John Flaherty

Hon. John A. Flaherty (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Jacquelynne Garcia
T: 408-346-0735
F: 408-295-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113


Judge Flaherty became a full time neutral with JAMS in 1998 and has handled hundreds of real estate disputes as a mediator, arbitration and court appointed referee.  Prior to joining JAMS, he handled a variety of real estate cases during more than 20 years on the Santa Clara County Superior Court. He has a deep understanding of real estate law and terminology from years of handling cases involving breach of real estate contracts, broker liability, easements, eminent domain, escrow disputes, financing agreements, and homeowners associations. 

Representative Matters

  • Arbitrated many disputes between home buyer, seller and relators involving real estate disclosures and construction issues
  • Arbitrated dispute between neighbors encroachment property line and overgrown shrubbery
  • Court Reference matter involving partition sale on a number of commercial properties
  • Arbitrated dispute involving real estate purchasers and neighbors over setback and view easements
  • Lease dispute involving successor corporation and alter ego issues
  • Mediated dispute between homeowner and homeowner association over substitution of artificial lawn for natural grass
  • Mediated breach of real estate purchase agreement where buyer contended that seller and seller’s real estate agents failed to timely disclose property was over encumbered
  • Mediated dispute arising from a commercial sublease, involving a sublessor, a sublessee and an investor in the sublessee.  The case involved the issue of abandonment of the premises and claims the investor interfered with the sublease by inducing sublessee to breach it. 
  • Mediated matter involving a grandson and his wife obtaining a mortgage to help grandparents where grandson and wife allegedly stole the loan proceeds 
  • Land valuation of ground lease for major shopping center
  • Misrepresentation of boundary lines
  • Purchase and sale agreements
  • Commercial real estate dispute involving construction defect issues with a major high tech company opening its first retail store
  • Dispute between the purchaser, seller, and broker of a San Francisco mansion
  • Homeowners Association and CC&R code violations
  • Mediations involving alleged broker misconduct and loan fraud in both prime and sub-prime markets
  • Numerous commercial real estate disputes
  • Numerous disputes between purchasers and sellers of real estate
  • Real estate disputes between owners and brokers of real estate
  • Successfully resolved breach of contract and fiduciary duty disputes related to real estate loans arising from the financial crisis and recession
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • 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
  • 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

Counsel Comments

    • "On behalf of myself and my client, we thank [Judge Flaherty] for [his] invaluable assistance in settling our very complex and difficult cases. All previous attempts to settle had failed. [His] intelligent analysis of the numerous legal and financial issues and relentless pursuit of a workable solution made all the difference."

      - Bay Area Attorney




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