Hon. Richard Kramer (Ret.)

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Hon. Richard Kramer (Ret.) is a full-time neutral with nearly two decades of experience as a well-respected judge in San Francisco Superior Court. Between his time on the bench and his 24-year career practicing commercial trial law prior to that, Judge Kramer has handled a wide variety of international cases in many different practice areas.

Lauded as astute and energetic by his fellow judges, Judge Kramer has also been called the "architect of complex litigation" management by attorneys. He 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, construction defects, interpretation of legislation, drug and medical device mass torts, water rights, environmental claims, and a variety of complicated contractual and business disputes. 

Prior to his time on the bench, Judge Kramer tried dozens of cases, with both domestic and international clients, including class actions, environmental litigation, employment cases, construction disputes, SEC Enforcement Division investigations, shareholder class actions, fraud cases, and banking matters.

Judge Kramer’s experience with international matters is bolstered by his skillful handling of multifaceted cases that require close judicial supervision. He highly regarded for his smart, practical approach to difficult cases as well as his pragmatic approach towards settlement. 

Representative Matters

  • Mediated an international class action regarding Canadian antitrust litigation
  • Heard several disputes involving EU sources of information and "blocking" laws from countries which do not follow U.S. discovery rules
  • Represented an American international bank in a protracted dispute with Libya regarding the bank's performance bond guarantee of a large agricultural project in the Sarir Desert
  • Represented a Columbian purchaser of an electronic message board built and installed in Columbia by an American company
  • Represented a variety of large Japanese companies in disputes against various American federal and state governmental entities
  • Investigated the laundering of contract proceeds in England and Jersey Island for an American financial institution
  • Negotiated the appropriate transfer of funds in a potential letter of credit dispute between client American bank and a Swiss counter party using the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UPC) as the governing standard
  • Successfully repossessed a champion Arabian show horse which had been taken to Canada, including getting the horse through both US and Canadian customs
  • Represented an Australian hotel owner in a dispute over the failed sale of its hotel in Cairns, Australia to French conglomerate, Sofitel
  • Mediated Canadian antitrust litigation relating to LCD technology
  • Has issued judicial requests to foreign tribunals seeking cooperation in obtaining discovery outside of the United States

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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