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


In 50 years as a trial lawyer, trial judge, and ADR neutral, Judge von Kann 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 has mediated a broad array of disputes in locations throughout the United States and abroad. Mediations have range 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

  • Bankruptcy. Mediation of claims brought by trustee and creditors (including the United States) against a large healthcare provider for alleged fraudulent transfers and inadequate payments to the estate. After extensive mediation, settlement was reached and approved by the U.S. District Court, which had withdrawn the reference from the bankruptcy court.
  • Class Action. Mediation of 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.
  • Commercial Leasing. Neutral case evaluation of appeal from trial court judgment dismissing claim that rent adjustment based on escalator clause in commercial lease was improperly determined by appointed appraiser.
  • Contract. Mediation in Puerto Rico of competing claims by Puerto Rican and Mississippi contractors for FEMA payment for cleanup of massive damages caused by Hurricane Georges. Following three days of mediation with Spanish-speaking co-mediator, global settlement was reached.
  • Environmental. Separate mediations involving cost recovery actions by state and federal environmental protection agencies against numerous potentially responsible parties at five unrelated sites. After intense, multi-day mediations, and considerable follow-up by the mediator, settlements were reached in four of the five cases.
  • ERISA. Mediation of 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.
  • Financial Services. Mediation of dispute concerning application of settlement agreement terms to repayment of multiple promissory notes. Case settled after one day of mediation and series of follow-up telephone calls by the mediator.
  • Healthcare. Mediation of False Claims Act and debarment action by United States against major healthcare provider. After extensive multi-party mediation, settlement was reached on terms proposed by Judge von Kann.
  • Insurance. Service as a special master to determine the appropriate measure of damages for multiple property damage and business interruption claims brought by five casualty insurers against party found liable for flooding of several office/retail buildings. Following accelerated hearings, Judge von Kann entered damage awards in a series of master's reports, which were upheld by the trial and appellate courts.
  • Product Liability. Mediation of suit against major automotive manufacturer alleging that its most popular minivan was prone to slip from park into neutral, thus causing serious bodily injuries and death.
  • Professional Liability. Mediation of malpractice claim by industrial manufacturer against its former accounting firm. Case settled on second day when both parties accepted Judge von Kann's settlement proposal.
  • Software Development. Mediation of claim that company hired to develop software required by government procurement contract failed to deliver a product that met contract specifications.
  • Technology. Mediation and neutral case evaluation of claims of misrepresentation and breach of warranty in the leveraged buyout of high tech company. After parties reached impasse in mediation, they asked Judge von Kann to interview and evaluate key witnesses and present settlement proposal, which was promptly accepted by both sides.
  • Telecommunications. Mediation of claim alleging breach of contract and warranty in design and installation of Voice of America satellite antenna tower in Djibouti.
  • Unfair Competition. On-going service as an independent auditor to verify compliance with business solicitation restrictions in a settlement agreement between competing businesses.
  • 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




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