Hon. Mary Anne Mason (Ret.) has had a career spanning more than 40 years, including nearly 19 years on the bench in Cook County (Illinois). From July 2013 to her retirement, the Illinois Supreme Court assigned Judge Mason to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, where she twice served as presiding judge. She also served on the First District Settlement Committee and mediated cases on appeal by agreement of the litigants.
Judge Mason’s 13-year tenure on the circuit court included nine years in the Chancery Division, where she handled hundreds of matters in the substantive areas of class actions, commercial and business dissolution disputes, complex insurance declaratory matters, restrictive covenants and other employment-related matters, shareholder derivative and shareholder rights litigation, trust agreements, zoning matters, environmental disputes and many others.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Mason spent 21 years in public and private practice handling, among other types of cases, complex commercial matters, class actions, shareholder derivative and securities litigation, insurance declaratory actions, Federal Tort Claims Act cases and contract claims against the federal government. In private practice and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, she argued numerous appeals in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, and she is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.
Judge Mason has long recognized the toll protracted litigation exacts in terms of lost time and productivity, expense and uncertainty, as well as the emotional investment litigation often entails. Both as a lawyer and as a judge, she has been committed to all forms of alternative dispute resolution.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Served on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District Settlement Committee and mediated cases on appeal by agreement of the parties
- Chaired the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division Mediation Committee, which drafted and obtained implementation of new circuit court rules for mediating chancery matters
- Chaired the Illinois Supreme Court Discovery Rules Committee
Judge Mason has substantial litigation, judicial and settlement experience in the following areas:
- Appellate: During her tenure on the appellate court, Judge Mason authored hundreds of decisions addressing issues across the spectrum of civil and criminal law and has participated in dozens of other decisions by special concurrence or dissent.
- Business/Commercial: Judge Mason has extensive experience in all areas of business and commercial law, including corporate governance, directors and officers liability, partnership and LLC disputes and dissolutions, breach of contract claims, fraud, mechanics liens and franchise and distributorship disputes.
- Class Actions: As a lawyer and on the bench, Judge Mason handled numerous class actions in the areas of insurance, securities fraud, products liability, consumer fraud, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims and many others. As a lawyer, she arbitrated dozens of underinsured motorist insurance claims as part of the administration of a $6-million class action settlement.
- Employment: Judge Mason has presided over numerous cases involving restrictive covenants in employment agreements and has lectured to hundreds of judges and lawyers on the topic; she has extensive experience in matters relating to employment discrimination and discipline or termination of both private and public employees, including judicial review of those decisions.
- Insurance: Judge Mason has presided over complex insurance matters involving the interpretation of insurance contracts in the areas of construction site injuries, environmental claims, coverage for asbestos and other hazardous materials, real property title disputes and automobile accidents; she authored one of the first opinions in Illinois to address insurance coverage for Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) claims.
- Professional Liability: Judge Mason has presided over cases asserting professional liability claims in a variety of contexts, including attorneys, physicians, accountants, engineers, title search companies and securities ratings agencies.
- Real Property: Judge Mason has extensive experience in matters relating to the ownership of or leasehold interests in real property, including eminent domain matters, zoning, easement disputes, homeowners and condominium association issues, and commercial lease disputes.
- Securities: Judge Mason, as a lawyer and while on the bench, has broad experience in the areas of securities fraud, SEC investigations and shareholder derivative claims.