Hon. John A. Flaherty (Ret.)

T: 408-288-2240
F: 408-295-5267

Judge Flaherty has been a full time neutral at JAMS since 1998, handling hundreds of employment disputes as a mediator, arbitrator and as a court appointed referee.  Prior to joining JAMS, he served over 20 years on the Santa Clara County Superior Court.  Judge Flaherty is known for his ability to relate to all parties in employment disputes and his ability to achieve resolution while keeping in mind business considerations as well as sensitivities of parties.  Judge Flaherty’s experience in employment cases includes executive compensation disputes, all types of discrimination, harassment, and breach of employment contract disputes.

Representative Matters

  • Arbitration dispute between CEO of three entities that did business internationally and owner of holding company that controlled the entities
  • Mediation between bank president and bank
  • Arbitrated workplace discrimination based on race, worker’s comp injury and retaliation for violation of public policy against large multi-state based defendant
  • Mediated school district employment involving a teacher and school district
  • Mediated age discrimination dispute involving tax preparation
  • Mediated sexual harassment and constructive termination claim against restaurant owner
  • Mediated employment dispute over commissions and profit sharing
  • Mediated claim for retaliation against multinational chip maker in which Plaintiff contended he was terminated because he refused to engage in illegal activity
  • Mediated claim of wrongful termination based on disability discrimination
  • Mediated case involving interference with contract/employment and involved application of the law of Washington and Illinois as well as California.
  • High tech employment dispute involving founders of high tech firm and successor corporation
  • Arbitrated dispute between partner and law firm involving allocation of law firm distributions

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services, Board Member, 1999-2009
  • Selected as One of the Top Ten Mediators in Silicon Valley, San Jose Magazine, 2002
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Santa Clara County, 1987
  • Member, California Judges Association
  • Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Member, President's Advisory Council, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, 2001-present
  • Chair, Trial Court Coordination Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council, 1993-1998
  • Chair, Judicial Council Committee on Arbitration in the early 1980's
  • Lectured at Stanford Law School and the University of Santa Clara Law School on mediation, arbitration, and civil procedure; and for the CEB on real estate, probate, and business litigation issues
  • "The Power of Silence," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, February 19, 2016

Background and Education

  • Judge of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, 1977-1998
    (Presiding Judge, 1986; Supervisor of the Civil Division, 1997)
  • Founding partner, Berliner, Cohen & Flaherty, now Berliner Cohen
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1963
  • B.A., Stanford University, 1960


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