Neutral Profile

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DIANA B. KRUZE

  • Based in All of California
  • Available for Mediation and Private Judging assignments

Introduction

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.”


Practice Areas

  • Cannabis
  • Complex Business/Contractual
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Real Estate
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate

Experience Summary

Diana has been involved in a wide variety of cases throughout her legal career.

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Hobbies & Interests

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).

Website

https://www.adrbydiana.com/

Experience Summary

CANNABIS

• Intellectual property and breach of contract dispute regarding joint development agreement relating to CBD products.

• Commercial real estate dispute between landlord and cannabis distributor.

• Licensing dispute regarding cannabis delivery system.

• Employment dispute between hospital and employee over off-site, off-hours use of prescribed medical marijuana.


EMPLOYMENT

• As a former judicial officer, adjudicated dozens of employment cases, including sexual harassment, hostile work environment, wrongful termination, and ADA failure to accommodate.

• Dispute between former employee and accounting firm involving BP 17200, hostile work environment, and trade secret misappropriation of customer list.

• Dispute between doctor and health care provider regarding wrongful termination.

• Dispute between former employee and law firm involving wrongful termination and hostile work environment.

• Dispute between doctor and medical group regarding disciplinary proceedings.

• Constructive discharge from supermarket employer based on sexual orientation.

• Dispute between employer and terminated employee regarding alleged embezzlement and kick-back scheme.


HEALTHCARE

• Billing and medical necessity dispute between pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager.

• Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement dispute, including antitrust counterclaims under state and federal law.

• Breach of contract and unjust enrichment case against managed care consortium by former doctor employee.

• Breach of contract and termination of a participating provider agreement between healthcare provider and an employee benefits plan.

• Alleged wrongful denial of subscriber claims.

• Physician licensing & computer misuse case against major health care provider.

• Contract dispute regarding medical technology agreement covering online patient portal.

• 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.


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

• 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.

• Trade secrets dispute between competitor laboratories regarding scientific diagnostic testing protocols.


LEGAL MALPRACTICE

• Adjudicated dozens of attorney fee disputes and malpractice cases as a California superior court judicial officer.

• Legal malpractice case involving misappropriation of retainer.


REAL ESTATE

• 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.


PERSONAL INJURY

• As a judicial officer, adjudicated dozens of personal injury cases, including auto accidents, medical malpractice, dental malpractice, food and beverage cases, and slip-and-falls.

• Wrongful death claim against county jail brought by parents who lost their teenage son awaiting trial for minor, first-time offense.

• Slip and fall case brought by tenant against landlord.

• Car accident case involving severe brain injury.

• Dog bite case involving young child.

• Medical malpractice regarding breast augmentation surgery.

• Dental malpractice regarding tooth extraction.

• Dental malpractice involving pediatric dental surgery.


PROBATE

• 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.

Legal Career

  • 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)
  • Commissioner, California Superior Court, Contra Costa County (2019-2020)
  • Morrison & Foerster, Litigation Department, Associate (2006-2015); Partner (2016-2019)
  • 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)
  • Fundraising Chair and Board Member, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (2016-2019)
  • Secretary and Board Member of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), Barristers Club (2014-2016)
  • President of Board of Directors of Playmates Cooperative Nursery School (2016-2018)
  • Board member of Executive Committee, Intellectual Property Section, BASF (2016-2019)
  • Board member of U.C. Hastings Board of Governors (2021-Present)
  • Firm Chair of Champions of Diversity, Bay Area Urban Debate League (2011-2019)
  • Member of 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

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)

Legal Experience

  • Cannabis
  • Complex Business/Contractual
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Real Estate
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate

Recent Representative Cases