After a long career on the bench in, recently-retired former Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald S. Kurtz has joined National Arbitration and Mediation as a neutral.
Kurtz spent 18 years presiding over the Jury Coordinating and City Trial Readiness parts of the court, where he oversaw the court’s entire roster of trial-ready civil cases – including personal injury and tort cases over motor vehicle and construction acidents, labor law cases, contract and business disputes, and other commercial cases. During his tenure in the Brooklyn Supreme Court, Kurtz also successfully negotiated and settled tens of thousands of cases himself.
Additionally, the judge presided over the Non-Jury Trial Readiness, Early Settlement Conference, Central Compliance, Default Judgement Motion, and all-purpose Trial parts of the court — where, according to NAM, he negotiated settlements quickly and efficiently. In 2021, Kurtz oversaw part of a lawsuit that sought to halt the Gowanus rezoning over transparency concerns.
In his new role at NAM, Kurtz will help settle disputes out of court through mediation and arbitration — which can save clients time and money and avoid going through litigation. Working with representative lawyers, neutral arbitrators hear all the details of a case and eventually issue their own final decision — while mediators help the opposing parties find a mutually agreed-upon solution, but do not have any decisions themselves.
NAM currently works with more than 10,000 commercial entities, according to the company’s website, and offers thousands of “neutrals,” like Kurtz, to help navigate a wide range of cases. Kurtz himself specializes in commercial, construction, employment, personal injury, and labor law suits within the New York Metropolitan Area.
“Judge Kurtz is a welcome addition to NAM’s roster of neutrals,” said NAM chairman and founder Roy Israel, in a statement. “He is well-respected and praised by those attorneys who have appeared before him for his great skill and fairness. His experience conferencing, settling, and trying a wide variety of cases will serve NAM’s clients well.”
Kurtz got his start in the legal world as an assistant to the general counsel at the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in 1976, as he worked to earn his degree from Brooklyn Law School. In 1983, he was hired as a law secretary for Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Frank J. Pino, then worked under Justice Sebastian Leone in the Brooklyn Supreme Court until 2000, when he was elected to the Kings County Civil Court.
During his six years on the Civil Court, Kurtz presided over nearly 400 trials – including jury trials, small claims trials, and trials involving unrepresented litigants. During that time, according to NAM, he often oversaw housing court and commercial landlord/tenant proceedings in the Civil Court Trial Part.