We have represented companies facing complex commercial disputes at trial and well before trial in dispute resolution methods. Our broad experience includes complex commercial disputes, product and toxic tort defense, employment defense, antitrust, consumer fraud, trade secret disputes, and more. In litigation, our lawyers have often represented Fortune 100 companies, large government entities, along with smaller, closely-held corporations. In many instances, we help clients position the case for a favorable and early disposition. When settlement is not feasible or not the right strategy, we try cases in state and federal courts and before juries and judges.
Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm
- Lead counsel for City of Chicago in multi-billion dollar contract dispute filed by United Airlines and American Airlines to stop O’Hare Airport Modernization Program. After litigation, case settled favorably by continuation of the O’Hare Program.
- Lead counsel in commercial dispute over liability for thousands of underlying tort claims recently arising out of the operation of a business that was acquired and later resold through a series of corporate mergers and transactions. Successful no liability judgment, affirmed on appeal.
- Lead counsel representing private equity and financial services companies in breach of contract case over purchase of and investment in a portfolio company, with successful settlement of the dispute.
- Lead counsel in toxic tort actions alleging that chemical emissions caused cancer, wrongful death and other serious personal injuries to children in the community. Highly favorable settlement and dismissal of claims after expert discovery.
- Lead counsel for pharmaceutical manufacturer in multi-national dispute over supply of contaminated pharmaceuticals. Litigation in U.S. and Great Britain; dispute resolution in U.S. and Japan.
- Lead trial counsel and appellate counsel representing a manufacturer of the anti-miscarriage drug, diethylstilbestrol. Resulted in coverage of defense costs and indemnities for over 1500 diethylstilbestrol personal injury cases, in a trial result affirmed by the California Supreme Court in the first decision by the Court regarding lost insurance policies.
- Lead counsel in a claim for hurricane damages. Obtained a declaratory judgment that a windstorm exclusion did not apply to the insured's business interruption losses and the court awarded full coverage for the losses.
- Lead trial counsel in insurance disputes filed in Michigan and Illinois over coverage of an Illinois jury's award of $124 million in punitive damages involving use of a prescription pharmaceutical, obtaining judgment covering both punitive and compensatory damages.
- Lead counsel for trials in Philadelphia and Denver for a significant private equity fund involving issues of fiduciary duty to creditors and claims of alter ego and fraud. Both trials resulted in defense verdicts for clients.
- Represented a major foreign automobile manufacturer in a multiple death case resulting in complex multi-district litigation in the United States and achieved successful dismissal on jurisdictional grounds.
- Member of national trial team for a major chemical company in breast implant litigation; prepared expert defenses in toxicology, epidemiology and company history.
- Member of national trial team for tobacco litigation in RICO and consumer fraud case brought by an asbestos trust. Work included preparation of offensive case concerning the history of asbestos litigation and settlements.
- Defended manufacturer of toilet bowl cleaners against consumer fraud class actions in California, Illinois and Florida alleging damage to rubber and plastic parts from product.
- Defended simultaneous nationwide and state class actions and individual actions alleging defective building product. Developed successful procedural strategy and coordinated proceedings before the Multi-district Litigation Panel, resulting in defeat of nationwide class certification in federal court.
- Defended landmark aggregated actions by asbestos companies/Trusts and medical recoupment actions by state attorneys general involving novel and developing legal theories. Second chaired seven-week trial on behalf of tobacco company. Mistrial followed by plaintiffs’ voluntary dismissal.
- Defended and resolved breach of contract and tortious interference claims by former employee after obtaining ruling precluding plaintiff's damages expert from trial.
Compliance & Corporate Governance
Our lawyers also counsel clients on how to establish and implement corporate governance programs, and how to improve business ethics compliance programs to avoid future risks. As part of our compliance practice, we are well-versed in crisis management and advising boards and individual directors with respect to their legal obligations and duties as directors. We bring tailored experience for FDA-regulated companies and the extra compliance issues concerning them. We have a full service antitrust practice that can assist by helping design business operations of all sizes to maximize opportunities while avoiding practices that would be risky or excessively conservative.
Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm
- Preparing compliance and antitrust training for global meeting of diversified industrial manufacturer with online capture for future use on company intranet.
- Preparing resolution for board of directors of publicly held company regarding compliance oversight obligation.
- Assisting with creation of job description for chief compliance officer of industrial manufacturer.
- Revising antitrust compliance policy for financial services company after major antitrust litigation.
- Creation of policy and compliance program to address risks created by UK Bribery Act for financial industry firm.
- Creation of training program for medical device company to satisfy requirements of FTC consent decree.
- Review of compliance program of internet marketing company as part of FTC litigation.
- Serving as corporate monitor appointed by FTC to ensure compliance with FTC consent decree imposed on major consumer products company.
