Hon. Kevin J. Murphy (Ret.) became a full time neutral in 2011 after a distinguished 28-year career as a judge on the Santa Clara County Superior Court. He quickly became one of the leading ADR professionals in the industry.

In May 2012, the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association awarded Judge Murphy a Lifetime Achievement Award. In October 2012, the Daily Journal recognized Judge Murphy as a Rising Star Neutral.

Judge Murphy is known as a mediator with a pleasant demeanor and an exceptional ability to listen, analyze and effectively communicate with all participants to reach settlement. He has a reputation for resolving many cases after the mediation session through persistent follow up. As an arbitrator, counsel describes Judge Murphy as fair, smart and able to grasp legal and factual issues quickly. Many courts throughout Northern California have appointed Judge Murphy as a discovery referee due to his strong ability to efficiently manage discovery in complex cases and his extensive experience with E-DISCOVERY. He has served as a Discovery Referee by appointment of the Federal District Court and California State Courts in 7 counties.

Judge Murphy has presided at mock trials involving major multi-party cases as well as conducted other forms of neutral evaluations. Included among the mock trials were a major environmental lawsuit brought by multiple governmental entities against 5 large corporations alleging environmental contamination, a lawsuit between a utility district and a large utility company and an age discrimination action filed against a large social club.

ADR Experience and Background

Since 2011, Judge Murphy has resolved numerous matters involving:

  • Business
  • Employment and Wage & Hour
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Real Estate
  • Trade Secrets

Additionally Judge Murphy has served as a neutral in a wide range of other legal disputes including environmental actions, water lawsuits and cases filed against governmental entities.


  • 2012 Top 10 Rising Stars – Neutrals, Daily Journal
    • 1 of the 10 best-regarded new ADR neutrals in California – Judge Murphy was recognized during his first year in the private sector
  • 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Clara Trial Lawyers Association

Judicial and Legal Experience

  • 1989 – 2011 Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court
    • Supervising Civil Judge •
    • Civil Team Leader •
    • Appellate Division •
    • CEQA •
    • Law & Motions
    • Settlement Conferences
    • Civil Trials
    • Supervising Criminal Judge
  • 1983 – 1989 Judge, Santa Clara County Municipal Court
  • 1973 – 1983 Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County

Education and ADR Training

  • 2013 American Arbitration Association, Training for Arbitrators
  • 2011 Straus Institute, Pepperdine School of Law, Mediating the Litigated Case
  • 1973 UCLA School of Law, JD
  • 1970 University of Redlands, BA, Summa Cum Laude


  • American Arbitration Association Panel of Arbitrators
  • California Judges Association

Teaching – MCLES and Law School

Judge Murphy has been a law professor at Santa Clara Law School (1999 – 2007) and De Anza College (1977 – 2011), teaching Civil Remedies, Ethics, Trial Procedure and Evidence.

Additionally, Judge Murphy frequently lectures at law firms and bar associations on a variety of legal topics including ethics, trial practice, discovery, mediation and arbitration.

