George King

Hon. George H. King (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
Anne Lieu
T: 213-253-9706
F: 213-620-0100
555 W. 5th St., 32nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013

George H. King is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. George H. King (Ret.) brings to JAMS more than 40 years of legal experience as a trial lawyer and federal judge.  For more than 21 years, he served as a United States District Judge, including four years as the Chief Judge, of the Central District of California. During his tenure, Judge King presided over and settled a wide range of complex civil cases, including securities fraud, intellectual property, business and contractual disputes, employment law, civil rights, constitutional law, insurance and class actions involving both federal and state law.  His decision in the class action challenging the validity of the claimed copyright to the song Happy Birthday received international attention.  Previously, he served as a United States Magistrate Judge and the Chief Magistrate Judge of the Court.  Throughout his tenure on the bench, Judge King has been widely sought after to conduct settlement conferences, often after resolution of the case had eluded other settlement efforts. 

At JAMS, Judge King serves as a mediator, arbitrator and case evaluator. In mediations, he brings his vast experience in conducting settlement conferences to assist the parties in identifying and then overcoming obstacles to resolution. By listening carefully to the parties, and building trust, Judge King cuts through to the real needs of the parties and suggests real solutions to the legal and practical problems the parties face. As an arbitrator, he draws on his experience as a trial judge who is well-known in the legal community for his analytical rigor, his faithfulness to legal principles, and his well-developed understanding of the human condition. As a case evaluator, he brings a hands-on, inquisitive and interactive approach that provides an ideal platform to test the strengths and weaknesses of significant motions or trials.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Twenty-one years as a United States District Judge, including four years as the Chief Judge, of the Central District of California.
  • Eight years as a United States Magistrate Judge, including as Chief Magistrate Judge, of the Central District of California.
  • Thirteen years as a civil and criminal trial lawyer, including four years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California.
  • Sat by designation on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Eastern District of California and the District of Idaho.
  • Mediated hundreds of cases as a settlement judge, including complex civil cases and class actions. 
  • Past Chair and Member of the Ninth Circuit Jury Instruction Committee.
  • Past Chair and Member of the Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System.
  • Frequent Speaker and Panelist on Federal Law and Procedure.

Representative Matters

Antitrust/Competition Law

  • Case involving matter of first impression of the applicability of the non-statutory labor exemption to defendants’ conduct in an antitrust action against major supermarket chains.
  • Class action by retail gas station owners against major petroleum refiners and wholesalers for alleged price-fixing. Ruling on summary judgment ultimately affirmed by a unanimous United States Supreme Court.
  • Action by professional football team against the league for alleged Sherman Act violations.
  • Class action by mattress manufacturer against competitor for alleged monopolization and attempted monopolization.


  • Action involving long-standing disputes flowing from Asset Purchase Agreement and subsequent competition between major cosmeceutical company and world renowned dermatologist.
  • Contract dispute involving complex cross-border tax treatment in the sale of a telecom construction company to an international engineering firm.
  • Disputes between partners and co-owners in the real estate industry.
  • Dispute between a strategic financial advisor and Chinese conglomerate over alleged violation of a non-disclosure and non-circumvention agreement in the acquisition of an American company.
  • Class action involving issues of unfair competition, false advertising, and mislabeling relating to consumer products.
  • Complex claims by purchaser of business against the source of its products over alleged defective product resulting in loss of future relationship with major retailer. 
  • Breach of license dispute between a celebrity chef and his licensee.
  • Breach of merger agreement matter involving alleged fraud, negligent misrepresentations and unfair competition.
  • Pre-filing contract dispute involving a major source of commercial gasses and one of its distributors.
  • International dispute over complicated inter-parties business relationship.
  • Contractural dispute over rights to certain toy designs between independent toy designer and major toy manufacturer.
  • Breach of contract action between former in-house counsel and major automotive manufacturer.
  • Breach of contract action between seller of pre-packaged food items and supplier.
  • Unfair competition class action against defendant for its alleged unauthorized sale of personal information.
  • Breach of contract action between parties to an Asset Purchase and Sale Agreement in the online media market.
  • Various breach of franchise agreement actions by national franchisors, such as motels and car rental chains, against former franchisees.


  • Dissolution and valuation action in the cannabis business.
  • Action involving direct and derivative claims for alleged breach of fiduciary duty in related cross-border cannabis businesses.
  • Purchase agreement disputes in cannabis business.

    Civil Rights and Constitutional Law

    • Class action resulting in the largest payout by Los Angeles County to women detainees for alleged unconstitutional strip searches by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.
    • Action between city and utility over alleged violation of the Constitution's Contract Clause arising from city's increase in trench cut fees.
    • Action challenging City's rent control ordinance by owner of multiple-unit rental properties.
    • Constitutional challenge by major billboard company against City and its Redevelopment Agency's various regulations.
    • Constitutional challenge against County's ordinance prohibiting roadside solicitation by day laborers.
    • Constitutional challenge against community college's anti-harassment policy.
    • Major injury action by prisoner against private prison for alleged failure to protect against known danger.
    • Numerous civil rights actions against law enforcement officers and agencies alleging excessive use of force and related claims.
    • Civil rights action by former police officer against the employer-city for alleged retaliation in violation of the First Amendment.

    Class Actions

    • Numerous class actions involving alleged violations of various consumer protection statutes.
    • Class action involving alleged RESPA violations by major real estate brokers.
    • Class action by pharmacists against national pharmacy chain over alleged wage and hour violations.
    • Consumer class action by customers against national exercise chain over issuance of alleged gift cards with expiration dates.
    • Class action by security guards against security guard service provider for alleged wage and hour violations.
    • Consumers class action against manufacturer and distributor of dietary supplements for alleged false claims of efficacy.
    • Consumer class action against manufacturer and distributor of homeopathic cold care products.


