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Ariel Belen

Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.)

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George Cuervos
T: 212-607-2789
F: 212-751-4099
620 Eighth Avenue , 34th Floor , New York , NY 10018

Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2012 and serves as an arbitrator and mediator in complex domestic and international disputes spanning a wide array of practice areas. During his nearly eighteen-year tenure on the bench he served as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department and as Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Brooklyn). Judge Belen also helped create and presided over the Commercial Division in Brooklyn.  Judge Belen has earned a reputation as a calm, intelligent, fair, and hardworking professional while facing the many complicated issues that may arise in a dispute.

Judge Belen is a highly experienced international mediator and arbitrator. He is fluent in Spanish and can effectively communicate with Spanish speaking litigants and clients.  Judge Belen is a popular international speaker and trainer for ADR.  He has presented at ADR training programs for judges, attorneys, and business leaders in Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Judge Belen is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a member of the Advisory Council of the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, and a member of the International Mediation Institute. Judge Belen is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Judge Belen is often retained as a special master in complex commercial and civil matters.  He was appointed as the Federal Facilitator to guide the Joint Remedial Process in the New York City stop and frisk and trespass enforcement class action settlements as described in the Remedies Opinion in Floyd v. City of New York, 959 F. Supp. 2d 668 (SDNY 2013).  In this program, Judge Belen is charged with assisting the City of New York and its residents with developing sustainable reforms to the stop and frisk and trespass enforcement practices of the New York City Police Department through a community based civic engagement process.

Justice Belen is fluent in Spanish.  He can effectively communicate with Spanish speaking litigants and clients in all matters. Download Justice Belen's biography in Spanish.

Representative Matters

International

  • Chaired an international arbitration concerning a breach of contract between major international telecommunication conglomerates
  • Mediated a matter involving a joint venture with a Taiwanese firm and the financial damages and partnership dissolution associated with the terminated venture
  • Served as a Special Master in a matter involving agency and authority disputes in a business commercial case involving a Korean real estate contract breach
  • Mediated a breach of contract and alleged fraud claims in a patent transaction between American and European parties
  • Mediated a breach of contract and misrepresentation matter between American and Chinese parties engaged in a major joint venture concerning the purchase of a New York City landmark
  • Mediated a dispute between a major Mexican chemicals manufacturing company and a North American based insulation manufacturer

Business/Commercial

  • Mediated a class action lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damages to waterfront property in lower Manhattan
  • Arbitrated first party insurance claims resulting from Superstorm Sandy damages to graphics and printing plant
  • Arbitrated a securities case arising from breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, negligent failure to supervise, and aiding and abetting fraud
  • Arbitrated a dispute concerning ownership and operation of a medical facility
  • Arbitrated a dispute over a broker commission on purchase of a property used to develop a major commercial mall
  • Arbitrated a breach of contract case involving forensic expert consulting services
  • Mediated a business commercial dispute involving a breach of contract between a major hotel conglomerate and a major supplier
  • Mediated breach of contract dispute between business partners in an international joint venture in South America.
  • Mediated several disputes concerning legal malpractice lawsuits
  • Mediated several dissolutions of legal and medical practices
  • Mediated case involving a multinational corporation in a misrepresentation and breach of contract dispute
  • Mediated breach of contract case involving alleged fraud claims brought by international party against American company
  • Mediated breach of contract dispute concerning marketing services agreement
  • Mediated a consumer class action lawsuit brought against major Tobacco manufacturer for alleged fraudulent pricing scheme
  • Mediated a dispute between master licensor and sub-licensee in the fashion industry
  • Mediated a dispute between a bank managing an IRA, creditors, and heirs of the decedent