Representative Cases


  • Mediated numerous contract disputes between business entities including lawsuits concerning sales agreements, service contracts, warranties, and factoring agreements.
  • Presided over a class action lawsuit filed against a “Fortune 500” company regarding the sale of digital security certificates. The case settled for over 37 million dollars.
  • Mediated and resolved a breach of commercial loan action between a large bank and a major agricultural concern involving over 3 million dollars.
  • Arbitrated a breach of contract lawsuit filed against a large San Francisco Home Owners Association (HOA) by a property maintenance corporation.
  • Resolved discovery dispute between a United States corporation and an East European corporation involving trade secret and attorney work product issues.
  • Successfully mediated two predatory lending lawsuits involving million dollar settlements filed against two large United States banks.
  • Mediated numerous foreclosure actions between lending institutions and owners of commercial properties. Most settled.
  • Mediated a number of corporate dissolution cases including one that involved a shareholder dispute and allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Resolved a lawsuit involving allegations of negligence and contract interpretation dealing with a variable annuity agreement.
  • Acted as Discovery Referee in a lawsuit involving a cross licensing agreement that involved tax privilege, attorney client privilege, and privacy questions. There was a significant amount of E-DISCOVERY involved.
  • Arbitrated securities disagreement between investor and financial services company.
  • Settled a partnership dispute involving two related businesses that promote boxing and mixed martial arts events. The principal issues were breach of fiduciary duty claims and proper valuation methodology.
  • Handled shareholder derivative action against a large San Francisco corporation. The primary issues dealt with allegations that the controlling shareholders approved a loan for themselves breaching their fiduciary duty, and the proper method to value corporation assets.
  • Handled joint venture buy out dispute involving large California health club. Case involved allegations of fraud and mismanagement.
  • Settled commercial property ownership dispute involving questions of which owner was responsible for environmental violations and how to properly value and apportion assets.
  • Settled negligence and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit filed against a large bank by the owners of five restaurants.
  • Handled business dispute involving co-owners of a restaurant. The issues included correct interpretation of the relevant contract and proper methods for buyout and determining ownership valuations.
  • Settled a business sale dispute involving a large California gambling establishment. The primary issue was the interpretation of the contract's buyout provision.
  • Settled a business sales dispute involving sale of dental practice.
  • Arbitrated a lawsuit filed against a drug treatment program where plaintiff claimed false misrepresentations to induce signing of contract.
  • Arbitrated a breach of contract lawsuit filed by medical office against medical services corporation.
  • Arbitrated a breach of contract lawsuit involving sale of dental practice.
  • Arbitrated a partnership dissolution involving real estate investment company.
  • Arbitrated breach of contract dispute between an American multi-national semiconductor and telecommunications corporation and a start up company.
  • Successfully mediated a contract dispute between a winery and a vendor that sold inventory software.

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Class Action

  • Bench Trial: Class action trade secret case.
  • Mediation: Class action lawsuit against manufacturer of line of clothing dealing with violation of labor law and contract conditions. Case settled at mediation for over 3 million dollars.
  • Mediation: Class action lawsuit against large produce company for alleged violations of labor laws. Settled with mediator follow up.
  • Mediation: Class action for invasion of privacy based on surreptitious recordings of conversations. Settled with mediator follow up.
  • Arbitration: Class action against one of the two largest mail delivery companies for labor code violations.
  • Arbitration: Class action against Health Club for violation of employment laws i.e. discrimination based on sex and age.
  • Arbitration: Class action against limo business for unfair business practices.

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  • Appointed Discovery Referee in 7 California Counties and the Federal District Court.
  • Acted as Discovery Referee in multiple trade secret cases involving e-discovery.
  • Appointed Discovery Referee in several Family Law matters.
  • Acted as Discovery Referee in Defamation lawsuit.
  • Acted as Discovery Referee for a case involving a lawsuit filed by the University of California against an out of state accounting corporation alleging actuarial malpractice. Consisted of multiple motions relating to privacy and trade secrets.
  • Acted as Discovery Referee for lawsuit between two large medical corporations. Primary issues were protection of private patient information and proprietary information, and establishing a court approved discovery plan.
  • Appointed by the Court to establish and administer a Discovery plan in malpractice lawsuit involving parties from two states. The Case involved extensive e- discovery issues and privacy issues.
  • Appointed Discovery Referee in a multiple party trade secret litigation. Case involved e-discovery issues in the context of third party privacy rights, confidentiality, and trade secrets.

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Eminent Domain

  • Resolved Eminent Domain lawsuit pertaining to the California Bullet train.
  • Settled multiple lawsuits dealing with the proper valuation of medical and dental practices.
  • Settled multiple lawsuits involving a metropolitan transportation agency.
  • Mediated lawsuit involving Cal Train.
  • Successfully resolved 5 cases involving proper property valuation.
  • Handled four eminent domain cases involving metropolitan transit agency and private property owners. Three cases resolved by mediation.
  • Mediated six eminent domain lawsuits where the primary issue was proper valuation. Five of the disputes resolved.

