Hon. Randall J. Newsome (Ret.)

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Hon. Randall Newsome (Ret.) successfully served as a mediator in hundreds of cases both as a full time neutral at JAMS as well during his 28 years as a settlement and bankruptcy judge.  He has handled both local and national matters involving complex bankruptcy and commercial issues, including claims of breach of contract, nondischargeability, fraudulent transfer suits, mortgage fraud, employment discrimination, and lender liability. 

Judge Newsome is best known for his intelligent and pragmatic approach to resolving complex matters and he is frequently sought out as a national speaker on topics related to bankruptcy. He has a unique ability to bring about appropriate resolution based on the nature of the parties’ continuing relationship.

Most recently, before joining JAMS, Judge Newsome was chief judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California. He also previously served as a visiting judge in the Central District of California, the Western District of Washington, the District of Nevada, and the District of Arizona. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a visiting judge in the District of Delaware, where he presided over numerous complex matters.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Praised for his ability to comprehend complex details in multi-party cases in order to create a road map to resolution

  • Mediated more than 200 disputes acting as a settlement judge

  • Handled numerous bench trials, writing and rendering decisions

  • Assigned the Baldwin-United Corp case--the largest Chapter 11 case in U.S. history--after less than a year as a federal judge

  • Mediated notable Chapter 11 case of Pacific Gas & Electric Company. After three months of effort, the debtor and the California Public Utilities Commission reached a resolution of their disputes, thereby allowing the confirmation of a plan of reorganization.

Representative Matters

Business and Contract Disputes 

  • Handled disputes involving financially troubled golf courses and country clubs
  • In one day, mediated a dispute between principals of major restaurant chains and their main creditor, resulting not only in resolution of the issues, but the sale of the chains to a Canadian buyer
  • Mediated a dispute involving insurance fraud, and in pari delicto issues between a bank and investment company
  • Served as a judge in a mock trial involving billions of dollars in potential fraudulent transfer liability
  • Mediated to settlement a contract dispute between a convention center in a major metropolitan area and a telecommunications provider.
  • Handled a dispute involving allegations of fraudulent transfer arising out of an asset purchase agreement in which the trustee alleged that the defendant paid less than reasonably equivalent value
  • Mediated to settlement disputes between the California Public Utilities Commission and the debtor, a utility, which allowed confirmation of a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization.  This mediation took place over a three-month period, and dealt with issues beyond bankruptcy law.  The mediation not only enabled the debtor to exit bankruptcy, but established a new and much-improved working relationship between the parties.
  • Mediated a dispute between two law firms involving allegations of fraudulent transfers following failed merger discussions
  • Mediated a dispute between the debtor, a jewelry company, and a hedge fund, which was the jewelry company’s largest creditor.  Resolution of this dispute, which involved claims of abuse of common control by a holding company largely owned by the hedge fund, enabled the parties to reach a consensual plan of reorganization.
  • Mediated a case involving a trustee's objection for amounts allegedly due as an investment banking fee
  • Mediated a breach of contract matter between a debtor and investment company where the parties had entered into a settlement agreement regarding the sale of real property in Hawaii and that agreement then became the subject of a partially-completed arbitration
  • Successfully settled fraudulent transfer claims throughout numerous mediation sessions with various groups of former shareholders of a failed San Francisco based law firm
  • Mediated to settlement a long-pending suit brought by a mortgage company against its former principal on numerous theories, including breach of contract, fraudulent transfer, corporate looting and Washington State law
  • Successfully mediated a breach of contract dispute brought by a dissolved law firm against a former client of the firm for failure to pay a contingency fee of at least $13 million that may (or may not) have come due. The client counterclaimed for $50 million alleging that the law firm had breached its fiduciary duties to the client and misled the client as to the firm's financial condition.

