Hon. Richard Kramer (Ret.)

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Business/Commercial

Hon. Richard Kramer (Ret.) joined JAMS as a full-time neutral after nearly two decades as a well-respected judge in San Francisco Superior Court. For the thirteen years prior to joining JAMS, he presided over cases in the Court's Complex Litigation Department and has been called the "architect of complex litigation" management by attorneys. As a result of his extensive experience, he has seen business and commercial disputes of every nature and his ability to navigate complex cases leads to efficient resolution in such matters.

Judge Kramer has heard hundreds of cases involving a wide array of legal issues in such areas as consumer and commercial financial services, antitrust, unfair business practices, taxation, insurance coverage and allocation, and a variety of complicated contractual disputes. 

Prior to his time on the bench, Judge Kramer practiced commercial trial law for 24 years in practice areas that included anti-trust, restructuring of businesses in the context of bankruptcy, and general commercial litigation. He tried dozens of cases throughout California and in several states, including class actions, SEC Enforcement Division investigations, shareholder class actions, fraud cases, and banking matters. He is highly regarded for his smart, practical approach to difficult cases as well as his pragmatic approach towards settlement. 

Representative Matters

  • Mediated to resolution a minority shareholder matter alleging breach of contract and fiduciary duty
  • Heard indirect purchaser anti-trust cases involving a variety of consumer and commercial products, many of which were coordinated with federal direct purchaser litigation
  • Resolved a lawsuit between two international investment management firms claiming raiding of asset management resources in violation of California law
  • Heard eminent domain takings, including procedural challenges and valuation disputes
  • Resolved several lawsuits arising from investments made by institutional investors, including the California's largest governmental retirement fund, governmental agencies and large investor groups asserting improper investments which included securitized lending products, outgrowths from a huge nationwide Ponzi scheme, and real estate developments in foreign countries
  • Lease dispute between land lessor of a large downtown San Francisco shopping center against the owner of the improvements on the leased land


Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Vice-Chair, ADR Subcommittee, ABA Business Law Section, 2016-present
  • Proclamation by Mayor Edwin Lee that October 21, 2015 is “Judge Richard Kramer Day” in San Francisco
  • Board of Governors, ABTL Northern California Chapter, 2007–present
  • Frequent lecturer/panelist in California and nationwide in a wide range of civil litigation topics, including complex litigation management, efficient discovery plans, electronic discovery, class actions, mass torts, consumer finance, real estate, asbestos, insurance coverage, insurance bad faith, insurance coverage allocation, employment law, settlements, mortgage lending, antiSLAPP, and annual developments in civil procedure
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Law, Advanced Civil Procedure, University of California Hastings College of Law
  • Taught and moderated the Rutter Group, Civil Procedure Before Trial seminar since its inception in 1980, and has served as an author and editor of the related handbook
  • Federal/State Judicial Council, 2005-2015, including Chair of the Complicated Civil Case Subcommittee
  • Appellate Advisory Committee of the California Judicial Council, 1998-2007

ADR Profiles

Background and Education

  • Judge, San Francisco Superior Court, 1996-2015
    • Presiding Judge, Complex Litigation Department, 2002-2013
    • Continued to preside over cases in the Complex Litigation Department, 2013-2015 
  • Justice Pro-tem California Court of Appeal, January 2001-April 2001
  • Litigation Attorney, Steefel, Levitt and Weiss, 1972-1996
  • J.D., University of Southern California, School of Law, 1972 (Order of the Coif)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, University of Southern California, 1969

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