- Review of compliance program of gaming company, with recommendations for revisions to corporate compliance committee.
- Review of investigation and reporting procedures for major industrial manufacturer.
- Creation of improper payments compliance program for diversified global manufacturer.
- Benchmarking of compliance staffing and recommendations for department organization for major consumer packaged goods company.
- Revisions of corporate code of conduct for major consumer products company.
- Development of risk assessment protocol for major consumer products company.
- Revision to compliance and business controls program for industrial company after SEC investigation.
- Review of corporate social responsibility practices for major consumer packaged goods company to assist with 3rd party certification.
Antitrust enforcement by federal and state prosecutors continues without pause. No business can afford to ignore the antitrust laws no matter the size or industry. From review of distribution systems to avoiding liability for price fixing to assistance with mergers, we can provide fast and accurate assistance to avoid antitrust liability. Our experience with antitrust litigation also provides benefits to clients who are either defending those types of cases or have an interest in opt-out positions.
Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm
- Antitrust litigation and counseling in a variety of industries, including consumer packaged goods, hospitality, vitamins, trade associations, food distribution, optical devices, dairy, chemicals, beer, electronics distribution, and insurance.
- Initiation of “opt-out” plaintiff cases in Corrugated Container, Folding Carton, Citric Acid, Vitamin, Liquid Carbon Dioxide antitrust and other cases, with recoveries far in excess of class amounts.
- Successful counseling of dozens of distributor terminations that resulted in recovery of balances due without significant business disruption or filing of litigation.
- Successful defense of challenge to acquisition of consumer appliance company through Court of Appeals affirmance.
- Successful defense to challenge to participation in state industry regulatory scheme through denial of certiorari.
- Successful management of acquisitions and divestitures through administrative review (including “Second Requests”) by the FTC and Department of Justice.
- Successful defense of purported class action under California state antitrust law alleging price fixing in dairy industry.
- Successful defense of purported class action under Sherman Act alleging price fixing in chemical industry.
- Successful defense of case alleging illegal vertical restraints due to distribution restrictions.
- Successful defense of case alleging resale price maintenance based on pricing programs designed to respond to competitive bidding situations.
- Successful defense of cases alleging violation of Robinson-Patman Act (price discrimination) based on promotional programs for new dealers, meeting competitive offers, geographic pricing, and functional discounts.
- Counseling of clients to successfully develop purchasing consortia.
- Developing antitrust compliance programs, including live training, computer-based training, podcasts, policy development, antitrust audits, social-networking tools, and risk assessment.
- Counseling trade associations on proper antitrust policies and procedures.
- Counseling consumer packaged goods companies on antitrust compliance for marketing, sales, promotion, and distribution programs.
- Counseling on creation of advertising and promotional programs under the Robinson-Patman Act.
We have a full service employment law practice, defending and counseling companies, executives and sometimes employees on a wide range of employment matters.
Consistent with the goals of many of our clients, we aim to achieve the best early resolution of employment disputes. If necessary, we are ready and able to represent our clients in litigation and at trial. We have significant experience defending employers in federal and state courts, and administrative agencies. We have represented employers pre-litigation and throughout litigation including disputes involving claims brought under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the other local, state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination. We also represent employers in disputes over alleged wrongful discharge, breach of contract, non-competition, compliance policy violations, trade secret, alleged violations of personnel policies, emotional distress, and restrictive covenants.
We counsel employers on a variety of issues, including equal employment opportunity laws, employee discipline and termination, leaves of absence, privacy and social media laws, wage and hour compliance, restrictive covenants,and reductions in force. We conduct investigations into claims of discrimination and harassment and advise management on the appropriate course of action. We can develop, draft, revise and implement personnel practices and policies in such areas as sexual harassment and discrimination, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, employee discipline and terminations, and social media communications, among others.
We advise individual and corporate clients on issues relating to employment agreements, non-competition and proprietary information agreements, corporate consolidations and reductions in force, and and separation and retirement agreements. We also assist clients in responding to OFCCP and other governmental compliance investigations at both the federal and state level concerning employment practices.
Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm
- Successfully defended a major pharmaceutical company at trial against age discrimination claim brought by sales representative. Won complete defense verdict.
- Successfully defended corporation against breach of employment contract and ERISA claims brought by two former top executives.
- Regularly investigate and respond to employment discrimination complaints lodged at the EEOC against a Fortune Global Top 500 Company.
- Review non-disclosure, non-solicitation and non-compete agreements of incoming executive-level candidates for international consulting firm.
- Lecture and advise clients regarding evolving social media laws and policies.
- Advise a wide array of clients on corporate compliance policies.
- Draft employment agreements and restrictive covenants for high level executives in a range of industries.
- Defended age, race and sex discrimination cases for Fortune 100 company.
