Hon. F. Keith Brown, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. F. Keith Brown, (Ret.)

Hon. F. Keith Brown, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Hon. F. Keith Brown, (Ret.), former Chief Judge of Kane County, has extensive experience in settling personal injury, workers’ compensation and commercial matters. As a mediator, Judge Brown is known for his keen ability to easily connect with people and promote productive communication between all parties. In addition to more than 200 jury trials, he settled thousands of cases while on the bench. Judge Brown is a beloved pillar of the community and has been recognized numerous times for his community service.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Accounting Malpractice
  • American Disability Act (ADA)
  • Auto Liability
  • Bad Faith
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Construction Accidents
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract
  • Defamation
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Estates
  • Family Law
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Government
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Partnership Dispute
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Shareholder Dispute
  • Stockholder Derivative Actions
  • Toxic Tort
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM&UIM)
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Wrongful Death

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2014, Judge Brown has served as a full-time mediator, arbitrator, tri-panel chair and special master
  • 23-year judicial career in the 16th Circuit Court including Presiding Judge of the Civil Division, 2012-2014; Chief Judge, 2008-2011; Judge, 1996-2008; Presiding Judge of the Divorce Division, 1997-1998 and 2000-2002; Presiding Judge of the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division, 1993-1997; Associate Judge, 1991-1996
  • 10-year legal career as a litigator at Miller, Feda and Brown and his own private practice, 1983-1990; hearing referee for the Illinois Department of Labor, 1982-1983; staff attorney at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 1981-1982
  • Approved Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County

Representative Cases

  • Bad Faith and Wrongful Death: commercial case settled for $3.2 million through post-mediation follow-up
  • Contract: business loss due to unacceptable condition of delivered product; developed creative document to consolidate information which assisted in bringing parties to resolution
  • Contract: successfully mediated multi-million dollar dispute regarding breach of contract warranty involving shipment of product contaminated with illegal pesticide residue
  • Contract: settled a dispute involving claims of fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment and counterclaims of alternative actions for promissory estoppel and violation of the Illinois Sales Representative Act
  • Construction Accidents: mediated a multitude of workplace accidents, including construction accidents for $1.9 and $2.4 million
  • Construction Defect: complex, multi-party construction defect matter involving multiple claims across several states; parties requested mediator’s proposal resulting in settlement of all claims
  • Discrimination: alleged racial discrimination matter involving 20 litigants; selected after parties conducted national search for mediator; traveled out of state for several days of mediations; all 20 cases settled
  • Employment: experience mediating and arbitrating a variety of cases concerning race, national origin, gender, the American Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, among others
  • Government: case between County Board Clerk and County Board regarding alleged misuse of “special funds” collected for the Clerk’s office
  • Insurance Coverage: complex mediation involving three insurance carriers; case settled for $1 million
  • Insurance Coverage: dispute over whether first party property policy provides coverage for water damage resulting from defective construction, and repair costs for damage to two additional  buildings  accessed  in order to repair water damage; both parties were out of state, and neither state offered a clear answer as to  question of coverage; case settled after extensive phone follow-up
  • Legal Malpractice: successful mediation of many pre-suit and in-suit legal malpractice matters
  • Medical Malpractice: experience mediating large value cases with many types of injuries; successfully settled cases for $2.6, $3.6 and $7.2 million
  • Medical Malpractice: mediated $1.5 million settlement in death of an infant
  • Nursing Home:  in-depth experience with nursing home matters; settled hundreds of cases through mediation
  • Partnership Dispute: restaurant partners chose to arbitrate due to confidential nature of the partnership agreement; matter resolved through binding mediation rather than arbitration
  • Personal Injury: successfully settled hundreds of personal injury cases, including those related to auto accidents, slip and fall cases and other premises liability matters, medical malpractice, dog bites, product liability, toxic tort and occupational accidents
  • Property Damage: significant fire damage and loss of business income dispute with multiple tiers of insurance coverage; resolved  property loss and complex business valuation issues, including appropriate replacement values; partial settlement achieved at first mediation; case settled after nearly twelve months of diligent post-mediation follow-up
  • Real Estate: complex commercial real estate matter involving public utility that asserted an easement over property that was not recorded when purchaser received title; title insurance was denied because purchaser put property in trust; issues included whether insurance policy, limiting coverage to named insured, is enforceable by a party who is not a named insured or a successor to that named insured by operation of law; settled at mediation
  • Trusts: highly sensitive family trust dispute involving many siblings and intricate trust documents; successfully mediated a $5 million settlement
  • Wrongful Death: experience mediating motor vehicle cases; facilitated settlements in $4.9 million auto accident and $3.95 million trucking accident

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Chairman, Kane County Judicial and Public Safety Technology Commission
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Kane County Bar Association
  • Member, Strategic Planning Committee for the Illinois Courts
  • Member, Presidential Advisory Committee, Judson University
  • Member, Conference of Chief Judges, Elgin Parks and Recreation Foundation
  • Former Member, Elgin Planning Commission
  • Former President, Neighborhood Housing Service of Elgin
  • Former Board Member, Elgin YMCA
  • Former Board Member, Literacy Volunteers of America
  • Former Faculty, Judicial Training Seminar, Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
  • Former Chairman, Kane County Domestic Violence Task Force
  • Lasting Impact Award, Elgin Community College
  • Benjamin K. Miller Recognition Award for the Prevention of Family Violence, Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Councils
  • Outstanding African-American of the Year, Aurora’s African-American Heritage Board
  • Person of the Year, National Alliance on Mental Illness, DeKalb, Kane and Kendall Counties
  • Partners in Peace Award, Elgin Community Crisis Center

Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Presumed Defective: The Impact of the Malfunction Theory on Products Cases,” American Bar Association Women of the Section of Litigation Conference
  • Presenter, “What are They Thinking? Secrets Revealed from Industry Professionals,” Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Greater Chicago Chapter
  • Presenter, “Mediation in the Chancery Division: The Year in Review,” Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Presenter, “Motion Practice,” Circuit Court Committee, Chicago Bar Association
  • Presenter, “Update: Spoliation Cases,” Kane County Bar Association (KCBA)
  • Presenter, “Preparation for Settlement of a Case,” ISBA Seminar
  • Presenter, “Jurors,” KCBA Seminar
  • Presenter, “Business Valuation and Tax Issues in Divorce,” Illinois Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys and the Illinois Continuing Law Educations Seminar
  • Presenter, “Trial Practice: Voir Dire and Jury Selection,” ISBA Seminar; KCBA Civil Practice Committee
  • Presenter “Calculation of Child Support and Maintenance in Family Law Cases,” KCBA
  • Presenter, “Mediation Perspectives,” Cassiday Schade
  • Presenter, “Case Management Software Systems and the 16th Circuit,” KCBA Seminar
  • Presenter, numerous Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs for ADR Systems on various topics


  • JD, Drake University Law School
  • BA, Drake University


  • Illinois State Bar


I was a sitting judge for over 23 years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2014. Many attorneys have tried cases in my courtrooms or mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

The disclosures listed above will not affect my neutrality in this dispute.

"Judge Axelrood was outstanding with my client. During the mediation, he explained things clearly and used examples that my client – an older individual – could easily understand. Judge Axelrood made the process easier for my client and me. He was instrumental in settling this case."

Steven Gleason, Esq.Nilson, Stookal, Gleason & Caputo, LTD.