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Hon. Bernetta D. Bush
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Hon. Bernetta D. Bush (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Civil Rights
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Bernetta D. Bush (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2007 after over 15 years of distinguished service to the Circuit Court of Cook County in the Municipal, County and Chancery Divisions.  She is known for her ability to listen to both sides of a dispute and for her success in achieving fair, expeditious and effective resolutions for parties.

Judge Bush has significant experience in disputes that arise in the context of higher education, including Title IX disputes, faculty disputes, advice on ethical matters, disciplinary actions, special education law, and procurement issues for public institutions.  She has served as an ethics officer for both the City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago State University and served for many years as Legal Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Education.

Judge Bush is adept at guiding parties through dispute resolution systems. She is also known for her ability to resolve issues matters involving unrepresented parties.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Judge Bush brings over 30 years’ experience as a judicial officer and legal practitioner to her dispute resolution practice.  She has extensive experience in the resolution of a wide array of complex and multi-party disputes in the following areas:

  • Arbitration
  • Business Commercial
  • Class Actions
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Higher Education
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Arbitrated, consumer  credit disputes, including breach of cardholder agreements, collections actions, dispute of debt validity and default arbitration
      • Rendered decisions in multiple arbitration matters for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA)
      • Arbitrated to award a multimillion, multi-party dispute between shareholders regarding valuation and dissolution of a manufacturing company
      • Arbitrated to award a valuation dispute between shareholders in a closely held wine distribution company
      • Mediated and settled a dispute involving a national hotel chain’s billing procedures
      • Arbitrated a multi-party dispute involving a wireless communication company and a competitor over tower access issues 
  • Civil Rights
      • As a hearing officer and mediator, resolved sexual abuse and misconduct matters involving colleges and universities, including matters pursuant to Title IX
      • Mediated and settled ethics issues involving professors and administration at universities and colleges
      • As a hearing officer handled NCAA compliance issues for colleges and universities
      • Mediated racial and age discrimination matters
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Mediated and arbitrated claims pursuant to the Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Trust, a national class action involving asbestosis
      • “Class A” Claims Adjudicator, Pigford v. Glickman, a/k/a Black Farmers, a case in which a large group of African American farmers alleged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had discriminated against them with respect to government lending practices
      • Appointed special master in a class action involving detention conditions of suspects retained in the City of Chicago Police Stations
      • Mediated a class action involving warranty of major window manufacturer
      • Mediated and settled nationwide class action involving price fixing in the music industry
      • Mediated and settled nationwide class action involving mislabeling of baby formula where the directions provided in Spanish resulted in incorrect preparation of the formula
      • Mediated and settled a class action involving a dispute with a major newspaper over circulation numbers in the Chicago area
      • Mediated and settled a national class action involving telephone service charges to hotel guests of a national chain 
      • Mediated and settled a class action involving service fees associated with mail-order Chicago Cubs tickets
  • Employment Law
      • Mediated or adjudicated numerous disputes involving restrictive covenants, and non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality clauses 
      • Arbitrated disputes involving entitlements under employment contracts of high level executives
      • Arbitrated disputes under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act
      • Mediated law firm partnership and dissolution disputes
  • Environmental Law
      • Adjudicated a dispute involving the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and discharge of waste materials by a metal manufacturer into the waters of Lake Michigan s 
      • Adjudicated a dispute involving a major natural gas company and insurers over underground contamination and seepage issues
      • Arbitrated or adjudicated many disputes involving contamination caused by underground storage tanks
      • Mediated and settled a matter involving a dispute over contamination caused by printing equipment owned by a local newspaper company
      • Adjudicated disputes involving mold and toxic substances in condominiums, single family homes and commercial properties
  • Insurance
      • Adjudicated an insurance coverage dispute between a major gas company and multiple insurers 
      • Adjudicated or settled numerous disputes involving duty to defend and/or indemnify in personal injury, property damage and medical malpractice claims against insured parties 
      • Adjudicated or settled multiple disputes between owners of motor vehicles and insurance carriers involving coverage and duty to defend
      • Adjudicated or settled numerous malpractice and professional coverage disputes involving the legal and medical profession
  • Real Property
      • Adjudicated multi-million dollar dispute between limited partners and their LLC over a real estate development in Chicago’s South Loop
      • Adjudicated a dispute between the City of Chicago, developer, and a condominium association over air and land rights applicable to further construction on the site
      • Adjudicated or settled numerous disputes involving residential and commercial foreclosures

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Presenter,  New England School of Law, November 2020
  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by JAMS Institute, 2019
  • Member, National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Independent Resolution Panel, 2018 to present
  • Speaker, Win, Lose or Draw:  Defining What it Means to “Win” for the Corporate Litigant, Chicago Bar Association, April 27, 2018
  • Advisory Panel, Archdiocese of Chicago, 2012-2017

  • Member, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, National Bar Association, and Illinois State Bar Association
  • Lecturer and Panelist, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Bar Association, National Bar Association, Association for Conflict Resolution (Chicago Chapter), DePaul University School of Law, Loyola University School of Law, and many other legal organizations
  • Judicial Fellow, Association of Trial Lawyers Presenter First International Congress on Mediation (Guayaquil, Cuenca and Quito, Ecuador), October 2012
  • Former Board member, Illinois Judges Association and Illinois Judicial Council, 2008-2010
  • Faculty, Mediation Course, Chicago, National Judicial College, 2007, 2008
  • Faculty, Illinois Supreme Court Conference, 2005-2007
  • Former Member, Illinois Attorney Registration Disciplinary Inquiry Board, 1991
  • Former Member, Board of Trustee’s, City Colleges of Chicago, 1988

Honors and Awards
  • Outstanding  Service Award, DePaul University, 2006
  • Meritorious Service Award, Illinois Judicial Council, 2004
  • Thurgood Marshall Judicial Award, 2004
  • Cook County Bar Association, Judicial Award, 1998
  • Honorary Associates Degree of Applied Science, City Colleges of Chicago, 1989

Background and Education

  • Arbitrator/Mediator, JAMS Chicago, 2007-Present
  • Ethics Officer Chicago State University, 2009-2015
  • Ethics Officer City Colleges of Chicago, 2007-2009
  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1992-2007
  • Legal Counsel, Illinois State Board of Education, 1979-1992
  • Private Practice, 1977-1979
  • J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1977
  • M.A., Northeastern Illinois University, 1973
  • B.A., Northeastern Illinois University, 1970


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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