Hon. John A. Ward, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. John A. Ward, (Ret.)

Hon. John A. Ward, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Hon. John A. Ward, (Ret.) is a distinguished mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems with extensive experience in the resolution of personal injury cases arising from vehicular accidents, construction negligence, premises liability, medical negligence, nursing home, workers’ compensation and product liability. He is also experienced in the resolution of commercial matters arising from professional malpractice, insurance coverage and contract matters. Judge Ward’s ability to quickly understand the issues at hand and gain the respect and trust of all parties is well known throughout the legal community.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Accounting Malpractice
  • Auto Liability
  • Aviation
  • Class Action
  • Condominium Board Dispute
  • Construction
  • Contract
  • Environmental
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Qui Tam
  • Retaliatory Discharge
  • Securities
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Subrogation
  • Whistleblower
  • Workers' Compensation

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • 22-year judicial career including serving in the Law Division, 1991-2010; General Individual Calendar, 2004-2010; Administrative/Assignment Judge (Room 2005), 2002-2004, 1991-1992; Tax and Miscellaneous Remedies Section, 1992-2002; First Municipal District, 1988-1991
  • Legal career including serving as Assistant Attorney General for Illinois Attorney General’s Office litigating  environmental, securities, tort and civil rights actions, 1983-1988; Assistant State’s Attorney in Criminal Trial Division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, 1980-1983; Associate at Boodell, Sears, Sugrue, Giambalvo & Crowley, securities and civil practice, 1979-1980
  • Mediated many significant multi-party workers’ compensation cases with complicated issues
  • For 10 years while assigned to the Cook County Circuit Court’s Law Division Tax and Miscellaneous Section, Judge Ward heard hundreds of reviews from decisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Board (formerly the Illinois Industrial Commission)
  • While on the bench from 2009-2010, Judge Ward settled more than 250 cases with a total value exceeding $40 million

Representative Cases

  • Aviation and Wrongful Death: case presenting multiple complex issues including pilot error, product liability and corporate policies
  • Auto Liability: brain injury and wrongful death matter with issues of driver negligence, agency and insurance coverage that involved the Illinois Commerce Commission
  • Contract: $6 million settlement, mediated and settled dispute between group of developers and village over tax increment financing (TIF) agreements; village terminated the TIF district and ceased payments to the developers; developers alleged termination was illegal and the village violated redevelopment agreement between the parties; village in turn asserted unjust enrichment claims against developers
  • Contract: case involving Illinois Excavation Act in building collapse; lengthy negotiations and post-mediation follow-up led to settlement
  • Employment Dispute: involving multiple parties and claims in breach of non-compete agreements and trade secrets
  • Fiduciary Duty: dispute involving claims of securities fraud and legal malpractice during a joint aquisition
  • Medical Malpractice: settled $17 million case involving patient death following botched brain surgery
  • Personal Injury and Wrongful Death: claims arising from allegedly tainted medical product; cases were consolidated and successfully mediated
  • Partnership Dispute: $6.2 million settlement involving partnership dissolution resulting from alleged breach of contract
  • Personal Injury and Wrongful Death: cases involving issues of satutory liability, tort immunity and premises liability; cases were consolidated and successfully mediated
  • Sexual Abuse: abuse of minor case led to $2.5 million settlement
  • Vehicular injury: multi-party case involving driver negligence near construction zone; three-month post-mediation follow-up brought parties to settlement
  • Worker’s Compensation: employee sustained back injury resulting from car accident while on the clock, settled for $9.9 million
  • Wrongful Termination: medical setting involving physician serving as department head
  • Wrongful Death: $9 million settlement in dispute arising from death involving construction vehicle

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Illinois Courts Commission, a seven-member panel  responsible for rendering final decisions on matters of judicial discipline
  • Mentoring Judge, Circuit Court Mentoring Program
  • Recipient, Celtic Man of the Year Award, Celtic Legal Society


  • J.D., Northwestern University Law School, Dean’s List
  • B.A., Marquette University, magna cum laude
    •  Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduate in Economics


  • Illinois State Bar
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for theNorthern District of Illinois


I was a sitting judge for 22 years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2010. Many attorneys have litigated matters in my courtrooms or mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

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

I want to express our firm’s appreciation to ADR Systems for providing us with an outstanding CLE program.  I received numerous positive comments from our partners; everyone thought that the Hon. F. Keith Brown and Stuart A. Nudelman provided us with useful and interesting insights.  I think that our Chicago partners (and anyone else who might do a mediation in Chicago) would be delighted with any of them as a mediator or arbitrator.

Alan Becker, Managing PartnerLitchfield Cavo LLP