Curtis von Kann

Hon. Curtis E. von Kann (Ret.)

JAMS Arbitrator, Mediator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
Naomi Hutchinson
T: 202.533.2034
F: 202.942.9186
1155 F Street, NW, Suite 1150, Washington, D.C. 20004


Hon. Curtis E. von Kann (Ret.), in 50 years as a trial lawyer, trial judge, and ADR neutral, has had hands-on experience with matters involving virtually every field of civil law, including accounting, acquisitions, anti-trust, aviation, bankruptcy, civil rights, class actions, computers, condominiums, construction, consumer protection statutes, contracts, copyright, corporations, defamation, domestic relations, employment, engineering, entertainment, environmental, ERISA, executive compensation, False Claims Act, franchising, government contracts, healthcare, high tech, hospitals, insurance, intellectual property, investments, labor laws, partnerships, patents, personal injury, product liability, professional liability, Qui Tam, real estate, securities, telecommunications, trademarks, trade secrets, and unfair competition.

Judge von Kann, who is Immediate Past President of the College of Commercial Arbitration, literally wrote the book on business arbitration as Editor-in-Chief of the College’s Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration and Associate Editor of its Protocols for Expeditious, Cost-Effective Commercial Arbitration. He has served as sole arbitrator or member (usually chair) of tripartite panels in a wide variety of institutional and ad hoc cases (see Arbitration Bio) applying rules from JAMS, the American Arbitration Association, the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, and the International Center for Dispute Resolution as well as specialized party-crafted rules.

Judge von Kann has also mediated a broad array of disputes (see Business/Commercial Bio) in locations throughout the United States and abroad. Mediations have ranged from two parties to 75 parties and from one day to many days. His thoughtful, sensitive, and diligent mediation style has drawn rave reviews from clients. He has also provided neutral case evaluations to one or more parties in a variety of complex cases in aid of settlement.

Representative Matters

  • Mass Torts. Arbitrated the division among Fortune 100 companies of $1 billion product liability class action payment.
  • Environmental. Mediated the allocation of $40 million in Superfund site cleanup costs among Waste Management, state of New Jersey, and 70 industrial generators.
  • Intellectual Property. Arbitrated determination of royalty rates to be paid by AOL, MTV, Viacom, and other web casters for Internet streaming of recorded music.
  • International High-Tech. Arbitrated claim by U.S. distributor of state-of-the-art dental imaging devices that Korean manufacturer sold the devices to other distributors in violation of an alleged exclusive distributorship agreement.
  • Contract. Mediated contractors' competing claims for federal government reimbursement of multi-million dollar hurricane cleanup costs in Puerto Rico.
  • Satellites. Arbitrated dispute between satellite radio company and its insurer over whether company’s alleged failure to disclose material information barred it from recovering $80 million for loss of two satellites caused by defective solar arrays.
  • ERISA. Mediated claim by union trustees that national supply company improvidently invested most of pension funds in its own stock, which became nearly worthless when company declared bankruptcy.
  • Construction/Real Estate. Arbitrated claims of default between owner and developer of the nation's third largest shopping mall.
  • Telecommunications. Mediated claim alleging breach of contract and warranty in design and installation of Voice of America satellite antenna tower in Djibouti.
  • Insurance. Evaluated $160 million in Medicare claims and counterclaims between U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and two major national insurers.
  • Power Plant. Arbitrated competing claims between general contractor and structural steel assembly subcontractor for delay damages allegedly caused by breach of contract and faulty engineering in construction of electric power generation plant.
  • Collective Action. Arbitrated claim against employer for allegedly misclassifying employees as exempt and then failing to pay them overtime required by Fair Labor Standards Act for non-exempt employees.
  • Resort Development. Arbitrated dispute between partners in development of luxury resort in Virgin Islands concerning alleged mismanagement of the project and breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Class Action. Mediated class action on behalf of home purchasers who contended that charging them a fee to pay for their lenders’ electronic registration of mortgages violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
  • Distinguished Neutral, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London
  • Past President, College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2014-2022
  • Former President, Harvard Law School Association of the District of Columbia and Charles Fahy American Inn of Court
  • Former Board Member, JAMS, National Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court, Council for Court Excellence
  • Member of two Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panels, U.S. Copyright Office
  • First person selected to hear complaints against Members of Congress and others under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995
  • Independent Counsel of the United States appointed to investigate alleged violations of law by President Clinton's campaign chief of staff
  • Special Master to the Deputy Attorney General appointed to resolve disputes between two divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice concerning $8 billion dollar law enforcement program
  • Frequently requested ADR lecturer and trainer for numerous organizations, including the World Bank, U.S. Department of Justice, National Judicial College, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Mass Torts Institute, American Bar Association, American Law Institute, American Corporate Counsel Association, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and leading law firms

Publications (Partial List)

  • "Winning in Arbitration: The 10 Golden Rules," JAMS GEC Newsletter, Summer 2017
  • "Contemporary U.S. Commercial Arbitration Meets Ancient Chinese Curse: May you Live in Exciting Times," Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal (Fall/Winter 2012)
  • The College of Commercial Arbitrators Protocols for Expeditious, Cost-Effective Commercial Arbitration (2010) (available at (Associate Editor)
  • The College of Commercial Arbitrators Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration (2006) (JurisNet, LLC) (Editor-in-Chief)
  • "Alternative Dispute Resolution Can Avert Costly Court Battles," Potomac Tech Journal (October 14, 2002)
  • "Parties Should Make Arbitration Process Choices in the Contract," Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (September 2002) (co-author)
  • "Neutral Case Evaluation: A Valuable Addition to Your ADR Repertoire," Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (July 2002)
  • "A Week in the Life: Charting the Job of a Mediator in Daily Detail," Legal Times (March 25, 2002) and The Recorder (May 2002)
  • "Leaving the Bench for ADR," Legal Times (September 11, 1995)
  • "Reinventing the Jury Trial," Legal Times (January 2, 1995)
  • Arbitrator and Mediator, JAMS, 1997-present
  • Chair, ADR Department of Ross, Dixon & Masback, 1995-1997
  • Judge, District of Columbia Superior Court, 1985-1995
  • Civil Litigator, Hogan Lovells (partner) and other law firms, 1969-1985
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1969
  • B.A., cum laude, Harvard College, 1964

Counsel Comments

    • "You kept the parties on an expeditious schedule, you made decisions about discovery and motions promptly and decisively and you were engaged during the presentation of witnesses and argument. One of my fears in arbitrations is that the arbitrator will split the baby in an effort to keep everyone somewhat happy. You did not do that, and we never really feared that you would. You made decisions throughout the case and stuck to them.  But I can tell you that both our team and the client spoke before your ruling issued and concluded that you had been an exceptionally good arbitrator. I would be happy to work with you again or to recommend you to others."

      - IP Partner at premier national law firm



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Environmental
  • Federal Law
  • Financial Markets
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Health Care
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • International & Cross-Border
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Surety


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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