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


Judge Cardenas served on the Orange County Municipal and Superior Court benches for 20 years, presiding over court and jury trials involving a wide variety of discovery issues. As a neutral at JAMS since 1996, he has served as mediator, arbitrator, discovery referee, and special master on hundreds of matters.

While at JAMS, Judge Cardenas has participated in Continuing Education Programs such as: Goodbye Paper Documents, Hello E-Discovery by Gordon Calhoun, Esq., and Scott Woodworth; Virtual Roundtable by Martin Quinn, Esq. and Hon. John Hughes (Ret.), with panelists: Harold Barza, Esq., Allen Burton, Esq., Wendy Curtis, Esq., Colleen Kenny, Esq., and Gilbert Keteltas, Esq.; E-Discovery Cadre presented by Hon. James Smith (Ret.), Hon. Dan Pratt (Ret.), and Hon. Greer Stroud (Ret.).

Judge Cardenas has studied the electronic discovery procedures as stated in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and California Discovery Act, as well as the Sedona Principles (Second Edition) for electronic document production.

Representative Matters

  • Served as discovery referee and special master on both simple and complex litigation, ranging from small business disputes to accounting disputes between Hollywood studios. Most cases involved a mix of hard copy and e-document disputes.
  • Handled multiple party litigation such as wage and hour and other assorted class action cases involving numerous discovery matters, evolving out of thousands of paper and e-mail documents.
  • Have conducted many In Camera reviews of disputed hard copy and e-document items, usually to protect private and privileged materials.
  • Actively assists lawyers in meeting and conferring with the Referee to establish a protocol of best practices that will establish a cooperative approach to litigation holds, collection, review, and production of electronically stored information in response to discovery requests. This helps eliminate uncertainties as to obligations under the discovery acts and reduces costs for the clients.
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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