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Hon. Thomas J. Rueter

Hon. Thomas J. Rueter (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Antitrust & Competition
Business Commercial
Civil Rights
Class Action & Mass Tort
Cybersecurity & Privacy
Education Law
Employment Law
Federal Law
Franchise Distribution Law
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Thomas J. Rueter (Ret.) joins JAMS after 26 years of service as a U.S. magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, including four years as chief magistrate judge. Prior to ascending to the court, Judge Rueter served for nine years as an assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, including four years as chief of the Narcotics Section with the Justice Department. Before his time working with the Justice Department, Judge Rueter was an associate in the Philadelphia office of White and Williams LLP. He also served as a law clerk for United States District Judge Joseph L. McGlynn, Jr. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

During his time on the bench, Judge Rueter conducted more than 4,000 settlement conferences, including business/commercial and class action disputes to personal injury, intellectual property, civil rights, insurance, employment, professional liability and franchise matters. Judge Rueter also served as the district court’s employment dispute resolution coordinator and, in that role, mediated a wide range of employment disputes for district court employees. He also has significant experience as a special master/discovery referee, having resolved numerous complex e-discovery matters.

Judge Rueter’s MDL settlement experience is particularly notable. In the case of In re Asbestos Litigation MDL 875, Judge Rueter oversaw the settlement of hundreds of cases transferred by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1991. Each case typically consisted of claims by multiple plaintiffs against multiple defendants. Judge Rueter also oversaw the settlement of several complex attorneys’ fees disputes in the high-profile MDL In re NFL Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation MDL 2323. This matter involved over 20,000 class members and nearly $1 billion in benefits.

Representative Matters

  • Breach of Contract
      • Action against professional football team and owner for breach of contract
      • Dissolutions of law partnerships
  • Civil Rights
      • Action against school district by child who was kidnapped from the school
      • Excessive force cases against police departments
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Nationwide class action claiming delays in receipt of SSI benefits by refugees and asylees
      • Class action against Philadelphia Department of Human Services for reform of procedures
  • Election Law
      • Action by Federal Election Commission against a U.S. presidential campaign alleging improper use of campaign funds
  • Employment Law
      • Multiple-plaintiff gender-discrimination case against television network
      • Multiple-plaintiff overtime wage case filed by firefighters against the City of Philadelphia
      • High-profile allegation of sexual assault against prominent celebrity
      • High-profile action by prominent municipal executive fired by mayor for sexual harassment
      • Settlement of hundreds of long-term disability and breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • False Claim/Whistleblower
      • Action by several state attorneys general against a health care utilization review company
  • Franchise Distribution Law
      • Action by multiple franchisees against franchisor, resulting in dissolution of old franchise system and creation of new franchises
  • Insurance
      • Settled and adjudicated many insurance coverage and bad faith actions. See e.g., Green Tweed v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 2006 WL 1050110 (E.D.Pa. April 21, 2006)(coverage); Co-author, Pa. Reasonable Expectations Doctrine, 45 Villanova L.Rev. 581(2000)(coverage); Kaufman v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 1997 WL 703175(Nov. 12, 1997)(bad faith)
  • Intellectual Property
      • Key Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. ESI-Lederle, Inc., Civil Action No. 96-1219 (patent case; 402 F.3d 1056 (11th Cir. 2005) and 2009 WL 508869 (D.N.J. 2009))
      • Copyright action against cable television company for misappropriation of copyrighted images and movie posters
      • Numerous misappropriation of trademark cases
  • Land Use
      • Action by multiple homeowners against developer for contaminated water due to faulty water filtration system
      • Hurricane damage claims for commercial buildings in Houston
  • Multidistrict Litigation
      • In re Asbestos Litigation MDL 875: settlement of numerous multi-defendant cases
      • In re NFL Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation MDL 2323: settlement of attorneys’ fees disputes
  • Personal Injury
      • Multi-million-dollar settlement against school for student injured in school bus accident
      • Settlements of wrongful death cases involving trucking accidents

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Appointee, Committee on Criminal Law, U.S. Judicial Conference, 2004–2010
  • Magistrate Judge Representative, Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2007
  • Member, Committee on Education, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1999–2003
  • Member; Criminal Business, Public Interest Law, Magistrate Judge Utilization, Information and Technology, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (over the course of his 26-year career)

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Included on Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Litigation: Mediators (Pennsylvania), 2023
  • Evaluations, Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, 1998–2018
  • Man of the Year Award, Police Chiefs Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 2009
  • 500 Leading Judges in America, Lawdragon Magazine, 2006
  • Special Commendation from U.S. Deputy Attorney General George T. Terwilliger III, 1992
  • Award for Outstanding Service as Assistant U.S. Attorney, Justice Department, 1988

Background and Education

  • U.S. Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1994–2020
    • Chief Judge, 2007–2011
  • Chief, Narcotics Section and President’s Drug Task Force, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1990–1994
  • Assistant Director, Executive Office for Weed & Seed, Office of Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, July–Dec. 1992
  • Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1985–1990
  • White and Williams, Philadelphia, 1982–1985
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Joseph L. McGlynn, Jr., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1980–1982
  • J.D., Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University, 1980
  • B.A., summa cum laude, University of Scranton, 1977


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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