FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Hon. John F. Herlihy (Ret.)


San Jose, CA, USA

Hon. John F. Herlihy, Former Supervising Judge of the Civil Division of Santa Clara County Superior Court, has extensive experience in dispute resolution. He has case managed, settled, and tried thousands of civil cases including some of the county's most complex civil litigation during his 29-year judicial career, of which more than half was spent settling and hearing civil cases.

Judge Herlihy is well regarded by counsel as a very knowledgeable, thorough, and fair jurist with a good command of the facts and issues who takes time to closely consider the issues in a case. He understands that the high cost of traditional litigation in terms of money, time, and emotion necessitates effective ADR solutions. He is available to handle all of your ADR needs including discovery disputes, early neutral evaluation, mediation, and arbitration.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Settled thousands of cases and tried bench and jury trials of all types of civil litigation while serving as a trial court judge for over 29 years
  • Handled civil law and motion, settlement conferences, and case management conferences while presiding as a case manager judge
  • Trained in mediation and advanced mediation courses by Pepperdine University Faculty at the Continuing Judicial Studies Program, California Center for Judicial Education and Research

Representative Matters

  • Minority shareholders and former employees alleged breach of fiduciary duty against former controlling shareholders and officers and directors of the corporation causing stock value dilution
  • Investors and entities sued promoters, partnership, and corporate partner of a brew pub for conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud
  • Unfair competition cases
  • Software company claimed breach of fiduciary duty of company director and theft of trade secrets against director and another software company
  • Mobile phone developer claimed that stock brokerage and software company conspired and stole trade secrets, breached NDA, and used the trade secrets to enhance cell phone based stock trading

Class Actions

  • Class action filed against software company for alleged Y2K problem in software
  • Class action wage-and-hour against national company
  • Class action for failure of manufacturer to use new resin in producing plastic pipe used in plumbing for residential home developments which caused the pipe to fail
  • Class action against national fast food company for failure to honor gift cards after a period of time had elapsed
  • Class action against mortgage company for not accounting for interest correctly on mortgages


  • Wrongful discharge and racial discrimination against defense contractor
  • Wrongful discharge due to retaliation for filing disability claim against multi-national company
  • Wrongful termination and hostile work environment by aide against city councilman
  • Wrongful termination and sexual harassment and failure to investigate by employee against manager and hotel
  • Wage-and-hour class action against national company


  • Insureds filed a declaratory relief action, contending right to Cumis counsel on the grounds of conflict of interest because the attorney retained by insurer refused to pursue the affirmative defenses of trademark misuse and violation of the antitrust laws, solely to serve the financial interests of insurer
  • Subrogation actions
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist claims

Intellectual Property

  • Mobile phone developer claimed that stock brokerage and software company conspired and stole trade secrets, breached Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), and used the trade secrets to enhance cell phone based stock trading
  • Class action filed against software company for alleged Y2K problem in software
  • Trademark and trade dress dilution claim by professional sports team against professional sports league
  • Software company claimed breach of fiduciary duty of company director and theft of trade secrets against director and another software company

Personal Injury/Torts

  • Traumatic brain injury claim by two men in a pickup truck rear-ended by cement truck
  • Two individuals broke both feet in leap from second story of a burning apartment building without working smoke detectors
  • Libel and slander by an insurance agent against another insurance agent for the same national insurance company
  • Traumatic brain injury suffered by seven-year old in a ten foot fall from an unguarded elevation in an apartment complex
  • Automobile accident caused anisocoria condition resulting in permanent vision problems which interfered with computer programmer's work and lifestyle
  • Disabled person in wheelchair not strapped down in bus when bus driver made sharp turn causing wheelchair to tip over and person became a quadriplegic
  • Product defect case involving airplane engine and lubricant manufacturer; improper maintenance by airplane maintenance company resulting in airplane crash. Crash survivor sustained traumatic brain injury to both frontal lobes resulting in permanent cognitive loss
  • Product defect case against child car seat manufacturer involving permanent serious injury to child
  • Product defect case against ladder manufacturer resulting in permanent serious injury to contractor
  • Product defect case against medical device manufacturer resulting in permanent serious injury

Professional Liability

  • Medical malpractice: cardiologist told patient over telephone that her symptoms were not related to her heart condition. Woman went to work and died from a cardiac condition within a few hours after the telephone consultation
  • Dental malpractice case: dentist slipped with drill and cut a minister's lingual nerve under the tongue causing permanent slurred speech and other impairments
  • Legal malpractice: lawyer misadvising clients on the usury law relating to financing real estate purchase
  • Accountant malpractice: accountant misadvised client regarding tax laws
  • Real estate broker malpractice: clients claimed that broker gave improper investment advice
  • Medical malpractice: oncologist sued for wrongful death of patient for failure to use latest medical studies on chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Medical malpractice: retained sponge case involving cardiac surgeon during open heart surgery

Real Property

  • Real estate broker's license since 1976
  • Real estate broker sued for incorrect investment advice given to long time customers
  • Fraud and breach of commercial lease by tenant against property owner
  • Quiet title action to settle claims to numerous properties by former significant others and one of their parents
  • Complex real estate purchase and sale agreement drafted to temporarily circumvent the subdivision map act resulting in claims of breach of contract and quiet title by both parties
  • Adjacent landowners on hillside development: uphill owners claimed breach of CCR by downhill owners who blocked view with trees; downhill owners claimed uphill landowners caused unnatural water flow onto their property
  • Commercial landlord filed unlawful detainer action against commercial tenant for breach of lease. Tenant countered that landlord fabricated claims because tenant had subleased the property for over $1 million more than the tenant paid on the master lease
  • Actions against title companies for failure to show cloud on title in title report
  • HOA suits over various issues

Background and Education

  • Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court, 1990-2009 (Supervising Judge Civil Division, Civil Case Manager Judge)
  • Judge, Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1982-1990
  • Commissioner, Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1980-1982
  • JAG Captain, California National Guard, 1980-1985
  • Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County, 1976-1980
  • Civil Attorney, Hansen & Herlihy, 1974-1976
  • J.D., University of California Hastings College of the Law, 1974?(Editorial Associate and Author, Constitutional Law Quarterly)
  • B.A., with Distinction & Honors in Political Science, San Jose State University, 1971

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