James Melinson

Hon. James R. Melinson (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator and Arbitrator

Case Manager
Doreen Lavery
T: 215-246-9494
F: 215-246-0949
1717 Arch Street, Suite 3810, Philadelphia, PA 19103


Judge Melinson’s experience as a judge, litigator, and neutral enables him to successfully handle complex commercial cases. He has presided over or mediated cases involving admiralty, commercial, business dissolution, insurance, securities, and tax issues. Among the different industries in which Judge Melinson has resolved breach of contract or other types of business cases are sports and entertainment, financial, real estate/real property, healthcare, legal, securities, class actions, accounting, technology, and retail.

Representative Matters

  • An executive compensation and contract dispute involving high-level executive and regional healthcare company
  • Breach of contract and tortious interference dispute between two security corporations over the eighteen million dollar purchase of contracts
  • Breach of contract claim for failure to supply raw materials to manufacturer; impossibility of performance defense
  • Case involving allegations of breaches to marketing and endorsement contracts between professional athlete and sports marketing company
  • Case involving the interpretation of a contract between two national technology consulting companies
  • Complex financial dispute over claims of fraud and misrepresentation arising out of multi-million dollar mortgage loan between investment banking company and national financial institution
  • Derivative suit brought by shareholders against officers, directors, and corporate counsel for unjust enrichment, assumpsit, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and civil conspiracy. The corporation responded by filing a RICO action against the shareholders.
  • Dispute among software corporations regarding successor liability after a “de facto merger”
  • Dispute between a national corporation and a communications consultant corporation
  • Dispute between two nationally renowned financial institutions including anti-trust, conversion, conspiracy, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference with contractual relations with claims involving over forty thousand transactions totaling more than $900 million dollars
  • Disputes involving franchise matters including oil company gasoline stations, convenience stores, and restaurants
  • Global resolution of disputes among auto dealers and the auto manufacturer
  • International insurance case involving delivery of large shipment of spoiled fruit among multiple parties including: growers, shipping companies, warehouse facilities, marine terminal, and refrigeration system manufacturer
  • Sexual harassment, religious discrimination, and retaliation claims against a private school
  • Steel manufacturing company’s claims for cargo damage (statutory and common law) against a vessel, her corporate owner, and against the charterer and the shipper of the cargo as third party defendants
  • Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings case brought by shareholder against corporation, its former CEO, and corporation’s law firm
  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
  • 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

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

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “He has the most effective settlement technique I’ve ever seen.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “He was very well prepared.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “Superb demeanor.” 

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • "He settled a complex case all parties thought was impossible to settle.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “He rules promptly and fairly.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “He is completely fair and knows the law.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “He is a gentleman who treats lawyers very well.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
    • “He’s hardworking, smart, committed and honest.”

      -Almanac of the Federal Judiciary



Practice Areas

Available nationwide


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