Hon. Theodore H. Katz (Ret.)

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Hon. Theodore H. Katz (Ret.) joins JAMS after serving for 21 years as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York -- one of the busiest and most important federal courts in the nation. During that period, he exercised the full range of judicial responsibilities in over 5,000 complex and other cases -- supervising pretrial activity, addressing discovery and attorney fee disputes, hearing substantive and procedural motions, and presiding over civil and criminal trials.

Most notably, Judge Katz developed a reputation as an extraordinary facilitator of settlements. He hosted settlement conferences in more than 2,500 cases, ranging across the full spectrum of the federal court docket, including matters involving employment law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, ERISA, intellectual property, securities law, complex commercial cases, insurance, civil rights, and torts.

Judge Katz is known as a patient, thoughtful, and creative settlement judge. He places great emphasis on the human, as well as the business and financial dimensions of disputes, and enjoys engaging with the participants.

Judge Katz served on the ADR Committee of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He has been on the adjunct faculty at Columbia Law School for six years.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Served 21 years as a United States Magistrate Judge, presiding over trials and several thousand settlement conferences, supervising pretrial discovery, hearing dispositive and procedural motions, in the following areas:

  • Admiralty
  • Antitrust
  • Art Theft
  • Business/Contracts
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Actions
  • Complex Commercial
  • Construction
  • Employment/Labor/ERISA
  • Entertainment
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Financial Markets
  • Government Regulation
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property: copyright, trademark, unfair competition, and patents
  • Professional Liability
  • Securities Law
  • Simple and Mass Torts

