JAMS Denver is located in Denver and serves Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West
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  • Business disputes
  • Construction Law
  • Discovery and Attorney Fees Disputes
  • Employment/Civil Rights
  • Governmental Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Oil and Gas Law
  • Torts

Hon. Michael A. Martinez

Hon. Michael A. Martinez (Ret’d.) served as a judicial officer in Colorado for more than 28 years in the county and district courts of the 2nd and 17th Judicial Districts. In 2000, he was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to the Denver District Court, a court of general jurisdiction where he presided in all subject areas of the court – civil, domestic relations and criminal matters. During his tenure, he presided over hundreds of trials, hearings and evidentiary proceedings.

In 2013, Judge Martinez was selected as Chief Judge of the 2nd JD, serving from January 2014 until his retirement in August 2022. As Chief Judge, he was responsible for the administration of the Second Judicial District. He also served as Presiding Judge of the Colorado Statewide Grand Jury, an investigative body charged with the responsibility to investigate violations of state law, including violations of civil rights, drug and sex trafficking, securities fraud, insurance fraud, theft and organized crime.

Prior to taking the bench he was a trial lawyer in the public and private sector, trying more than 60 criminal and civil trials to verdict in county, district and federal courts. The primary areas of emphasis were personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability and general negligence. Judge Martinez also served as Associate General Counsel for the Regional Transportation District in Denver. In that position, he was responsible for litigating civil, administrative and labor matters.

Judge Martinez’s background as a judge and a trial lawyer provides him with a unique perspective into the legal process and allows him to intuitively evaluate risk and resolution options to efficiently assist the parties.

Full List of Specialties

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Special Master
  • Statutory Judge
  • Administrative/Regulatory Law
  • Business disputes, including contractual, executive comp, restrictive covenants, and trade secrets.
  • Class/Collective Actions
  • Construction Law
  • Discovery and Attorney Fees Disputes
  • Education Law including IEP and 504 disputes
  • Employment/Civil Rights
  • Governmental Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Oil and Gas Law
  • Securities
  • Torts including premises liability, medical/professional liability, personal injury, products liability

Judge Martinez is active in the community, having served on numerous boards, committees and commissions, including the Denver County Court Commission on Judicial Discipline, Rose Community Foundation, Colorado Child Support Commission (Chair), Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, Supreme Court Magistrate Rules Committee, Supreme Court Public Access Committee, Supreme Court Court Records Committee, Supreme Court Committee on Senior Judge Program Reform, Judicial Personnel Review Board, Denver Public Schools Special Education Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of the District Judges Association. Judge Martinez also served as Co-Chair of the Chief Judges Council from 2015 through 2021 and was recognized with a special award for Judicial Excellence and leadership (during the COVID-19 pandemic) by the Colorado Judicial Institute. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Court Appointed Neutrals.

Judge Martinez is a former trial attorney, dedicated to the improvement of trial advocacy skills, and is a long-time faculty member of more than 30 years with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He has taught advocacy programs for NITA, the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National and Colorado Hispanic Bar Associations, national law firms and pro bono/governmental entities. Judge Martinez is also dedicated to the improvement of Colorado’s Judicial Branch. He has been actively involved in the judicial education curriculum for more than 10 years and served as Co-Dean of the New Judge Orientation Program for the last three years. Judge Martinez consistently received high marks from attorneys, litigants and court stakeholders for his demeanor, strong communication and case management. He was also given the Judicial Excellence Award by the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2016, an honor conveyed by distinguished members of the Plaintiffs and Defense Trial Bar in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of the right to trial by jury.

Judge Martinez regularly presents CLE presentations on ethics, trial practice and professionalism, including a recent ABA/HNBA program for the Academy of Court Appointed Neutrals and for ABOTA in conjunction with the Faculty of Federal Advocates.

Representative Matters

As Chief Judge, Michael Martinez presided over hundreds of criminal, domestic and civil matters. Representative matters include:

(Class Actions) – Presided over national class action concerning alleged failure to pay employees for wages earned beyond the usual work week in violation of written corporate policy. Damages claimed exceeded $150 million; Presided over national class action concerning claims for breach of contract to provide wireless telephone services by a national telecommunications company; Presided over class action dispute regarding the sale of limited liability partnerships in prepaid cellular phone services; Presided over collective action between over the road truck drivers and their employer concerning entitlement to overtime compensation and application of Colorado’s Minimum Wage Order; As an attorney, was defense counsel for a Fortune100 company in national litigation regarding effects from a dietary supplement.

(Employment, Trade Secrets) – Presided over an employment dispute involving allegations of breach of non-compete agreement, theft of trade secrets and spoliation of evidence. Damages alleged were $65 million; Presided over dispute involving allegations of breach of non-compete agreement, tortious interference with contract and theft of trade secrets in national real estate brokerage industry.

(Education Law) – Presided over constitutional challenge to implementation of school voucher program in a public school district. Decision was affirmed by Colorado Supreme Court and resolved by the US Supreme Court; Presided over a constitutional challenge to the Public School Financing Act involving adequacy of funding for public schools in rural Colorado. Decision was affirmed by the Colorado Supreme Court.

(Governmental/Constitutional Law) – Presided over constitutional challenge to Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act. Decision was affirmed by the Colorado appellate courts; Presided over challenge to constitutional amendment creating paid family and medical leave. Case was affirmed by the Colorado Supreme Court; Presided over a dispute involving claims of waiver of sovereign immunity in the context of professional services and higher education contracts.

(Business Disputes) – Presided over a commercial dispute involving claims for breach of contract regarding the distribution of beauty products and wellness technology with claimed damages of more than $5 million; Presided over dispute between former law partners regarding the disposition of legal fees for work partially completed prior to dissolution of the firm. In a case of first impression, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the unfinished business rule, resolving the issue.

(Oil and Gas Law) – Presided over a dispute regarding interpretation of Colorado Securities Act and whether investment contracts for the sale of general partnerships in undrilled wells constituted the sale of a security. This enforcement action by the Attorney General’s office sought disgorgement of more than $60 million. The Colorado Supreme Court resolved this matter of first impression; Presided over a challenge to air quality regulations by local board of county commissioners. Decision was affirmed by Colorado’s appellate courts; Presided over dispute involving the interpretation of operating agreement between 20 oil and gas entities for purposes of allocating rights, obligations and entitlements. The case was affirmed by Colorado’s appellate courts.

(Construction Law) – Presided over construction defect and breach of contract action involving construction of local hotel and damages in excess of $24 million; Presided over construction defect and breach of contract involving local gaming industry facilities and involving damages of multiple millions of dollars.

(Securities) – Presided over post arbitration attorney’s fees collection dispute between investors and national brokerage firm’s insurance provider. After conflicting appellate decisions, case was resolved by Colorado Supreme Court; Presided over dispute concerning application of FINRA Rule 12200 to mandate arbitration of disputes between customer and broker/sales agent.

Judge Martinez received his B.A. from the University of Colorado and his J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law. He completed the Judicial Executive Leadership Development Program at the Judicial Executive Development Institute in 2014, an intensive, year-long leadership and communication training program.


This page is for general information purposes. JAMS Denver makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness. Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS Denver, including investigation and research of JAMS Denver neutrals.