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Hon. Ken M. Kawaichi (Ret.)

Hon. Ken M. Kawaichi (Ret.)

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Estate Probate Trusts
Family Law
Governmental & Public Agency
Health Care
Higher Education & Title IX
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Hon. Ken M. Kawaichi (Ret.) is a 28-year veteran of Alameda County's municipal and superior courts, and has developed a reputation for encouraging settlement discussions throughout the pre-trial and trial process. He has experience in a wide variety of hearing formats and case types, ranging from bankruptcy to employment and construction disputes. He is sought after and highly regarded for his efficiency, empathy, and respect of all clients.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Almost three decades of experience handling all types of civil cases, including national and international commercial disputes
  • Over fifteen years of experience managing mass tort litigation, including hundreds of multi-party civil cases
  • Trained in, used and taught various dispute resolution techniques, including mandatory and voluntary court settlement conferences, grouped or consolidated case settlement conferences, early disposition programs, supervised negotiations, court trials and arbitrations, mediation, summary trials, mass action settlements, class action settlements, phased settlement conferences, and others

Representative Matters prior to joining JAMS

  • Adams v. State of California
  • Buttram v. Fibreboard Corp.
  • Byrd v. Lew
  • Ciampaglia v. Rasco
  • Dillingham Construction v. California State Board of Equalization
  • Gomes v. Karol
  • Hackett v. Swanson
  • Complex Asbestos Litigation
  • Jones v. California Trust Deeds, Inc.
  • Kaiser Air v. Port of Oakland
  • Kaminski v. Western MacArthur Co.
  • Kiddie v. Fibreboard Corp.
  • Leticia A. v. Regents of the University of California
  • Loshse v. Lakeland Village Homeowners' Assoc.
  • Newwald v. Dean
  • Ruiz v. Port of Oakland
  • Turner v. Union Pacific Railroad
  • Western MacArthur Company v. General Accident and Insurance Company
  • Widergren v. Everest & Jennings, Inc.

Representative Matters

  • Bankruptcy
      • Currently serves as Trustee for the following asbestos bankruptcy trusts: Combustion Engineering 524(g) Personal Injury bankruptcy trust, Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical 524(g) Personal Injury bankruptcy trust, Federal Mogul 524(g) Personal Injury bankruptcy trust
  • Business Commercial
      • Mediated and arbitrated a wide variety of complex business and tort cases, commercial disputes, contract disputes, consumer claims, banking disputes, collection, and financial cases
  • Construction Defect
      • Mediated and arbitrated construction cases and real property cases involving unlawful detainers and landlord/tenant matters
  • Employment Law
      • Heard cases involving discrimination charges, labor disputes, and Americans with Disabilities Act claims
  • Personal Injury
      • Mediated and arbitrated many personal injury suits, asbestos claims, railroad hearing loss claims, products liability cases, defamation claims, and healthcare disputes
  • Public Entities
      • Involved with disputes involving schools, colleges, and universities, as well as state and local government claims

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award, 2003
  • Judge of the Year Award, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, 1989
  • Member, California Judges' Association; Past President, California Asian/Pacific Judges' Association
  • Member, California Judicial Council Committees: Civil Forms; Civil and Small Claims; Task Force on Complex Litigation; Task Force on Race and Ethnic Bias; Chair, Access and Fairness; Chair, CJER Fairness Planning
  • Member, University of California, Berkeley, Community Advisory Board
  • Member, American Bar and Alameda County Bar Associations; American and California Trial Lawyers' Associations
  • Chair Elect, National Judicial College Faculty Council
  • Founder, Asian Law Caucus

Background and Education

  • Judge, Alameda Superior Court, 1980-2003
  • Judge, Oakland-Piedmont-Emeryville Municipal Court, 1975-1980
  • Partner, Yonemura, Yasaki & Kawaichi, Oakland, CA, 1969-1975
  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley, 1970-1973
  • Associate, Yonemura & Yasaki, Oakland, CA, 1966-1969
  • Faculty, CJER Judges' College, National Judicial College, CEB, NITA, PLI, Judicial courses in China, Russia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, California, Nevada, Utah, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, and Hawaii
  • LL.B., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1966
  • A.B., Pomona College, Claremont, CA, 1963


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