Luis Cardenas

Hon. Luis A. Cardenas (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Bianca Kelly
T: 714-937-8221
F: 714.939.8710
5 Park Plaza, Suite 400, Irvine, California 92614


Hon. Luis A. Cardenas (Ret.) joined JAMS as a mediator, arbitrator, and discovery referee in 1996 following more than 20 years on the bench. He has since earned a reputation for settling the vast majority of matters submitted to him for mediation and for granting fair arbitration awards that reflect an in-depth knowledge of the law. Judge Cardenas is also regarded for assisting the courts in complex litigation with his scholarly reports and recommendations.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Resolved hundreds of matters as a mediator and arbitrator including:
    • Business disputes involving contract, accounting, auditing, trade secret, communications-media, and franchise issues
    • Employment related issues including gender, racial, and religious discrimination; sexual harassment; and wrongful termination
    • Construction defect cases involving both discovery as well as mediation proceedings evolving out of commercial properties, individual residences, housing developments, and community litigation
    • Family law matters involving all issues of custody, support, property, accounting, tracing, and marital settlement agreements
    • Personal injury matters with high dollar claims, as well as smaller matters done individually or through the mediation-day process; including automobile and boating accidents, wrongful death, and product liability matters
    • Real estate disputes including contracts and leases on industrial properties as well as hotels and restaurants
    • Insurance matters including coverage, bad faith, indemnification, etc.
    • Education and school disputes arising out of transfer and suspensions of students, disciplinary proceedings against staff, and children with special needs
    • Medical, dental, and legal malpractice matters
    • Numerous court reference matters under 638 and 639 of the Code of Civil Procedure, preparing over one hundred Reports of Findings and Recommendations to the Superior Court
  • Heard hundreds of court and jury trials to verdict during his twenty years as a judicial officer
  • Generated a new format for Case Management Orders that provides for less discovery, reduced disputes, and cost savings to all parties

Representative Matters

  • Franchise dispute involving millions of dollars between two national food chains
  • Contract dispute between a local Planet Hollywood restaurant and the corporate franchiser
  • Construction defect case involving a seven-figure claim arising out of a large residential development and numerous sub-contractors
  • Pregnant female police officer suing for gender discrimination
  • African-American school principal claiming racial bias
  • Multi-million dollar class action for investment fraud involving over 20,000 victims
  • Four-month Family Law hearing involving millions of dollars arising out of issues of transmutation of property, pensions, Watts charges, Epstein credits, characterization of marital property, and other issues
  • Two-year series of mediations involving special education programs for handicapped children at the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Medical malpractice case involving permanent loss of eyesight and claim for millions in compensation
  • Complicated accounting dispute between two Hollywood movie studios resulting in a multi-million dollar award
  • Class actions for wage & hour issues and related disputes
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • The only judge in Orange County to receive a commendation from the State Legislature upon his elevation to the bench
  • Recognized as “Judge of the Year” by the Orange County Women’s Bar Association and the West Court Bar Association
  • Winner of the Albert Schweitzer Award from the Orange County Grand Jury
  • Received recognition for his contributions to the law by Loyola Law School and the Mexican-American Bar Association of Orange County
  • Current member of the California State Bar
  • Prior member of the California Judge’s Association

ADR Profile

  • Judge, Superior Court, Orange County, 1980-1996
    • Presiding Judge, West Court Operations, 1985-1996
  • Judge, Municipal Court, North Orange County, 1976-1980
    • Assistant and Presiding Judge, 1978 and 1979
  • J.D., Loyola Law School at Los Angeles, 1968
  • B.A., University of California at Los Angeles, 1965

Counsel Comments

    • “This mediation was a wonderful experience. Judge Cardenas was very understanding and patient. I feel so relieved, knowing that there is an impartial 3rd party looking at these disputes.”

      - Party involved in series of mediations with Judge Cardenas



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction Defect
  • Education/Schools
  • Employment
  • Entertainment and Sports
  • Family Law
  • Health Care
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
Available nationwide


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