  • Successfully mediated a dispute brought by a dissolved law firm against the new law firm of several former shareholder partners, alleging fraudulent transfers against the former shareholders, and recovery under Jewel v. Boxer against the new law firm

  • Successfully mediated a case involving a plaintiff challenging the validity of the defendant’s copyright and trade dress claims related to decorative wall hangings

  • Successfully mediated a securities class action involving allegations of stock manipulation, omissions and misrepresentations under Rule 101-5 and Section 20(d) by a publicly held company trading on the OTC Bulletin Board

  • Successfully mediated a case where the plaintiff/trustee sought recovery of nearly $13.5 million in transfers to a Georgia bank made by a company involved in the payroll administration business

  • Successfully mediated an ownership dispute over a limited partnership interest in a professional basketball team


  • Mediated a breach of contract case involving the employment agreements of two officers of a bankrupt company. The issues centered on whether there was a requirement to disgorge compensation as well as the levels of future compensation.
  • Mediated contract negotiations resulting in a new collective bargaining agreement between the employer and a union
  • Mediated to settlement a dispute involving sexual harassment claims 


  • Successfully mediated a dispute between a production company and German hedge fund over the game rights for a major movie franchise
  • Mediated to settlement a dispute over the issuance of a bankruptcy discharge to a well-known music personality
  • Mediated hundreds of millions of dollars in disputes involving dozens of secured creditors, two creditors’ committees and the debtor for an entertainment company.  The agreements reached provided the framework for a consensual chapter 11 plan that ultimately was confirmed.


  • Handled a successful three-day mediation among secured creditors, administrative claimants, state and federal governmental entities, and labor unions regarding a hospital in chapter 11 
  • Successfully mediated claims against a principal of a manufacturer implicating D&O policies
  • Successfully mediated malpractice claims against the trustee of a mortgage trust resulting in a recovery under D&O policies


  • Mediated to settlement a dispute in a restaurant bankruptcy between the unsecured creditors committee and the debtor's lender involving lender liability (among other issues)
  • Mediated case involving over 70 fast food restaurant franchises that were assets in two chapter 11 cases in which a trustee had been appointed. The trustee and the principal lender for the chapter 11 entities were embroiled in a dispute over how much money the lender should receive as a result of the sale of the restaurants.
  • Handled disputes related to a retail liquor store chain involving approximately 75 leases
  • Handled an employment and lease dispute involving a household goods chain store with some 20 outlets in the Western United States


Decisions from the Bench

  • In Read-Rite Corp., 2006 WL 1214839 (N.D. Cal. 2006) (opinion affirming my ruling that Seagate had no rights to a replacement license under a non-exclusive patent cross-licensing agreement with Read-Rite)
  • In re Read-Rite Corp., 2006 WL 2241107 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 2006) (the principal issue involved whether IBM, and its successor Hitachi, obtained the patent licensing rights for their hard disc drive division under a cross-licensing agreement with Read-Rite).
  • In re TEU Holdings, Inc., 287 B.R. 26 (Bankr. D. Del. 2002)(motion to dismiss denied as to causes of action against officers and directors for breach of fiduciary duty and corporate waste).
  • In re Armstrong World Industries, Inc., 285 B.R. 864, 60 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 578 (Bankr. D. Del. 2002) (exclusion of evidence regarding the measurement of airborne asbestos under the Daubert standard).
  • In re Tower Air, Inc., 268 B.R. 404 (Bankr. D. Del. 2001)(rights of a secured lender to insurance proceeds under Arizona version of UCC 9-104).
  • In re Home Express, Inc., 226 B.R. 657 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 1998)(dispute over fee agreement as to a professional appointed in a bankruptcy case not subject to binding arbitration clause in agreement).
  • Matter of Ripley Oil Co., Inc. 71 B.R. 631 (Bankr.S.D.Ohio,1987)(oil tanks were “equipment” rather than “inventory” under Ohio’s version of 9-109(2) and (4)).

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Registered Mediator, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
  • President, subsequent to being Vice-President, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Lecturer, Federal Judicial Center, since 1986
  • Taught principles of bankruptcy jurisdiction to newly-appointed U.S. District Judges since 1994
  • Regularly serves on educational programs for the Federal Judicial Center, ALI-ABA, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Practising Law Institute, American Bankruptcy Institute, Midwest Bankruptcy Institute, American Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, and others

Background and Education

  • Appointed Chief Bankruptcy Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, 2004–2010
  • Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, 1988-2003
  • Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio, 1982-1988
  • Lawyer, Dinsmore & Shohl, Cincinnati, OH, 1978-1982
  • J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law, 1975
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Boston University, 1972


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