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James Melinson

Hon. James R. Melinson (Ret.)

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Case Manager
Doreen Lavery
T: 215-246-9494
F: 215-246-0949
1717 Arch Street , Suite 3810 , Philadelphia , PA 19103
Judge Melinson joined JAMS after 16 years of distinguished judicial service. From 1998 to 2004, he served as Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has handled a wide variety of interesting and complex cases including commercial, employment, personal injury, professional malpractice, intellectual property, real estate, construction, property damage, maritime/admiralty, civil rights, securities, insurance, fraud, RICO, education, and tax. Judge Melinson conducts streamlined, efficient arbitrations and reaches prompt and well-reasoned decisions.

Representative Arbitrations

  • Arbitration of alleged violation of marketing and endorsement contract by professional athlete
  • Chair of tripartite arbitration panel in liability dispute between physicians sued for wrongful death and medical malpractice
  • Employment arbitration involving executive compensation and wrongful termination claims against regional health care company
  • Insurance coverage dispute arising from the collapse of roof involving structural defects defense by the insurance company
  • Interpretation of contract dispute between two national technology companies in which an expedited arbitration award and decision was rendered
  • Medical malpractice and negligence cases
  • Underinsured motorist claims
  • Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings case brought by shareholder against corporation, its former CEO, and corporation’s law firm
  • Numerous honors and awards including the Philadelphia Bar Association’s highest honor, The Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award, 2004, several Person of the Year Awards, and Distinguished Judicial Service Awards
  • Member, Judicial Resources Committee, United States Judicial Conference
  • Member, Advisory Committee of the Civil Justice Reform Act
  • Chairman, Committee on Magistrate Judges, American Bar Association: National Conference of Trial Judges
  • Member: American Bar Association, American Judges Association, Appellate Judges Conference, Federal Bar Association, Federal Magistrate Judges Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association, and other professional organizations
  • Neutral Arbitrator, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia
  • Special Advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense for contract negotiations
  • General Counsel to Whiting-Patterson Co., Inc.
  • Chief Counsel to International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local 159, AFL-CIO
  • Chief Negotiator, School District of Philadelphia
  • Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1990-2004 (Chief Magistrate Judge, 1997-2004)
  • Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania
  • Private Law Practice, Philadelphia, PA
  • J.D., Temple University School of Law (Full Academic Scholarship)
  • U.S. Army, Artillery Small Unit Commander
  • B.A., with honors, LaSalle University

Counsel Comments


    Lawyers Comments:

    “He’s the best Judge to appear before if you want to get the case settled that day.”

    “He has the most effective settlement technique I’ve ever seen.”

    “He was very well prepared.”

    “Superb demeanor.”

    “He settled a complex case all parties thought was impossible to settle.”

    “He rules promptly and fairly.”

    “He is completely fair and knows the law.”

    “He is a gentleman who treats lawyers very well.”

    “He’s hardworking, smart, committed and honest.”

    -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary

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