Submit a Case Submit Case Find a Neutral Search Neutral
Richard McAdams

Hon. Richard J. McAdams (Ret.)


Case Manager
Josephine Care
T: 408-346-0737
F: 408-295-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113

Biography

Available to conduct virtual/remote mediations, arbitrations and other ADR proceedings on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom.

Hon. Richard J. McAdams (Ret.)
joined JAMS in 2011 after his retirement from the Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District. Justice McAdams applies over 40 years of cumulative legal knowledge and experience in his approach to ADR. His exceptional 34-year judicial career began in 1977, hearing civil and small claims matters on the Santa Cruz County Municipal Court, where he was appointed presiding judge on four separate occasions. Prior to his election to the Superior Court in 1998, Justice McAdams was assigned full-time to the Superior Court family law calendar from 1994 to 1998. Thereafter, he handled the probate and civil department calendars for an additional five years in Superior Court. In 2003, Justice McAdams was elevated to the Sixth District Court of Appeal, where he served over seven years before joining JAMS.

In addition to his experience as a neutral and his court duties, Justice McAdams is well regarded as one of the most notable and accomplished judges on California’s appellate bench for his engagement and leadership in judicial education and administration throughout his career.

Justice McAdams’ appellate expertise in addressing, developing and shaping uncharted law in civil, commercial and insurance law, as well as environmental and land-use disputes, combined with his research, writing and managerial skills, make him well-suited for arbitrations. His intellectual curiosity and creativity, as well as his compassionate demeanor and humane approach to dispute resolution, will benefit parties in highly emotional and contentious mediations, such as family law, personal injury and elder care disputes.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated and resolved hundreds of civil, probate, and family law cases during his 26 years in the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County
  • Instrumental in the creation of the court’s judicial mediation program and an early leader in ADR judicial education programs
  • Championed the benefits of mediation after joining the appellate bench, where he played a significant role in creating the Sixth District Mediation Program and personally mediated cases with pending appeals
  • Has served as a mediator, arbitrator, referee/special master, neutral evaluator and mock trial/appellate argument participant in scores of cases in a wide variety of practice areas

Representative Matters

  • Appellate Review
    • Neutral evaluations and mock argument panel participation in pending appeals, including complex real property cases and environmental disputes, including a breach of contract dispute with a $74 million trial court judgment and multiple appeals related to the invalidity of ground leases, quiet title and rescission
    • Settlement of a construction contract dispute between school district and general contractor pending appeal of a $2.5 million jury verdict
    • Settlements and neutral evaluations in catastrophic injury cases after adverse law and motion decisions
    • Mediation of dispute between two water agencies pending appeal
    • Settlement of a residential construction defect case after judgment in interpleader action
    • Arbitration of post-trial fee issues in civil rights case with pending appeal
    • Mediation in construction/design defect case pending appeal of motion granting a new trial after a $2.4 million jury verdict
    • Mediation of fraud action by terminated CEO pending appeal of judgment awarding compensatory and punitive damages
    • Mediations of pending appeals in probate and trust, family law and employment cases
    • Mediator for the Sixth District Court of Appeal Mediation Program
  • Arbitration 
    • Employment cases, including wrongful termination; discrimination (race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and national origin); harassment; hostile work environment; retaliation; failure to accommodate; failure to engage in an interactive process; wage claims; overtime; and rest period claims

    • Consumer law cases, including claimed violations of the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Rosenthal Act); the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA); the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA); the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA); the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA); the California Identity Theft Act;  California Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA; formerly Rees-Levering Act); the California Vehicle Leasing Act; the federal Truth in Lending Act; and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200)
    • Business/commercial disputes, including breach of contract cases; partnership dissolution; corporate disputes, including misappropriation of trade secrets; disputes over the purchase, development and operation of businesses and services
    • Construction disputes, including commercial developments, residential construction and governmental entity projects
    • Family law disputes, including post-judgment issues, visitation, child support, spousal support, community and separate property issues, and attorneys’ fees
    • Professional negligence claims in a variety of settings, including business disputes, estate planning services and family law
    • Real property disputes involving easements, view obstruction, claims of nondisclosure and other misrepresentations, breach of contract and specific performance
    • Premises liability cases
    • Hospital and physician liability cases

