Joseph Brisco

Hon. Joseph R. Brisco (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Hearing Officer

Case Manager
Nicole Burns
T: 714-937-8250
F: 714-939-8710
3390 University Ave., Suite 450, Riverside, CA 92505


Hon. Joseph R. Brisco (Ret.) joined JAMS following 21 years as a judge with the San Bernardino County Superior Court. During that time, he served as Supervising Judge of the Civil Departments, Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division and, for several years, was assigned to hear all of the Writs of Mandate in the county. Most recently, he presided over the mandatory settlement conference department, serving as a settlement judge.

Prior to taking the bench, Judge Brisco spent 14 years as a civil litigator in San Diego, where he handled serious and catastrophic injury cases—involving deaths, brain injuries and amputations—arising from products liability, premises liability, and motor vehicle accidents. He also served on the San Diego County Arbitration Panel.

Judge Brisco has presided over hundreds of jury trials, bench trials and settlement conferences. He has extensive and diverse experience resolving disputes, including cases involving business/commercial, employment, medical malpractice, real estate, elder abuse, product liability, and personal injury issues, including boating accidents.

Judge Brisco has a reputation for being prompt and thoroughly prepared. He manages his cases efficiently, with a touch of levity and humor. He is regarded by counsel as firm but fair.

Representative Matters


  • Several disputes regarding alleged breaches of commercial lease agreements
  • Several disputes against credit card companies regarding alleged violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices
  • Several disputes against automobile dealerships regarding breaches of Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Purchase Agreements
  • Several disputes against automobile dealerships regarding alleged violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act
  • Several breaches of contract disputes against solar panel installation companies
  • Several disputes between physicians and medical groups regarding fees
  • Dispute between pharmacist and pharmacy regarding fees
  • Dispute between state regulators and multiple California milk producers 
  • Dispute involving fraud allegations against partners in egg ranch and trucking company
  • Numerous contract disputes between businesses and purveyors
  • Numerous contract disputes between contractors and subcontractors regarding highway improvements
  • Numerous disputes with major financial institutions arising from mortgage crisis
  • Shareholder derivative suit involving motel and restaurant corporation
  • Partnership dissolution disputes, including matters involving companies in ranching, trucking and restaurant industries
  • Banking dispute wherein defendant allegedly deposited company checks into personal account unlawfully
  • Energy Services Agreement dispute between city and large pet food manufacturing plant over historic and current billing practices, claim for refund, and declaratory relief to set proper rate

Real Property
  • Dispute between city and restaurant regarding zoning
  • Dispute between city and 260 mobile home owners regarding conversion to resident-owned subdivision
  • Dispute between home buyer and real estate agent based upon allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, and failure to disclose known defects
  • Dispute between school district and adjacent property owner regarding road easement
  • Several disputes between private land owners over road easements
  • Dispute between homeowners regarding denial of access to common area riding trails
  • Dispute between property owners regarding boundary issues
  • Handled 54 eminent domain cases filed by major utility company

Homeowner Associations

  • Homeowner dispute with HOA for alleged failure to maintain common area docks on lake property
  • Homeowner dispute with HOA for alleged failure to maintain common area retaining wall and drainage system
  • Homeowners' dispute with HOA Board of Directors regarding allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duties
  • Homeowners' dispute with HOA for failure to maintain common area pool
  • Homeowners' dispute with HOA for failure to maintain slopes

  • Multiple contract disputes between cannabis growers and distributors involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract


  • Numerous wage and hour disputes
  • Several wrongful termination cases against public entities regarding police and corrections officers
  • Wrongful termination case against large corporation for alleged discrimination based upon sexual orientation, religion and nationality
  • Wrongful termination case against large corporation for alleged sexual harassment 
  • Wrongful termination case against major financial institution for alleged racial and religious discrimination 
  • Wrongful termination case against major utility company for alleged failure to accommodate disability
  • Racial discrimination claim against large manufacturing firm
  • Teacher's age discrimination case against school district
  • Wrongful termination dispute involving a trucking and transportation services provider

