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Hon. Read Ambler

Hon. Read Ambler (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Employment Law
Federal Law
Intellectual Property
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Read Ambler (Ret.) is a highly regarded mediator, arbitrator, private judge, discovery referee, and special master.  As a full-time neutral with JAMS since 2000, he has successfully resolved hundreds of cases. He has extensive experience in resolving business and commercial disputes, employment cases, intellectual property matters, and real property disputes.

Prior to becoming a neutral, Judge Ambler served 20 years on the Santa Clara County Superior Court.  As Presiding Judge, he managed both the civil and criminal trial calendars and served as sole Civil Master Settlement Conference Judge.  As Civil Division Supervising Judge for several years, he handled settlement, case management, and civil law and motion in thousands of cases.

Judge Ambler is highly respected for his legal knowledge, temperament, and ability to handle a diverse variety of case types.  As a special master, courts and clients have confidence in his ability to manage discovery in complex cases.  As a mediator, he is known for his ability to listen, analyze, and effectively communicate to reach an amicable resolution.  As an arbitrator, he is praised for using technology and a strong managerial style to make the process more efficient, and for his fairness and willingness to make tough, well-reasoned decisions.

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
      • Mediated a case brought by a social media giant against third party service enhancement provider for breach of terms of service (TOS)
      • Mediated case involving damage claims related to the alleged mishandling and servicing of a substantial bank loan
      • Mediated a case involving fraudulent inducement claims in New York lawsuit to invalidate California settlement of dispute involving manufacture and sale of CPUs
      • Mediated breach of contract dispute between major internet service provider and one of the world’s largest secure global data communications networks
      • Mediated dispute over monies owed to a marketing company by Texas manufacturer of playground equipment under a representation agreement for placing product with a major national wholesale company
      • Mediated contract dispute between publicly traded company and internet service provider over “click through” referral service
      • Mediated dispute between a leading provider of global network, content distribution, internet hosting services and leasing, and an equipment financing company retained to provide its vendor financing
      • Mediated class action against major life insurance company for premiums charged when not on risk
      • Mediated claim for disability benefits submitted by a veteran nurse against her insurer
      • Chaired tripartite appellate arbitration concerning buy/sell agreement relating to television photoplay distribution rights
      • Tripartite arbitration panel in a contract dispute involving a major healthcare network over pharmacy network administration fees
      • Tripartite arbitration panel involving breach of contract claims related to a long term IT contract between a service provider and a large metropolitan school district
      • Tripartite arbitration panel involving gold dredge mining
      • Arbitrated breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims by limited partner against general partners of hedge funds following massive losses in a NASDAQ plunge
      • Chaired a tripartite arbitration panel in a contractual dispute between two Fortune 500 companies
  • Employment Law
      • Mediated and arbitrated wrongful termination, racial and age discrimination, and sexual harassment cases
      • Mediated claims by employee of a hazardous waste disposal company discharged after complaining about allegedly racially discriminatory compensation and other employment practices
      • Mediated case involving claims of cover-up by large metropolitan Fire Department to hide discriminatory practices against women firefighters by conspiring to lie under oath and destroy evidence during pending litigation
      • Mediated case involving a claim of retaliatory discharge of employee for whistle blowing and sexual harassment claims against CEO
      • Mediated a wrongful termination case involving allegations of misappropriation of corporate funds and breach of fiduciary duty by CEO of industrial painting company
      • Mediated wrongful termination and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of discharge of founder and CEO of software company with major institutional investors
      • Mediated several sexual harassment suit against major university
      • Arbitrated employment dispute between senior chip architect and fab-less developer and producer of GPS integrated circuits
      • Arbitrated wrongful termination and fraud claims arising out of discharge of 49% shareholder by 51% shareholder in large national trade show exhibit company
      • Arbitrated wrongful termination claim by bank president against investment bank he helped found
      • Arbitrated wrongful termination involving failure to accommodate and retaliation claims against large residential real estate developer by sales manager sexually assaulted at work by a third party
      • Arbitrated wrongful termination involving whistle-blowing claims by founder of internet start-up 
  • Intellectual Property
      • Mediated theft of trade secrets claim involving wireless trans-coding technology
      • Mediated Minnesota copyright action involving licensing agreement providing for right to reproduce, use, and sell certain illustrations worldwide in exchange for promise to pay royalties on all sales, and to make quarterly accountings
      • Mediated trade dress dispute between major computer manufacturer and Korean competitor
      • Arbitrated case involving trade secret claims by alleged inventor of patented coronary stent technology
      • Arbitrated misappropriation of trade secret, breach of contract, and related claims arising from license of French company by California corporation to use proprietary technology to provide wafer backgrinding and polishing services to European silicon wafer manufacturers 
  • Real Property
      • Tried a case pursuant to a stipulated general reference involving allegations of tax fraud in the sale of numerous luxury Ritz-Carlton condominiums (some as fractional or “time share” units) at the historic R.C. Chronicle building in the heart of San Francisco
      • Mediated and arbitrated commercial and residential real estate matters, including: lease disputes, purchase and sales disputes, and brokerage or mortgage fraud claims
      • Mediated a case in which the plaintiff sued to enforce a residential purchase agreement through a short sale that valued the property at a fraction of its worth, via a fraudulent approval by a rogue bank employee allegedly acting in concert with a realtor and a loan broker
      • Mediated case involving disputed successive five-year options to large commercial lease
      • Mediated and arbitrated numerous commercial and residential purchase and sale, lease, construction defect, and easement disputes

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Recognized as a "Top Neutral," Daily Journal Top California Neutrals List, 2013
  • Sedona Conference: E-Discovery Dispute Resolution Program for Special Masters & Mediators, January 2010
  • Recipient, official Resolution and Commendation, and the Certificate of Appreciation; both awarded by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, 2009
  • President's Advisory Council, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, 2001-present
  • Professional Advisory Council, Learning Disabilities Association of California (LDA-CA), 2000-2002
  • ADR Profile: "As Neutral, Ex-Judge Relishes Human Contact," Daily Journal (Verdicts & Settlements), July 25, 2008
  • ADR Profile: "Long Tall Texan, Making a Difference," Daily Journal (Verdicts & Settlements), January 4th, 2002
  • Child Abuse Council of Santa Clara County, 1998-2000
  • California Legislature Resolution of Commendation, 2000
  • Law Foundation of Silicon Valley Founders Award, 1999
  • Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY) Honors Award, 1998
  • California Judicial Council Court Technology Advisory Committee, 1997-1999
  • California Volunteers in Parole, Inc. Founders Award, 1995
  • Judge of the Year, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers, 1991
  • Governing Committee, California Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), 1984-1986
  • Board of Trustees, Good Samaritan Hospital, 1976-1978
  • President, Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA), 1977
  • President, Barristers Club of Santa Clara County, 1973
  • Outstanding Law Student Award, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 1968
  • President, Stanford Legal Aid Society, 1967-1968
  • United States Navy (LT (USNR) (R)), 1961-1965
  • President, Dartmouth Rowing Club, 1960-1961
  • Co-Captain, Dartmouth Heavyweight Crew, 1960
  • U.S. Olympic Trials (Rowing), 1960

Background and Education

  • Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court, 1980-2000
  • Partner, Nichols & Ambler, 1975-1980
  • Shareholder, MacLeod, Fuller, Muir & Godwin, 1973-1975
  • Santa Clara County Public Defenders Office, 1970-1973
  • Morgan, Beauzay & Hammer, 1969-1970
  • LL.B., Stanford School of Law, 1968
  • B.A., Dartmouth College, 1961


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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