    • Action by thousands of opt-in LAPD officers against City of Los Angeles for various alleged FLSA violations.
    • Action by hundreds of firefighters and paramedics against City of Los Angeles for various alleged FLSA violations.
    • Numerous class actions for alleged state law wage and hour violations in a broad spectrum of occupations and employers.
    • Numerous individual actions alleging employment discrimination/harassment/retaliation in a wide range of businesses and industries.
    • Wrongful termination action by former vice-chairman against a national architectural firm.
    • Action by former deputy city attorney against municipality for alleged retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights.
    • Action by former law enforcement officers against law enforcement agency for failure to promote allegedly in retaliation for engaging in protected First Amendment activities.
    • Action by insurance adjuster against employer involving applicability of federal and state administrative exemption from overtime laws.
    • Action involving employee of a streaming service alleging discrimination due to pregnancy.


    • Breach of contract matter involving two film production companies concerning payments and credits due on a television series.
    • Dispute between video streaming business competitors over content licensed from Japanese licensors.
    • Pre-filing dispute between an entertainment business management firm and large bank involving liability for embezzlement of millions of dollars by a third party.
    • Action involving allegations of breach of Asset Purchase Agreement and related claims between a major entertainment agency and a top sports agent.
    • Action by domestic employee against world renowned entertainer and business leader for alleged employment discrimination and harassment.


    • Action by environment groups and States against EPA for alleged failure to implement standards under the Clean Water Act for construction industry run-offs.
    • Action by environmental groups against Bureau of Reclamation and operator of dam for alleged illegal takes of endangered species.
    • Action by state agency against various parties associated with dry cleaning businesses for alleged site contamination.
    • Various disputes in the alternative energy industry.
    • Breach of purchase agreement between proposed wind farm operator and major utility.

    Health Care

    • Multiple cases involving disputes in the healthcare industry, including reimbursement claims by major institutional providers against various national insurers and healthcare plans.
    • Qui Tam action against pharmaceutical company for alleged false claims for reimbursement for off-label drug use.
    • Qui Tam action against manufacturer and distributor of durable medical equipment for claims on allegedly non-reimbursable items.


    • Action involving the relative liability of re-insurers in multi-tranche policies of insurance.
    • Multi-level coverage disputes between various insurers and related direct and subrogated claims among multiple parties/entities.
    • Numerous actions involving disputes between insurer/insured in variety of business and personal policies.
    • Dispute between hospital and its insurer and insurance broker over policy’s coverage of action by patient against hospital for alleged abuse by hospital employee.
    • Dispute between major supermarket chain and insurer over coverage under excess liability insurance policy for various losses arising from contaminated food products.
    • Insurance coverage action by insurer to rescind malpractice insurance policy issued to attorney.

    Intellectual Property

    • Class action challenging the validity of the alleged copyright to Happy Birthday, the “most famous song in the world.”
    • Actions alleging copyright infringement by world renowned recording artists.
    • Patent infringement claims by real estate search patent holder against putative classes of defendants in the real estate profession.
    • Action involving alleged infringement of patent covering a medical device for use in spine surgeries.
    • Copyright dispute between architect and regional medical center over design of surgical suites.
    • Trademark action over use of marks and slogans involving naval exercise target balloons.
    • Trademark action over modular pool heating devices.
    • Cases involving copyright claims over designs applied to smart phones.
    • Action for alleged infringement of patents for system and method to analyze performance of streaming media across a packetized network.
    • Trademark infringement action by national law firm against competitor involving Google search terms.
    • Trade secrets action by sewer rehabilitation company against former employees.
    • Copyright infringement action between two national tutorial services.
    • Action by sports car designer against former subcontractor for trademark infringement.
    • Dispute arising from respondent's alleged breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets pertaining to dock door technology.


    • Class and related actions involving sale of company that had controlled MySpace.
    • Action by SEC involving matter of first impression on extraterritoriality application of United States securities laws.   
    • Class action for alleged securities fraud against for-profit colleges.
    • Securities class action against pharmaceutical company for alleged material misstatements and omissions.
    • Securities class action against technology company for alleged false product and financial statements.
    • Securities class action against national REIT for alleged false statements in secondary offering.
    Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

    • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
      • Past Member of Board of Directors and of Judicial Advisory Council
    • Member, Federal Bar Association
    • Past Chair and Member, Ninth Circuit Jury Instruction Committee
    • Past Chair and Member, Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System
    • Frequent Speaker and Panelist on Federal Law and Procedure
    • Judge, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 1995-2017
      • Chief Judge, 2012-2016
    • Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 1987-1995
      • Chief Magistrate Judge, 1995
    • Private practice, Los Angeles, California, 1974-1975; 1979-1987
    • Assistant United States Attorney, 1975-1979
      • Fraud and Special Prosecutions Section, 1978-1979
    • J.D., University of Southern California Gould School of Law, 1974
      • Order of the Coif
      • Senior Staff, Southern California Law Review
      • Co-Chair, Hale Moot Court Honors Program
    • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1971
      • Political Science
      • Magna Cum Laude

    Counsel Comments

      • "He was prepared, personable and of course super-smart...This was a case that there was serious doubt was settleable and by deploying the full range of skills he has Judge King delivered the result."



    Practice Areas

    • Antitrust/Competition Law
    • Arbitration
    • Business/Commercial
    • Civil Rights
    • Class Action/Mass Tort
    • Employment
    • Environmental
    • Federal Law
    • Health Care
    • Insurance
    • Intellectual Property
    • Securities
    Available nationwide


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