  • Business/Commercial/Trade Secrets:
    • Dorel Industries, Inc. v. Superior Court (Jackson) (2005) 136 Cal.App.4th 1267 (exercise of jurisdiction over foreign company under the representative service doctrine)

    • K.C. Multimedia, Inc. v. Bank of America Technology & Operations, Inc. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 939 (California Uniform Trade Secrets Act and preemption)
    • Stonelight Tile, Inc., v. California Insurance Guarantee Association (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 19 (summary judgment for defendant affirmed where continuous loss and policies of solvent insurers not exhausted)
    • Arbitration of a variety of consumer law cases, including claimed violations of the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Rosenthal Act); the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (FDCPA); the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA); the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA); the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA); the California Identity Theft Act; California Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA; formerly Rees-Levering Act); the California Vehicle Leasing Act; the federal Truth in Lending Act; and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200)
    • Arbitrations of contract disputes between high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and the Philippines, Taiwan, New York, Texas and elsewhere in California
    • Mediation of a dispute among attorneys concerning the dissolution of their law practice
    • Arbitration of termination benefits claims of departing executive
    • Conciliation/mediation between growers and processor to set crop prices under Food & Agriculture Code procedures
    • Mediation of attorney dispute after merger of two law firms
    • Arbitration of fraud and mismanagement claims against investment company
    • Arbitration of dispute involving radio program marketing services
    • Mediation of dispute between two corporations over misappropriation of trade secrets and other confidential information by terminated employees who joined rival company
    • Mediation of a construction contract dispute between school district and general contractor pending appeal of a $2.5 million jury verdict
    • Arbitrations and mediations of a variety of attorney malpractice actions, including disputes arising from estate planning services, family law representation, construction claims and business matters
    • Mediation of malpractice claims against veterinarian and an animal hospital after death of purebred dog and puppies
    • Mediation of multi-party dispute over the purchase, development and operation of winery
    • Mediation of a vehicle service contract dispute

  • Church/Religious Institutions
    • Mediation of wrongful termination claim between teacher and religious school

    • Mediation of internal dispute among church members
    • Mediation of wrongful termination and defamation claims after discharge of clergyman

  • Construction:
    • Arbitration of major hotel construction dispute

    • Settlement of a construction contract dispute between school district and general contractor pending appeal of a $2.5 million jury verdict
    • Settlement of a residential construction defect case after judgment in interpleader action
    • Mediation in a construction/design defect case pending appeal of motion granting a new trial after a $2.4 million jury verdict; arbitration of dispute between homeowner and contractor for alleged breach of contract and construction defects in $750,000 remodel

  • Consumer Law
    • Arbitration and mediation experience in all aspects of consumer law, including violations of the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Rosenthal Act); the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (FDCPA); the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA); the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA); the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA); the California Identity Theft Act;  California Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA; formerly Rees-Levering Act); the California Vehicle Leasing Act; the federal Truth in Lending Act; and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200)

    • Successfully mediated statewide class action on behalf of homeowners claiming mortgage-relief/loan modification fraud committed by multiple individual and corporate defendants
  • Education/School
    • On the Court of Appeal, authored several opinions on school issues, including San Lorenzo Valley Community Advocates for Responsible Education v. San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 1356 (school closure and CEQA)

    • Mediation of Title IX deliberate indifference claim against school district for failing to protect a student from sexual assault and harassment by a fellow student
    • Mediation of wrongful termination claim between teacher and religious school
    • Mediation of dispute between charter school and school district over facilities and funding

