Judith Ryan

Hon. Judith M. Ryan (Ret.)

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

Case Manager
Laura Aguilar
T: 714-937-8256
F: 714-939-8710
5 Park Plaza, Suite 400, Irvine, CA 92614

Judith M. Ryan 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.


Judge Ryan has been a full time mediator and arbitrator since retiring from the Orange County Superior Court in 1989. She has presided over hundreds of trials, arbitrations and mediations, involving a wide variety of issues. She has extensive experience in the resolution of complex cases, including multi-party cases, which have required the application of state and federal law.

Judge Ryan has arbitrated a broad range of commercial disputes which have included issues of contract interpretation, unfair competition cases, disputes over buy-sell agreements of both real property and businesses (which have required consideration of appraisals as part of the damage analysis), product development cases which have involved the consideration of a broad spectrum of technical issues, construction cases which have involved issues of change orders and delay damages and partnership/business dissolution cases including professional partnerships.

The following is a sampling of representative cases handled by Judge Ryan.

Representative Arbitrations

  • Commercial: Breach of contract in municipal sewer pipe purchase after failure of sewer pipe
  • Commercial: Breach of contract and unfair competition regarding development of pet care product
  • Commercial: Breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty: insurance brokers agreement terminated by insurance company
  • Commercial: Breach of engagement agreement between attorney and client involving issues of reasonableness of billing
  • Commercial: Breach of fiduciary duty claim by furniture manufacturing company widow against surviving shareholder for accounting/valuation of corporation in a forced buyout
  • Commercial: Construction project for Federal Government where principal issue was claim for delay damages; this portion of the project was in excess of $5M
  • Commercial: Construction project for NASA/Mission Control; dispute between NASA oversight contractor and contractor with contract for project involving issues of conformance with technical standards and delay damages in excess of $1.5M
  • Commercial: Dispute between manufacturing company and software development company involving issues of contract interpretation, determination of the subject matter of the contract, whether the delivered software met the requirements of the contract, and complex damages analysis. The parties reached a high-low settlement during deliberations that was not disclosed until after determination of the merits which raised post-hearing issues as to entitlement to certain fees and costs.
  • Commercial: Four-week arbitration involving breach of contract issues arising out of major construction project; damages in excess of $6 million at issue
  • Commercial: Hillside grading case where subcontractor sought compensation for change orders and delay damages in excess of $1.25M, in addition to coverage and bonding issues
  • Commercial: State/County highway project where claims were based upon change orders and seeking delay damages; issues involved analysis of the work of the surveyors
  • Commercial: Tenant improvement case where claims were based on disputed change orders and sought delay damages in excess of $2M. [Total project in excess of $8M]
  • Commercial: Three-week arbitration involving issues of contract interpretation and entitlement of former partner to partnership distributions of ongoing partnership investments; damages in excess of $20 million at issue
  • Dissolution of Corporation: Privately held corporation involving injunctions concerning violations of trade secret agreements
  • Dissolution of Partnership:
    • Trial of dissolution of partnership interest in food distribution company involving allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, accounting
    • Dissolution of privately held corporation involving injunctions concerning violations of trade secret agreements
  • Partnership: Determined many partnership disputes including disputes arising out of medical and legal partnerships and partnerships of family owned businesses. Issues have included the determination of the respective rights of the various partners and in most instances involved a partnership dissolution which required an accounting. Some of the specific issues have involved an interpretation and application of formulas for the division of the partnership assets.
  • Partnership: Dispute over liability between partners concerning one city block and four commercial buildings in default to lender
  • Premises Liability: One-week arbitration involving liability and indemnity between major landlord and service provider for injury to persons on subject premises
  • Product Development: Case involved a product development agreement between a major pharmaceutical company and a small medical device firm started by physicians who had developed an advanced gynecological screening method. Issues included interpretation of terms of the development agreement and further determination of whether there had been a breach of the agreement. Specifically issues were raised as to whether adequate measures had been taken to develop the product under the agreement that involved consideration of industry standards for product development and consideration of the marketing of medical devices and products. Issues were also raised as to the determination of the damages involving consideration of expert opinions as to the calculations of lost profits.
  • Product Development: Dispute involving a development agreement for technology in the cable industry which raised issues of unfair competition and consideration of numerous issues related to the calculation of potential damages.
  • Product Development: Matter involving the development of a holographic imaging device for the diagnosis of medical conditions, issues involved were similar to the issues as set forth in the case above, but involved more in-depth analysis into the various stages of the actual product development and testing as related to the terms of the contract.
  • Product Development: Breach of buyout agreement brought by the founder and inventor of a method of cleaning chemical spills with damages at issue in excess of $22 million dollars
  • Real Property Disputes: Presided over many real property matters which have included contract interpretation issues, landlord-tenant matters, development agreements, construction defect issues and environmental issues under both state and federal law. Several of these have required consideration of appraisals of land and/or leasehold interests.
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Recognized as a Top 30 California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2006
  • National Association of Women Business Owners "Remarkable Woman Award" for professional involvement and contribution to the community, 2006
  • Recognized as a Top 50 California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2003
  • Loyola Law School, Orange County Distinguished Alumna of the Year, 2003
  • The Robert "Sam" Barnes Award, Orange County Bar Foundation, 1998
  • Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award, Anti-Defamation League, 1994
  • Franklin G. West Award, Orange County Bar Association, 1992
  • Woman of Achievement in Law Award, Orange County YWCA, 1989
  • Recipient of numerous Letters of Recognition and Appreciation from various Bar Association Sections and Community Organizations including:
    • California Peace Officers Association
    • Orange County Bar Association Business Litigation Section
    • Orange County Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section
    • Orange County Trial Lawyers
    • Women in Leadership (WIL)
    • Young President's Organization (YPO)
    • National Legal Secretaries Association

ADR Profiles
  • Full time Mediator and Arbitrator, 1989-present
  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 1982-1989
  • Judge, Orange County Municipal Court, 1981-1982
  • Attorney, Santa Ana Police Department, Santa Ana, CA, 1977-1981
  • Corporate Counsel, Hunt Wesson Foods, Inc., Fullerton, CA, 1974-1977
  • Private law practice, Torrance and Redondo Beach, CA, 1972-1974
  • Research Attorney, Los Angeles County Superior Court Appellate Department, 1971-1972
  • ADR training includes Advanced Mediation Training, Pepperdine Univ. School of Law, Inst. for Dispute Resolution (1994) and Certification for Int'l Arbitration, Int'l Center for Arbitration (1994)
  • J.D., Loyola University, 1970
  • B.A., University of Southern California, 1966

Counsel Comments

    • "What stands out is her ability to be fair to both sides and extremely pleasant. She’s highly sought after and at the top of her game…”

      -Prominent OC Attorney




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