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Hon. John C. Cratsley

Hon. John C. Cratsley (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Civil Rights
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Governmental/Public Agency
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. John C. Cratsley (Ret.) has been a full-time arbitrator and mediator since joining JAMS in 2011.  He focuses his practice on a wide variety of matters, including contract, construction, employment and insurance disputes.

Prior to joining JAMS, Judge Cratsley spent 24 years on the Massachusetts Superior Court, notably serving as Chair of the Superior Court Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution. From 1999 to 2004, he served as Chair of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Judge Cratsley has extensive experience in the resolution of complex disputes in the following areas:

  • Business/Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Government/Public Agency
  • Insurance
  • Maritime
  • Personal Injury and Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Estate
  • Available to resolve disputes remotely through a number of videoconferencing options

Judge Cratsley adjudicated, mediated or arbitrated a wide variety of cases, including:

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
      • Family shareholder management disputes
      • Partner freeze-out disputes
      • Secured creditor disputes
      • Bank collection disputes
      • Claims under Chapter 93A of unfair and deceptive business practices
      • Claims to enforce non-compete agreements
      • Shareholder Stock Appraisal Litigation
  • Civil Rights
      • Gender Discrimination in Public Accommodations. After a four-week trial, nine women received a jury verdict for close to two million dollars for gender discrimination and wrongful business practices regarding their membership and use of facilities
      • Bourne v. Haverhill Golf and Country Club, 58 Mass.App.Ct. 56 (2003)
      • Prisoners’ Rights. After a four-week trial, the 8th Amendment claim of 15 prisoners involved in a standoff with guards, which included flooding of cells and health and safety issues, resulted in a jury verdict for plaintiffs regarding cruel and unusual punishment but no damages.
      • Ashman v. Marshall, Suffolk Superior Court, #2000-5618 (2007)
  • Construction
      • Condominium construction and home improvement disputes
      • Municipal construction and bonding disputes
      • Subcontractor disputes
      • Mechanics liens disputes
      • Manufacturing facility disputes
  • Employment Law
      • Mediation of employment discrimination matters involving claims of race, age, gender, and handicap discrimination, as well as claims for sexual harassment, retaliation, and termination in violation of public policy and/or contractual agreements.  Also mediated claims of defamation relating to employment termination
      • Representative appellate decisions include Carter v. Commissioner of Correction, 43 Mass.App.Ct. 212 (1997) (race and gender discrimination); Handrahan v. Red Roof Inns, Inc., 43 Mass.App.Ct.13 (1997) (handicap discrimination); and Wright v. Shriners Hospital, 412 Mass.469 (1992) (termination in violation of public policy)
  • Governmental/Public Agency
      • Enforcement of Town By-Laws. See Boston Edison v. Town of Bedford, 444 Mass.775 (2005) (town by-law invalid as inconsistent with state law)
      • Permitting for Affordable Housing. See Wrentham v. Housing Appeals Committee, 69 Mass.App.Ct.449) (2007) (complaint dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies)
      • Judicial review of public agency employment arbitration decisions. See City v. Salaried Employees Local, 77 Mass.App.Ct.785 (2010) (affirming arbitrator award)
      • Judicial review, under 30A, of public agency appeals of pension and retirement decisions, as well as state agency appeals of environmental, public benefits, and various regulatory commissions’ decisions
  • Insurance
      • Managed for six years and ultimately issued multi-million dollar award to six insurance companies for chiropractic fraud by three individuals and their chiropractic clinics. Commerce Insurance et al. v. Corbett, Suffolk Superior Court, #2005-2012 (2011)
      • Blue Hill Chiropractic Group v. Commerce Insurance et al., #2005-2076 (2011)
      • Determination of responsibility for insurance coverage among multiple defendants (See Lemos v. Electrolux North America Inc., 78 Mass.App.Ct. 376 (2010)) and between homeowners and their insurance companies
      • Interpretation of policy exclusions and coverage provisions in auto, commercial, homeowners, and environmental cleanup disputes
  • Personal Injury
