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Hon. Janice M. Symchych

Hon. Janice M. Symchych (Former)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Federal Law
Governmental & Public Agency
Health Care
Intellectual Property
International & Cross-Border
Life Sciences
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Janice M. Symchych (Former) is a veteran ADR professional and federal courts practitioner, with over three decades of legal and judicial experience. A former magistrate judge from 1985 to 1989, Ms. Symchych most recently served as Deputy General Counsel of Litigation at Medtronic, Inc. where she was responsible for company litigation worldwide, including intellectual property, multidistrict and class action, product liability, government enforcement actions and investigations, regulatory litigation, commercial, and employment litigation and advised on litigation risks. Her professional experience has been centered in the federal district and appellate courts across the spectrum of federal substantive areas.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Has mediated more than 1,000 cases both as a U.S. Magistrate Judge and private attorney practitioner, including the full panoply of federal subject matter jurisdiction
  • Has served both as trial special master in a major health care intellectual property case and arbitrator in multiple intellectual property and complex commercial civil cases 
  • Has participated in arbitrations and mediations as a client with numerous outside counsel and mediators; has had a front seat view of a wide array of styles and techniques
  • Has first-chaired more than 100 jury trials, and knows what it takes to build a case and to get it to verdict
  • Has first chaired bet-the-company cases over the course of 15 years of outside counsel work, representing clients in nationwide class actions, qui tam matters, parallel proceedings, and complex commercial litigation
  • Has day-to-day large business company experience as senior executive and deputy general counsel of worldwide litigation for Fortune 200 company, communicating with Board, C-suite executives, and business stakeholders, as well as leading litigation strategy and hiring and coordination of outside counsel across the nation
  • Has made for a skilled mediator and arbitrator who has career-long and in depth experience as trial lawyer, federal judicial officer, and business client
  • Has conducted litigation business in dozens of federal district and appellate courts, including United States Supreme Court
  • Expert in litigation and global resolution of parallel proceedings

Representative Matters

  • Arbitration
      • Served as Court-appointed Trial Special Master with consent of parties in public company's health care patent infringement case, with appeal to Federal Circuit. Findings of fact findings and conclusions of law upheld on appeal. 
      • Has served as arbitrator, both as single panelist and as member of a tripartite panel, in several subject matter areas including complex commercial cases and intellectual property matters. Managed active pre-arbitration discovery and motions practice informed by years serving as United States Magistrate Judge
      • Played oversight and collateral proceedings roles in significant international arbitrations involving insurance coverage disputes secondary to medical device recalls/class actions
      • Served on a nationwide asbestos litigation panel (baseball arbitration)
      • Served as arbitrator on Pan Am Games panel
      • As a client, has prepared and tried arbitrations, working closely on strategy and case preparation with outside counsel
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • As Magistrate Judge, ruled on class action discovery and pretrial issues and conducted settlement conferences 
      • As lead outside counsel, handled numerous federal class action matters, including nationwide race and gender employment matters, ERISA, product liability, consumer, and fraud matters. Conducted full discovery, as well as litigated motions and privilege disputes. Prepared and argued class certification motions, and prepared and argued class arbitration motions and appeals, conducted settlement negotiations on behalf of clients.
      • As in-house counsel, led strategy and teams of outside and inside counsel on mass tort / MDL class actions in medical device industry, in high-visibility, high-stakes matters. Formulation of litigation theories, critical motion practice and appeals. MDL argument strategy and preparation, as well as post-settlement MDL procedural resolution. Document preservation systems, privilege log formulation and disputes, damages formulations, and securities law disclosure obligations. Selection and preparation of bellwether trial cases. Personally negotiated resolutions with plaintiffs' steering committees. Hands-on experience and leadership in parallel proceedings with such matters, including shareholder class actions, government investigations, regulatory enforcement, qui tam litigation, and insurance coverage disputes.
  • Health Care
      • Active in development of health care law since early 1980s as Assistant United States Attorney, when FBI targeted and trained on health care fraud as a priority. In private practice, defended several major university and hospital health systems in the OIG PATH audits, and Medicare coding investigations.
      • Lead outside counsel on high profile major university parallel proceeding involving allegations of NIH grant fraud, FDA investigational drug, clinical studies, and informed consent violations with 13 parallel proceedings, including criminal grand jury, qui tam with intervention by DOJ, and regulatory enforcement, employment, and internal tenure proceedings. Conducted global resolution of matter, including negotiations with DOJ civil fraud, U.S. Attorney criminal division, NIH, and private parties.
      • Dozens of health care qui tams, both as lead outside counsel and as deputy general counsel for Fortune 200 company. Subjects include Alleged Stark, clinical study, off-label promotion, kickback, and FDA regulatory violations. Work has included dispositive motions strategy, idiosyncratic defenses under the False Claims Act, damages assessments and arguments, self reporting and CIA considerations, joint defense issues, industry wide investigations, and negotiation of resolutions.
      • Expertise in organizational versus individual liabilities, recent applications of the Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine, and OIG-HHS threatened executive exclusion penalties 
      • Representation of hospital systems in panoply of litigation and internal investigation matters, and of individual physicians and providers in specific items, all as private practitioner
      • Expertise in establishing, improving, and coordinating with health care compliance systems
  • Intellectual Property
      • As outside counsel, litigated and ultimately resolved a complex intellectual property dispute between two Fortune 200 health care companies with civil RICO, criminal foreign espionage, and civil IP allegations. Case involved international conflicts of laws, potential corporate liabilities and individual liabilities of foreign nationals, as well as parallel federal grand jury proceedings.
      • Responsible for worldwide docket of intellectual property litigation in highly competitive high-tech device industry, as deputy general counsel of litigation for Fortune 200 company. Work included due diligence and decision-making with both outside counsel and C-suite executives on initiation of specific infringement suits as both plaintiff and defendant; strategic, factual, and legal theory development with in-house staff and outside counsel.  Prepared and obtained settlement authorities, and either oversaw or led settlement negotiations or mediations. Decision-making on whether to take appeals, development and execution of appellate strategy on multiple significant issues in Federal Circuit.
      • Personally negotiated intellectual property settlements with Fortune 100 competitors, including a series of contentious cases with a decade-long history, and a one-to-one negotiated global resolution of many outstanding cases with another major competitor
  • International & Cross-Border
      • Experience with litigation directly involving work with people and judicial systems in Italy, Guatemala, India, Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Czech Republic, Korea, and Brazil. Indirect experience supervising others with litigation on all continents except Africa and Antarctica.
      • Cases have included threatened international class actions, foreign economic espionage, numerous alleged Foreign Corrupt Practices violations against variety of multinational companies, intellectual property enforcement and defense in variety of countries, customs and duty enforcement, ITAR enforcement, employment disputes and labor laws in many countries, privilege disputes and litigation about roles of in-house counsel under conflicts of laws in other countries, cross-border subpoena enforcement, European privacy statutes, collection actions, and product liability and personal injury litigation mostly in Europe and Asia
      • Significant expertise in FCPA area, compliance systems required in this area, and DOJ/SEC focus on this topic
      • Interest in international rule of law work, with Rule of Law trip to Russia in 2005, hosting of Russian judges in U.S. in 2007, and continuing dialog and discussions with leaders in rule-of-law efforts, in Federal Judiciary and ABA

