W. Scott Snowden

Hon. W. Scott Snowden (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Karen Clerici
T: 916-830-7102
F: 916-565-7780
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111


Hon. W. Scott Snowden (Ret.) has extensive experience handling and settling business/commercial cases. He has resolved hundreds of complex and high value disputes, with issues ranging from general breach of contract cases to real estate and agribusiness cases. As a Judge for over 25 years and as a pioneer of court-based mediation, he brings decades of exceptional settlement skills to matters before him.

Representative Matters

Judge Snowden has handled the following matters while at JAMS:

General Breach of Contract

  • Settled a complicated multimillion-dollar dispute between a pharmacist/drugstore owner and a drug company, involving the state pharmacy board, with allegations of negligence and breach of contract incident to the discovery of a store employee's ordering and interception of controlled drugs
  • Successfully mediated multimillion-dollar dispute regarding payment to a withdrawing shareholder of a health insurance brokerage, with issues relating to the legality of distributions for purchase and redemption of shares in corporation
  • Resolved multi-session and multimillion-dollar dispute between resort owner and management company after parties received a controversial interim award in arbitration
  • Resolved dispute with complex accounting and jurisdiction issues between County and a waste management franchise over monies allegedly due following conclusion of 15-year waste collection contract
  • Settled contractual dispute between the buyer and seller of a restaurant with issues relating to pre-sale disclosure of business records, alleged parol representations, and possible rescission of sale
  • Successfully mediated complex breach of contract, fraud, and elder abuse dispute between 75+ plaintiffs and a real estate investment firm, resulting in a unanimously approved multimillion-dollar settlement
  • Settled complex dispute between mortgage lending company and mortgage broker for alleged fraud perpetrated by broker's representative, unauthorized acts by agent, alleged negligence in retention and training of agent, and insurance coverage issues

Real Estate

  • Resolved dispute between municipality and airport operator/land lessee over the terms of renegotiated leases for multiple aircraft hangers
  • Handled dispute by anchor tenant (furniture store) in shopping center against the landlord for allegedly violating lease conditions that guaranteed no other competing tenants would be allowed in center
  • Successfully mediated complex dispute between former joint venture partners in a multimillion-dollar land purchase with complex issues relating to the extinguishment of rights and allegations of usurpation of a corporate opportunity against a former partner, who successfully purchased the land and proceeded with the development 
  • Settled complex claim with issues relating to The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act made by school district for losses resulting from financial adviser's alleged professional negligence in computing taxes levied on district property
  • Successfully mediated dispute, with issues relating to the Statute of Frauds and part performance and laches, to quiet title and/or partition residence brought by alleged co-owner against sole title-holder
  • Settled complex dispute for monies owed in a matter relating to corporate financing in the purchase and sale of a 100+ unit timeshare resort 
  • Successfully mediated claim for monies due under a sales agreement for the buyout of co-tenant interest in a commercial building and cross-claims for misrepresentation in the inducement

