John Cratsley

Hon. John C. Cratsley (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Angus Blake
T: 617-228-9138
F: 617-228-0222
One Beacon Street, Suite 2210, Boston, MA 02108

John C. Cratsley is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. John C. Cratsley (Ret.) 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.

Representative Business/Commercial Matters

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

  • Arbitrator for matter involving disputed convention hotel bill
  • Mediated and settled claims arising out of deficient environmental consulting services
  • Mediated and settled matter involving the manufacture and installation of wind turbines for a municipal government power authority
  • Mediated and settled construction dispute involving a new food processing/manufacturing plant
  • Mediated and settled claims on various maritime business issues
  • Adjudicated partnership dissolution dispute, family shareholder/management, partner freeze-out, secured creditor disputes and bank collection disputes
  • Heard Chapter 93A claims of unfair and deceptive business practices

Representative business and commercial appellate decisions include:

  • Bay State-Spray and Provincetown S.S. v. Caterpillar, 404 Mass.103 (1989) (contract-based breach of warranty claims)
  • National Grid v. TransCanada, 68 Mass.App.Ct. 28 (2007) (allocation of expenses for distribution of electrical power)
  • Doering Equipment Co. v. John Deere Company, 61 Mass.App.Ct.850 (2004) (plaintiff fails to present viable theory of damages)
  • Piemonte v. New Boston Garden Corporation, 377 Mass.719 (1979) (appraisal method affirmed)
  • Chokel v. First National Supermarkets, Inc., 421 Mass.631 (1996) (appraisal method affirmed)
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
  • 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

Counsel Comments

    • “The mediator, Judge Cratsley, was excellent and through his efforts the case settled shortly after the mediation. It never would have settled without his assistance.”



Practice Areas

  • Administrative Law
  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
Available nationwide


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