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Employment - Labor

  • Settled a disability discrimination case and whistleblower lawsuit (heath violations including water pollution) involving a company from Mexico with a plant in the San Joaquin Valley for just under 1 million dollars.
  • Mediated and resolved a discrimination lawsuit filed against four Monterey County restaurants.
  • Resolved an age discrimination case filed against a large pharmaceutical corporation.
  • Provided neutral evaluation to parties involved in an age discrimination lawsuit filed against a large social club.
  • Settled a disability discrimination action filed against a large HOA.
  • Resolved a gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit filed against a large auto dealership.
  • Settled a sexual orientation discrimination dispute filed against an automobile service corporation.
  • Arbitrated a race and gender discrimination lawsuit filed against one of the two largest United States exercise franchises.
  • Has handled numerous labor code violation actions including one against a popular San Francisco restaurant, and a class action lawsuit filed against a large private California transportation company.
  • Settled an age discrimination claim filed against a large California county.
  • Mediated and resolved a large number of wage and hour disputes involving overtime, meal and rest break, and proper documentation issues filed against a wide variety of businesses.
  • Arbitrated wrongful discharge case based on religious discrimination.
  • Hearing Officer in personnel discipline appeal. Conducted a four day evidentiary hearing and made recommendation to County Personnel Board.
  • Arbitrated a wrongful discharge action against a car dealership with allegations of retaliation for reporting law violations.
  • Settled a disability discrimination action filed against a mid-­‐size corporation.
  • Settled an employment discrimination and labor law action against a health care corporation.
  • Settled a wrongful discharge action against one of the top three US oil companies based on allegations of race and age discrimination.
  • Settled a multiple-­‐plaintiff labor code violation action filed against motel chain.
  • Settled a wrongful discharge action based on discrimination, pregnancy.
  • Settled a violation of state health and labor law case alleged against a private health care provider.
  • Settled a misrepresentation to induce acceptance of employment and breach of employment contract case filed against a top three pharmaceutical corporation.
  • Settled a sexual harassment action filed against a large private health care provider.
  • Settled an age discrimination action filed against a large medical research corporation.
  • Selected to arbitrate a class action lawsuit filed against a transportation company for California labor Code violations.
  • Settled a wrongful termination claim against a California State agency.
  • Settled a discrimination and retaliation claim against a Multi-National Information Technology Corporation.
  • Mediated an employee discrimination case alleged against Stanford University.
  • Arbitrated an employee disability discrimination and failure to accommodate case against a National Restaurant Chain.
  • Settled a lawsuit filed against a Santa Cruz County Hotel by an employee alleging race and gender discrimination.
  • Settled a disability and age discrimination case alleged against a large hostile chain.
  • Settled a matter involving allegations of discrimination based on gender and physical disability for close to 1 million dollars.

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  • Mediated and resolved a water dispute between a county and a private water district.
  • Acted as a Neutral Evaluator at a mock trial involving rate and constitutional water issues between a large California water district and a governmental customer.
  • Was assigned all CEQA cases in Santa Clara County in 2009 and 2011.
  • Mediated soil contamination case filed against owners of multiple properties.
  • Sat as a Mock Trial judge and provided a neutral evaluation of a lawsuit filed by 10 counties against five large corporations for environmental and structural contamination.
  • Presided over a discovery dispute between a State Water Board and three cities, landowners, and the Sierra Club.
  • Trial judge for a lengthy water rate litigation brought against a large water district by a private company involving water rate and water volume issues. Extensive geological testimony about condition of aquifers was presented.
  • Mediated property ownership dispute between a Southern California County and a Water District.

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Fee Dispute

  • Arbitrated numerous cases involving legal fees and costs.
  • Mediated multiple disputes over legal, medical, and other professional fee disputes.
  • Arbitrated fee dispute between lawyers in a class action lawsuit.


  • Handled numerous cases involving a variety of administrative writs.
  • Arbitrated action filed by a Community College District against multiple contractors.
  • Mediated wrongful death action against State Department of Corrections.
  • Discovery Referee for lawsuit filed by the State University system against an investment entity.
  • Mediated and resolved several wrongful death actions filed against law enforcement agencies.
  • As a mediator and trial judge has dealt with eminent domain actions.
  • Mediated a variety of tort claims against city, county, and state governmental entities.
  • Resolved multiple excessive use of force cases as a judge and mediator.

