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


In his 40 years of litigation experience, including 22 years on the trial bench in Santa Clara County, Judge Baines has had extensive experience in real property matters.

With a keen interest in and ability to settle the most complex real estate cases, ranging from eminent domain to toxic tort to construction defect, Judge Baines brings his unique settlement abilities to both mediations and arbitrations.

Representative Mediations

  • Judge Baines has successfully resolved a wide range of real property disputes while at JAMS, including the dissolution of several real estate investment partnerships, defining the scope of a utility company’s easement for high tension power transmission lines (and damages for allegedly exceeding the scope of that easement), determining the scope of a commercial tenant’s responsibility for repairs to the owner’s building, premises liability (including a residential landlord’s liability for tenant’s personal injuries resulting from breakage of non-tempered glass shower door), and damages for the seller’s fraudulent and/or negligent non-disclosure of defects in residential and commercial real properties.

Representative Arbitrations

  • Judge Baines has served as a neutral arbitrator for a number of real property disputes, ranging from determining the scope of a mining rights lease to determining the right of an “as is/no contingencies” buyer to rescind following delivery of seller’s Transfer Disclosure Statements, and a residential buyer’s right to damages for the seller’s (and the seller’s agent’s) fraudulent and/or negligent non-disclosure of defects in the property.

Supplementary Matters

Representative real property matters settled or adjudicated while on the bench include the following:

  • Construction Defects
    • Lick Mill Creek Apartments v. CalProm, Inc., a lengthy jury trial involving claims by owner/developer of 800+ unit apartment complex for extensive construction defects, including defective siding material, excessive moisture intrusion, and internal structural damage
  • Easements
    • Starr v. Froelich, court trial regarding issue of creation of an easement either by necessity or by implied reservation following sale of adjacent parcel
  • Eminent Domain/Inverse Condemnation
    • City of Saratoga v. Hinz, 115 Cal. App. 4th 1202, dispute regarding the taking of a portion of defendant’s property for road improvement (for an allegedly private road), the definition of “public purpose,” and compliance by the public agency with applicable state law
    • River Street Properties v. City of San Jose, dispute involving alleged diminution of property value caused by City’s lengthy delay in formally condemning the property after publicly announcing an intent to acquire
  • Landlord/Tenant
    • Handled hundreds of trials and settlements of landlord/tenant cases, residential and commercial
    • Served as a panelist/moderator for CEB programs on Landlord/Tenant Law
  • Premises Liability
    • Minieri v. Sears, 76 Cal. App. 4th 1238, dispute regarding liability of owner to protect plaintiff from allegedly known danger existing adjacent to the property
    • Laico v. Chevron, toxic tort case involving plaintiff’s claims of illness from exposure to benzene; involved issues of defendant’s prior knowledge of, and ability to control, the allegedly dangerous condition maintained by tenant on the property
    • Vargas v. Carmel Development Co., dispute regarding contractor versus sub-contractor’s liability for catastrophic injuries resulting from CalOSHA violations
  • Purchase and Sale
    • Lewis v. Pico Ranch, Inc., dispute involving alleged fraud in the sale of commercial real estate (alleged misrepresentations regarding status of leases existing at time sale was pending)
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




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