Representative Matters

  • Complex Business Cases/Contracts
    • Bank of America v. Lemgruber - supervised pretrial activity and determined damages in amounts in excess of $42 million in action involving embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent sale of bank’s stock
    • Aventis Environmental v. Scotts Co. - supervised pretrial activity in action alleging multi-million dollar breach of asset purchase agreement and antitrust violations in the context of the lawn herbicide industry
    • Weizmann Institute v. Neschis, et al. Jung v. Neschis - supervised pretrial activity and issued various orders in actions alleging undue influence in the establishment of an international trust and Lichtenstein Foundation, and disposition of assets from estate containing extensive art collection - see decision at 2009 WL 762835 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)
    • Woods v. Boston Scientific Corp. - presided over preliminary injunction hearing and settlement discussions in action involving alleged breaches of merger agreement for medical devises companies, including earn out payments in excess of $700 million to former shareholders and matters related to operational control of merged company - see Woods v. Boston Scientific - 2006 WL 4495530 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)
  • Financial/Insurance
    • Anwar v. Fairfield Greenwich Ltd., et al. - supervised pretrial activity in consolidated multidistrict litigation alleging claims by investors against “feeder funds” and various banks/investor advisors who invested money in Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme
    • United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Petroleo Brasileiro - presided over pretrial activity and trial in complex case involving indemnification obligations of several hundreds of million dollars under performance and payment bonds - see decision at 2005 WL 289575 (S.D.N.Y. 2005)
    • Iroquois Master Fund v. CEL-SCI Corporation - presided over settlement of action alleging that private placement of common stock and warrants triggered price protection and anti-dilution provision in Securities Purchase Agreement
    • Ambac Assurance v. EMC Mortgage Corp. - supervised pretrial activity in action for breaches of warranties and representations in insurance and indemnity agreements related to mortgage backed securities
    • Aon Financial Corp. v. Societe Generale - supervised pretrial activity in complex commercial case involving a surety bond on a loan guarantee, indemnification, and credit default swap
    • Dubai Islamic Bank v. Citibank - supervised pretrial activity and addressed complex privilege issues in action by foreign bank asserting money laundering violations, RICO violations, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and negligence that resulted in the loss of over $150 million - see decision at 2000 WL 1159699 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
    • Scott v. City of New York - supervised pretrial activity in class action on behalf of over 15,000 New York City Police Department police officers and detectives claiming the right to overtime pay under the FLSA
    • Mullins v. City of New York - supervised pretrial activity in class action on behalf of several thousand police sergeants in the City of New York seeking overtime pay under the FLSA
    • Benavidez v. Plaza Mexico, Inc. - presided over collective action against restaurant chain for employee claims to overtime and tip payments under the FLSA and New York and New Jersey law - see Benavidez v. Plaza Mexico Inc., 2012 WL 500428 (S.D.N.Y. 2012)
  • Labor/Employment/ERISA/Duty of Loyalty 
    • In re JP Morgan Chase Retirement Plan - presided over settlement of consolidated ERISA and age discrimination class actions, also alleging breach of fiduciary duty, on behalf of over 100,000 class members challenging substantive amendments and notices of amendments of retirement plans of predecessor, merged banks
    • Levin v. Raynor - supervised pretrial activity and presided over settlement of class action brought by former officers of ILGWU, against successor-union, challenging loss of life insurance benefits under ERISA - see decisions at 2008 WL 4449457, 2010 WL 2106037
    • Pure Power Boot Camp v. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp - presided over pretrial activity and trial in action alleging trade dress infringement, unfair competition, breach of a non-compete agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of loyalty, theft of trade secrets, and defamation, against former employees who established a competing business - see Pure Power Boot Camp, Inc. v. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp, LLC, 813 F. Supp. 2d 489 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); Pure Power Boot Camp v. Warrior Fitness Boot Camp, LLC, 587 F. Supp. 2d 548 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (finding that theft of emails constituted a violation of the Stored Communications Act and imposing sanction of preclusion)
    • Adler v. Raynor - supervised pretrial activity and presided over settlement of ERISA action alleging breach of fiduciary duty by administrators of union retirement plans and dispute between original and successor union with regard to ownership of union assets - see decisions at 2011 WL 5024412, 2012 WL 500428
    • EEOC v. Bell Atlantic - supervised settlement of claims on behalf of a large class of female employees whose retirement service credit was adversely affected by discriminatory maternity leave policy
    • National Association of Letter Carriers v. U.S. Postal Service - presided over settlement in class action brought on behalf of thousands of postal workers claiming improper use of confidential medical information in investigating disciplinary infractions
  • Intellectual Property/Entertainment
    • JA Apparel v. Joseph Abboud - presided over pretrial activity and trial in action involving trademark infringement, asset sale, and alleged breach of asset purchase agreement - see JA Apparel Corp. v. Abboud, 682 F. Supp. 2d 294 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)
    • Raymond Weil v. Charleze Theron - presided over settlement of alleged breach of media advertising contract between renowned watch company and celebrity 
    • Yngwie Malmsteen v. Cleopatra Records - presided over settlement of action by composer and recording artist for copyright infringement and unjust enrichment relating to the use of his name and image
    • Moderne Welt Tourneed v. Cyndi Lauper - presided over settlement of action seeking damages for concert cancellations
  • Real Estate/Construction
    • Leslie Dick v. George Soros, Conseco Inc., Vornado Realty Trust, et al. - supervised pretrial activity in action by unsuccessful bidder for the General Motors Building, alleging money laundering, fraud, bid-rigging, RICO violations - see decision at 2009 WL 2190207 (motion to disqualify counsel)
    • Sheldon Solow v. Conseco Inc. - supervised pretrial activity in action involving claim by real estate developer/builder that auction for the sale of the General Motors Building was a sham - see Solow v. Macklowe Properties, Conseco Inc. et al., 2007 WL 1599151 (S.D.N.Y. 2007)
  • Mass and Complex Torts
    • In re Ski Train Fire in Kaprun Austria - supervised pretrial activity and settlement discussions in mass tort action brought by relatives of American and foreign-nation citizens who were killed in a fire in a ski tunnel in Austria

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Recipient, Fortune Society’s Helen L. Buttenweiser Award
  • Adjunct Faculty, Columbia Law School
  • Member, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York Committees on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Judicial Improvements, Pro Se Litigation
  • Member, U.S. District Court, Advisory Panel that Developed Pilot Project Regarding Case Management of Complex Civil Cases

Background and Education

  • U.S. Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1991-2012 (Served as Chief Magistrate Judge)
  • Director, Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Robert L. Carter, United States District Judge
  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 1973 (Editor, Columbia Law Review; Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Brandeis University, 1968

Disclaimer

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