Construction

  • Mediated construction defect case involving the installation of a HVAC system with an alleged faulty functionality
  • Arbitrated construction defect matter involving damages resulting from burst plumbing in a New York landmark hotel converted into luxury condominiums
  • Chaired breach of contract arbitration involving independent contractor providing business consulting services to a general contractor
  • Mediated case involving claims arising from a freeze-up and water leakage of a pipe located in an apartment building
  • Mediated construction defect case involving a dispute between a major hotel conglomerate and the manufacturers and installers of heat pump units in guest rooms
  • Mediated breach of contract claims in a condominium conversion
  • Mediated the collapse of a commercial building during construction of an adjacent luxury hotel in lower Manhattan
  • Mediated dispute between luxury apartment developer, general contractor, and subcontractors relating to unfinished work, change orders, and claimed defects
  • Med/Arb involving construction defects in a luxury Manhattan condominium building 
  • Mediated disputes between owner, construction manager, general contractor, subcontractors, and second tier subcontractors centered around the construction of a high rise luxury building
  • Mediated dispute involving construction defects and zoning restrictions in a luxury condominium building converted from a commercial printing press building

Employment

  • Arbitrated executive compensation and deferred compensation claims upon the termination of a high-level executive in a multinational corporation based in Europe
  • Mediated breach of contract dispute between an employer and employee related to contractual bonus obligations
  • Arbitrated age discrimination claim brought by an executive of a Fortune 100 company
  • Mediated case arising from issues related to a separation agreement for law firm employees’ retirement and termination
  • Arbitrated civil rights matter involving alleged racial discrimination against party in a restaurant
  • Mediated several FLSA disputes
  • Chaired breach of contract arbitration involving termination of chief executive officer and minority shareholder in a closely held corporation
  • Mediated cases involving discrimination, unlawful retaliation, and hostile work environment claims
  • Mediated dispute involving employees’ failure to repay company issued loan
  • Mediated case involving employees’ termination due to disability caused by alleged work-related injuries
  • Mediated a breach of contract and sexual harassment claims involving high level executive in a venture capital firm
  • Mediated executive compensation, deferred compensation claims and cross claims on a promissory note upon the termination of a high-level investment advisor in a Swiss bank

Personal Injury

  • Mediated several medical and dental malpractice cases
  • Mediated several cases involving auto accidents where parties negotiated settlement amounts ranging from two to twenty-eight million dollars
  • Mediated personal injury and fatality cases in a 2008 crane collapse in New York City
  • Mediated case involving plaintiff’s catastrophic injuries due to a slip and fall into a New York City subway manhole
  • Mediated personal injury case involving a bicyclist and a truck driver alleging catastrophic injuries that required multiple major surgeries
  • Mediated personal injury/premises liability case involving injuries sustained allegedly from an attack on private property
  • Mediated case involving injuries sustained for an allegedly faulty elevator
  • Mediated several cases having to do with the results of knee, back, neck and shoulder surgeries
  • Mediated several cases alleging violations of the New York Labor Law, scaffolding statutes, and regulations
  • Mediated a wrongful death case involving food poisoning from contaminated fish
  • Mediated a premise liability matter involving a national producer and shooting victims during a rap concert performance
  • Mediated an eight figure settlement of claims of catastrophic injuries pursuant to the New York Labor Law

