Resolution Remedies

Professional Panel - Judge John J. Gallagher (Ret.)

PROFESSIONAL PANEL

JUDGE MICHAEL J. BERGER

HON. CARLA BONILLA

JUDGE RICHARD H. BREINER

HON. JEANNE MARTIN BUCKLEY

JUDGE MICHAEL B. DUFFICY

JUDGE JOHN J. GALLAGHER

JUDGE INA LEVIN GYEMANT

JUDGE JOHN M. MEAGHER

JUDGE VERNON F. SMITH

LARRY BASKIN, Esq.

CLAYTON E. CLEMENT, Esq.

DAMON M. CONNOLLY, Esq.

W. GREGORY ENGEL, Esq.

DAVID F. FEINGOLD, Esq.

STEGER P. JOHNSON, Esq.

PERRY D. LITCHFIELD, Esq.

KATHLEEN MAYLIN, Esq.

MARY MCLAIN, Esq.

BARBARA MONTY, Esq.

GARY T. RAGGHIANTI, Esq.

MICHAEL D. SENNEFF, ESQ.

ROBERT J. SHEPPARD, ESQ.

ERIC STERNBERGER, Esq.

MATTHEW N. WHITE, Esq.

W. BRUCE WOLD, Esq.

Click To Watch Video

 

If it’s true, it’s not bragging. With Irish mischief twinkling in his eyes, retired Santa Rosa Judge John Gallagher says flatly: “I am the best mediator you can find.” Well, his success rate is 95%. Case closed.

 

You can get away with such a claim if you are charming and disarming. Gallagher is both. Asked what he feels is the most important ingredient in effective mediation, Gallagher answers without a pause: “Imagination. Too many in our profession think there is only one way to resolve a case, and they get locked in and blind to alternative solutions. There are so many creative ways to settle a case; you just have to keep an open mind. My philosophy is simple: You must get a feeling for the people before you do or say anything else. You will discover there are people you can push, people you can’t push; people you can be light with, people you can’t be light with. The trick is to respect the people for who they are.

 

Thinking is my most effective tool.  I give each case a lot of thought, developing a panoply of different approaches.  I’m upfront with people, and I’ve always lived by this.  My father (famed Anaheim attorney Steve Gallagher) told me early on that you don’t tell lies, and I never have.  Yes, sometimes my humor gets away from me, but I can’t help it.  Once, in mediation, I told a participant:  ‘You don’t need an arbitrator.  You need Jesse Ventura to come in and kick some serious ass.’ ”

After 21 years on the bench, Judge Gallagher retired from the Sonoma County Superior Court in 1997.  A devout Catholic deeply troubled by the Church’s ongoing moral crisis, Gallagher serves on a diocesan committee investigating pedophile priests in Santa Rosa.

 

Retirement has freed Judge Gallagher to devote large chunks of his time to various volunteer activities.  He leads a discussion group every week at a local assisted living facility, covering current events, politics, and items of general interest.  Popular among the residents, the group has about 25 people every week.

 

The judge is also on the Advisory Board of St. Andrew's Episcopal Mission for the hungry in Monte Rio.   Twice a month, he shops at the food bank, fills his pick-up truck, and delivers a load of food to the Mission.  He is also a Life Member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

 

As a heavyweight slugger determined to maintain his 95% batting average, Gallagher attributes his success to being well prepared, maintaining an open mind, imagination, likeability, respect for clients, and cultivating an atmosphere of different approaches to creative resolution.

 

 

ON THE BENCH

Judge Gallagher was elected to an open seat on the Sonoma County Superior Court in November 1976. He served as Presiding Judge in 1980, 1985, and 1993.  He was appointed to the Appellate Department of Sonoma County on three occasions by the Chief Justice.  During his term in 1980, Judge Gallagher instituted a major effort to reduce backlogs by exposing every case on the civil active list to settlement conference and trial.  In his 21 years on the bench, Judge Gallagher has heard every calendar and presided over hundreds of civil cases.


BACKGROUND

Judge Gallagher is a very successful mediator enjoying a 95% settlement rate since he retired from the Sonoma County Superior Court in 1997. His broad expertise includes the areas of medical and legal malpractice, real estate, construction, complex probate matters, personal injury, wrongful termination claims, complex multiparty cases, insurance coverage, business litigation and product liability. He has heard numerous arbitrations and has served as discovery referee on several occasions. He also has substantial personal experience in investments and property management. Recognized as one of the most effective settlement judges in Sonoma County, Judge Gallagher brings intelligence, imagination, and diligence to his settlement approach. He speaks Spanish, and has studied Spanish at SRJC, attended language schools in Mexico and Costa Rica, and taken private lessons.


MEMBERSHIPS and SPECIAL HONORS

National Judges College Mediation certification (1996); Extensive mediation experience as Superior Court domestic judge; Member of the California Judges Association and Faculty lecturer; Lecturer, Santa Rosa Junior College.


EDUCATION

J.D., University of Southern California School of Law, 1963
B.A., Loyola University of Los Angeles, 1960