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


As a Municipal Court Judge, Superior Court Judge, and now as an Arbitrator, Mediator, and Discovery Referee, Judge Cardenas has presided over jury trials, court trials, arbitrations (single and multi-panel proceedings) mediations, and discovery disputes.

Judge Cardenas has served as a lecturer for Bridging the Gap, the Continuing Learning Experience at Cal State Fullerton, and has contributed articles to the Orange County Bar Journal. He now lectures frequently on mediation and advanced mediation techniques and practices for JAMS and the MCLE State Bar program.

During his tenure on the bench, and as a neutral at JAMS since 1996, Judge Cardenas handled a multitude of cases.

Representative Work

  • Law and Motion matters arising out of transfer and suspension orders, issued by school authorities, to discipline students. These matters involved preliminary and permanent injunctions as well as declaratory relief. Application of constitutional principles, the Education Code, and decisional authorities were issues resolved by Judge Cardenas.
  • Educational and schooling issues arising from Family Law proceedings, involving joint and separate custody of children. 
  • Litigation arising from disciplinary and termination proceedings by school boards and superintendents against principals, administrative personnel and teachers.
  • Lawsuits filed against school districts and/or administrative personnel for racial, religious, sexual, and gender discrimination.
  • Cases arising out of allegations that school districts failed to properly accommodate disabled and special needs students.
  • Litigation based on assertions that school districts failed to exercise reasonable care in protecting students against injury and death.
  • Unique matters such as allegations that a school district failed to reasonably accommodate a teacher’s request to provide a sterile teaching environment, based on fragrance sensitivity.
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




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