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  • Arbitrated multiple actions involving billing issues between healthcare providers and insurance companies.
  • Presided over Writ proceedings and ex parte involving administrative peer review decisions impacting doctors.
  • Mediated lawsuit between a doctor and the corporation over proper distribution of profits.
  • Mediated dispute over billing procedures involving insurance companies and vendors.
  • Multi‐party lawsuit between medical practice, insurance company, and vendors involving billing, payment, and coverage issues.
  • Mediation of an ambulatory surgical center suing an insurance company over payment and coverage issues contract interpretation questions were at the heart of the litigation.
  • Mediation of a corporation dissolution dispute involving a home care agency, including breach of fiduciary duty, violation of Medicare billing policies, and questions about proper response to a Joint Commission evaluation.
  • Selected to Arbitrate a dispute between the largest California health insurance provider and the owner of several medical clinics over managed care payments for primary care physicians with specialty designations under the Affordable Care Act.

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Mock Trials

  • Lawsuit between 2 fortune 500 companies.
  • Dispute between 2 Southern California utility companies.
  • Environment action filed by multiple government entities against major produces of toxic product.
  • Trade Secret and defamation action filed by Fortune 500 Company against inventor-employee.
  • Discrimination proceedings against large social club.
  • Investigation of gender discrimination action against large silicon valley company.

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Personal Injury

  • Resolved through mediation a wrongful death action filed against the State of California for the negligent release of a prisoner who then committed a murder.
  • Settled a wrongful death action filed against a large police department.
  • Mediated a lawsuit filed by a bicycle rider who suffered major injuries resulting from driving over a raised surface. The action was filed against a corporation and two cities.
  • Mediated a vehicle negligence case filed against the State of California. The plaintiff lost the use of a hand.
  • Handled a variety of sexual abuse cases involving charges against members of the clergy and, in one situation, allegations against a group children’s home.
  • Arbitrated a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against a hospital and its employees for negligence that led to the birth of a physically and mentally impaired child.
  • Resolved a large variety of personal injury cases including lawsuits against public transit agencies, dog bite cases, product liability actions, and excessive force claims against law enforcement agencies.
  • Settled an intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress action filed against a funeral home for delivering cremated remains to the wrong party. The resolution involved not only monetary compensation, but Judge Murphy structured a new protocol for disposing of remains and visited the defendant’s business to assure compliance.
  • Settled wrongful death action brought against the State of California.
  • Settled severe injury, loss of hand, personal injury case filed against a California State University.
  • Sexual Abuse of Minor: This case involved the molestation of a minor by a relative. She was molested sexually multiple times from the age of 5 to 10. She, and her parents, filed a lawsuit against the perpetrator. The case settled at mediation.
  • Settled a child molestation sexual assault matter where the defendant was sued for molesting 9-year-old over long period of time.
  • Mediated and resolved an age and discrimination suit brought by multiple plaintiffs against a large non-profit corporation.
  • Settled a disability discrimination case alleged against a large Silicon Valley Corporation.

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  • Mediated numerous lawsuits involving disputes over family property and trusts.
  • Mediated lawsuit involving dispute over ownership of well known bakery.
  • Mediated multi-­million dollar family trust dispute. Primary issues were valuation of property and proper determination of set offs.
  • Mediated a Probate/Real Property dispute involving lawsuit between mother and one daughter versus a second daughter.

Professional Malpractice

  • Successfully mediated several legal malpractice lawsuits involving a variety of negligence claims including malpractice allegations in family law, estate planning, and sales of real estate.
  • Arbitrated many medical malpractice actions including several wrongful death actions, use of defective medical device claims, and negligent delivery cases.
  • Mediated and settled medical malpractice disputes including one that involved failure to diagnose a life threatening condition and another involving negligent delivery of a premature child.Mediated and settled medical malpractice disputes including one that involved failure to diagnose a life threatening condition and another involving negligent delivery of a premature child.
  • Mediated dental malpractice action concerning cosmetic procedures.
  • Presided over malpractice action against accountant.
  • Discovery Referee in litigation dealing with actuarial malpractice.
  • Resolved dispute against financial advisors for failure to recommend proper funding of several retirement plans.
  • Arbitrated medical malpractice action against a hospital and surgeon where the plaintiff claimed that inferior implants were used because of economic benefits conferred on the doctor by the manufacturer.
  • Has arbitrated and mediated a large number of fee disputes between lawyers, and between attorneys and clients.
  • Settled malpractice action against Family Law attorney.
  • Settled legal malpractice mediation based upon a claim of misinterpretation of federal law.
  • Settled legal malpractice lawsuit based on statute of limitation violation.
  • Presided over 3-day legal malpractice arbitration.

