story is believable. He allows sufficient time for everyone. He is a proactive mediator and he gets the job done." -- Attorney specializing in Employment Disputes

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Chair, California Presiding Judges, 1999
  • Dean, California Judges' College, 1992-1994
  • Bernard Jefferson Award, California Judges' Association, 1993
  • Associate Dean, California Judges' College, 1990-1991
  • Publications include: Personality Type and Judicial Decision Making, ABA Judges' Journal, Volume 37, No.3; California Evidence, Attorneys' Briefcase (co-author)
  • ADR Profile: "Accounting for Success," Daily Journal (Verdicts & Settlements), August 13, 2010
  • Taught numerous educational programs relating to decision-making skills to about 2,000 judges nationwide and to 400-500 attorneys at various organizations including The Rutter Group, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Federal Judicial Center, National Judicial College, American Bar Association, California Center for Judicial Education and Research, California Judges Association, California State Bar Association, Pepperdine Law School and Stanford University

Background and Education

  • Justice Pro Tem, California Court of Appeal, 1984
  • Presiding Judge, San Bernardino County Courts, 1997-1999
  • Judge, San Bernardino County Superior Court, 1984-2000
  • Judge, California Municipal Court, 1980-1984
  • Private Practice, 1963-1964 and 1968-1977
  • Deputy District Attorney, San Bernardino County, 1964-1968 and 1978-1980
  • J.D., Stanford School of Law, 1963 (Law Review); B.A., Stanford University, 1961