Special Master

  • Serving as Federal Facilitator to guide the Joint Remedial Process in the New York City stop and frisk and trespass enforcement class action settlements as described in the Remedies Opinion in Floyd v. City of New York, 959 F. Supp. 2d 668 (SDNY 2013)
  • Serves as court appointed trustee to manage a multi-million-dollar trust estate that requires financial oversight of assets, investments, and property pending litigation in the New York Commercial Division
  • Served as court appointed Special Referee for damages in a legal malpractice matter
  • Served as Court Appointed Mediator in federal bankruptcy case related to the construction of a luxury skyscraper in midtown Manhattan
  • Served as Special Discovery Master in a securities arbitration
  • Serving as a Special Discovery Master in a New York Commercial Division real estate litigation
  • Served as Court Appointed Special Referee to conduct forensic examination of computer spyware
  • Select Honors 
    • New York State Bar Association Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Tenth Anniversary Award, 2002
    • William Goldstein Memorial Award, Association of Law Secretaries of the Supreme and Surrogate’s Courts, 2007
    • Hon. John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence, Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage, 2010
    • Puerto Rican Bar Association Award Recipient, 2007
    • Saint Thomas More Award, Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, 2007
    • Jurist of the Year Award, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, 2005
  • Memberships
    • Member, Judicial Task Force on the New York State Constitution, July 2016-Present
    • Member, CPR Advisory Council: International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, 2013-Present
    • Member, Board of Advisors, Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, December 2015-Present
    • Chair, ADR Committee, New York County Lawyers Association, 2013-2016
    • Member, New York State Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh and Thirteenth Judicial Districts
    • Member, Committee on Character and Fitness, Appellate Division, First Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York
    • Member, Cornell University Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations, 2013-2017
    • Vice Chair, Cornell University Council, 1998-2010
    • Member, Cornell University Council, 1996-Present
    • Member, New York State Bar Association, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Executive Committee
    • Member, Hispanic National Bar Association, Task Force on Judicial Selection
  • Professional Activities
    • Member, Judicial Task Force on the New York State Constitution, July 2016-Present
    • Fellow, Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center
    • Vice Chair, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Minorities, New York State Unified Court System, 1998-2015
    • Founding Member, The Cervantes Society, 1996-Present
    • Member, Task Force to Implement the New York State Unified Court System’s Program on the Profession and the Courts Subcommittee on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Subcommittee on Part 130 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 1996-1997
    • Member, Cornell Latino Alumni Association
  • Publication
    • Co-author along with Edward Birnbaum and Carl Grasso, New York Trial Notebook, (James Publishing, 2008) (supplemented annually), an 850-page comprehensive practice treatise for the trial of a civil case in New York
  • Lectures and Teaching
    • Panelist, Global Pound Conference, Guatemala City 2017
    • Presented to the Federal Bar Council at the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, "Effective Techniques in Mediation Advocacy", March 2016
    • Presented to a delegation of attorneys from the Japanese Medical Malpractice Information Center, “Medical Malpractice Mediation in New York”, JAMS, 2014
    • Moderator, Constructive Perspectives, "Are New York's Construction Safety and Insurance Laws Serving the Public?", New York City Bar Association, March 2014
    • Moderator, CLE Program, "Effective Techniques in Mediation Advocacy", JAMS, February 2013
    • Speaker, "2013 CPLR Update: 2012-2013 Major Appellate Decisions", Colombian Lawyers Association, April 2013
    • Moderator, "Effective Techniques in Mediation Advocacy", Asian American Bar Association of New York, April 2013
    • Moderator, "Bootcamp for Lawyers: The Ultimate Trial Clinic", New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, May 2013
    • Served as a member of the New York State Unified Court System Civil Law Curriculum Development Committee and taught for many years at the New York State Judicial Institute
    • Cornell Extern and Shadow Programs and the Brooklyn Law School Judicial Clerkship Clinical Program. Clinical programs at Hofstra Law School, Brooklyn Law School, and St. John’s University Law School
  • Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York, 2008-2012
  • Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, 1995-2012
    • Administrative Judge, Civil Term, Supreme Court, Kings County, 2007-2008
    • Associate Justice, Appellate Term, Supreme Court, Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts, 2005-2012
    • Justice of the Commercial Division, Supreme Court of the State of New York, 2002-2005
  • Chief, Bronx Borough Office, City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, Tort Division, 1994-1995
  • Deputy Chief, Brooklyn Tort Division, City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, 1993-1994
  • Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, 1990-1993
  • Supervising Attorney, Legal Aid Society of New York, Criminal Defense Division, 1986-1989
  • Criminal Trial Attorney, Legal Aid Society of New York, Criminal Defense Division, 1981-1986
  • J.D., with Specialization in International Legal Affairs, Cornell Law School, 1981
  • B.A., cum laude, Brooklyn College, 1978

Counsel Comments

    • "I have had the privilege of working with Judge Belen on several commercial mediations. During each mediation, he was incredibly well prepared, thoughtful, and creative. I have also recommended Judge Belen to numerous friends and colleagues who have all been very happy with his work ethic, demeanor, and results."

      - Commercial Litigator

    • "Judge Belen is the consummate professional and a master of his craft. He works tirelessly to resolve a case and educates himself as to the facts and evidence of the matters before him to an incredibly intimate level. In an extremely complex products liability matter with over ten (10) parties, Judge Belen worked to settle the case over the course of several months. His Honor kept working hard on the matter until it resolved for a settlement number that no one thought possible."

      - Products Liability Litigator

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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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