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Hon. Theodore H. Katz

Hon. Theodore H. Katz (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Entertainment & Sports
Federal Law
Financial Markets
Intellectual Property
International & Cross-Border
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Theodore H. Katz (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2012 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 and mediator. He places great emphasis on the human, as well as the business and financial dimensions of disputes, and enjoys engaging with the participants.

Since coming to JAMS, Judge Katz has served as a mediator and arbitrator in proceedings involving a wide spectrum of commercial, trademark and copyright, employment, insurance, and arts and media-related issues. In addition, he has served as a Special Discovery Master in a number of complex federal and state court actions.

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

  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • 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
  • Complex Business Cases/Contracts
      • Mediated case involving allegations of unfair competition and misappropriation of business secrets related to trademarked slogans used in promotional material
      • Mediated dispute for trademark infringement and unfair competition relating to
      • Mediated anti-trust/commercial dispute case involving licensing fees and royalties for music used in television broadcasts
      • Mediated trademark and patent infringement action involving maternity wear
      • Mediated case of alleged breach of representations and warranties in a licensing agreement
      • Mediated breach of telecommunications contract case involving revenue commitment
      • Mediated claims for breach of contract and fraud related to website development company
      • Mediated breach of contract dispute arising out of intellectual property licensing agreement
      • Mediated asset purchase agreement dispute
      • Mediated case related to class action settlement distributions
      • Mediated breach of contract action involving investment bank fees for advice and assistance in sale of corporate subsidiary
      • Mediated claim between insurance companies for reimbursement of amounts paid to defend additional insureds in lawsuits arising out of pipeline explosion
      • Arbitrated dispute involving breaches of arbitration award and settlement agreement relating to acquisition of national snack food company
      • Arbitrated dispute involving alleged corporate mismanagement of magazine publishing company
      • Arbitrator in a proceeding involving alleged breaches of a strategic alliance relating to software system for state governments
      • Arbitrated law firm fee dispute against client who invested in, and alleged breach of contract and fraud against company that produced documentary films
      • Arbitrated proceeding involving claims of breach of contract for a real estate transaction for the sale of hotel properties in the Bahamas
      • Arbitrated breach of contact matter involving Cause Event Buy-Out Right
      • Served as Chair in tripartite arbitration between bank and tax service company for breach of contract, bad faith, and promissory estoppel
      • Served a Chair in tripartite arbitration against insurance company for wrongful denial of buyer-side representations and warranties insurance
      • Served as Chair in tripartite proceeding against insurance company for major losses resulting from Hurricane Sandy
      • Served on tripartite arbitration panel in proceeding that addressed claims of breach of contract and fraud related to agreement to support and raise capital for private equity funds
      • Served on tripartite arbitration panel in proceeding seeking declaratory relief and damages for insurance claims on thousands of collateralized mortgages
      • Served as arbitrator on tripartite arbitration panel in proceeding involving breach of contract and governance of a joint venture
      • Served on arbitration panel in proceeding involving alleged breach of an asset purchase agreement related to the development of medical processes and technology
      • Arbitrator in proceeding involving dissolution of law firm
      • Arbitrator in proceeding involving alleged breach of contract relating to financing of high-profile documentary film
      • Arbitrator in proceeding for wrongfully withheld commissions between joint venture parties representing prominent athletes in on-the-field as well as commercial contracts
      • Arbitrator in proceeding involving cross-claims for alleged breaches of investment advisor and management services agreement
      • 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)
  • 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)
  • Financial Markets
      • 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)
      • 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)
  • Intellectual Property
      • 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
  • International & Cross-Border
      • Arbitrator on matter involving U.S. and Canadian companies over commission payments related to telephonic interactive voice response systems
      • Arbitrated matter involving claims of breach of real estate contract for sale of hotel properties in the Bahamas
      • Arbitrator in matter involving alleged breach of purchase agreement between French company and U.S. engineering firm
      • Served on tripartite arbitration in proceeding involving breach of contract and governance of a joint venture between multinational companies involved in the trade-in, buy-back, and recycling of telecommunications devices
      • Mediated dispute arising under a chemical supply purchase and pricing contract between United States chemical company and multinational water bottling company
      • Mediated breach of contract dispute arising out of international trademark licensing agreement
      • Mediated contract dispute between real estate investment funds in the United Kingdom and U.S. Investor placement agent
      • Mediated dispute between international real estate brokerage firms over unfair competition, tortious interference, and misappropriation of trade secrets
      • Mediator in insurance subrogation dispute between British insurance company and United States electrical company arising out of damage to wind turbines
      • Mediated dispute arising out of termination of industrial machinery distribution agreement between Italian and U.S. companies
  • Labor/Employment/ERISA/Duty of Loyalty
      • Mediated claim by executive for severance pay and buy-out options in acquired company
      • Mediated employment action for bonus and other compensation in the financial industry
      • Mediated action against employee in financial industry for breach of duty of loyalty and theft of trade secrets
      • Mediated case involving plaintiffs who alleged wrongful denial of overtime pay due to misclassification as exempt employees
      • Mediated employment contract case arising from plaintiff’s termination “without cause”
      • Mediated FLSA and State-law wage claims brought on behalf of class of interns in entertainment industry
      • Mediated case involving alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards and Connecticut Minimum Wage Acts
      • Mediated numerous cases involving alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
      • Mediated age discrimination case under the New York State Human Rights Law
      • Mediated sex discrimination action under Dodd-Frank
      • Mediated claim of disability discrimination relating to college campus access and accommodations
      • Arbitrated case involving alleged age discrimination in media company
      • Arbitrated case involving attorney’s entitlement to retirement benefits and enforceability of non-compete provision in partnership agreement
      • Served on arbitration panel in proceeding by bank executive contending he was wrongly terminated for cause and seeking unpaid compensation and severance benefits
      • Arbitrator in proceeding involving allegations by executive in fashion industry of unlawful retaliation under federal, city and state employment laws
      • Arbitrator in proceeding brought by executive in national media company alleging breach of contract and fraudulent inducement
      • Arbitrated claim by terminated executive for advancement of defense costs in connection with SEC action
      • Arbitrator in FLSA proceeding for overtime wages denied on basis of outside sales exemption
      • Arbitrator in proceeding against major media firm and television network for termination based on alleged racial discrimination
      • Arbitrator in proceeding by bank executive for alleged retaliation because of voicing risk and compliance issues to senior management
      • 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
  • Real Property
      • 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)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
  • 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


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