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Hon. Joan A. Madden

Hon. Joan A. Madden (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Civil Rights
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Estate Probate Trusts
Health Care
Personal Injury
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Joan A. Madden (Ret.) joins JAMS with 29 years of experience on the bench, having served New York State with distinction. Justice Madden was first elected to the New York County Civil Court in 1992 and was thereafter elected twice to the New York State Supreme Court, where she served a total of 23 years.

During her years on the bench, Justice Madden presided over a large variety of cases. In her most recent four years of service, she was assigned to a Medical Malpractice Part. During her previous assignment to an Individual Assignment Part, matters she handled included consolidated actions involving complex asbestos litigation, receiverships, contracts, employment discrimination, professional malpractice, labor law, torts, residential and commercial landlord-tenant disputes, issues related to arbitration and preliminary injunctions, Article 78 proceedings, land use and environmental law.

 Before her election to New York County Supreme Court, while serving as a judge in civil court in May 1997, Justice Madden was appointed as an acting New York County Supreme Court judge in New York County and assigned to Motor Vehicle and City parts, where she presided over thousands of cases and successfully conducted numerous settlement negotiations. When first elected in 1992, Justice Madden was assigned as a judge to Criminal Court, New York County, where she conducted trials and hearings, presided over a calendar part and decided substantive motions.

Before coming to the bench, Justice Madden worked as a trial and supervising attorney in the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society for 18 years, where she represented clients and supervised attorneys.

Justice Madden has served as the chair of the Judicial Section of the New York County Lawyers Association. Issues addressed during her tenure included sex trafficking, immigration, grand jury reform, cameras in the courtroom and admissibility of social media evidence. She also served as a member of the Litigation Coordinating Panel, where she participated in determining whether related actions pending in more than one judicial district should be coordinated before one or more judges. Justice Madden was appointed to the Tribal Courts Committee of the Unified Court System, where she worked with others to foster cooperation and understanding between the tribal, state and federal justice systems. The work of the committee involved understanding and acknowledging the culture of Native communities and the need for mechanisms to resolve jurisdictional disputes, as well as the overlapping nature of issues in the different justice systems.

Justice Madden has participated as a panelist and moderator at numerous conferences and CLE programs regarding asbestos litigation, expert testimony and evidence. She has served as a judge in competitions and for educational purposes in moot court programs sponsored by various bar associations. 

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
    • Justice Madden has presided over business disputes involving breach of contract, insurance, partnership dissolution, tortious interference with business relations, non-circumvent agreements, unfair competition and turnover proceedings, including issues related to a judgment debtor’s equitable ownership interest in distributions to other project participants. Zohlman v. Zoldan, 2011 WL 587480 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2011), aff’d 132 AD3d 568 (1st Dept 2015); GS Plasticos Limitada v. Bureau Veritas, 37 Misc3d 1228 (A) (Sup Ct, NY Co 2012)

  • Civil Rights/American Indian Tribal Law
      • Issued decisions in a number of significant matters, including ordering a judicial inquiry into police actions and city officials’ responsibility in connection with the arrest and death of an unarmed individual; Matter of Carr v. De Blasio, 70 Misc3d 418 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2020), aff’d 197 AD3d 124 (1st Dept 2021)
      • Ordered the police department to provide the race of persons at whom a police officer fired his or her weapon but who was not struck; New York Civil Liberties Union v. New Yor k City Police Department, Index No 110557/08 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2009), aff’d 74 AD3d 632 (1st Dept 2010)
      • Justice Madden presided over matters that permitted a case to proceed involving a challenge to a regulation requiring proof of “convertive surgery” before issuing a new birth certificate to transgender applicants. Prinzivalli v. Farley, 2016 WL 8540945 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2016)
      • In a case of first impression in New York courts, ruled that a landlord’s refusal to renew a tenant’s rent-stabilized lease based on the tenant’s “actual or perceived … alienage or citizenship status” violated New York City’s Human Rights Law Recalde v. Bae Cleaners, Inc., 20 Misc3d 827 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2008)
      • As a member of the Tribal Courts Committee, Justice Madden was involved in drafting procedures under the CPLR for the recognition of Tribal court orders under the doctrine of comity.
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
    • While on the bench, Justice Madden oversaw several class action cases and decided motions involving issues as to whether the allegations met the requirements for such actions.

  • Employment Law
    • Presided over numerous cases involving employment discrimination under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law, including actions alleging discriminatory practices and policies, discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, wrongful termination and hostile work environments, as well as spoliation issues in such actions; Ahroner v. Israel Discount Bank of New York, 14 Misc3d (Sup Ct, NY Co 2010)

  • Estates/Trusts/Guardianship
      • Presided over numerous matters involving judicial oversight of guardianships and trusts created for the benefit of infant plaintiffs or funded from proceeds of court actions
      • While on the bench, oversaw issues related to the need of an injured party for services and for the purchase of property to accommodate those needs
  • Health Care
    • Issued a direction to New York State and New York City to draft and implement regulations regarding application requirements for immediate home care services; Konstantinov v. Daines, 2010 WL 7746303 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2010), aff’d as modified 101 AD3d 520 (1st Dept 2012)

  • Medical Malpractice
    • While Justice Madden was assigned to medical malpractice cases, she negotiated hundreds of settlements. Among other issues, she considered claims of failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, negligent treatment and negligent performance of surgical and other procedures, including the failure to order medically necessary tests and to properly interpret or communicate the test results to an ordering physician. Issues also included whether a physician owed a duty to a patient and the nature and extent of such duty, as well the impact of clinical guidelines in regard to the standard of care. Kljyan v. Kaminetsky, 57 Misc3d 1222(A) (Sup Ct, NY Co 2017); Raefski v Hirsch, 2020 WL 1902414 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2020)

