Vanessa Gilmore

Hon. Vanessa D. Gilmore (USDJ Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Julia Ford
T: 713-470-6769
F: 281-710-7599
609 Main Street, Suite 3930, Houston, TX 77002


Hon. Vanessa D. Gilmore (USDJ Ret.) joins JAMS in Houston after a distinguished 27-year career as a United States district judge in the Southern District of Texas. Sworn in as the youngest sitting federal judge in the nation, Judge Gilmore went on to develop extensive experience in handling matters involving patents and copyrights, labor and employment, and securities class actions. She has issued important decisions on intellectual property, products liability, securities fraud, energy and utilities, insurance and environmental law, and has handled significant matters, including the trial of the Enron Broadband case and the building of the Galveston cruise ship terminal.

Judge Gilmore currently serves on the board of Texas Children’s Hospital, where she works on buildings and grounds, public policy, quality and service, and safety issues. She is also a member of the board of the DePelchin Children’s Center, an accredited foster care and adoption agency serving vulnerable children and families in Texas. Judge Gilmore has held significant positions with the Texas Department of Commerce Policy Board and Texans for NAFTA, where she worked with diplomatic leaders, including the president of Mexico, to increase U.S. trade opportunities.

Representative Matters

Judge Gilmore adjudicated a wide range of matters during her tenure as a United States district court judge and has a strong record of resolving matters in the following areas:

Trademarks and Copyrights

  • Matter involving trademark infringement on rights to a dog’s name that resulted in a verdict
  • Trial involving a nightspot’s name that resulted in the decision that it was not trademark infringement
  • Trial involving copyright infringement liability due to registration not being timely made


  • Trial alleging infringement of six patents related to solid expandable technology for the expansion of well holes
  • Matter between two prominent software companies and claims of patent infringement relating to methods and system for storing local random access memory data obtained from persistent storage devices across a network
  • Presided over a patent case and issued claim construction ruling; ruled on dispositive motions related to patent for inmate phone
  • Presided over patent trial between a pharmaceutical company and a chemical manufacturing company related to claims of direct infringement of technology for development of oxidized coenzyme Q10
  • Construed claims for seven patents related to the removal of volatile fuel vapors from storage tanks and other vessels in the oil and gas industry
  • Construed claims for patent related to pumps used to deliver mineral oil- or synthetic oil-based lubricant to specific locations on machinery
  • Construed claims for patents relating to systems for monitoring the autonomic nervous system using real-time heart rate spectral analysis to monitor the autonomic nervous system
  • Issued judgment in a trial involving patents that covered a variable-width bariatric bed and claims of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents

Securities Law

  • Oversaw a multiple-count indictment that included charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, insider trading and money laundering in connection with the collapse of an American energy, commodities and services company
  • Class action certification and settlement of suit for violations of the federal securities laws related to the purchase of stock in a corporation that operated correctional facilities
  • Class action certification and settlement of a suit for securities fraud in connection with the announcement and later restatement of revenues related to seismic data and related geophysical services business for the petroleum industry
  • Managed the approval of a settlement and plan of allocation for a suit against a retiree medical benefits trust


  • Trial over claims against two well-known rideshare companies of illegal operation that resulted in a settlement

Death Penalty

  • Trial of a truck driver convicted of crimes involving smuggling and transporting undocumented individuals

Voting Rights

  • Redrew the maps for Harris County Commissioners Court

Election Law

  • Litigation against Houston party officials for candidate’s removal from the gubernatorial primary ballot for submitting bounced check for filing fee

Environmental Law

  • Presided over suit alleging violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act relating to a permit secured to build seven container berths and three cruise berths in the Galveston Bay.

