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Bernetta Bush

Hon. Bernetta D. Bush (Ret.)

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Case Manager
Michael McCants
T: 312-655-9199
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606

Hon. Bernetta D. Bush (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2007 after over 15 years of distinguished service on the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois. She is known for her ability to listen to both sides of a dispute and for her success in achieving fair, expeditious, and cost-effective resolution to complex matters.

On the bench, the Judge was known for her early and effective use of ADR techniques, referring many litigants out to the Chancery Division’s Court-Annexed Mediation Program. Now a mediator on that panel, Judge Bush continues to honor her commitment to ADR at JAMS and in Chicagoland’s broader legal community.

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
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate

Representative Matters


  • Decided multimillion, multi-party dispute between shareholders regarding valuation and dissolution of manufacturing company
  • Decided valuation dispute between shareholders in a closely held wine distribution company 
  • Settled a dispute involving a national hotel chain’s billing procedures
  • Handled a multi-party dispute involving a wireless communication company and a competitor over tower access issues
  • Arbitrated consumer credit disputes

Class Action:

  • 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
  • Mediated a class action involving warranty of major window manufacturer
  • Appointed special master in class action involving detention conditions of suspects retained in the City of Chicago Police Stations
  • Resolved nationwide class action involving price fixing in music industry
  • Settled nationwide class action involving mislabeling of baby formula where the directions provided in Spanish resulted in incorrect preparation of the formula
  • Settled class action involving a dispute with a major newspaper over circulation numbers in the Chicago area
  • Settled national class action involving telephone service charges to hotel guests of a national chain
  • Settled class action involving service fees associated with mail-order Chicago Cubs tickets
  • Mediated and arbitrated claims pursuant to Armstrong Asbestos settlements (a national class action involving asbestos exposure)


  • Settled, mediated, and adjudicated numerous disputes involving restrictive covenants; and non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality clauses
  • Decided disputes involving entitlements under employment contracts of high-level executives
  • Decided disputes involving Illinois Wage Payment and Collection
  • Resolved matters involving law firm partnership disputes and law firm dissolution


  • Decided a dispute involving the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and discharge of waste materials by a metal manufacturer into the waters of Lake Michigan
  • Resolved a dispute involving a major natural gas company and insurers over underground contamination and seepage issues
  • Decided many disputes involving contamination caused by underground storage tanks
  • Settled a matter involving a dispute over contamination caused by printing equipment owned by a local newspaper company
  • Decided disputes involving mold and toxic substances in condominiums, single-family homes, and commercial properties


  • Handled numerous disputes involving medical billing claims between hospitals and medical insurers including Medicare
  • Handled disputes involving hospitals for wrongful discharge of hospital executives and doctors
  • Handled contract disputes between doctors and medical groups


  • Decided an insurance coverage dispute between a major gas company and multiple insurers 
  • Decided or settled numerous disputes involving duty to defend and/or indemnify in personal injury, property damage, and medical malpractice claims against insured parties
  • Decided or settled multiple disputes between owners of motor vehicles and insurance carriers involving coverage and duty to defend
  • Decided or settled numerous malpractice and professional coverage disputes involving the legal and medical profession

Real Estate:

  • Decided multi-million dollar dispute between limited partners and their LLC over a real estate development in Chicago’s South Loop
  • Decided a dispute between the City of Chicago, developer, and a condominium association over air and land rights applicable to further construction on the site
  • Decided or settled numerous disputes involving residential and commercial foreclosures
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, National Bar Association, Black Women’s Bar Association, and Black Women Lawyers’ Association
  • Board member, Illinois Judges Association and Illinois Judicial Council
  • Former Member, Board of Trustees, City Colleges of Chicago
  • Former Member, Illinois Attorney Registration Disciplinary Inquiry Board
  • Judicial Fellow, Association of Trial Lawyers
  • Presenter 1st International Congress on Mediation (Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Quito, Ecuador), October 2012
  • 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
  • Faculty, Mediation Course, National Judicial College, Chicago, 2007-2008
  • Faculty, Supreme Court Conference, 2005-2007
  • Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, 1992-2007
  • Ethics Officer Chicago State University, 2009-present
  • Ethics Officer City Colleges of Chicago, 2007-2009
  • Former Legal Counsel Illinois State Board of Education
  • J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1977
  • M.A., Northeastern Illinois University, 1973
  • B.A., Northeastern Illinois University, 1970



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Real Property


Available nationwide


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