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


For almost 20 years, Judge Melinson has been involved in litigating, deciding, mediating, or arbitrating disputes involving insurance issues. He is familiar with the law and expert at resolving disputes involving bad faith, coverage, subrogation, property damage, and reinsurance in a wide range of contexts including manufacturing, service, construction, higher education, retail, professional, and healthcare industries.

Representative Matters

  • Action against insurance brokerage for fraud in not revealing to insured that there was no policy in existence
  • Action against insurance brokerage that placed liability insurance with a carrier on the brink of insolvency
  • Breach of contract dispute between a New York-based medical professional and insurance company
  • Case arising from fire that occurred at large apartment complex owned by prominent insurance carrier and managed by nationally renowned real estate property management and leasing company. Two other nationally known insurance carriers were involved as well as individual parties. There were complex issues of coverage, subrogation, negligence, breach of contract, and calculation of damages. The amounts in controversy were substantial.
  • Complex, multi-party coverage dispute between and among an institution of higher learning, its insurance agent, and several insurance carriers and underwriters over a professional liability claim
  • Coverage dispute originating from the collapse of a roof which the insurance company maintained was due to structural defects and not a covered claim
  • Dispute between insurance company, individual, and employer over coverage issues stemming from harassment allegations
  • Fraud versus insurance agent in premium financing transactions
  • Global settlement of all claims (interpleader, subrogation) arising out of fire at furniture restoration plant in which the private property of hundreds of customers was destroyed
  • International case involving delivery of large shipment of spoiled fruit among multiple parties including: growers, shipping companies, warehouse facilities, marine terminal, and refrigeration system manufacturer
  • Matters dealing with underinsured motorist disputes
  • Mediation arising out of denial of coverage and allegations of bad faith against national insurance company
  • Multi-party insurance mediation involving insurance company and various agents over the recission of an insurance policy because of alleged misrepresentation and concealment of material information
  • Multiple cases involving disability and denial of claims
  • Suit involving multiple insured claims under the disability policy against carrier for denying coverage, with some claims involving bad faith
  • 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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