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George King

Hon. George H. King (Ret.)

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


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.
  • 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.


  • Settled international dispute over complicated inter-parties business relationship.
  • Settled contractual 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.

Civil Rights and Constitutional Law

  • 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.
  • Settled major injury action by prisoner against private prison for alleged failure to protect against known danger.
  • Settled innumerable civil rights actions against law enforcement officers and agencies alleging excessive use of force and related claims.

Class Action/Mass Tort

  • 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.


  • Settled action by thousands of opt-in LAPD officers against City of Los Angeles for various alleged FLSA violations.
  • Settled wrongful termination action by former vice-chairman against a national architectural firm.
  • Settled 28 related FLSA actions against City of Los Angeles.
  • Action by former deputy city attorney against municipality for alleged retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights.
  • Settled action by former law enforcement officer 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 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.

Health Care

  • 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.
  • Mediated and settled healthcare reimbursement matters between healthcare providers and various managed care and related entities.


  • Action involving the relative liability of re-insurers in multi-tranche policies of insurance.
  • Settled insurance 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.”
  • 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.
  • Settled copyright dispute between architect and regional medical center over design of surgical suites.
  • Settled trademark action over use of marks and slogans involving naval exercise target balloons.
  • Settled trademark action over modular pool heating devices.
  • Settled related 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.
  • Action for copyright infringement between two national tutorial services.
  • Action by sports car designer against former subcontractor for trademark infringement.


  • 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.
  • 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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