Workers’ Compensation

  • Trial regarding the misrepresentation of the circumstances of an employee’s death by the deceased’s child and their related emotional distress claims

Equal Protection

  • Handled case filed by inflatable advertising balloon company against the City of Houston for the city’s regulation of advertising and commercial speech on attention-getting devices, including inflatable balloons

Products Liability

  • Entered judgment finding that a large multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce is not liable for third-party products that are shipped and fulfilled by them but not manufactured by the company

Administrative Review

  • The court found that the administrative review board’s (ARB) decision was not arbitrary or capricious, or unsupported by substantial evidence, and is entitled to deference; like the ARB, the court found that Form WH-266 incorporates the mandatory regulatory factors into its penalty schedule and was appropriately utilized to calculate penalties for child labor violations

School Law

  • Resolved litigation against a private college preparatory school’s decision not to re-enroll student due to inadequate academic performance

Civil Rights

  • Issued a temporary restraining order preventing the City of Houston from closing a restaurant establishment due to COVID-related restrictions on the operation of certain types of businesses
  • Civil rights case alleging violation of right to be free from the use of excessive force when a Taser was deployed against claimant in a wheelchair
  • Presided over civil rights action pertaining to a wrongful conviction for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, resulting in incarceration for 17 years before the alleged perpetrator exonerated by post-conviction DNA testing


  • Trial between two large energy services over an agreement regarding rented oilfield drilling equipment

Labor and Employment

  • Presided over hundreds of employment matters, including discrimination cases involving race, sex and national origin discrimination; Title IX cases involving sexual harassment on college campuses; Fair Labor Standards Act wage cases; and civil rights/jobs cases
  • Assisted in settlement of litigation over civil rights/employment trial on claims of sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining of harassment
  • Managed a seven-year class action settlement for claims against a large motor oil brand for violations of EEO obligations and requirements including hiring, promotion and career development

Federal Jurisdiction

  • Resolved case involving defamation claims against a large American news aggregator
  • Managed claims for payment of personal property on vehicles leased to plaintiffs under various lease agreements

Personal Injury/Torts

  • Presided over numerous cases, including asbestos, mesh implants, transportation accidents and product liability

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Board of Visitors, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2021–present
  • Board Member, Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity, 2021–present
  • Board Member, DePelchin Children's Center, 2020–present
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Texas Children's Hospital, 2019–present
  • Member, Risk Management Committee, River Oaks Baptist School, 2015–present
  • Co-Founder and Member, Downtown Group, Houston, 1997–present
  • Member, Board of Directors, First Tee of Houston, 2016–2019
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Hampton University (Virginia), 1998–2015
  • Member, Board of Trustees, River Oaks Baptist School, 2014–2017
  • Member, Board of Directors, Royalton at River Oaks Council of Co-Owners, 2012–2015
  • Member, Dean Search Committee, University of Houston Law Center, 1999–2000, 2006–2008
  • Member, President’s Advisory Council, University of Houston, 1999–2000
  • Member, Alumni Board, University of Houston Law Center, 1993–1995
  • Board Member, Federal Bar Association, 1996–2000
  • Chairperson, Texas Department of Commerce Policy Board, 1991–1994
  • Chairperson, Texans for NAFTA, 1992–1993
  • President, YWCA Board of Directors, 1990–1992
  • Member, Houston Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, National Bar Association
  • Member, Houston Lawyers Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association


  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Southern District of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas, 1982

Selected Publications

  • Author, Saving the Dream, Vanessa D. Gilmore, Xlibris, 2012
  • Co-Author, A Boy Named Rocky: A Coloring Book for the Children of Incarcerated Parents, 2008
  • U.S. District Judge, Southern District of Texas, 1994–2021
  • Vickery, Kilbride, Gilmore & Vickery, 1981–1994
  • Sue Schecter & Associates, 1985–1986
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Houston Law Center, 1984
  • Research Assistant, Lands Division, United States Attorney’s Office, 1981
  • Research Assistant, National College of District Attorneys, 1980–1981
  • J.D., University of Houston College of Law, 1981
  • B.S., Hampton University, 1977



Practice Areas

  • Business & Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Cybersecurity & Privacy
  • Education Law
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Federal Law
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Securities


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