Hon. John W. Kennedy, Jr. (Ret.)

T: 909-942-5942
F: 909-889-2162
Available nationwide
Personal Injury/Torts

With more than 30 years of experience as a trial judge and full-time neutral, Judge Kennedy has handled thousands of personal injury and tort claims. That background has given him a deep understanding of the crucial issues and nuances of creatively settling personal injury disputes. He is able to provide all sides with frank assessments of their cases, even if it means saying something a party doesn’t want to hear. At the same time, he is courteous, patient, and understanding of the emotional aspects involved in personal injury matters. Plaintiff, defense and insurance counsel have come to trust him with their cases, ranging from straightforward claims to those involving complex issues and catastrophic injuries.

Comments about Judge Kennedy from Personal Injury Attorneys

  • All of my experiences with Judge Kennedy have been positive. He is friendly and has the ability to suck you in. He has tremendous experience with the San Bernardino Court and community. Judge Kennedy has a frank way of telling the parties what they can expect. --Attorney specializing in Complex Personal Injury
  • Judge Kennedy is a nice person; he treats lawyers with courtesy, patience, diplomacy and tact. He's smart, knows what the issues are and quickly recognizes strengths and weaknesses of a case. He doesn't use a saw to cut the baby in half. Judge Kennedy has the courage to make a ruling without worrying about his next meal ticket. He's not worried about being politically correct. He is the first judge that walks on water without getting his feet wet. --Attorney specializing in Complex Personal Injury (Product Liability)

Representative Matters

  • Mass tort claims: All tort claims arising from a fire, followed by a flood, which damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in San Bernardino in 1980; More than 300 tort claims arising from the train derailment and subsequent pipeline explosion in Cajon Pass in 1989
  • Airplane crash and crashworthiness cases involving both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft
  • Dozens of governmental tort claim cases
  • Dozens of medical and legal malpractice cases
  • Dozens of premises liability cases
  • Dozens of product liability cases
  • Dozens of cases involving minors or incompetents and many involving special needs trusts
  • Hundreds of automotive accident cases
  • Many toxic tort cases
  • Many claims of false arrest and/or excessive use of force (against law enforcement and private defendants)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Chair, California Presiding Judges, 1999
  • Dean, California Judges' College, 1992-1994
  • Bernard Jefferson Award, California Judges' Association, 1993
  • Associate Dean, California Judges' College, 1990-1991
  • Publications include: Personality Type and Judicial Decision Making, ABA Judges' Journal, Volume 37, No.3; California Evidence, Attorneys' Briefcase (co-author)
  • ADR Profile: "Accounting for Success," Daily Journal (Verdicts & Settlements), August 13, 2010
  • Taught numerous educational programs relating to decision-making skills to about 2,000 judges nationwide and to 400-500 attorneys at various organizations including The Rutter Group, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Federal Judicial Center, National Judicial College, American Bar Association, California Center for Judicial Education and Research, California Judges Association, California State Bar Association, Pepperdine Law School and Stanford University

Background and Education

  • Justice Pro Tem, California Court of Appeal, 1984
  • Presiding Judge, San Bernardino County Courts, 1997-1999
  • Judge, San Bernardino County Superior Court, 1984-2000
  • Judge, California Municipal Court, 1980-1984
  • Private Practice, 1963-1964 and 1968-1977
  • Deputy District Attorney, San Bernardino County, 1964-1968 and 1978-1980
  • J.D., Stanford School of Law, 1963 (Law Review); B.A., Stanford University, 1961


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

February 25-26, 2016
November 16-17, 2015
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