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2023 
  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
  • Co-Author, What Is…ADR in Health Care Disputes?, ABA Book Publishing (Health Law Section), 2015
  • Awards during private practice:
    • Chambers USA, American Leading Lawyers for Business
    • Best Lawyers in America
    • National Federal Investigators Award
    • Minnesota Civil Litigation Award
    • Fellow, American Bar Association
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (prior to going in-house)
    • Member CPR Roster of Distinguished Neutrals
    • AAA Roster of Commercial Litigation Neutrals; Appointed Arbitrator for Pan American Games (IOC)
    • Manville Trust, National Panel of Arbitrators & Mediators
  • Judicial System
    • Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Advisory Committee, 1998-2005
    • Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Gender Fairness Task Force, 1993-1998
    • U.S. District Court MN Local Rules Committee, 1990-2003 
    • U.S. District Court MN Ombudsman for Employees, 1997-2003
    • State of Minnesota Judicial Selection Commission, 1999-2001 
    • MN Supreme Court Gender Fairness Task Force, 1987-1990
  • Bar Associations: Fellow of American Bar Association; General Counsel Roundtable; ACC; MN State Bar Association (Past Chair Civil Litigation Section and Women in Legal Profession Task Force)
    • Various health law and criminal law specialty organizations 
  • Legal Teaching
    • Adjunct Professor, White Collar Criminal Justice Studies including Healthcare Fraud, University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, CO
    • Adjunct Faculty, University of Colorado Law School, 2014
    • Former Trial Skills Instructor, National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)
    • Minnesota Trial Advocacy Institute (Founder of organization)
    • U.S. Department of Justice Advocacy Institute
    • Former Adjunct Professor, William Mitchell College of Law
    • Frequent Speaker on Litigation Topics such as the 2009 Chief Litigation Officers Conference and Keynote Address on Multidistrict Litigation Strategies

Background and Education

  • Deputy General Counsel-Litigation, Medtronic, Inc., 2005-2010
  • Partner, Halleland, Lewis, Nilan & Johnson LLP, 2003-2005
  • Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, 1989-2003
  • United States Magistrate Judge, District of Minnesota, 1985-1989
  • Assistant United States Attorney, District of Minnesota, 1981-1985
  • Assistant Hennepin County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1977-1981
  • J.D., magna cum laude, William Mitchell College of Law, 1977 (Valedictorian)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, University of Minnesota, 1973


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