Hon. Elizabeth D. Laporte (Ret.) joined JAMS after more than two decades as a United States magistrate judge for the Northern District of California. Judge Laporte was the chief United States magistrate judge for the Northern District of California from 2013 to 2015. As a magistrate judge, she presided over numerous civil cases with the parties’ consent, with a robust docket that included patent, trademark, copyright, business, class actions, employment, insurance, environmental, antitrust and civil rights litigation.
Judge Laporte is known for helping to shape patent and intellectual property case law and for advancing the court’s e-discovery procedures. Her colleagues and the legal community consider her among the leading legal thinkers on e-discovery issues. For her efforts, she earned the Judicial Leadership Award from the Electronic Discovery Institute in 2015. She also launched the Northern District’s Women Attorneys Advocacy Project, which seeks to promote gender equality in the legal community.
As a neutral at JAMS, Judge Laporte adds value to the ADR process with extensive experience conducting settlement conferences and resolving discovery disputes, as well as presiding over numerous cases from start to finish, including through summary judgment and/or trial. Those who have appeared before her have witnessed her settlement skills and fair, thorough and intelligent style. Here are a few of their comments:
- “She is the sort who will stay at the table until the deal is concluded.”
- “She works very hard at bringing about settlement.”
- “She is objective.”
- “She is very fair.”
A recent Daily Journal profile included related comments such as the following:
- “She is very detail oriented. She takes a hands-on approach.”
- “She had tough questions for both sides and yet let both sides say what they needed to…the issues were fully aired.”
- “The things that stands out are her open-mindedness, thoughtfulness and thoroughness.”
The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary contains high praise for Judge Laporte, including the following:
- “She is capable and has a very good understanding of the law. She can fill in the missing pieces.”
- “She is an intellectual. She is smart.”
- “She is warm, friendly and professional…[she] made a fair decision when she had to.”
- “She is productive and helpful. She is engaged and fosters settlement.”
- “She is energetic. She loves what she does. She is active in getting parties to settle.”
In addition to high praise for her legal acumen and settlement skills, Judge Laporte is also regularly invited to speak on panels for continuing education of attorneys and judges on a variety of legal topics, including intellectual property, settlement, e-discovery, employment law and jury trials. Judge Laporte is also the author of numerous legal publications.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Presided over one of the nation’s largest civil caseloads through summary judgement or trial with consent of the parties as a magistrate judge in the Northern District of California; this court leads the nation in consent cases before magistrate judges by a large margin
- Previously served as the alternative dispute resolution magistrate judge for the Northern District of California
- As a magistrate judge for over 20 years, conducted hundreds of settlement conferences and resolved hundreds of discovery disputes
- Frequent lecturer and speaker on settlement and ADR topics, as well as intellectual property
- Known for being one of a small number of magistrate judges who have received consent from lawyers to preside over their patent cases from start to finish
- Datel v. Microsoft
Presided over case involving allegations of antitrust, patent infringement and copyright violations related to video game technology; the plaintiff manufactured accessories for the defendant’s gaming system and brought antitrust allegations after the defendant altered its software, disabling the plaintiff’s product; the defendant then brought claims for patent infringement against the plaintiffs
- Settled breach of contract dispute in which plaintiff allegedly entered into an agreement with defendants wherein defendants would serve as the importer of plaintiff's electronic lighting products into the U.S. market; defendants allegedly broke their agreement
- Settled contract dispute between a group of doctors and a managed care company related to access to clients at certain contracted rates
- Settled case involving a nationwide recall of a candy product caused by excessive levels of lead; plaintiff asserted that the high levels in its products were due to exceedingly high levels of lead in an ingredient supplied by defendant; allegations included breach of contract, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of implied warranty of fitness
- Rising Tide I, LLC, et al. v. Fitzsimmons, et al. and Abdo, et. al. v. Fitzsimmons, et al.
