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Michael Mason

Hon. Michael T. Mason (Ret.)

Case Manager
Juliana Wilkin
T: 312-655-9193
F: 312-655-0644
71 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60606

Michael T. Mason 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.


Hon. Michael T. Mason (Ret.) joined JAMS in Chicago in February 2019 after 17 years of distinguished service as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. During his time on the bench, Judge Mason presided over thousands of civil and criminal cases in both trial and pre-trial stages, including jury and bench trials in civil rights, employment, complex commercial, intellectual property and tort actions. Many civil settlement conferences required resolution of insurance issues, both between insurers and the parties and in complex cases between insurers.

Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Mason served for over 24 years as staff attorney and then chief trial attorney for the Federal Defender Program in the Northern District of Illinois.

As a magistrate judge, Judge Mason received case referrals from all of the district judges and developed close working relationships with each of them. Judge Mason is known as an able and even-tempered jurist who can quickly grasp parties’ legal and factual positions to home in on opportunities for settlement.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Judge Mason has extensive experience adjudicating and mediating in the following areas:

  • Civil Rights/Prisoner Civil Rights
  • Complex Commercial
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Fair Debt Collection
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts

Representative Matters


  • Miles v. Courtyard Healthcare Center, No. 18 CV 14: mediated and settled a matter involving a hearing- and speech-impaired plaintiff; required a sign language interpreter


  • Chicago Import v. American States Ins. Co., No. 09 C 2885: contract dispute regarding a warehouse fire
  • UCB v. Kanan Fashions, No. 10 C 331: mediated and settled a matter involving default on a promissory note
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Inc. v. Winning Charities Illinois, LLC, et al., No. 13 C 1430: mediated and settleda contract dispute involving fundraising for a charity
  • AR-EN Party Printers v. Machines Dubuit, No. 15 C 9821: mediated and settled a breach of contract matter involving a printer and a French manufacturer
  • PECO v. Northwest Pallet, No. 15 C 6811 (Presided over jury trial in matter involving unjust enrichment, conversion and civil conspiracy related to the return of rented wooden pallets)

Civil Rights/Section 1983

  • Alfredo v. Oviedo, No. 99 C 5216: presided over a jury trial in a matter involving excessive use of force, malicious prosecution and false arrest
  • Truesdale v. Klich, No. 03 8209: presided over a jury trial in a Section 1983 claim arising out of a dispute between neighbors
  • Zatos v. Village of Palatine, No. 07 C 1004: presided over a jury trial in a matter where plaintiff, who suffered from a disability affecting his arm and hand, alleged excessive force by police, who handcuffed him following a traffic stop
  • Blackwell v. City of Chicago, No. 08 C 7257: presided over a jury trial in a matter involving false arrest, malicious prosecution and unlawful search
  • Woulard v. City of Chicago, No. 09 C 8084: presided over a jury trial in a matter involving excessive force, malicious prosecution and false arrest arising out of the Chicago Police Department’s forced entry into plaintiff’s house on New Year’s Eve
  • Garrit v. City of Chicago, No. 16 C 7319: issued an evidentiary report and recommendation in a Civil Rights Act matter arising out of the plaintiff’s death
  • Cefalu v. Glenview, No. 12 C 5995: presided over a jury trial in a matter where plaintiff alleged false arrest related to her detention by Glenview police on her way to the airport with her boyfriend
  • Mediated and settled several of the Burge Cases (related to torture of criminal suspects during Commander Jon Burge’s tenure at the Chicago Police Department), in addition to the following cases:
    • Fields v. Grass, No. 07-2036
    • Guerrero v. Finnigan, No. 07-1015
    • Juarez v. Herrera, No. 07-685
    • Ontivero-Artal v. Herrera, No. 06-7036
    • Drake v. City of Chicago, No. 06-6893
    • Melesio v. City of Chicago, No. 06-4841