Personal Injury/Torts

Elder Abuse
  • Dispute regarding allegations of financial abuse and fraud by children of elderly man
  • Dispute regarding allegations of physical abuse by neighbor against elderly woman
  • Wrongful death case against care facility for negligence resulting in sepsis ulcers
Sexual Harassment/Abuse
  • Several cases involving allegations of sexual abuse by priests
  • Several disputes against school districts regarding abuse of students by teachers/coaches
Wrongful Death and Catastrophic Injury
  •  Several wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases for alleged negligently designed roadways
  • Wrongful death case against manufacturer of allegedly defective construction lift
  • Wrongful death case against manufacturer of water truck for alleged defects that resulted in roll over on construction site
  • Wrongful death case involving alleged intoxicated operator of pontoon boat
  • Wrongful death case involving collision between two vessels at night
  • Wrongful death case (decapitation) involving pontoon boat
  • Serious personal injury (loss of arm) involving collision between two vessels
  • Countless serious injury cases involving motor vehicles
  • Serious Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) injury claim by railroad worker following collision between two locomotives
Premises Liability
  • Several serious injury cases alleging dangerous conditions on Indian Casino properties
  • Countless serious injury cases involving alleged dangerous conditions on property
  • Several cases against businesses for alleged failure to provide adequate security
Other Torts
  • Countless serious injury cases involving alleged dangerous conditions on property

Professional Liability

  • Personal injury case against oral surgeon for alleged negligent extraction of wisdom teeth
  • Serious personal injury case against physician for alleged negligent performance of breast augmentation surgery
  • Serious personal injury case against physician for alleged negligent performance of hysterectomy
  • Wrongful death case against pathologist for alleged misdiagnosis of cancer
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Judge, San Bernardino County Superior Court, 1998–2015
    • Supervising Judge, Civil Departments, 2013–2015
    • Presiding Judge, Appellate Division, 2013
    • Appellate Division, 2011–2013
  • Judge, San Bernardino Municipal Court, 1995–1998
  • Managing Partner, Brisco & Wolfe, Del Mar, CA, 1992–1995
  • Associate, Tuverson & Hillyard, San Diego, CA, 1991–1992
  • Associate, Haasis, Pope & Correll, San Diego, CA, 1985–1990
  • Associate, Law Offices of John Ford, Santa Ana, CA, 1983–1985
  • Sole Practitioner, Escondido, CA 1981-1983
  • J.D., Western State University, College of Law, San Diego, CA
  • B.A., Political Science, San Diego State University

Counsel Comments

    • “Having appeared before Judge Brisco many times while he was on the bench, I had always found him to be well-prepared, educated on the topic at hand, patient, calm, inquisitive and respectful of a party’s position, whether he agreed or not with that position.  I thereafter had an occasion to work with Judge Brisco on a State of the Court lunch presentation, where he used that same skill set and demeanor to share important advances in the local courts.  So, it came as no surprise to me that as a mediator at JAMS, Judge Brisco brought those same expert skills into the boardroom, addressing the underlying legal issues and respective evidence rather than trying to divvy up the dollars and sense right away.  Judge Brisco was definitely giving of his time, remaining persistent on the day of mediation and in the days that followed.  Without exception, I would welcome using Judge Brisco as a mediator or arbitrator on any type of matter.”
      - Inland Empire Attorney
    • “He is that unique package of someone who is extremely bright, very compassionate, and a person who has a ton of patience. He is among the elite mediators – I would mediate every case with him if I could.”
      – Orange County Attorney
    • “I had the privilege and honor of trying a case before Judge Joe Brisco before he retired from the Bench and then had the privilege and honor of mediating a case with Judge Brisco at JAMS which resulted in a large seven figure settlement.  Judge Brisco was an excellent trial judge and is an excellent mediator.  I highly recommend him to all of my colleagues to use as a settlement judge. He will be fair and reasonable in his assessment of the case and resolute in achieving settlement. Judge Brisco is the “go-to” guy to settle your case, and your clients will respect him just as much as he treats them with respect and compassion while always being fair.”
      – Inland Empire Attorney



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Employment
  • Health Care
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
Available nationwide


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