      • Wrongful death claims: See LeBlanc v. Logan Hilton Joint Venture, 78 Mass.App.Ct.699 (2011) (summary judgment decisions affirmed and reversed among multiple defendants)
      • Construction site and business accidents in a variety of settings. See Wilson v. Honeywell, 409 Mass.803 (1991) (jury instruction on res ipsa loquitur properly given)
      • Lead paint poisoning claims
      • Railroad accidents
      • Private camp accidents
      • Motorcycle accidents
  • Professional Liability
      • Legal and architectural malpractice claims
      • Medical malpractice trials in virtually every field of doctor and nursing care
      • Representative appellate decisions include English v. New England Medical Center, 405 Mass.423 (1989) (application of charitable immunity cap affirmed) and Darius v. City of Boston, 433 Mass.274 (2001) (discussion of med-mal discovery)
  • Real Property
      • Condominium disputes
      • Abutter disputes
      • Zoning appeals
      • Subdivision Development. See Latucca v. Robsham, 442 Mass.204 (2004) (breach of fiduciary duty and unfair and deceptive business practices among multiple parties developing land)
      • Right of First Refusal. See Uno Restaurants v. Boston Kenmore Realty Corp., 441 Mass.376 (2004) (defendant rejected plaintiff’s claimed right of first refusal)
      • Specific Performance. See Levenson v. L.M.I. Realty Corp., 31 Mass.App.Ct.127 (1991) (preliminary documents insufficiently detailed to create a binding real estate transaction)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Public Service
    • Currently serving as a part-time Special Judicial Magistrate, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, hearing matters arising from the Drug Lab Litigation
  • Honors
    • Judicial Excellence Award, Massachusetts Judges Conference, 2011 
    • Lifetime Achievement Award, Frank J. Murray Inn of Court, 2011
    • Judge of the Year, Frank J. Murray Inn of Court, 2006
  • Memberships
    • Co-Chair, Boston Bar Association, Administration of Justice Section, 2012-2014
    • Member, Advisory Board, Harvard Mediation Program, 2011-present
    • Chair, Superior Court ADR Committee, 2005-2011
    • Member, Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, 2004-2011
    • Chair, Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, 1999-2004
  • Publications
    • Authored, LexisNexis Practical Guide: Massachusetts Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2014
    • Over a period of years, he wrote op-ed pieces in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on mediation themes: “Mediation Week—Addressing Objections to Mediation” (1999), “Mediation—A Device That is Here To Stay” (1998), and “Familiar Words on the Benefits of Mediation” (1996)
    • In 2006, the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution published his article “Judicial Ethics and Judicial Settlement Practices: Time for Two Strangers to Meet.” He has since published two follow-up articles, “The American Experience with ‘Judicial Mediation’—Are More Rules Needed?” presented at the International Academic Symposium on Chinese and Foreign Mediation Experience, Langfang City, China; and “Judges and Settlement: So Little Regulation With So Much At Stake,” ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine, 2010
  • Speaker and Panelist
    • Co-Chair, JAMS Training Day, Civil Mediation Workshop, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, May 2013
    • International Judicial Exchange Programs, including ADR presentations, China, Russia, France, Cambodia, and Japan
    • Team Leader, Trial Advocacy Workshop, Harvard Law School, 1990’s to present
  • Teaching Experience
    • Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, 1972-present
    • Adjunct Faculty, Boston College Law School, 1994-present
    • Faculty, National Judicial College, University of Nevada, 1985-2000

Background and Education

  • Associate Justice, Massachusetts Superior Court, 1987-2011
    • Regional Administrative Judge for Civil Business, Suffolk County, 2005-2009
    • Regional Administrative Judge for Civil and Criminal Business, Norfolk County, 2002-2003
  • Chief, Public Protection Bureau, Department of the Massachusetts Attorney General, 1983-1987
  • Justice, Roxbury Division, District Court Department, 1973-1983
  • Member, Massachusetts Parole Board, 1972-1973
  • Staff Attorney and Chief Attorney, Community Legal Assistance Office, (now Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services), Cambridge, MA, 1968-1972
  • LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 1968
  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1966
  • B.A., Swarthmore College, 1963


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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