Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.)

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Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.) has been a full-time neutral since 2006, and has mediated and arbitrated hundreds of matters.  He is known for his insightful analysis, creative problem solving, and warm but firm manner with all parties.  Judge Warren is often chosen to handle complex cases, and his experience includes a variety of practice areas, including business and commercial disputes, professional malpractice, insurance, employment and IP matters.  Prior to becoming a neutral, Judge Warren was involved in many complex and high profile cases as a San Francisco Superior Court judge.  Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Warren was Senior Counsel for Pacific Bell in San Francisco, where he was primarily responsible for large and complex commercial litigation.  Previously, Judge Warren practiced for nearly twenty years with Pillsbury Winthrop (formerly Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro), where he specialized in antitrust and large commercial cases and was founding Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Specialty Group.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated and arbitrated hundreds of matters in a broad range of practice areas including business, real estate, professional liability, insurance and intellectual property.
  • Frequently asked to serve as a neutral evaluator in pre-litigation settings, motion practice and through mock hearings and trials.
  • Presided over cases involving a wide range of legal issues, including high stakes insurance, complex employment and environmental suits.  His vast civil law experience includes deciding cases involving intellectual property, professional malpractice, construction, real estate, employment, and complex business litigation.
  • High profile cases include:  In re 101 California Street, a gun manufacturer liability suit where Judge Warren’s grant of summary judgment was recently affirmed by the California Supreme Court; injunction proceedings in the 2004 same-sex marriage cases; the constitutionality of San Francisco’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise statute; the City of San Francisco’s proposed Gun Control ordinance (Proposition H); and the infamous San Francisco Dog Mauling case.
  • Frequent lecturer on litigation skills throughout California and around the country; faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy since 1984.

Representative Matters

Business/Commercial

  • Mediated multi-party litigation involving bankrupt estate and claims alleging preferential and voidable transfers, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty
  • Mediated $750 million dispute between international consortium of lenders from the United States, England and Germany, in case involving failure of major commercial construction project in the wake of the 2008 commercial meltdown
  • Mediated settlement between the last two remaining parties in a DRAM price fixing case; case involved allegations of a horizontal price fixing conspiracy among suppliers of DRAM chips to computer manufacturers, which is related to the Sherman Act
  • Successfully mediated multi-million dollar case between a major international bank and several state governments regarding escheat funds
  • Presided cover complex litigation dealing with corporate finance and real estate development, banking interrelationships, oversight by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and fraud/breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Settled complex litigation dealing with costing and distribution of electrical power in California
  • Arbitrated case brought by individual securities broker against major national brokerage house involving forfeiture of retirement benefits following acceptance of employment by competing house; award led to multi-million dollar nationwide class action that settled on basis of award
  • Chair of three arbitrator panel in case involving acquisition by major Silicon Valley company of smaller start-up with patent portfolio; claimants sought damages in excess of $70 million
  • Neutral evaluator in pre-litigation case involving cancellation of long term contract for the provision of telecommunications services based on asserted breach; the case raised serious causation and liability issues; plaintiff sought over $10 million in damages
  • Special Master appointed by Court to process application for attorneys’ fees claimed to be in excess of $10 million
  • Served as Court appointed Referee for all purposes in a major class action construction defect dispute that included allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and failure to disclose potential toxic pollution

Class Actions

  • Mediated settlement between last two parties in nationwide DRAM price fixing class action case involving allegations of horizontal price fixing conspiracy
  • Mediated class action involving major Silicon Valley company accused of falsely advertising benefits and features of internet offerings
  • Mediated class action involving allegations of fraud and violation of regulations dealing with inter-bank relationships in market for Remote Created Checks
  • Successfully mediated consumer class action involving cell phone early termination fees
  • Arbitrated complex attorneys’ fees case following settlement of nationwide class action dealing with securities fraud

Employment

  • Mediated class action ERISA case involving non-exempt workers in electrical generation plants with allegations of failure to provide meal breaks and rest periods, unlawful delay in salary payments, and failure to keep proper records of wage statements
  • Settled California class action wage and hour dispute with allegations of misclassification of employees; denying breaks to non-exempt employees; miscalculation of overtime wages; and violations of the California Business & Professions Codes
  • Settled sexual harassment dispute with sensitive sexual orientation and transgender issues involving allegations of retaliation, failure to promote, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and FEHA violations
  • Settled sensitive whistleblower dispute involving Chemical/Biological/Radiation (CBR) Safety issues, with allegations of gender and age discrimination, retaliation, and FEHA violations
  • Settled major dispute brought by former employees against a public utilities provider with allegations of emotional distress resulting from a hostile work environment, sexual harassment by supervisory personnel, discrimination, and negligent hiring and retention
  • Arbitrated case brought by individual securities broker against major national brokerage house involving forfeiture of retirement benefits following acceptance of employment by competing house; award led to multi-million dollar nationwide class action that settled on basis of award
  • Discovery Referee in eight consolidated cases involving allegations of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination
  • Served as Judicial Referee in dispute between producer and non-profit intellectual property holder concerning a musical production contract, breach of lease, fiduciary duty, good faith and fair dealing, interference with prospective business advantage, and allegations of libel and slander

