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


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 Matters

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

  • Mediated and settled claim of discrimination and retaliatory discharge
  • Settled multi-party age discrimination claim
  • Mediated and settled physician breach of employment contract dispute
  • Settled claims involving discrimination on the basis of disability and age
  • Mediated and settled claim of defamation in employment termination matter
  • Employment discrimination trials 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
  • 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 3
  • Mass.469 (1992) (termination in violation of public policy)
  • 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
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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