Class Action

  • In Re: Trans Union, No. 00 C 4729: mediated and settled a Fair Credit Reporting Act matter
  • Butler v. American Cable & Telephone, No. 09 C 5336: mediated and settled a Fair Labor Standards Act matter involving overtime wages of cable company employees


  • Simmons v. United Conveyor Corp., No. 02 C 4800: presided over a jury trial in an employment discrimination case
  • Joyce v. Chicago Park District, No. 03 C 6420: presided over a jury trial in an employment discrimination and retaliation matter

First Amendment

  • Left Field Media v. City of Chicago, No. 15 C 3115: dispute regarding the sale of magazines outside of Wrigley Field

False Claims

  • Robinson, et al. v. Northrop Corp, et al., No. 89 C 6111: whistleblower case; government alleged Northrop overcharged its customers for materials used to build warplanes
  • USA v. Sekendur/Sekendur v. McCandliss, No. 03 C 807/11 C 8981: issued a report and recommendation in a matter involving false claims for disability benefits

Intellectual Property

  • MB Fin. Bank v. MB Real Estate Services, LLC, No. 02 C 5925: issued a report and recommendation ina trademark infringement (Lanham Act) matter involving the use of a logo
  • Clark Tile v. Red Devil, Inc., No. 04 C 2928: presided over a jury trial in a trademark infringement matter involving adhesive spreaders; case settled mid-trial
  • Restoration Hardware v. Haynes Furniture Co. (d/b/a The Dump), No. 16 C 10665: mediated and settled a trademark infringement case involving defendant’s use of plaintiff’s name, furniture models and photos

Personal Injury/Tort

  • Colon et. al. v. Blackmon, No. 99 C 8146: presided over a jury trial in a matter involving negligence in a trucking accident with a family vehicle on the Chicago Skyway resulting in death and injuries
  • Robenhurst v. Dematic Corp., No. 05 C 3192: presided over a jury trial in a personal injury lawsuit arising out of an accident at a Ford Motor Company facility; plaintiff’s leg was crushed while loading a trailer
  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. USA, No. 13 C 3266: presided over a bench trial in a Federal Tort Claims Act matter involving a car accident on government property
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Presentations
    • Speaker, Virtual ADR Presentation, Winston & Strawn, July 2020
    • Panelist, What You Don’t Know Might Cost You: How To Be A Few Steps Ahead When Negotiating And Mediating Disputes, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, March 2020
    • Panelist, Keys to an Effective Federal Civil Practice, Chicago Bar Association, May 2019
  • Awards
    • Recipient, Public Service Award, Mitchell A. Mars Foundation Annual Gala, 2018
  • Teaching
    • Past Trial Practice Lecturer and Judge, Justice Department School for New Assistant U.S. Attorneys
    • Former Adjunct Faculty, Trial Practice, Advanced Trial Practice, Negotiation, John Marshall Law School
  • Memberships
    • Former Investigator and Committee Member, Judicial Evaluation Committee, Chicago Bar Association
    • Former Member, American Bar Association
    • Former Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 2001–2019
  • Attorney, Federal Defender Program (N.D. Ill.), 1977–2001
    • Chief Trial Attorney, 1986–2001
    • Staff Attorney, 1977–1986
  • J.D., John Marshall Law School, 1977
  • Inside Sales, Union Carbide, 1969–1974
  • Sergeant, Secret Clearance, United States Army, 1967–1969
  • Tuition Plan, CIT Financial Corporation, 1965–1967
  • B.A., Government, University of Arizona, 1965

