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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


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 has conducted over 2,000 settlement conferences.

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, a settlement-focused judge and successful mediator makes him an ideal choice to mediate the complex business/commercial case.

Since coming to JAMS in October 2012, Judge Denlow has had success in mediating business/commercial matters, including:

Representative Matters

  • Breach of Contract:  Settled multiple pre-suit disputes and lawsuits for breach of contract, including:
    • Breach of contract suit arising out of software implementation dispute 
    • Presuit claim for breach of contract and conversion arising out of futures market trading losses
    • Breach of contract suit for real estate advisor fee
    • Breach of contract suit alleging billing errors between utility and wind energy power supplier 
    • Breach of contract suit against a university alleging failure to issue Psy. D.
    • Breach of contract suits brought by fourteen counties for failure to pay for copying of public documents
    • Breach of consulting agreement lawsuit in food industry
    • Breach of contract suit for failure to pay for new circuits installed in regional data centers
    • Breach of contract suit arising out of a purchase of a controlling interest in a minor league baseball franchise
    • Breach of contract suit regarding the scope of defendant's payment obligations under tax consulting agreements
    • Breach of contract for exchange of design services for consignment services to sell furniture and art
    • Breach of a marketing analytics agreement
    • Breach of contract arising out of the sale of a dental practice
    • Breach of contract of consulting agreement to improve performance of a paper mill
    • Claim by providers of dialysis services
    • Breach of software maintenance agreement
    • Claim for failure to accept delivery of uranium concentrate
    • Breach of contract arising out of asset purchase agreement and dispute over the amount of earn out due
    • Breach of contract regarding escrow from sale of stores
    • Breach of contract and tortious interference suit for maintenance pipeline right of ways 
    • Breach of contract arising out of sale of advertising services
    • Breach of contract suit for sale of 400,000 barrels of ethanol
    • Breach of contract suit alleging failure to pay for delivery, rental and cleaning of oil tanks
    • Breach of contract claim arising out of a pharmacy benefits manager contract
    • Beach of contract claim for termination of a management agreement for a senior residential facility 
    • Breach of contract suit arising out of a temp agency staffing contract 
  • Breach of Purchase and License Agreement:  Settled claim arising out of purchase of major medical equipment pending in arbitration
  • Breach of Warranty
    • Settled suit for breach of warranty brought by telecommunications company against component supplier
    • $10,000,000 settlement of breach of warranty claim arising out of a machine collapse
  • Distribution Agreements
    • Settled a dispute between a manufacturer and distributor arising out of alleged breach of a distributorship agreement
    • $3,000,000 settlement of claim pending in arbitration alleging wrongful termination of distributor agreement
    • $65,000,000 pre-suit settlement arising out of a product supply and distribution agreement in the drug industry
    • $3,500,000 settlement of a suit alleging a breach of an auto supply distribution agreement 
  • Family Business Dispute
    • $14,500,000 settlement of a suit by family member resulting in a buyout of minority interest 
    • Settled multiple lawsuits between siblings involving closely held business with $50M in annual sales
    • Settled family business dispute between two brothers including the auction of three jointly owned real estate properties
    • Pre-suit settlement resulting in a buyout of family member's ownership interest in a private university 
  • Franchise:
    • Pre-suit settlement of a dispute between 30 franchisees and franchisor over compliance, fees and other issues
  • Fraud and Kickbacks
    • Multi-million dollar settlement between dealership owner and auto manufacturer alleging fraud 
    • Multimillion dollar settlement of lawsuit by two shippers for alleged overpayment of shipping charges due to kickback and bribery scheme between company executive and two shipping companies
    • $550,000 quitam settlement arising out of claim for medicare billing fraud 
  • Joint Venture Dispute
    • Settlement of pre-suit dispute separating parties in steel coating industry
    • $1,200,000 settlement of claim for breach of fiduciary duty and dissolution of LLC
    • Pre-suit settlement of dispute between two travel companies terminating their joint venture
    • Settlement of four lawsuits involving the dissolution of a joint venture manufacturing and sales venture
  • Law Firm Dissolution:  Settled pre-suit dispute involving the breakup of small law firm by means of a med-arb process
  • Manufacturing
    • $1,300,00 settlement of suit alleging defective dishwasher parts 
    • Settlement of pre-suit claim alleging breach of contract to manufacture high protein bars
    • $600K settlement of pre-suit claim for breach of warranty of manufactured products
    • Settlement of case in arbitration involving a claim for breach of contract in the manufacture and performance of an integrated packaging line
