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Richard McDermott

Judge Richard F. McDermott (Ret.)

Case Manager
Michelle Nemeth
T: 206-292-0441
F: 206-292-9082
1420 Fifth Ave., Suite 1650, Seattle, WA 98101


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

Judge Richard F. McDermott (Ret.) 
joins JAMS after a distinguished career on the King County Superior Court Bench. In almost 18 years at the Court, Judge McDermott tried hundreds of cases in many diverse areas including personal injury, auto accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, construction defects, product liability, family law, estate disputes and property claims against governmental entities.

Judge McDermott began his career as a Deputy Prosecuting attorney in King County and then as a Public Defender. This unique early experience gave him the ability to objectively and fairly evaluate both sides of a dispute which he was able to put to good use during his Judicial career and which he believes will give him the skill to assist both sides of a dispute in mediation. 

After his initial public service career, Judge McDermott worked in private practice for 22 years, handling a wide variety of litigation matters, eventually leading to his specializing in personal injury, ranging from automobile accidents to slip and falls to product liability claims.

Judge McDermott approaches cases with respect and empathy for all the parties and their attorneys. He brings to his ADR career, not only experience and an even handed demeanor that encourages resolution of disputes, but a passion to help others come to a resolution and bring closure.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Conducted settlement conferences throughout career as a judge. 
  • Seventeen years on the King County Superior Court Bench, three years as Presiding Judge
  • Has authored two chapters of the State Auto Accident Desk Book and  lectured extensively on a variety of areas of law across the state and at The National Judicial College
  • Was an Adjunct Professor Law at Seattle University from 1999-2016  

Representative Matters

Personal Injury/Tort

  • In private practice specialized in personal injury cases including auto, slip and fall, product liability and malpractice
  • Handled serious personal injury cases, including several severe brain injuries, experience with extensive medical records
  • Serious head injury as caused by result of rotten deck railing in an apartment building, five week trial, $3.4M verdict

Professional Liability

  • As a practitioner handled medical negligence matters involving doctors, nurses, surgeons, health care providers
  • Other professional negligence matters involving accountants, insurance and real estate brokers, and attorneys

Real Property

  • Kingen v. City of SeaTac, 2016 – Misrepresentation, inverse condemnation and interference with business expectancy, $13M settlement, after a $18M judgement
  • Matters involving purchase and sale, lease negotiations, financing, land use, boundary disputes

Family Law

  • Assigned to the Family Court of King County, handling numerous dissolutions involving child custody, visitation, property division, child support and maintenance
  • Matters involving asset characterization, valuation
  • Matters involving family businesses and extensive real estate holdings


  • Experience with Construction Defect cases, and complexity of change orders
  • Matters involving both government and private projects including, delays, breach of contract, breach of warranty


  • Handled probate case involving claims to Oil Rights in North Dakota
  • Handled will contests, disputes between current and former spouses, children from different marriages
  • Breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence


  • Handled matters involving breach of contract, partnership disputes, purchase and sale of businesses, business dissolutions, consumer protection, warranty
  • Presided over contract interpretation cases, including contractor/developer disputes and disputes between title insurance company and property owner


  • Settlements of government racial discrimination cases
  • Matters involving wrongful termination, age and sex discrimination, wage/hour disputes
  • Judge of the Year, Washington Chapter, American Board of Trial Advocates, 2013
  • Judge of the Year, Washington State Association for Justice, 2011
  • Co-Judge of the Year, Washington State Bar Association, 2010
  • Chair, Washington State Board of Court Education, 2010-2012
  • President, Washington State Superior Court Judges Association, 2008
  • Chair, Superior Court Judges’ Education Committee, 2006-2008
  • Co-Chair, Superior Court Judges’ Conference, 2005
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, Seattle University School of Law, 2004
  • Chair, Spring Superior Court Judges’ Conference, 2001
  •  “Super Lawyers” Recognition, Washington Law & Politics 1999
  • Adjunct Professor, Seattle University School of Law, 1999-2016
  • Member, Washington State Minorities and Justice Commission, 1993-2011
  • Vice President, Washington State Trial Lawyers’ Association, 1993-1994
  • Board of Governors, Washington State Trial Lawyers’ Association, 1982-1986, 1990-1994
  • Executive Intern and Speech Writer, King County Executive Office, 1971
  • Presidential Intern, Pentagon, Washington D.C., 1970
  • Judge, King County Superior Court, 2000-2017
    • Presiding Judge, King County Superior Court, 2011-2013
  • Special District Counsel, Washington State Bar Association, 1993-2000
  • Private Practice, Bellevue, WA, 1978-2000
  • Public Defender, Eastside Defender Agency, 1976-1978
  • Deputy Prosecutor,  King County Prosecuting Attorneys’ Office, 1973-1976
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law, 1973
  • B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Seattle University, 1970
    • Student Body President, 1969-1970



Practice Areas

  • Business & Commercial
  • Construction
  • Education Law
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
Available nationwide


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