  • Employment
    • Arbitration and mediations of employee/employer disputes
        • wrongful termination and constructive discharge
        • discrimination (race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and national origin)
        • harassment
        • hostile work environment
        • retaliation
        • failure to accommodate
        • failure to engage in an interactive process
        • wage claims
        • overtime and rest period claims
    • Mediation of employment claims involving public employees and nonprofit organizations
    • Arbitration of termination benefits claims of departing executive
    • Mediation of wrongful termination claim between teacher and religious school
    • Mediation of fraud action by terminated CEO pending appeal of judgment awarding compensatory and punitive damages
    • Mediation of store manager’s claims of violations of wage and hour laws by retail pharmacy
    • Mediation of wrongful termination and defamation claims after the discharge of a clergyman
  • Environmental/Land Use
    • Served over 26 years on the bench in Santa Cruz County, including five years on the civil calendar and as a CEQA judge handling an individual caseload from filing through post-judgment proceedings

    • Architectural Heritage Association v. County of Monterey (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 1095 (negative declaration and proposed mitigation measures regarding impact of historic site demolition deemed insufficient in light of CEQA)
    • California Native Plant Society v. City of Santa Cruz (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 957 (city’s reliance on a legally sufficient environmental impact report and rejection of project alternatives based on public policy considerations found not to be in violation of CEQA)
    • Friends of Juana Briones House v. City of Palo Alto (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 286 (historic adobe house demolition permit as a ministerial act under city’s governing municipal code provisions and not subject to provisions of CEQA)
    • Zipperer v. County of Santa Clara (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 1013 (Solar Shade Control Act exemption bars property owner’s negligence action)
    • San Lorenzo Valley Community Advocates for Responsible Education v. San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 1356 (school closure and CEQA)
    • McAllister v. County of Monterey (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 253 (issues surrounding approval of Big Sur coastal development permit)
    • Mediation of suit brought by a state agency against a county and a private developer alleging CEQA violations
    • Neutral evaluation of CEQA mandamus action brought by community group over an expansion project of a local transportation district
    • Neutral evaluations of non-CEQA environmental litigation

  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
    • Served over 26 years on the bench in Santa Cruz County, including several years as the Probate Court judge; heard family law, estate, probate and trust matters, as assigned, while presiding in other departments throughout his trial bench career
    • Prior to assuming the bench, active in issues involving elder law, including elder abuse; founded Senior Citizens Legal Services, a nationally recognized nonprofit law office specializing in elder law and seniors’ issues that has become a model project for similar services around the country

    • Mediated the resolution of a complex, decades-old trust administration multi-million-dollar dispute between siblings after initial appointment as a discovery referee; involved issues of management, sale and development of several properties, partition actions, accounting disputes over seven years, professional negligence claims against attorneys and accountants, mismanagement claims against successive trustees, allocation of fees and costs based on bad faith, and eminent domain, with multiple court proceedings and appeals
    • Mediation of pending appeal of trial court ruling whether certain property was intended to be included in a trust with a global resolution of all other probate and trust issues still pending in the trial court
    • Mediation of dispute between a mother and son over competing claims in ownership of a high-end restaurant after father’s death, including claims of undue influence, community/separate property characterization and transmutation
    • Mediated a resolution of a trust administration dispute between a brother and sister who had not spoken for 10 years
    • Mediated many other high-conflict inter-family cases involving issues of trust management, undue influence, elder abuse and related claims
    • Mediated a complex probate matter involving the laws of California, Monaco and Iran
    • Mediated dispute between widow and former spouse concerning life insurance proceeds
    • Mediated a claim of elder financial abuse and a bank’s duty to prevent fraud by others

