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Morton Denlow

Hon. Morton Denlow (Ret.)


Case Manager
Deborah Stewart
T: 312-655-9192
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606

Biography

Hon. Morton Denlow (Ret.) joined JAMS 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 matters in both the pretrial and trial stages. He conducted over 2,000 settlement conferences as a judge and over 600 mediations since joining JAMS in 2012. 

A nationally recognized expert in settling cases, Judge Denlow has continued to prove invaluable to parties involved in intractable disputes at JAMS.  His breadth of experience as an advocate, and a settlement-focused judge and successful mediator makes him an ideal choice to mediate the complex case.

Since coming to JAMS in October 2012, Judge Denlow has mediated insurance disputes in a variety of contexts:

Representative Matters

  • Agency Dispute
    • Settled pre-suit claim alleging refusal to award position as general agent
  • Class Action
    • $2,039,500 settlement of class action alleging defendant wrongfully denied coverage of claims based on alleged misrepresentations in insurance application
  • Coverage
    • $750,000 settlement of suit under a life insurance policy where policy was terminated due to an alleged late payment
    • $300,000 settlement for defense costs arising out of civil invesitgative demands brought by government agency
    • $2,250,000 settlement of pre-suit claim for insurance coverage arising out of employee theft
    • $135,000 settlement of health benefits claim for emergency air ambulance transportation
    • $280,000 settlement of presuit claim under a fidelity insurance policy arising out of claim for employee theft
    • $1,250,000 settlement of presuit claim against a title insurance company for failure to disclose a covenant
    • $120,000 settlement of suit seeking health insurance benefits for emergency ambulance transportation
    • $8,500,000 settlement of suit seeking coverage for the defense and resolution of asbestos bodily injury claims
    • $4,000,000 pre-suit settlement of five party coverage dispute arising out of an underlying personal injury judgment
    • $625,000 settlement of suit alleging duty to defend under a general liability policy and the applicability of a sub-limit endorsement
    • $2,250,000 settlement of suit seeking coverage for preservation of property arising out of a pre-flood move of computer data
    • $3,725,000 settlement of breach of contract/suit to recover on closing protection letters
    • $8,000,000 settlement of insurance coverage claim arising out of underlying settlement of product liability cases
    • $550,000 settlement of coverage action involving advertising disparagement coverage
    • $1,500,000 settlement of coverage suit involving a Financial Institution Bond 
    • $4 million settlement of suit involving insurance coverage and valuation dispute arising out of equipment breakdown
    • Settled coverage dispute brought by municipality for environmental damage occurring over many years and involving multiple carriers and policies
    • $1 million settlement of lawsuit involving coverage under a fidelity policy
    • Settled pre-suit dispute arising out of purchase of variable annuities
    • Settled suit to recover under Lienholder's Interest Endorsement arising from governmental seizure of insured aircraft
    • Conducted mini-trial arising out of suit to recover against excess insurance carrier for damages resulting from reservoir failure
  • D&O Policies
    • Settled 14 claims, both pre-suit and after commencement of litigation, by the FDIC against former officers and directors of closed banks in which D&O carriers were involved in the settlement
    • Settled an insurance coverage suit under a D&O policy for amounts incurred in settling an EPA claim
    • $2.7 million settlement of lawsuit brought by bankruptcy trustee against carrier for former officers and directors
  • Environmental
    • Settled pre-suit claim under commercial liability policy arising out of an explosion involving pollution exclusion issues
    • Settled pre-suit insurance claim for indemnity arising out of settlement of underlying environmental suit alleging improper dumping of highway construction materials
    • Settled claims for insurance coverage against an insurance carrier for environmental damage
  • Rescission
    • $382,000 buyout settlement of pre-suit claim seeking rescission of disability and long-term care policies
  • Subrogation
    • $4,900,000 presuit settlement of a claim arising out of an electrical fire in a plant
    • Settled subrogation claim for water damage to commercial building due to alleged defective water sprinkler
  • 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