Counsel Comments

    • “I really appreciate the effort and focus you brought to the mediation.  Both my client and I were somewhat skeptical about the chances to resolve this matter before the mediation began.  We appreciated the fact that you picked up on the pertinent issues quickly, and we were able to get to a resolution very efficiently.  I will certainly look forward to using you again in the future.”
      - Chicago Defense Attorney upon successful settlement of a Personal Injury matter
    • “In my 40 years of practice I’ve never had a more difficult client with a more complex fact pattern. Your wealth of knowledge of the legal issues and command of the facts was extraordinary. I am convinced you knew the factual details of the case and medical records more closely than counsel and even my client who lived through the experience. Without your assistance we would never have been able to bring the case to an amicable resolution. I am going to recommend that all of my colleagues consider you for future mediations."
      - Chicago Plaintiff’s Attorney upon successful settlement of a Personal Injury matter
    • “I appreciate all of your efforts in mediating this challenging case.  You knew the case well and put in the time to achieve a successful resolution. Thank you very much and I will let my colleagues know about the great job you did.”
      - Chicago Insurance Representative upon successful settlement of a Personal Injury Matter
    • "That was one to remember.  Thank you for a fantastic job."
      - Chicagoland Managing Partner upon successful settlement of a complex “ringless voicemail” TCPA class action matter
    • "I know I speak for our entire team when I extend our sincere appreciation for all the work and effort you put in to help us resolve the matter in such a reasonable way."
      -Chicago Trial Lawyer, Partner, AmLaw 100 Firm
    • "Thank you very much for your invaluable assistance in resolving this dispute. It was a pleasure to work with you in achieving this result. Of course, should I or any of my colleagues need a mediator or arbitrator, I shall be pleased to make the referral or personally seek your assistance." 
      - Chicago Plaintiff's Attorney upon successful settlement of an Employment matter 
    • “Thank you again for the patient, steady hand during our negotiations. Hopefully everyone comes out feeling it was fair, as I did.”
      -Client upon settlement of a Breach of Contract matter
    • “Judge Mason was exceptionally well prepared to help settle our case. He added value by going beyond the submissions and into other litigation pending against the parties and related entities and explaining how that separate litigation would impact resolution of our case. Both sides got a result they didn't like, with each giving up over $1,000,000 in value and it was achieved efficiently. Judge Mason did a great job of understanding the business relationship beyond the litigation itself which was necessary to settle the case and something few other mediators can do well.”
    • "Thank you for your efforts yesterday. We are certainly happy to have this matter behind us. I am confident that your work was critical to bringing this matter to a close."
    • “Thanks again for your excellent work on this matter. We appreciated all your prep work and your impressive ability to deal with a handful of big egos. We look forward to working with you again (next time hopefully it will be in person!)”
    • "Thanks so much for Judge, and for all your help in getting this matter resolved. It was a pleasure working with you!"
    • "Thank you very much Judge. We appreciated all of the time that you spent over the weekend getting familiar with the case, and you tireless efforts to resolve it!"
    • "Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for the exceptional job you did in resolving the matter that was recently mediated before you.  This case presented difficulties because of the relationship between the defendants, as well as the stubbornness of plaintiff’s counsel.  Notwithstanding, you were willing to wade through the different layers of this matter in order to get the parties to a resolution.  We will certainly be considering you for future mediations."
    •  "Thanks for all your help, Judge Mason.  We really appreciate you helping get this one done."
    • "Thank you very much for your invaluable assistance in resolving this dispute. It was a pleasure to work with you in achieving this result. Of course, should I or any of my colleagues need a mediator or arbitrator, I shall be pleased to make the referral or personally seek your assistance." 
    • “Thank you for your efforts.  I am sure we would not have resolved it today without your assistance yesterday.”
    • "You did it! Thank you Judge." 
    • "I thought you did an excellent job in driving this matter toward a successful resolution. I will be sure to ask for your services again in the future when I get a case in your area."
    • "I know I speak for my colleague as well as myself that it was a pleasure to work with you. The fact that we reached a settlement proves the point!"
    • “Thanks Judge Mason. Your assistance was instrumental in getting it done today. Candidly, I was skeptical we’d get to a resolution before we started. Me and my client appreciate the hard work you put into this. You will definitely be on our list in the future.”



Practice Areas

  • Banking
  • Business & Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment Law
  • Federal Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts


Available nationwide


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