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.

He has served as sole arbitrator or member (usually chair) of tripartite panels in a wide variety of institutional and ad hoc arbitrations (see Arbitration Biography) applying rules from the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, the International Center for Dispute Resolution, the American Arbitration Association, JAMS, and specialized party-crafted rules. Judge von Kann, who is a past President of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, has written and lectured on a variety of arbitration issues, was Editor-in-Chief of the inaugural edition of the College's Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration and Associate Editor of its Protocols for Expeditious, Cost-Effective Commercial Arbitration.

Judge von Kann has also mediated a broad array of disputes (see Business/Commercial Biography) in locations throughout the world. Mediations have ranged from two parties to as many as 75 parties and from one day to many days. His thoughtful, sensitive, and diligent mediation style has drawn high praise 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 International Matters

  • Anti-Trust: Mediated claim by U.S. steel manufacturer that a Japanese steel manufacturer had violated U.S. anti-trust laws and infringed its patents
  • Breach of Warranty: Mediated claim alleging breach of contract and warranty in design and installation of satellite antenna tower in Djibouti
  • Broker Compensation: Arbitrated claim by U.S. search firm that huge Swiss pharmaceutical company failed to pay the agreed finder's fee for locating an appropriate acquisition target
  • Commercial Confidentiality: Arbitrated claim by U.S. investigatory firm that its former CFO, a Russian citizen, failed to adhere to a confidentiality agreement concerning company operations
  • Construction Dispute: Arbitrated claim by U.S. subcontractor that delays, improper specifications, and project mismanagement by German general contractor of power plant entitled subcontractor to an equitable adjustment in price
  • Distributorships: Arbitrated a claim by a South American winery that its US distributor breached the terms of their distributorship agreement
  • Embezzlement: Mediated claim by U.S. company that director of its Italian branch office has embezzled millions of dollars over period of several years
  • Government Funding: Mediated competing claims by Puerto Rican and mainland U.S. contractors for federal government reimbursement of multi-million dollar hurricane cleanup costs
  • 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
  • Insurance Coverage: Mediated claim by Greek company that London insurer failed to pay proceeds of key man life insurance on company executive on false grounds that executive had committed suicide
  • Internet: Arbitrated determination of royalty rates to be paid by AOL, MTV, Viacom, and other webcasters for internet streaming of copyrighted recorded music
  • Mass Torts: Arbitrated the allocation among American and German companies of $1 billion product liability class action payment
  • Patents: Arbitrated dispute between Dutch manufacturer of pet medicines and U.S. competitor over alleged patent infringement
  • Pesticides: Mediated cross-claims between Chinese manufacturer of generic pesticides and U.S. executive/shareholder alleging mismanagement and skimming of profits by Chinese majority shareholder and diversion of corporate opportunities by U.S. executive
  • Pharmaceuticals: Mediated dispute between Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer and its U.S. distributor concerning alleged breaches of marketing agreement
  • 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
  • Satellites: Two separate arbitrations involving claims by U.S. and Canadian satellite companies against their German insurer for multi-million dollar losses allegedly caused by undisclosed defects in solar array design of new satellites
  • Security Codes: Mediated claim by Norwegian designer of software for encoded governmental communications that its U.S. competitor has stolen the security codes and was engaged in unfair competition
  • Software: Mediated dispute between U.S. and South African companies concerning alleged failures to properly market certain software
  • Telecommunications: Mediated disputes between U.S. and Chinese telecommunications companies concerning their servicing agreements
  • 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




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

von Kann_Curtis_International & Cross-Border_508