    • Settled a breach of contract and breach of warranty suit that had been pending for four years between a municipality and a bus manufacturer involving 227 buses
    • $9.7 million settlement of breach of contract suit to manufacture two train sets
    • $4.85 million settlement of breach of contract suit alleging non-conforming cheese ingredients resulting in recall
    • Breach of wheel assembly equipment purchase
  • Minority Shareholder Oppression Claims
    • Settled minority shareholder dispute arising out of sale of medical equipment to foreign company
    • Settled pre-suit claim for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract brought by minority shareholder in anesthesia medical practice
    • $2.6 million pre-suit settlement of claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty and improper valuation of minority interest in tax redemption business
    • Settlement of suit by minority shareholder in multi-state pizza business
    • $1,000,000 settlement of a derivative suit alleging directors failed to timely sell business 
    • $4,000,000 settlement of claim by minority shareholder for breach of fiduciary duty and accounting
  • Partnership Dispute
    • Settled a partnership dissolution of 50/50 partners between Dunkin Donuts franchisees 
    • Settled suit to allocate $5,000,000 proceeds of sale of restaurant and related real estate
    • Settled accounting dispute between two partners in the fashion industry
    • Pre-suit settlement of buy-out of a 50% partner in manufacturing company
    • Multimillion dollar settlement of lawsuit between partners alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty
    • Pre-suit claim by former law firm partner against firm alleging he was wrongfully forced out
    • Settled five year old suits between 50/50 partners arising out of $600,000,000 real estate business
    • Settled two lawsuits between 50/50 partners involving 27 apartment complexes and devising plan of separation
    • Settled suit by law firm income partner claiming wrongful termination
    • Settled pre-suit buyout of 1 of 3 partners in major realestate investment firm 
    • Settled suit separating 50/50 partners in resin business pending in USDC ND ILL
    • Settled suit by partner alleging failure to share partnership profits pending in Cook County Circuit Court
    • Settled suit by minority partner in a restaurant business resulting in a buyout of his interest 
    • Pre-arbitration settlement of buyout of minority partner in investment management firm
  • RICO:  Multimillion dollar settlement of civil RICO lawsuit brought by more than 10 plaintiffs alleging fraudulent business practices
  • Service Agreement:  Pre-suit settlement of dispute involving long-term maintenance and repair service agreement for a steam turbine generator
  • Software Contract
    • Breach of software contract suit in automobile industry
    • Breach of contract suit arising out of contract to develop a computer software controlled system to coordinate the dispatch of police, fire and ambulance
    • Breach of contract pre-suit claim regarding reimbursements arising out of operation of waste reprocessing facility
    • Pre-suit claim arising out of software license and distrubution agreement 
  • Supply Agreement:  Settled suit for breach of a supply contract to produce, bottle and package beverages
  • Theft of Trade Secrets
    • Settled a number of suits alleging former employee breached contractual and fiduciary duties and stole trade secrets
    • Settled suit for theft of trade secrets involving code based revalue software
  • Tortious Interference with Contract
    • Settled suit by food broker alleging grocery store chain interfered with contracts with food suppliers 
    • Settled suit between two trucking companies alleging wrongful recruitment of truck drivers under contract
    • Settled suit between two insurance companies alleging breach of non-solicitation agreements of numerous insurance company employees.


  • 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
    •  "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."
    • "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, Judge Denlow—this could not have happened without you."
    • "Thank you, Judge. This feels like the right result, and we have a satisfied client."
    • "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 for your great efforts yesterday. It is much appreciated by my personally, and I know by [the parties] as well."
    • "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."
    • "Thank you for your time and effort in settling this matter. We look forward to the next opportunity to work together."
    • "I know I speak for all concerned in expressing appreciation for your guidance in resolving this case."
    • "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."
    • "Thank you for your patience and assistance with the parties’ settlement.  It was a pleasure working with you."
    • "Thank you, Judge Denlow.  And thank you for your difficult but effective work Monday and yesterday in helping us reach an agreement."
    • "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."
    • "Judge Denlow, and thank you very much for your assistance and steady hand through the mediation process. Much appreciated."
    • "Thank you for all of your efforts and patience yesterday while we worked through the issues. We really appreciate."
    • "Thank you for your time, energy and expertise in mediation. We appreciate everything and getting a resolution."
    • "Thank you very much for your persistence and judgment in successfully mediating this challenging dispute."




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