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Real Estate

  • Mediated a number of disputes involving the sale of residential property. Two cases involved multi-million dollar properties with claims of fraud for failing to reveal structural defects. The cases resolved.
  • Achieved a global settlement of a residential sales lawsuit filed by buyer against the seller, the seller’s agent, and the buyer’s own lawyer. In addition to multiple defendants, two insurance companies were involved.
  • Mediated real estate sales dispute in San Mateo County dealing with the failure to reveal the shifting soil condition.
  • Resolved dispute between seller and buyer of commercial real estate concerning the failure to disclose soil contamination.
  • Mediated several HOA disputes. Settled a dispute between owner and HOA involving allegations of retaliatory eviction for filing a discrimination claim.
  • Mediated a trust distribution dispute involving multiple parcels of real property.
  • Resolved a lawsuit involving a claim of fraud in the sale of out-­of-­state commercial property.
  • Resolved several landlord tenant disputes dealing with both commercial and residential properties. Settled a multiple million-dollar breach of lease action.
  • Mediated several eminent domain actions involving both issues of proper taking and correct valuation. Presided over several eminent domain trials.
  • Settled a number of foreclosure actions involving residential and commercial property.
  • Resolved several cases with easement issues. One litigation involved a seller failing to disclose a water use easement.
  • Settled disability discrimination lawsuit filed by homeowner against a HOA. Issues of proper accommodation.
  • Settled partition action involving real property and family trust.
  • Settled landlord tenant case involving commercial property.
  • Settled improper mortgage foreclosure and collections actions filed against major US bank.
  • Settled HOA dispute between homeowner and association. The homeowner was considered disruptive of the community and allegedly had mental issues.
  • Mediated and settled three multi-million dollar lawsuits filed against large national banks involving allegations of wrongful foreclosure and collection practices.
  • Mediated five lawsuits involving buyers of real property alleging willful failure to disclose material defects. Three of the cases settled.
  • Mediated an ownership dispute over five pieces of commercial property. The primary issue was proper valuation for buyout of partnership interest.
  • Mediated four cases involving HOA disputes. Three of the four cases resolved at mediation. The cases were of varying issues, including a violation of the HOA rules by converting a garage into a room, obtaining proper accommodations for disabled member who belonged to the association, a dispute with a neighbor who constantly called the police to report noise from the neighborhood children and a matter where customers of a local business created noise and parked in private driveways that were part of the association complex.
  • Mediated dispute between a Northern California City and a hotel owner regarding multiple building code violations.
  • Mediated and resolved 3 separate Homeowners’ Association disputes involving roofing maintenance, CC&R parking violations, and HOA Board election dispute.
  • Mediated a lawsuit filed by an apartment owner against the San Jose Catholic Diocese of San Jose and a parochial school for public nuisance.
  • Settled a wrongful foreclosure case filed against a large lending institution.

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Trade Secrets

  • Resolved a trade secret theft case involving two investment companies that resolved for near seven figures.
  • Presided over theft of trade secrets trial involving a dispute concerning ownership of an advanced laser technology machine used to improve skin conditions called Fraxel.
  • Presided over a five‐week trade secret lawsuit filed against one of the two largest United States banks where theft of an informational access system was contended.
  • Successfully mediated a number of trade secret theft cases involving employers alleging that employees took trade secrets and shared them with new employers.
  • Acted as Discovery Referee in two cases involving trade secret protection, work product, and other privacy issues. E‐DISCOVERY involved.
  • Granted dispositive motions brought by five large Silicon Valley corporations against another business entity involving trade secrets.
  • Handled trade secret dispute between three companies in two countries.

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