    • “I wanted to send a personal note to thank you for making the nine-hour Zoom mediation such a pleasurable experience for our client. For whatever it’s worth, your use of the checklist is a competitive advantage for you that separates you from your peers It has wonderful benefits in focusing the parties on the right issues during the mediation and in minimizing the costs associated with preparing the settlement paperwork. This was my first time participating in a Zoom mediation. It saved the parties thousands of dollars in travel costs and the technology was pretty close to flawless.  It also allows me to recommend you to lawyers in my office here or parts of the country outside Chicago. Thank you again for your services and I look forward to an opportunity to work with you again in the future.” 
    • “Thank you for your efforts and your staff’s efforts during the mediation process. The entire mediation was efficiently managed and executed, and your checklist proved to be an extremely useful tool.” 
    • “As I’ve said before to you and many others, you are one of the finest mediators in the country. Thank you for another superlative effort.” 
    • "Thank you for showing us how well a zoom mediation could work. Stay safe."
    • “It was such a pleasure to work with you yesterday. For the past several years, I have heard such wonderful things about you from both the defense side and plaintiffs’ counsel. It was like meeting the “Great Oz” - but this one lived up to the reputation and offers pizza! (What could be better?) Thank you very much for the great effort yesterday, and the successful result. I don’t think we could have reached the end point without your guidance and skill.” 
    • “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
    •  "Thank you for helping the parties resolve this matter. Your creativity, patience, and determination was key to getting this done for all involved. Given the personalities involved, I was concerned that this would be difficult to resolve through mediation. I felt strongly that we needed someone with your vast experience and ability to command respect from the clients. As usual, you more than delivered - thank you again for all of your effort on this."
    • "Thank you for your efforts in helping the parties resolve their dispute. Your innovative approaches were key and we all appreciated your focus and calm manner."
    • "Once again, you did an excellent job orchestrating our little symphony to produce the beautiful music of settlement at the end of a long day. On behalf of our tremendously relieved clients, I want to thank you for all of your efforts."
    • "The judge granted final approval to the settlement last week. In granting approval, the judge emphasized the fact that the settlement had been mediated by 'one of the finest jurists in this city.' Thanks for all your assistance in reaching resolution."
    • "Thank you very much for all your assistance yesterday. My client is very happy and we are both appreciative that your excellent mediation skills resulted in a settlement of this matter."
    • "Your help and guidance were crucial assistance to our effort to settle our case. Thanks to you our effort was successful. I enjoyed your sense of humor. It made an Irishman chuckle. Thanks again for your help."
    • "Judge, thank you again for your assistance. Your approach, knowledge, demeanor, and patience were greatly appreciated." 
    • "As always, working with you is both challenging and fun -- a rare combination. You are, as they say (and they know), the best."
    • "Thank you very much for all your work bringing the parties together. I'm confident the case would not have settled without your efforts to find common ground. We appreciate all your assistance and hope we have the opportunity to work with you again."
    •  "I thought you did a great job on a difficult case, and you helped ease the tensions between the camps."
    •  "It was a real privilege watching you work on Tuesday. I must admit that I didn't enter the mediation with much confidence of a resolution. We both agreed that any other mediator we may not have had the same success. Thank you for your efforts. I now appreciate even more why you came so highly recommended!" 
    • “Thank you for your efforts, patience, creativity, and encouragement. It is a tough dynamic to go from litigation in the course of one day. It is always easier with a good mediator who facilitates that process.” 
    • “Thank you for your assistance in helping the parties reach an amicable resolution to this matter. We bridged a considerable gap through your efforts.”
    • "The settlement agreement in this dispute has now been signed. Thanks very much for your help. It’s always a pleasure to work with you."
    • "We appreciate all of your fine efforts, diligence, and creativity – all of which were needed to arrive at a settlement. It was great working with you."
    • "I continue to receive praise from Dana, Michael & Pat for your very skilled mediating, and yesterday I was able to witness that first hand! When we started I was not certain we could get it done, and I believe you’re the reason the two parties eventually came together."
    • "Thank you for your dedication and assistance today, and for helping to keep the dialogue open."
    • "Your efforts yesterday were greatly appreciated by me and my client. And I am so pleased that we could keep your record intact. I look forward to further opportunities to work with you and won’t hesitate in the least to recommend you to others."
    • "Thanks, Judge Denlow. We obviously couldn’t have achieved this settlement without your able assistance. It was a real pleasure to meet and work with you and counsel to get this done. Thanks again."
    • "Thank you for your assistance yesterday. Your approach was critical to getting over the lengthy history between the parties."
    • "Thanks, Judge, for your help. Your careful and reasonable analysis was tremendously helpful. On a personal note, it was a real pleasure to meet and to work with you."
    • "Thank you for your great assistance, persistence, and wise counsel. We all appreciate the skills you bring to the table."
