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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


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

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
  • Presentations
    • 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 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."



Practice Areas

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


Available nationwide


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