Hon. John J. Hughes (Ret.), served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey for eighteen years from 1991 to 2009. Judge Hughes presided over approximately twenty eight hundred settlements, conducted nearly sixty jury trials in consent cases, and managed almost five hundred civil cases a year, including discovery and related motion practice (authoring over 450 opinions). He is highly regarded for skillfully settling complicated cases and for his ability to keep parties focused on the issues to reach an amicable solution. Upon retirement, he was noted for his “hard work and good humor”. Judge Hughes was voted Best Individual Mediator 2013 by the readers of the New Jersey Journal.
Judge Hughes was also a pioneer in the rapidly evolving field of electronic discovery, participating in the formulation of one of the first local District Court Rules for e-discovery and authoring an early opinion encouraging cooperation. He was the first judicial advisor for the United States Court Administrative Office/Justice Department Working Group on Electronic Technology in the Criminal Justice System.
ADR ExperienceSince joining JAMS in March 2009, Judge Hughes has fostered amicable agreement or quick decision in the following areas of Alternative Dispute Resolution with representative cases:
- Mediation – conducted numerous, and successful, settlement conferences, ranging from low six figures to multi-million dollar results, in cases involving personal injury/wrongful death, commercial disputes, pharmaceutical patent agreements, employment termination, false claims/ whistleblower cases, insurance coverage cases (including long term disability cases), wage and hour case involving unions and a regional transportation authority, various class actions(including consumer claims), and multi-district cases.
- Arbitration – presided over numerous arbitrations as sole arbitrator in cases involving employment termination, breach of contract, defamation, and commercial disputes. Also, served as chair of three judge panels in one case involving breach of contract claims between a law firm and a senior partner and in another,contract claims between two companies providing international private protection services.
- Case Management – managed a commercial dispute between a large telecommunications provider and its distributer for over two and one half years, including numerous case management conferences, discovery decisions and five reasoned decisions on dispositive issues, and also managed a separate federal “Madoff spin-off” case lasting only a few weeks. Both cases resulted in settlements fostered by other JAMS neutrals.
- Special Discovery Master - served as court appointed special discovery master in a federal case involving appropriate “confidential “ markings on thousands of documents in a pharmaceutical antitrust case and in a separate state case, involving a variety of discovery disputes including privilege issues, between a large healthcare provider and a hospital network.
- Mock Trial/Neutral Evaluation -served as one of three members of various mock trial panels to advise one party as to viability of issues involving patent validity and in a separate case, provided neutral evaluation for a Plaintiff in a federal suit to release escrow funds held back in the prior sale of a company.
Representative MattersJudge Hughes has settled numerous cases involving a wide range of issues, including the following:
- ERISA class action
- Stockholder class action
- Mental health: Prisoner Conditions of Confinement class action
- Civil rights involving multiple parties
- Medical/dental malpractice
- Pharmaceutical patent
- Personal injury: Wrongful death
- Trademark: nicotine control products
- Wrongful termination
- Civil Rights
- Insurance Coverage
- Product Liability
- False Claims/Whistleblower
- Shareholder Disputes
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
- Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
- Recipient, Judge John F. Gerry Award from the Camden County Bar Foundation, 2013
- Recipient, William J. Brennan, Jr. Award, Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey, 2009
- Recipient, Professionalism and Service to the Bar Award, Mercer County Bar Association, 2007
- Recipient, Richard J. Hughes Catholic Charities Humanitarian Award, 2006
- Recipient, Michael J. Nizolek Award from the Mercer County Bar Foundation, 2009
- Recipient, Chief Judge Lawrence A. Whipple Award for excellence and devotion to law, Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, 1995
- United States Judicial Conference Committee on Defender Services (Member 1997-2003)
- Former Trustee for Georgian Court University, Newgrange School and Outreach Center, and Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey
- Former Judicial Advisor to the District Court Lawyers Advisory Committee (1995-2009) and the District Court Historical Society (2000-2009)
- Founding Master, Seton Hall Law School Inn of Court
- Founding Master and First President, Mercer County American Inn of Court
- Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Member, American Bar Association since 1972
- Member, New Jersey Bar Association since 1972
- First judicial advisor, Administrative Office/Department of Justice Joint Working Group on Electronic Technology in the Criminal Justice System
- Conducted programs on trial advocacy, trial preparation/investigation, electronic discovery, complex civil litigation, federal and local rules, and other subjects for a variety of legal and professional organizations
- Created CPR for Courtroom Lawyers and Judges, and other trial advocacy programs in electronic form, for presentation to bar associations, inns of court, law firms, government offices, law schools, and other groups, since 2000
- Faculty, Intensive Trial Advocacy Program, Widener Law School, since 1988
- Director, Meals on Wheels of Trenton-Ewing (1992 – present)
Background and Education
- U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of New Jersey, 1991-2009
- Assistant-in-Charge of Camden-Trenton Region, Federal Public Defender, 1976-1991
- Assistant New Jersey State Public Defender, Essex/Hunterdon Regions, 1972-1976
- Associate, Sterns and Greenberg, 1972
- Law Clerk, New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, 1971
- J.D., Villanova University, 1971
- B.S., (Business Administration), Villanova University, 1968
- "Our mediator John Hughes was critical to resolution. Opposing counsel was extremely difficult, and he handled the situation well."
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