Diana Kruze is a full-time mediator, arbitrator, and discovery referee, focusing on business, contract, intellectual property, technology, and health care. She has successfully resolved multi-million-dollar cases around the world and has extensive subject matter expertise in eDiscovery, IP infringement (trade secret, copyright, and patent), Cannabis, biotech, and pharmaceuticals, licensing, data breach/cybersecurity, telecommunications, and satellite technology.
Prior to becoming a neutral, Diana was a litigation partner with the leading international law firm of Morrison & Foerster, where she tried and settled complex disputes in all areas of business, civil rights, health care, and technology law. She was then appointed as a full-time judicial officer with the California Superior Court, where she presided over thousands of civil cases and discovery matters. As a former judicial officer, Diana has hands-on experience helping parties resolve their disputes and crafting well-reasoned legal opinions after careful consideration of all arguments and the governing law.
Continuing her work with the courts, Diana was appointed to the California Access to Justice Commission, where she is currently spearheading an initiative to help landlords and tenants access COVID rental assistance and settle their disputes. The Access Commission is designing and implementing a new mediation program to help settle as many of these cases in advance so that both landlords and tenants can take advantage of rental assistance funds and avoid going to court.
Diana has earned a reputation for fairness, thorough preparation, and the ability to effectively harness technology to work towards party-driven solutions. Moreover, Diana’s warm and friendly demeanor, combined with her direct and persistent approach, provides a solid foundation for the candid dialogue required to achieve resolution. As one of Diana’s former colleagues on the bench remarked, “What makes Diana truly special is her ability to combine her book smarts with people smarts. Diana has a way of connecting with people that cannot be taught.” As an attorney commented, “Diana excels at brokering deals. She works well with counsel and has shown a flair for coming up with creative solutions to help move settlement discussions forward.”
Diana has been involved in a wide variety of cases throughout her legal career.
Diana enjoys fly-fishing, trying hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and exploring Golden Gate Park with her dogs, Bulldozer, Demolition, and Tiny. She is an avid boxing fan and a terrible poker player. In her spare time, Diana plays the violin, builds mid-century modern dollhouse furniture, and loves searching for dinosaur bones with her three young children. Diana also enjoys binge-watching TV shows (like Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the Jinx, Arrested Development, Deadwood, and – of course – Game of Thrones).
"Diana Kruze was fantastic. Great demeanor and very effective with clients. Really impressive. I am absolutely going to use her again. "
- Managing Partner and Vice Chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group at a national law firm
"Ms. Kruze was efficient and understanding and her approach made all the difference. Thank you so very much. "
- Attorney on a Business Partnership Dissolution case
"Diana Kruze had an excellent grasp of the facts and was able to relate to my client and gain his trust."
- Founder of a Firm Specializing in Complex Business Litigation
"Focused, pleasant, and reasonable to both sides. Kept the process moving and seemed genuinely interested in the case and personalities, not just in getting the case closed. Quite effective. "
- Attorney on an Employment Discrimination Wage and Hour case
"She was fantastic. Great demeanor, very effective with clients. Really impressive."
- Attorney on a Business/Contractual Matter
"Ms. Kruze was really great. I appreciated the time she took to get to know us and our case, and she
knew how to push both sides to get a settlement.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto case
"Ms. Kruze was exceptional. She took the time to not only read the parties’ briefs and understand their respective positions, but she also went out of her way to coordinate a pre-mediation conference call to ensure that we were on the same page on the issues of standard of care, causation, and damages."
- Attorney on a Medical Malpractice case
"Diana Kruze did a great job. She was prepared, had a strategy for how to help these parties settle this case, gave an accurate and fair evaluation, had a good sense of pushing the right amount, and executed well on the strategy to settle.
- Attorney on a Real Estate/Breach of Contract case
• Nine-figure civil dispute involving anticancer drugs between two competitor pharmaceutical companies.
• Elder/dependent adult abuse, neglect and negligence case against skilled nursing facility.
INSURANCE BAD FAITH
• Successfully mediated alleged bad faith denial of fire loss.
• Successfully mediated alleged bad faith refusal to pay disability insurance benefits.
• Successfully mediated alleged bad faith denial of theft coverage.
• Successfully mediated alleged bad faith denial of trip insurance benefits and international emergency health care coverage.
• As a former judicial officer, adjudicated bad faith insurance cases, including alleged bad faith denial regarding tree root damage claim, auto accident coverage, dental transplant claim, home warranty coverage, water damage from broken pipe, and foundation settling the dispute.
