Robert Baines

Hon. Robert A. Baines (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Cynthia Victory
T: 408-346-0736
F: 408-295-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113


During his 40 years of litigation experience, including 22 years on the trial bench in Santa Clara County, Judge Baines has had extensive involvement in personal injury matters. He was the trial judge for Santa Clara County’s largest toxic tort trial (Leth v. IBM – a four and one-half month jury trial pitting ailing disk-drive fabrication workers against their employer for allegedly concealing the fact that job-site chemicals were poisoning them). He has presided over literally hundreds of other personal injury trials, including those arising from automobile accidents, premises liability claims, excessive police force claims, civil rights claims, and professional negligence (medical and legal) claims. Judge Baines has settled an even larger number of cases, and brings his unique settlement abilities to both mediations and arbitrations. His experience includes the following:

Representative Mediations

  • Judge Baines has successfully resolved a wide variety of personal injury matters at JAMS, from automobile accidents, to premises liability (tenant injured when non-tempered glass door on shower shattered), to false arrest/excessive force. In one matter he achieved agreement, and much-needed family peace, among family members unable to reach agreement on the proper allocation of a policy-limits settlement in a wrongful death case.

Representative Arbitrations

  • Judge Baines has been selected, and served, as the neutral arbitrator in various personal injury matters, ranging from uninsured motorist arbitrations, to professional negligence claims against health care providers.

Supplementary Matters

  • Representative personal injury matters handled while on the bench include the following:
    • Minieri v. Sears (1999) 76 Cal. App. 4th 1238 -- regarding the scope of the duty of a business owner to protect customers from an alleged danger existing outside and adjacent to the business premises (i.e., a nearby homeless encampment)
    • Laico v. Chevron (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 647 – six week toxic tort trial involving plaintiff’s claims of serious illness allegedly resulting from job-site exposure to benzene; involved issues of defendant’s prior knowledge of, and ability to control, the allegedly dangerous condition created by the tenant on the property
    • Vargas v. Carmel Development Co., multi-million dollar verdict in case raising complex issues of liability of owner, contractor, and sub-contractor for injuries resulting from sub-contractor’s CalOSHA violations
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers, Association, 2006
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2000
  • Founders Award, Law Foundation of the Silicon Valley, 1999
  • Executive Committees, Municipal and Superior Courts, 1985-2005
  • Court representative, SCCBA's Civil Practice Committee, 1996-2000
  • Civil Law and Procedure Committee, California Judges Association, 1984-1985
  • Board of Directors, Conflicts Administration Program, 1984-1990 (Chair 1990)
  • Board of Directors, SCCBA Law Foundation, 1980-1982
  • Advisory Board Member, Santa Clara County Justice System, 1978-1980
  • Commissioner, California State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, 1977 and 1978
  • Board of Trustees, SCCBA, (several terms) 1977-1983
  • Arbitrator, Judicial Arbitration Program, 1975-1983
  • Board of Directors, SCCBA Barristers Club, 1973-1976
  • Member, California Judges Association
  • Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Visiting Lecturer in Law (Federal Courts and Jurisdiction), Santa Clara University School of Law, 1979-1980
  • Moderator/Panelist before various bar and professional organizations
  • "Managing People: Mediator Robert Baines wins praise for his low-key style," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, January 29, 2016
  • Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court, 1997-2005
  • Judge, Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1983-1997
  • Assistant City Attorney/Head of the Litigation Division, San Jose City Attorney's Office, 1980-1983
  • Directing Attorney, Head of Litigation, Public Interest Law Firm of the Santa Clara County Bar Association Law Foundation (now the Law Foundation of the Silicon Valley), 1975-1980
  • Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County, 1970-1975
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1969
  • B.A., (Phi Beta Kappa and with Highest Honors) University of California, Riverside, 1966

Counsel Comments

    • “[Judge Baines] made a very contentious and difficult case manageable. He was one of the most prepared and attentive of all arbitrators I’ve encountered.”

      – In-house counsel
    • “He's brilliant. He is pro-active, kind, and a pleasure to work with." 

      –  Plaintiff’s Counsel 
    • "He had done his homework. When he came in, he was conversant on the technicalities of the contract but also the technology. You could tell by the questions he asked that he had cut to the heart of the case.” 

      –  Attorney




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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