Agribusiness/Wine Law

  • Settled dispute brought by seller of land against a major winery for issues relating to contract construction, local government regulation of land division, and limitations thereon by a Williamson Act contract regarding their vineyard development
  • Successfully mediated dispute brought by a “custom-crush” winery for termination of relationship against the client/producer, with issues relating to separate contractual entitlements and the quality and cost of services provided, such as the wastewater disposal system Successfully mediated dispute between multimillion-dollar winery and major national distributor regarding marketing and distribution contract with issues relating to sales procedures, guarantees and costs of services, retailer and restaurant incentives, depletion accountings, distributor transitions, and dual distributorships in franchise states
  • Resolved an ownership dispute between a wine distribution company and an owner of a competing wine brand, with issues relating to the ownership interest and rights to share in profits, trademark ownership, cost allocations between production and distribution activities, and adequacy of marketing and sales activities
  • Settled dispute between one winery/grape grower and an ultra-premium winery, with allegations of violation of a Federal Court injunction against trademark infringement
  • Settled dispute brought by winery customer management and website hosting company against a shareholder and former employee for alleged theft of trade secrets and interference with business relationships
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Recognized as "Top Neutral," Daily Journal Top California Neutrals List, 2013
  • California Center for Judicial Education and Research, teacher at numerous programs and presentations, including many years as a presenter and team leader for the Continuing Judicial Studies Program for Presiding Judges and Court Administrators
  • California Administrative Office of the Courts, frequent presenter at programs for administrators; twice member of Presiding Judges’ Standing Advisory Committee; member, Criminal Law Standing Advisory Committee
  • National Judicial College, faculty member teaching Effective Caseflow Management, and Complex Litigation
  • Teacher/Lecturer, various subjects relating to case management and court administration in California, Nevada, Missouri, Maryland, South Carolina, Florida, and Toronto, Canada
  • California Judges Association, 1980-present
ADR Profiles
  • Judge (often Presiding Judge), Napa Superior Court, 1985-2005
  • Judge (often Presiding Judge), Napa Municipal Court, 1980-1985
  • Partner, Coombs, Dunlap, Dunlap & Champlin (now Coombs & Dunlap), Napa, CA, 1972-1980
  • City Attorney, Yountville, CA, 1977-1980
  • Deputy City Attorney, Napa, 1972-1980
  • Commissioner and Chairman, Napa County Planning Commission, 1976-1980
  • Commissioner and Chairman, St. Helena City Planning Commission, 1973-1975
  • United States Army, Captain, Signal Corps, 1968-1976
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1971
  • B.A., Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, 1968

Counsel Comments

    • "I truly appreciate your hands-on approach to resolving the case, staying 'on the saddle' throughout the day until the last signature went on the settlement agreement...I believe that keeping your finger on the pulse of the parties is critical to a successful mediation...Thank you again for your very professional and successful mediation efforts."

      Silicon Valley Civil Litigation Attorney
    • “Once again, you have pulled a very large rabbit out of a very small hat. This was a very stressful case for all of the individuals involved. There were very difficult personalities to work with and your ability to bring resolution with these dynamics does not go unnoticed.”

      - Bay Area Attorney
    • “[Judge Snowden] did a truly masterful job of putting this settlement together. I have been through at least a hundred mediations over my career and I have never had a neutral work so hard, and so effectively, at cutting to the core issues, eliminating the peripheral players/issues, and putting the settlement to bed. My clients and I are extremely grateful for his hard work and skill. And, of course, I will look forward to using him again on my next difficult settlement.”

      - San Francisco Attorney
    • "You get incredible results with [Judge Snowden]...who has a real knack for settling cases. This is a mediator who works very hard at it, is innovative, always calming to the parties, and will not rest until he has squeezed the parties into the position that they always wanted, a reasonable settlement. In short, he is probably the best mediator we have known from our experiences..."

      -Senior Partner at Bay Area Firm
    • “Judge Snowden is one of the most intelligent, articulate, involved, professional and effective mediators that I have had on a case.”
    • “I wanted to thank [Judge Snowden] again for [his] extraordinary talent in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion today.”
    • “…I appreciate [Judge Snowden’s] skills and demeanor in Mediation. It’s been one of the better experiences I have had this year in discovering his abilities are available to us.”
    • “Judge Snowden was very prepared for mediation, and was very active, energetic and involved in the entire process.”
    • “Judge Snowden is the best mediator I've ever appeared before. And a big part of that is how fun and funny he is.”
    • “Thank [Judge Snowden] for helping us successfully resolve the entire case. Tell him that I would recommend him highly and I would utilize his services again in a heartbeat.”
    • “… a phenomenal job in our recent mediation. [He is] the number 1 person on my list of people to go to when I have ADR matters. I appreciate [his] humor and common sense approach to cases…”




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

Snowden_W. Scott_Business_Commercial_958