• International, nine-forum patent and breach of contract dispute involving DSLR cameras.
• Patent infringement claims arising from the sale of a competing furniture product by luxury furniture dealer.
• IP and breach of contract litigation involving BIOS software and virtualization.
• Patent infringement claims and breach of license agreement regarding self-driving car technology.
• Consolidated case involving standards essential patent covering Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Quality of Service (QoS) solutions for delivery of audio, video, and data over Ethernet networks.
• Patent infringement case involving encryption of satellite signals.
• Patent infringement case involving hardware storage devices.
• Trade secret misappropriation case involving web-based software for patient imaging against medical provider.
• Nine-figure patent case involving nanoparticulate anticancer drugs between pharmaceutical companies.
• US, German and Netherlands patent dispute involving semiconductor business.
• Trademark and patent case involving smartphones and graphical user interface for mobile devices.
• Copyright and trademark infringement suit related to video-editing software.
• Copyright infringement case involving CAD architectural software.
• Dispute over title to real property involving several adult children of decedent.
• Breach of fiduciary duty by trustee involving management of several family business entities.
• Financial elder abuse claims brought on behalf of a father against his daughter by other siblings.
• Dispute involving validity and terms of a trust amendment between decedent’s children from first and second marriages.
• As a judicial officer, adjudicated dozens of elder abuse restraining orders.
• Commercial leasing real estate dispute between landlord and Cannabis company.
• Real estate dispute between Home Owner’s Association and adjacent golf course.
• Negotiated complex settlement agreement related to contested HOA board elections.
• As a former judicial officer, adjudicated thousands of unlawful detainer cases, including residential & commercial, non-payment, bank foreclosure, nuisance, wrongful eviction, habitability, discrimination and force majeure issues.
• As a former judicial officer, adjudicated dozens of civil real estate cases involving HOA issues, condo and co-op elections, property line disputes, neighbor altercations, real estate agent commission disputes, non-disclosure & misrepresentation claims, tree cases, fence and view disputes.
Full Time Neutral, Judicate West (Present)
Mediator, Arbitrator & Discovery Referee, ADR by Diana (Present)
Adjunct Professor, University of California, Hastings College of the Law (2016-Present)
Mediator, Arbitrator, Discovery Referee, California Superior Court, Most Bay Area Courts (2021 – Present)
Commissioner, California Superior Court, Contra Costa County (2019-2020)
Law Clerk for Chief Judge James Ware, Federal Clerkship, Northern District of California (2010-2011)
Education & Professional Affiliations
J.D. Hastings College of the Law, magna cum laude (2006)
B.A. New York University (2001)
California Superior Court New Judges Training & Orientation (2019)
Arbitrator Training, American Arbitration Association (2021)
Higginbotham Fellowship Training, American Arbitration Association (2016)
U.C. Berkeley Conflict Resolution & Mediation Program (2017)
President Elect and Board Member of Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, 2017-current (presidency beginning 2021)
Appointed to California Access to Justice Commission (2021-Current)
Appointed by Mayor of San Francisco to Citizen’s Committee on Community Development (2017-2019)
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Fundraising Chair and Board Member (2016-2019)
Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), Secretary and Board Member, Barristers Club (2014-2016)
Playmates Cooperative Nursery School, President of Board of Directors (2016-2018)
Executive Committee, Intellectual Property Section, BASF, Board Member (2016-2019)
Board member of U.C. Hastings Board of Governors (2021-Present)
Bay Area Urban Debate League, Firm Chair of Champions of Diversity (2011-2019)
California Judges Association, National Association of Women’s Judges, International Association of LGBT Judges, Bar Association of San Francisco, ABA, Queen’s Bench, California Women Lawyers, & BALIF, Member
Achievements & Awards
“Teacher of the Year” Award, LWR Department, U.C. Hastings (2019)
“Legal Lion” Award by Law360 (2018)
“Intellectual Property Trailblazer” Award by the National Law Journal (2017)
“Inspiring Role Model in Promoting Gender Diversity” Award Finalist by Chambers (2017)
“Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40” Award by the National LGBT Bar Association (2017)
“Copyright Litigation Lawyer of the Year in California” Award by Corporate INTL Magazine (2017)
“Top 40 Attorneys Under 40” Award by the Daily Journal (2016)
Inducted into the Fellowship of the American Bar Foundation (2016)
“A. Leon Higginbotham Fellow” by the American Arbitration Association (2016)
“Rising Star” in Northern California for six years in a row by Super Lawyers Magazine (2013-2018)
“Barrister of the Year” Award by the Bar Association of San Francisco (2013)