  • Family Law
    • Prior to tenure on the California Court of Appeal, Sixth District from 2003 to 2011, served over 26 years on the bench in Santa Cruz County, including four years as the court’s solo family law judge; also heard family law cases, as assigned, while presiding in other departments throughout trial bench career and taught selected family law topics in various judicial education programs
    • Prior to assuming the bench, devoted a significant part of law practice to family law matters
    • On the Court of Appeal, authored many opinions concerning family issues, including the following:
    • In re Marriage of Blazer (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 1438 (self-employed spouse, business reinvestment and determination of spousal support)
    • In re Marriage of Rossin (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 725 (characterization of private disability benefits)
    • Librers v. Black (2004) (presumed fatherhood and standing to bring paternity action)
    • Authored unpublished opinions on a variety of family law issues including the following:
        • termination and modification of child and spousal support
        • community property business apportionment issues
        • reimbursements (Watts issues)
        • omitted assets
        • goodwill value of businesses
        • stock options and support
        • rescission of marital settlement agreements
        • sanctions under F.C. § 271
        • nullity
    • Has been appointed as a temporary judge by the Superior Court
    • Has mediated disputes involving the following: 
        • property characterization and division
        • custody and visitation
        • child and spousal support and attorneys’ fees
        • post-judgment issues
        • termination of domestic partnership
        • Marvin issues
    • Has served as an arbitrator in cases involving the following:
        • post-judgment issues
        • visitation
        • child support
        • spousal support
        • property issues, including deferred sale of family home