    • "Thank you, Judge Denlow, for your persistence and hard work in bringing the parties together. We couldn’t have done it without you!"
    • "Thanks Judge. It took a miracle worker to get that one done!"
    • "Let me echo [opposing counsel’s] appreciation for your terrific efforts in helping the parties bring this matter to an end."
    • "Thank you for your message, and especially for your hard work yesterday in bringing a difficult situation to a definitive end.  Only the best are able to settle the very hardest cases."
    • "I also wanted to thank you privately for getting this one done. I don’t have nearly the number of mediations under my belt as you, but this was the most frustrating of my career. Your particular skills and demeanor got us there, and I am grateful…"
    • "Thank you for your hard work and expert assistance. From plaintiff’s side, I can say with confidence that it would not have settled without your thoughtful and sensitive approach."
    • "Thank you, Judge Denlow, for all your help. My client is thrilled with the resolution and to have [the case] behind him."
    • "Thank you for your patience and time last night. I know that we interrupted your plans, and we are greatly appreciative of your commitment to help us broker a deal.  It would not have [happened] otherwise."
    • "Thank you, Judge. Your assistance yesterday was invaluable."
    • "Writing to let you know that the parties have executed and exchanged settlement agreements. Thank you for your assistance and persistence in helping to get this matter resolved."
    • "First, thank you for your excellent mediation skills last Thursday; the successful result obtained through your efforts was most welcome to those of us on the…team. We thought your professional analysis and skilled 'shuttle diplomacy' was precisely what we sought."
    • "We appreciate your diligence in helping the parties reach an agreement under very difficult circumstances."
    • "I also wanted to let you know that my client ended up being very happy with the result, her qualms about settling have disappeared (which made me feel much better) and is very appreciative of your efforts. She is looking forward to a new life, after being in limbo for several years."
    • "Judge Denlow, thank you for working with the parties to get a mutually satisfactory resolution to the issues. Your ability to understand the issues and to communicate the positions of both parties was very helpful."
    • "Thank you so much for your time and patience, your knowledge and understanding and especially your incredible skills as a mediator. I was optimistic beforehand based on all I read about you prior to mediation. You proved to make a real impact on our case and I am certain you were the catalyst that brought us to the point of being able to reach a settlement. I sincerely appreciate your hard work and your understanding of the issues (legal AND personal) and your ability to understand what it took to reach a settlement. You have a great talent to recognize what's important and the real goals of each party, each lawyer, each participant in the case. I cannot thank you enough."
    • "Many thanks for a successful mediation; a result that is attributable to your widely recognized talent in bringing opposing parties to a realization of the multiple benefits of resolving their differences through the mediation process. We appreciate the time and effort that you dedicated to this matter, and look forward  to working with you in the future."
    • "I have to concede that I had my doubts at times today regarding whether a settlement could be achieved, and there is no question that it would not have happened without your persuasive guidance. As always, thank you. There is no question that the outcome was in the best interest of all parties."
    • "Please accept my sincere appreciation for allowing us to benefit from your skills, experience and your deeply rooted sense of human fairness. But for you, we would not have been able to close on this matter."
    • "Once again, I believe that your detailed knowledge and input based on the specific facts of this case resulted in a settlement that was fair to all."
    • "On behalf of my client and myself, please accept my thanks for you invaluable efforts today in helping us to resolve this dispute. As always, you were fair, thoughtful, creative and the consummate professional. Thank you again."
    • "I want to thank you for your efforts to get our case resolved last night. We really appreciate that you spent the extra hours bringing this difficult matter to conclusion."
    • "Thank you very much, Judge Denlow. We very much appreciate all your efforts and stamina, as well of course as the introduction to the 'seven cs'."
    • "All of us here at the EEOC want to express our appreciation for your work helping the parties reach this resolution. We know that you were an integral part of the settlement process."
    • "The outcome would likely have been different without your skillful facilitation and persistence. Our clients are better off having reached a settlement. It was a pleasure to work with you."
    • "Thank you for all of your efforts. Your reputation is well deserved. And thanks to the JAMS staff for all of their help and hospitality."
    • "Thank you for all of your efforts in resolving this dispute. I appreciate your patience, as well as your guidance. I took away a number of valuable lessons from our mediation, which I'm sure will come in handy in the future. It was truly a pleasure working with you."
    • "The case has fully settled, and I believe we would not have gotten to settlement without your excellent efforts to bring the parties together."
    • "Deepest thanks for your help at the mediation. With your good influence, were able to break through a few logjams that had been causing difficulty for months."
    • "Thanks again for helping us settle this case. It was a tough one for a few different reasons, and we couldn't have done it without you, that's for sure."

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