  • Personal Injury/Asbestos Litigation
      • Presided over all types of personal injury and tort matters, including labor law, premises liability, general negligence, construction defects, negligent hiring and supervision, wrongful death and product liability; Barney-Yeboah v. Metro-North Commuter Railroad, 2013 WL 10484682 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2013), rev'd 120 AD3d 1023 (154 Dept 2014),; Court of Appeals reversed the Appellate Division and reinstated Supreme Court order (J. Madden) 25 NY3d 945 (2015), Cumbicos v. Tractel, Inc., 2010 WL 4732723 (Sup Ct, NY Co 2010)
      • During her eight-year assignment to the New York County asbestos litigation, Justice Madden handled complex issues involving multiple parties and decided issues related to the quantum of proof required to establish causation and evidentiary issues related to expert testimony. Justice Madden negotiated hundreds of settlements, which involved an evaluation of fault among numerous defendants, including the liability or potential liability of the defendant based on the nature of the product and plaintiff’s alleged exposure. Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation (Dummitt) v. A W Chesterton, 36 Misc3d 1234(A) (Sup Ct, NY Co 2012), aff’d 121 AD3d 230 (1st Dept 2014), aff’d 27 NY3d 765 (2016)
  • Product Liability
    • Presided over matters involving allegations of the defective manufacture and sale of products, including issues regarding post-sale modification for a particular use; Buda v. New England Orthopedics & Prosthetics Systems, LLC, 7 Misc3d 1025(A) (2005); Caronna v. Macy’s East, Inc., 6 Misc3d 1016 (2001)

  • Professional Liability
    • Presided over a variety of professional malpractice cases, including cases involving legal malpractice asserting claims of breach of fiduciary duty by defendant attorney based on allegations of a conflict of interest due to the attorney’s joint representation of plaintiffs and other involved entities with interests adverse to plaintiffs; Bolton v. Weil, Gotshal & Mangers LLP, 4 Misc3d 1029(A) (Sup Ct, NY Co 2004)

  • Real Property
      • While on the bench, oversaw numerous matters involving commercial and residential real estate, breach of contract and warranties in the construction of condominium units, and mortgage foreclosures
      • Issued numerous decisions involving mortgage foreclosures and appointed and supervised receivers in multi-million-dollar commercial and residential properties; RPAP Hotel Debt (Flatotel), L.L.C. v. EALC LLC, et al., Index No.: 651153/2010 (Sup Ct, NY Co); RPAP Hotel Debt (ALEX), L.L.C. v. 205 EAST 45 LLC, et al., Index No.: 650964/2010 (Sup Ct, NY Co)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Award in Recognition and Appreciation of Years of Service; Trial Lawyers Section; and Torts, Insurance and Compensation Section; New York State Bar Association (NYSBA); 2021
  • Champion of Justice Award, New York State Trial Lawyers Association, 2020
  • New York State Unified Court System, 2015-2020
    • Member, Tribal Courts Committee, 2015–2020
    • Member, Litigation Coordinating Panel for the Unified Court System, 2015–2020
  • New York County Lawyers Association, 2006–present
    • Member, Board of Directors, Justice Center, 2021–present
    • Delegate to NYSBA, 2017–2019
    • Chair, Judicial Section, 2012–2015
    • Vice Chair, Judicial Section, 2010–2012
  • Fellow, New York Bar Foundation, 2005–present
  • National Association of Women Judges, 2007-2010
    • Member, Women in Prison Committee, 2007–2010
  • Outstanding Jurist and Champion of Justice, Brehon Law Society, 1996
  • Member, Brehon Law Society, 1993–present
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 2007-present
    • Member, Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee, 2010–2013
    • Member, Minorities in the Courts Committee, 2007–2008
  • New York State Bar Association, 2016-present

Selected Presentations and Publications

  • New York State Judicial Institute
    • Panelist, “Comity, Recognizing Tribal Court Judgments, Orders and Decrees,” July–August 2017
    • Moderator, “Evolution of Frye,” 2013
    • Involved in drafting procedures for recognizing tribal court judgements in state court
  • “Bootcamp for Lawyers,” New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, 2013
  • Moderator, “Discovery Is Different: Deposing and Disclosing in Criminal and Civil Cases in the NYS Courts,” New York County Lawyers, 2012
  • Panelist, “Trying an Asbestos Case,” HB Litigation Conference, 2010–2015
  • Judge-Instructor, “Basic Trial Techniques,” New York State Trial Lawyers Association, 2002–2011
  • Presiding Judge, National Student Advocacy Competition Regional Finals, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 2002–2009
  • Moot Court, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 1992,1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2008

Background and Education

  • Supreme Court, New York County, 1997-2021
    • Supreme Court Justice, Civil Term, 1998-2021
    • Acting Supreme Court Justice, Civil Term, 1997
  • Judge, Civil Court, New York County, 1994–1997
  • Judge, Criminal Court, New York County, 1992–1993
  • Legal Aid Society, 1973-1991
    • Supervising Attorney, Criminal Defense Division, 1987–1991
    • Staff Attorney, 1973–1987
  • J.D., Fordham University School of Law, 1973
  • B.A., Thomas More College, Fordham University,1968


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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