- Represented Fortune 100 company in grievance arbitration procedures.
- Draft executive employment agreements for nonprofit organizations.
(Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Biologics, Animal Feed)
Our Practice for companies in the life sciences offers an unusual combination of depth in industry knowledge and scientific expertise. Our firm includes lawyers with advanced doctoral and medical degrees, direct experience with designing, implementing and reporting on clinical and laboratory research in areas of medicine, psychiatry and psychology, and advanced training in clinical trials. Members of the Practice are well recognized for their legal work in areas of medicine, psychology, toxicology and epidemiology.
Our lawyers bring the experience and understanding gained in hundreds of major client representations, successfully presenting legal and factual issues to juries and judges in ways that are both understandable and persuasive. Our lawyers have represented companies in product, toxic tort, mass tort and class action defense, disputes over divestiture and acquisition agreements, distribution and supply agreements, insurance agreements, successor liability, employment, collaboration agreements, laboratory agreements, research agreements, trademark, licensing, and advertising.
In product liability and toxic tort litigation, we have represented companies facing claims across dozens of different medications, types of chemical exposure and types of injury. We have been retained in cases involving death, severe birth defects, neurologic and CNS injury, rheumatologic diseases, liver, blood and kidney injury, cancers and more. We have developed expert defenses based on a wide range of specialties in medicine, psychiatry, epidemiology, toxicology and chemistry.
We team well with other firms and have played specialty roles in large-scale litigation (such as Science Counsel). Our work often involves the use of sophisticated demonstrative aids, mock juries, and the interpretation for lay people of complicated expert scientific testimony.
Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm: Litigation
- Lead counsel in toxic tort actions alleging that chemical emissions caused cancer, wrongful death and other serious personal injuries to children in the community. Extensive work on epidemiology and toxicology defenses, leading to successful pre-trial settlement.
- Lead Counsel in corporate contract dispute over successor liability for thousands of underlying personal injury tort claims in jurisdictions across the U.S., arising out of product made by a predecessor company, obtaining summary judgment of no liability for our client.
- Lead Counsel in multi-forum corporate dispute over supply of contaminated chemical and international sales of bulk pharmaceuticals to customers in U.S., Great Britain, Japan and other countries, with successful recovery of damages, partial attorneys' fees and preserving customer relationships for the client.
- Counsel for multinational chemical company defending breast implant litigation (personal injury class action and individual cases), with development of generic, case-specific and expert defenses.
- Lead counsel in substantial insurance disputes for defense and indemnity costs, including litigation over thousands of underlying personal injuries arising from use of a prescription product in pregnancy, over hurricane damage to company facilities, and over a personal injury verdict of $124 million in punitive damage, each resulting in coverage for our clients after pre-trial or trial rulings.
- Counsel for manufacturer in multi-million dollar "toxic mold" case brought by a Texas school district. Suit was settled for less than 10% of the amount claimed million one day after Robinson/Daubert argument.
- Served as outside counsel for a major university-based medical school in complex litigation involving a wide variety of specialties of its faculty members.
- Counsel for multinational chemical company defending breast implant litigation (personal injury class action and individual cases), developed generic, case-specific and expert defenses.
- Represented pharmaceutical company in a third party product liability action filed by certain hospital and nursing defendants involving failure-to-warn allegations against anti-stroke medication. After deposition discovery, obtained pre-trial dismissal with prejudice of all claims.
- Lead Trial Counsel and appellate counsel in obtaining defense and indemnity coverage for pharmaceutical client facing hundreds of underlying personal injury claims made on account of alleged improper marketing of a prescription medicine and use in pregnancy.
Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm: Counseling
- Risk assessment and risk management. Counseling for products in development and marketed products, to determine risks of litigation by consumers, patients, commercial partners and other parties, and to counsel on methods of minimizing or disposing of litigation risks.
- Advertising and Labeling. Counseling on compliance with advertising and labeling laws; assisting in development of accepted standards for environmental claims on products; ensuring compliance with children’s advertising rules; counseling on funding for cooperative advertising programs.
- Distribution and Sales. Drafting distribution or brokerage agreements; advising on compliance with state franchise and broker laws; advising on termination of distributors or brokers; dealing with bootlegging and counterfeiting of products; establishing exclusive dealing and distribution arrangements; negotiating import and export quotas.
- Marketing, Merchandising, and Promotion. Helping to develop campaigns to provide sampling of products; counseling on rules for establishing trade promotion programs; establishing coupon redemption programs; ensuring compliance with rules governing sweepstakes and other games of chance; counseling on public relations.
- Regulation and Food Safety. Advising on good manufacturing practices; assisting with product recalls; establishment of crisis management teams to ensure recall readiness; drafting and negotiating regulations and statutory language; developing training programs for employees; drafting food safety policies.
