Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.)

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Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.) is an accomplished mediator and arbitrator at JAMS.  As a well-known figure in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) he has developed a diverse practice and is sought after in many areas of conflict resolution.  Judge Belen formerly served as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department from 2008 until 2012 and served as a Justice of the New York Supreme Court trial and appellate terms from 1995 until 2008. Judge Belen helped create the Commercial Division in Kings County (Brooklyn) and then presided over complex commercial cases from 2002 to 2005. Over the course of nearly 18 years of distinguished judicial service and during his time at JAMS, Judge Belen has developed a reputation as a calm, intelligent, fair, and hardworking neutral. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbritrators.

Since joining JAMS in 2012, Judge Belen has acted as an arbitrator or mediator in hundreds of complex disputes covering a wide range of practice areas.  As a result of his reputation on the bench and his experience at JAMS, Judge Belen is also a highly sought after special master.  In particular, Judge Belen was appointed as the Federal Facilitator to guide the Joint Remedial Process in the New York City stop and frisk and housing arrests 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 housing arrest practices of the New York City Police Department through a community based civic engagement and remedial process.

A prolific writer, Judge Belen co-authored New York Trial Notebook, a comprehensive trial practice treatise. He was an instructor for many years at the New York State Judicial Institute where he taught all newly appointed or elected New York judges in the art of judging.

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.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbritrators, 2017-Present
  • Member, CPR Advisory Council: International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, 2013-Present
  • Chair, ADR Committee, New York County Lawyers Association, 2013-2016
  • Member, United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Bankruptcy Mediation Panel
  • Distinguished Fellow, International Academy of Mediators
  • Member, Board of Advisors, Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, December 2015-Present
  • Justice Belen presided for several years over the Jury Coordinating and Trial Assignment parts in Kings County (Brooklyn). In this capacity, he settled hundreds of trial ready cases valued at hundreds of millions of dollars and created innovative programs for early and efficient mediation
  • Justice Belen is a frequent and sought after presenter of CLE programming on mediation, arbitration, appeals and legal ethics for organizations such as ABA, PLI, NYCLA, NYCBA, HNBA, AABANY, ABOTA, DANY, NYSTLA

Representative Matters

Since joining JAMS in 2012, Judge Belen has acted as a mediator or arbitrator in a wide range disputes in the following practice areas: 

  • Arbitration
    • Chaired international arbitration matter concerning a breach of contract between major international telecommunication conglomerates
    • Chaired breach of contract arbitration involving termination of chief executive officer and minority shareholder in a closely held corporation
    • Chaired breach of contract arbitration involving independent contractor providing business consulting services
    • Arbitrated executive compensation and deferred compensation claims upon the termination of a high level executive in a multinational corporation based in Europe
    • Arbitrated civil rights matter involving alleged racial discrimination against party in a restaurant
    • Arbitrated construction defect matter involving damages resulting from a burst water pipe in a landmark hotel converted into luxury condominiums
    • Arbitrated securities case arising from breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, negligent failure to supervise, and aiding and abetting fraud
    • Arbitrated breach of contract case in connection with a lawsuit involving expert consulting services rendered and related payment issues
    • Arbitrated age discrimination claim brought by an executive of a Fortune 100 company
    • Arbitrated dispute concerning ownership and operation of a medical facility
    • Arbitrated dispute over broker commission on purchase of property used to develop a major commercial mall
  • Business/Commercial
    • Mediated class action lawsuit arising from Sandy damages to waterfront property in lower Manhattan
    • Mediated business commercial dispute involving a breach of contract between a major hotel conglomerate and major contracting company
    • Mediated breach of contract dispute between business partners in an international joint venture
    • Mediated breach of contract dispute between individual and employing company related to contractual bonus obligations
    • Mediated several disputes concerning legal malpractice lawsuits
    • Mediated case involving an internationally-based company relating to alleged misrepresentation and breach of contract
    • 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 dissolution of class action law firm
  • Construction
    • Mediated construction defect case involving the installation of an HVAC system and the damage caused by allegedly faulty functionality
    • 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 of installed heat pump units in guest rooms
    • Mediated breach of contract construction matter in connection with the construction of a nine-story condominium building
    • Mediated collapse of commercial building during construction of an adjacent luxury hotel in lower Manhattan
  • Employment
    • Mediated case arising from issues related to a separation agreement for law firm employees’ retirement/termination
    • Mediated several FLSA disputes 
    • Mediated cases involving alleged discrimination, unlawful retaliation as a result of alleged unlawful hostile work environments
    • Mediated dispute involving employees’ failure to repay company-issued loan
    • Mediated case involving employees’ termination due to disability caused by alleged work-related injuries
  • 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 connection with a 2008 crane collapse in New York City
    • Mediated case involving plaintiff’s alleged 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
  • International
    • Chaired international arbitration matter concerning a breach of contract between major international telecommunication conglomerates
    • Mediated a business commercial matter involving a joint venture with a Taiwanese firm and the financial damages and partnership dissolution as a result of the terminated venture
    • Served as a special master on a matter related to authority issues in a business commercial case involving a Korean real estate contract
    • Mediated a business commercial matter involving a breach of contract and alleged fraud claims in a patent transaction between American and European parties
    • Mediated a business commercial matter related to a breach of contract and misrepresentation between American and Chinese parties
  • Special Master
    • Serving as Facilitator for the Joint Remedial Process to be done in association with Floyd v. City of New York stop and frisk and housing arrests class action settlements
    • Serves as court appointed trustee to manage multi-million dollar trust estate that requires financial oversight of assets, investments and property during 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
    • Serving as special discovery master in a securities arbitration

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • 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
    • Award of Meritorious Service, The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, 2003
    • Kings County District Attorney Jurist Award, 1997
  • 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-Present
    • 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, New York State Bar Association, Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules 
    • Member, New York City Bar Association, Labor and Employment 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, Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York
    • Member, Brooklyn Bar Association
    • Member, Cornell Latino Alumni Association 
    • Member, Puerto Rican Bar 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
    • 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

Background and Education

  • 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

Disclaimer

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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