Presided over securities cases in which plaintiffs allegedly purchased millions of dollars of securities based on false and misleading representations and then sued senior officers and board members for violations of securities laws
Class Action and Mass Tort
- Settled a class action lawsuit wherein plaintiff sought to represent a class of employees that worked overtime for the defendants but were allegedly not compensated for those hours
- Settled dispute involving former customers of a provider of natural gas; the customers brought the action on behalf of themselves and a proposed class based on allegations that included fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and violation of the Recording Act in telemarketing
- Presided over numerous Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) matters and was settlement judge in other TCPA cases
- Impey v. Office Depot
Presided over employment age discrimination case through trial
- Presided over numerous discrimination cases, including discrimination based on age, gender, national origin and race
- Presided over as well as settled numerous employee class actions against employers claiming misclassification as exempt employees and other issues resulting in wage and hour violations of federal and state laws, some including issues of federal preemption
- Presided over executive termination and whistleblower matters
- Presided over multiple Americans with Disabilities Act matters
- People of the State of California, et al. v. United States Department of Agriculture, et al., and related case The Wilderness Society, et al. v. United States Forest Service, et al.
This case involved the “Roadless Rule,” issued under President Bill Clinton, which barred building roads in more than 50 million acres of national forest; President George W. Bush replaced the Clinton rule with one that gave states more control; environmental groups and several Western states challenged the repeal in federal court, and Judge Laporte presided over that case
- Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., et al. v. Evans, et al.
Environmental matter involving allegations that Navy sonar harms ocean animals
- Settled insurance coverage dispute over professional liability policy with claim for rescission and declaratory relief and counterclaims for breach of contract and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing for failure to defend
- Settled case involving legal expenses for an insured under an existing policy; plaintiff alleged that the defendants also have a duty to contribute to those legal expenses and brought the suit against them for not paying their fair share
- Settled first-party breach of contract and bad faith insurance coverage lawsuit that arose out of defendant's declination of plaintiff's property insurance claim for the cost to repair construction deficiencies and construction deficiency–related water damage
- Settled dispute in which plaintiffs purchased travel insurance policies from defendants and alleged that they were denied some of the benefits under the policies; they then brought a class action to challenge defendants' decision to deny benefits
- Settled products liability case in which plaintiff alleged that a microwave malfunctioned and caused a fire that damaged a rental unit; the landlord and tenant were insured; plaintiff paid the insureds for losses that plaintiff contended were caused by defendant's actions and omissions
- Settled case involving situation in which plaintiff was covering legal expenses for an insured under an existing policy; plaintiff alleged that the defendants also had a duty to contribute to those legal expenses and brought the suit against them for not paying their fair share
- Settled ERISA case against employer with collective bargaining agreement with a union local
- Settled insurance case involving an independent insurance agency
- Settled action that arose out of an alleged breach of collective bargaining agreement
- Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. v. Cepheid
Presided over patent case by consent; case involved a challenge to the validity of a patented diagnostic related to using DNA to detect a pathogen associated with a disease-causing bacterium; Judge Laporte’s decision was affirmed by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
- Informatica Corp v. Business Objects Data Integration, Inc.
Presided over patent infringement dispute between two enterprise software business intelligence companies
- Oracle v. SAP
Presided over discovery portion of large copyright infringement case leading to a jury verdict, and subsequently it settled; case involved sophisticated issues of e-discovery
- Settled trademark case that involved U.S. and foreign trademarks
- Settled trademark infringement case against a Chinese manufacturer of smartphones and associated chargers by wireless headphone American subsidiary and German parent
- Settled patent infringement case between the owner of several patents related to storage of electronic data and a California company that provided software for file synchronization and sharing
- Settled patent infringement case between leading competitors in operating room technology/medical field
- Settled copyright and trademark infringement case brought by American subsidiary of Japanese company with famous trademarked and copyrighted characters and logos against a California corporation with numerous websites on which it made allegedly infringing sales of various consumer products
- Williams Sonoma v. Amazon
Presided over trademark and patent infringement case between a home goods company and an online retailer
- ASM America, Inc. v. Genus, Inc.
Presided over patent infringement case in which the technology involved included atomic layer chemical vapor deposition machines used to form thin layers of insulating material, conducting material and semiconducting material
- Sun Microsystems v. Network Appliance Inc.
Presided over patent infringement case between two high-tech companies related to patents for data processing systems and related software
- Presided over Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) case between two specialty pharmaceutical companies
- Presided over patent infringement and DTSA case concerning software patents directed to integration of multiple processors and memories into shared-memory computers