  • Government/Public Entities
    • County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (California First Amendment Coalition) (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1301 (open public records laws and issues of federal homeland security provisions and county’s copyright claims and reproduction charges)
    • County of Los Angeles v. Glendora Redevelopment Project (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 817 (invalidation of redevelopment plan where necessary findings of blight were not supported by substantial evidence in the administrative record)
    • San Lorenzo Valley Community Advocates for Responsible Education v. San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 1356 (issues surrounding school closure)
    • Served as arbitrator under California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 99(e) concerning a proposed city annexation of property within a county
    • Mediation of dispute between a city and a county over jail facilitiesMediation of dispute between a state agency and a county over approval of development plan impacting claimed state interests
    • Mediation of dispute between two water agencies pending appeal
    • Mediation between county and commercial property owner over claims of use permit and grading permit violations and other code enforcement issues, with counterclaims for inverse condemnation and indemnity
    • Mediation between county and investment company over taxation issues arising after merger of companies with multi-million-dollar real estate holdings
    • Mediation of a construction contract dispute between school district and general contractor pending appeal of a $2.5 million jury verdict
    • Mediation between a school district and a construction company over two public works contracts
    • Mediation of remaining eminent domain issues between a transportation district and property owner arising from complex freshwater mitigation site issues, acquisition of easements, indemnification, valuation and just compensation
    • Mediation of dispute between charter school and school district over facilities and funding
  • Health Care
    • Mediation between hospital and health insurance plan over the reasonable cost of out-of-network emergency services under the Knox-Keane Act
    • Mediation between a physician-run network of several hundred doctors and a multistate hospital organization
    • Mediation involving the physicians in a medical group
    • Mediation and arbitration of claims of medical malpractice
    • Mediation of a dispute concerning placement of a severely developmentally disabled child
    • Mediation between a nursing home and state regulators
  • Personal Injury/Torts
    • Truong v. Nguyen (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 865 (wrongful death action arising from a personal watercraft collision; question of primary assumption of risk)
    • Melton v. Boustred (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 521 (homeowner’s posting of an open party invitation on a social networking website does not create a legal duty to protect guests from an unforeseeable risk of harm)
    • Mediated numerous wrongful death and personal injury cases involving auto accidents, medical/dental malpractice, premises liability and product liability
    • Mediation of dispute between property owner and multiple tenants over issues of habitability including tort claims based on mold
    • Mediation of rafting accident with related assumption of risk issues
    • Mediation of amusement park injury
    • Arbitrations of injury claims occurring in tribal gaming casinos
    • Mediated defamation cases
    • Neutral evaluations and mediations of catastrophic death and injury cases
    • Arbitration of slip-and-fall/premises liability case and uninsured/underinsured motorists cases
    • Mediation of case with multiple defendants involving injuries caused by improperly assembled home entertainment center
    • Mediation of claim between injured employee and employer without workers’compensation coverage 
  • Professional Liability
    • Mediation and arbitration of attorney-client fee disputes and claims of attorney malpractice arising from estate planning services, business transactions, family law matters and general litigation
    • Mediation of malpractice claims against veterinarian and an animal hospital after death of pedigreed dog and puppies
    • Arbitration of medical malpractice claims involving physicians, nurses and hospitals
  • Real Property
    • Spinks v. Equity Residential Briarwood Apartments (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 1004 (effect of termination of employment on residential lease agreement)
    • Zipperer v. County of Santa Clara (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 1013 (Solar Shade Control Act exemption bars property owner’s negligence action)
    • McAllister v. County of Monterey (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 253 (issues surrounding approval of Big Sur coastal development permit )County of Los Angeles v. Glendora Redevelopment Project (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 817 (reverse validation action challenging the approval of a redevelopment plan)Wunderlich v. County of Santa Cruz (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 680 (valuation of replacement dwelling for property tax purposes)
    • Hoffman v. Smithwoods RV Park (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 390 (mobilehome park tenant action against park owner, for violation of Mobilehome Residency Law)
    • Arbitrations and mediations involving easements, view obstruction, breach of contract and claims of nondisclosure/misrepresentations
    • Mediation of inverse condemnation claims
    • Mediation with buyer, seller and real estate firm involving claims of failure to disclose a recent death on the property
    • Mediation of dispute between property owner and multiple tenants over issues of habitability based on mold and other conditions
    • Mediation between county and commercial property owner over claims of use permit and grading permit violations and other code enforcement issues, with counterclaims for inverse condemnation and indemnity
    • Arbitration of dispute between seller and buyer over claims of failure to disclose, fraud and misrepresentation, and for rescission based on sewage, washer and plumbing system problems
    • Mediation of remaining eminent domain issues between a transportation district and property owner arising from complex freshwater mitigation site issues, acquisition of easements, indemnification, valuation and just compensation
    • Mediation between county and investment company over taxation issues arising after merger of companies with multi-million-dollar real estate holdings
  • Appellate Justice of the Year, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2010
  • Member, California Judges Association, 1977–present
    •  Executive Board, 1989–1992
    •  Various Committees, 1986–2003 (including Civil Law & Procedures Committee and Family Law Committee, 1995–1997)
  • Member, Judicial Council Civil Jury Instructions Advisory Committee (CACI), 2008–2011
  • Judicial Educator, California Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), 1987– 2008 (including chair of the Civil Law Education Committee, chair of the Continuing Judicial Studies Program (CJSP), and Civil Law and Procedure faculty member (Judicial College, Civil Law and Procedure Institute and CJSP)
  • Co-Chair and Member, Appellate Courts Committee, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 2008–2011
  • "An Appealing Approach"; Daily Journal; March 2, 2012
  • Appellate Justice, Sixth District Court of Appeal, 2003-2011
  • Superior Court Judge, Santa Cruz County, 1998-2003
  • Municipal Court Judge, Santa Cruz County, 1977-1998
    • Assigned to Superior Court, 1994-1998
    • Presiding Judge, 1980, 1984, 1987, and 1990
  • Founding Partner, Fox McAdams and Popin, 1974-1977
  • Solo practice, 1973
  • Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Santa Cruz, 1970-1973
    • Acting Director, 1973
  • Attorney, Jarvis, Miller and Stender, 1969-1970
  • J.D., Hastings College of Law, 1968 
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1965

News

Events

Practice Areas

  • Appellate
  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Education/Schools
  • Employment
  • Environmental/Land Use
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Health Care
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Real Property
Available nationwide

Disclaimer

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

McAdams_Richard_GeneralBiography_1101