Environmental

  • Mediated many Prop 65 cases, each of which involved allegations of lead in processed foods, hardware fixtures, consumer make-up products, decorative glassware, and fresh produce
  • Mediated case involving allegations of toxic contamination of San Francisco Bay from industrial operations
  • Mediated case involving allegations of leakage from toxic waste dump into local water supply
  • Mediated multi-million dollar dispute involving responsibility for remediation and cost allocation for greenhouse gas emissions
  • Mediated multi-million dollar insurance dispute with multiple successor parties and overlapping/conflicting insurance contracts; litigation focused on liability, coverage, and indemnity issues flowing from chemical contamination of agricultural lands
  • Mediated complex cases involving use of chlorpyrifos, fungicides, and pesticides in California agriculture
  • Mediated case involving application and interpretation of CEQA, CERCLA, OSHA, and other environmental and safety statutes

Insurance

  • Mediated cases involving government agency’s efforts to obtain damages from officers and directors of failed commercial banks for unsound banking practices; significant insurance coverage and liability issues
  • Mediated multi-million dollar complex coverage case involving multiple successor companies and successive insurance policies
  • Arbitrated case involving dispute between insured and insurer on extent of coverage and acceptability of covered repairs; total claimed damages exceeded $100 million
  • Neutral evaluator in insurance coverage matters following Hurricane Katrina; potential exposure exceeded $17 billion; issues involved coverage, excess lines, exclusions, contract interpretation, co-insurance agreements, and damages

Intellectual Property

  • Resolved dispute between a managing partner and the board of a venture capital investment firm with allegations relating to ownership of intellectual property assets
  • Successfully mediated trade secrets and breach of contract and cross licensing dispute involving a computer services company and their computers and software
  • Successfully mediated $800 million patent infringement dispute with issues related to trade secrets and competition regarding EPROM, EEPROM, and NAND flash disk technology
  • Settled complex patent licensing and breach of contract case involving flash drives and multilevel cell technology, with issues related to license agreements, patent claims, contract interpretation, "best efforts" clauses, international tax treaties, and statutes of limitations
  • Chair of three arbitrator panel in two companion international cases involving creation, sale and licensing of patented ocular devices; claimant sought damages in excess of $60 million
  • Arbitrated patent infringement case involving claimed damages of $15 million in case involving resistant spring devices in athletic equipment; iIssue resolution required patent interpretation, infringement analyses, liability and damages, and prevailing party attorneys’ fees
  • Served as Court appointed Discovery Referee in a patent infringement dispute where the assignment related to e-discovery issues, royalty rates, interpretation of license agreements, the production of stored computer data, the identification of searchable databases, the recovery of metadata, and international production of documents

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Recipient, Champion of Justice Award, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2006
  • Recipient, The Barristers Choice Award (Judge of the Year), The Barristers Club of the Bar Association of San Francisco, 2006
  • Recipient, Award For Outstanding Service to the Legal Community, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, 2005
  • Judicial Advisor, Executive Committee, Litigation Section of the California Bar Association
  • Professor, Mediation, University of San Francisco Law School
  • Member, San Francisco Superior Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Member, California Judicial Council Task Force on Complex Civil Litigation
  • Member, California Judicial Counsel Continuing Education Committee
  • Member, California Judges Association; Faculty Member, Judges College and New Judge Orientation Program
  • Judicial Fellow, Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Lifetime Member, Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • Member, American Bar and California Bar Associations
  • Member and Officer, Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court
  • Admitted to practice: U.S. Supreme Court; Court of Appeals for Second, Fifth, Ninth, and Federal Circuits; all District Courts for California and New York; Northern District of Texas; all State Courts in California and New York
  • ADR Profile, "Neutral by Nature," Daily Journal, May 13, 2011
  • "Effective Law and Motion Practice," ABTL Reporter, Fall/Winter 2012
  • Co-author with Judge Ann Kough (Ret.), "Judicial Reference, A Forgotten Tool," The Recorder, October 7, 2013

Background and Education

  • Judge, San Francisco County Superior Court, 1994-2006 (Law & Motion Department, 2003-2006)
  • Senior Counsel, Pacific Bell, 1993-1994
  • Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop (formerly Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro), 1980-1993 (Associate, 1975-1980)
  • Associate, Clifford Chance (formerly Rogers & Wells), 1973-1975
  • J.D., Hofstra University School of Law, 1973; Recipient of University's First Most Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1983
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1966