- Compliance, Risk Prevention and Safety Standards Review. Conducting risk management analyses and providing practical advice for limiting or eliminating safety risks across a range of products, taking account of federal, international and other applicable safety standards; working with different products regulated by the FDA, EPA, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Product Safety Commission to minimize or eliminate product safety issues; working with clients to address obstacles encountered in meeting standards or compliance with new safety regulations and laws.
- Quality Programs. Counseling on standards and regulations that frame quality assurance and quality control programs, typically in the context of an emerging product safety or liability issue; working with clients and consultants on an as-needed basis to address the existing issues and develop potential solutions.
- Product Liability Defense. Developing pre-litigation defense strategies and tactics for potential product litigation, including personal injury, consumer fraud, class action defense, warranty, and other related cases.
Attorneys who work in the Firm’s Food Practice reflect decades of experience with the legal challenges and requirements of operating food businesses. Our lawyers have served as in-house attorneys and outside counsel for large public food businesses and privately held food companies of all sizes, and we work easily with executives of small companies and lawyers and executives in large enterprises.
We have a deep and broad understanding of food marketers’ objectives as well as the strategies and tactics for realizing them. While we know how to handle the ordinary range of legal issues that a manufacturer and marketer confronts, we also know how to guide food companies through the entire process of launching a new product, from developing concepts and protecting technology through selecting trademarks, satisfying food safety and labeling standards, and developing complete marketing programs that include ad copy, consumer promotions, pricing and trade marketing plans. For existing products, we can provide the same high level of know-how, experience and expertise for any piece of the marketing mix.
In corporate and transactional work, we have counseled companies on developing or assessing:
- A wide range of compliance programs, including review of marketing, sales, promotion and product distribution programs for compliance with antitrust and consumer protection laws. As examples:
- We have conducted reviews to ensure that promotional allowances and services are made available to all competing customers on a nondiscriminatory basis.
- We have reviewed information protocols to assure that all information directed at consumers complies with state and federal regulations.
- We have reviewed advertising and promotional programs to assure they pass muster under the Robinson-Patman Act.
- Compliance programs have included live training, computer-based training, podcasts, policy development, antitrust audits, social-networking tools, and risk assessment.
- Procedures to determine proper substantiation for advertising or labeling claims, including scientific protocols to support nutrition claims and copy review, such as whether weight loss claims are supported by real world evidence. We can provide legal review of consumer coupons and sweepstakes programs, including dealing with fraudulent claims by consumer.
- Proper labeling of food products to comply with FDA, FTC and USDA regulations – including “organic” and “natural” claims, establishment of nutritional claims and ingredient lines of labels. We have assisted in ensuring that organic products are certified by recognized agencies.
- Procedures to ensure compliance with government health and safety regulations, import and export compliance and establishment of quality assurance programs. Examples include review of consumer complaint policies, food allergen policies, manufacturing polices, and product testing procedures.
- Protocols for product recalls, to ensure that if a market withdrawal or recall is necessary, proper notification of customers, consumers and government agencies is accomplished, along with effective product retrieval.
- Negotiation of a broad range of contracts such as distribution and brokerage contracts, manufacturing (private label) agreements. We have defended companies facing claims from terminated brokers or distributors.
- Counseling on public relations connected to food-matters. We have worked with leading public interest groups on food-related issues at both the farm and consumer level.
- Dozens of acquisitions or divestitures of food businesses, many with government review. We have a deep familiarity with the review processes at the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, and can marshal the evidence necessary to expedite antitrust review.
- Employment matters such as trade secret protection, confidentiality, noncompetition, and non-solicitation agreements, and claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
In litigation, including pre-litigation resolution of disputes, we have represented food companies in:
- Licensing and distribution disputes, including termination of distributors with state and federal antitrust, contract, and tort issues raised.
- Defense of claims and lawsuits involving food recalls and personal injuries due to food contamination, such as products contaminated with listeria. We have handled a full range of product liability actions, including strict liability, breach of warranty, and failure to warn negligence suits, for national and local companies.
- Prosecution of claims against commercial insurers to cover their defense and indemnity obligations, even those arising from long-tail claims from businesses no longer operated by the company.
- Litigation based on claims of trade secret violations, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation litigation.
- Initiation of “opt-out” plaintiff cases, such as in Corrugated Container, Folding Carton, Citric Acid, Vitamin, Liquid Carbon Dioxide antitrust and other cases, with recoveries far in excess of class amounts.
- Counseling about distributor terminations that resulted in recovery of balances due without significant business disruption or filing of litigation.
- Defense of class action claims alleging price fixing or price discrimination based on promotional programs for new dealers, meeting competitive offers, geographic pricing, and functional discounts.