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Morton Denlow

Hon. Morton Denlow (Ret.)

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Deborah Stewart
T: 312-655-9192
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Drive , Suite 3090 , Chicago , IL 60606

Hon. Morton Denlow (Ret.) joined JAMS in October 2012 following 16 1/2 years of distinguished service as a Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. During his time on the bench, Judge Denlow presided over thousands of civil and criminal matters in both the pretrial and trial stages. He conducted over 2,000 settlement conferences and tried a number of bench and jury trials, including complex commercial disputes, employment, intellectual property and civil rights cases.

Judge Denlow is a nationally recognized expert in settling cases. He is a sought after speaker and writer on mediation and settlement techniques. As a faculty member of the Federal Judicial Center, he taught hundreds of federal judges mediation skills and effective impasse breaking techniques. Judge Denlow is known as a creative problem solver who will not rest until a case is settled. During his first four years at JAMS, he achieved settlements totaling over $737 million, including 116 settlements of $1 million or more.

Prior to his appointment to the federal bench on March 1, 1996, Judge Denlow was actively engaged for 24 years as a trial and appellate lawyer in complex commercial litigation, including 10 years as an active arbitrator and mediator. His breadth of experience as a trial lawyer, attorney neutral, and a settlement-focused judge makes him an ideal choice to mediate complex cases.

Read counsel comments about Judge Denlow's skills and style as a neutral.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

As a federal judge, Judge Denlow conducted over 2,000 settlement conferences on the full range of federal cases, including many complex commercial matters. Judge Denlow has handled matters involving the following areas of law:

  • Antitrust: has experience in trying and settling complex antitrust and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disputes. Since joining JAMS, Judge Denlow brokered a $97.5 million settlement in a multidistrict antitrust suit against producers of potash, a $4.8 million settlement involving the containerboard and corrugated paper industry and a $39 million settlement involving liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.
  • Banking: has settled state court actions for $2.5 million involving claims that bank officers conspired with a third party to defraud bank customer; settled suits involving loans in default; settled more than 10 lawsuits brought by the FDIC against former officers and directors of closed banks. These settlements involved D&O carriers and/or personal contributions by directors and officers. 
  • Business / Commercial: settled dozens of business/commercial matters since coming to JAMS, including a breach of contract and breach of warranty suit that had been pending for four years involving a municipality and a bus manufacturer, a dispute between a manufacturer and a distributor arising out of alleged breach of a distributorship agreement, and a multi-million dollar civil RICO suit alleging fraudulent business practices.
  • Civil Rights: settled hundreds of civil rights claims against municipalities and other government entities. At JAMS, Judge Denlow settled the City of Chicago’s largest ever single plaintiff action, in addition to several multi-million dollar §1983 claims involving failure to provide medical care following arrest, false imprisonment and sexual harassment by a police officer.
  • Class Actions: has settled numerous class actions involving the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), securities fraud, Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), antitrust, state law consumer fraud and related attorney fee issues. Total settlements exceed $350,000,000.
  • Employment: settled hundreds of employment cases involving discrimination claims (age, sex, disability, race, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and retaliation), breach of employment contracts, EEOC, class actions, employment, contract disputes, employee benefits and executive compensation, employment-related torts, labor-management disputes, non-competition, and trade secrets.  Settled numerous FLSA class actions.
  • ERISA: pre-suit settlement for recovery of pension payments made in error to owner of acquired business, ERISA class actions, disability insurance policy claims under ERISA and union trust fund actions.
  • Federal: Managed the full docket of federal cases for over 16 years.
  • Insurance: bad faith, coverage, property damage, reinsurance, subrogation suits, and related disputes under a wide variety of insurance policies.
  • Intellectual Property: settled a $10 million dollar trademark dispute; settled numerous patent cases involving high-tech and low-tech patents; settled trademark cases involving names, logos, packaging, and a full range of copyright infringement cases.
  • Personal Injury/Torts: auto, truck, train, and railroad accidents; construction and industrial accidents; medical malpractice, wrongful death, product liability, premises liability and mass torts. Settlement of 16 separate vaginal mesh products liability cliams in one day.
  • Professional Liability: accountant, architect, directors/officers, legal, and medical malpractice claims and fee disputes. Settlement of 16 separate vaginal mesh products liability claiming one day
  • Real Property: settled a number of breach of contract, construction defect and real estate partnership breakups.
  • Securities: settled a major securities fraud action for $28 million involving numerous parties and insurance companies, settled 10b-5 class actions, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, stock options backdating, and stockholder derivative actions and was an active securities law litigator.
  • Special Master: created the methodology and settled over 400 cases in a Truth in Lending multidistrict litigation (MDL) case and settled a 20-party case, receivership involving numerous claims including U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and U.S. Department of Labor litigation.
  • Training/Teaching: longtime member of the Federal Judicial Center where he lectured and trained hundreds of federal judges in mediation skills, and he is a regular speaker at local and national bar association programs on mediation and settlement skills.
  • Recipient, Edwin A. Rothschild Award for Lifetime Achievement in Civil Rights, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 2015
  • Member, Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System of the Judicial Conference, 2005-2012 
  • Immediate Past President and Board of Directors, Resolution Systems Institute
  • Vice President, Jewish Judges Association of Illinois
  • Board of Directors, Federal Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation, 2006-2012 
  • Member of Advisory Committee, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management Dispute Resolution Research Center 
  • Adjunct Professor in Trial Advocacy, Northwestern University School of Law, 1990-1991 
  • Senior Lecturer in Law, Loyola University School of Law, 1983-1995
  • Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 1988-1998
  • Lecturer, American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Northwestern University Corporation Counsel Institute, National Employment Lawyers Association, American Intellectual Property Association, International Claim Association, Association of Attorney Mediators, Employers Counsel Network, and PLI Consumer Financial Services Institute
  • Judicial Profile published in the Federal Lawyer, December 2012
  • Recipient, Seymour Simon Justice Award, Jewish Judges Association of Illinois, 2010

Author of numerous articles including the following publications:

  • Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1996-2012 (Presiding Magistrate Judge, 2004-2008)
  • Partner, Dardick & Denlow, 1984-1993
  • Partner, Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd., 1979-1984 (Of Counsel, 1993-1996)
  • Director of Professional Services for Chicago Regional Office, JAMS/Endispute, 1995-1996
  • Associate, Rosenthal & Schanfield, 1977-1979
  • Law Clerk and Associate, D’Ancona & Pflaum, 1971-1977
  • J.D., cum laude, Northwestern University School of Law, 1972 (Order of the Coif)
  • A.B., Economics, cum laude, Washington University, 1969

Counsel Comments

    “Based on the positive feedback received by the Council, Judge Denlow is clearly held in very high esteem by the active federal bar. Regarding settlement conferences, attorneys had extremely positive views of his ability to settle cases and similarly praised him for the amount of time and effort he puts into settlement conferences.”

    -An Evaluation of the United States Magistrate Judges in Chicago, by The Chicago Council of Lawyers, April 2008

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