John defends companies in a broad range of litigation, including product liability, toxic tort, complex commercial and financial services litigation, as well as in appellate matters. He has represented manufacturers of a wide variety of products, including cigarettes, prescription pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, industrial equipment and asbestos.
John has substantial experience in all phases of litigation:
Pre-trial Discovery – John has deposed plaintiffs, experts and other significant fact witnesses, and he has prepared company witnesses and experts for deposition. John has also drafted and responded to written discovery requests and litigated discovery disputes.
Expert Witness Development – John has identified and developed expert witnesses in a variety of areas, including medicine, toxicology, chemistry and workplace safety.
Trial – John handles complex legal issues and appellate preservation at the trial court level, and he has served on more than a dozen trial teams defending a major consumer products manufacturer in product liability cases. He was the primary legal issues attorney at three recent trials in which he was responsible for briefing and arguing Daubert, dispositive, trial procedures and in limine motions; identifying and arguing evidentiary and legal issues; all aspects of appellate preservation; coordinating preparation of bench memoranda and motions submitted during trial; arguing jury instruction and verdict form issues during charge conferences; and briefing and arguing directed verdict motions.
Post-Trial and Appeal – John has drafted post-trial motions that have resulted in the trial court ordering a new trial and, in another case, an appellate court reversing and remanding the case for a new trial. He has also co-authored various appellate briefs, including petitions for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and amicus briefs.
John has also maintained an active pro bono practice, including representing individuals appealing the denial of asylum claims in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in cases in which the Department of Justice sought remand to the Board of Immigration Appeals. John participated in New York City's Corporation Counsel's Public Service Program and served as counsel for the City of New York and several other defendants in a personal injury action, which was resolved on favorable terms the evening before jury selection. John has also reviewed case files for the Midwest Innocence Project to determine whether the factual record supports claims of actual innocence.
Prior to joining Shook, John was an associate in the New York, Jersey City and Miami offices of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. He began his legal career as a summer associate and associate at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia.
Dispositive and Daubert Motions
- Drafted a Daubert motion resulting in the exclusion of the plaintiff’s six general and specific causation experts on the issue of whether a wood preservative (chromated copper arsenate) causes pulmonary nodular lymphoid hyperplasia without a Daubert hearing, and the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all claims relating to this condition. McCarty v. Arch Wood Protection, Inc., No. 011-cv-00109-HRW-CJS (E.D. Ky. 2016).
- Drafted a successful motion to dismiss a claim for a creditors’ bill asserted by a financial advisor. CIMA Capital Partners, LLC v. Febres-Cordero Ribadeneyra, No. 1:12-cv-23902-UU (S.D. Fla.).
- Successfully argued for a directed verdict on a plaintiff’s loss of consortium claim based on Florida’s statute of limitations. Perrotto v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 50 2007 CA 023841 AI (Fla. 15th Cir. Ct. 2014).
- Successfully argued in opposition to a motion filed by a personal injury plaintiff’s husband to assert a loss of consortium claim based on a same-sex marriage that post-dated the plaintiff’s alleged injuries, an issue of first impression in Florida. In re Engle Progeny Cases Tobacco Litig. (Caprio), No. 07-36719 (19) (Fla. 17th Cir. Ct. 2015).
- Drafted a successful motion to dismiss failure to warn and negligent manufacturing claims asserted by a pro se plaintiff seeking $6,000,000 in damages based on (i) the express preemption provisions of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act; (ii) conflict preemption; and (iii) Florida’s statute of limitations. Henry v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., No. 4:14-CV-511-RH-CAS (N.D. Fla.).
- Developed legal strategy resulting in the dismissal of a product liability action based on the plaintiff’s failure to disclose expert witnesses on the issues of (i) whether the cigarettes he smoked were defectively designed; and (ii) medical causation. Bradley v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., No. 8:13–cv–227–T–33AEP, 2014 WL 5780428 (M.D. Fla. 2014), appeal dismissed for want of prosecution, Bradley v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., No. 8:13-cv-00227-VMC-AEP, ECF No. 127 (11th Cir. 2015).
- Represented a foreign distributor of consumer products in a declaratory judgment action pending in the United States, including preparation of a motion to dismiss based on lack of diversity jurisdiction. John also provided the client with strategic advice for litigating claims in multiple jurisdictions, the validity of service of process under international conventions and the limitations on personal jurisdiction in the United States.
Post-Trial Motions and Appellate Briefing
- Drafted mistrial and post-trial motions resulting in the reversal of a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff based on improper closing arguments by the plaintiff’s counsel. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gafney, No. 4D13-4358, 2016 WL 1128480 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).
- Developed a legal argument and co-authored a post-trial motion resulting in an order granting a new trial based on errors in jury selection process. In re Engle Progeny Cases Tobacco Litig. (Irimi), No. 08-026350 CACE (27) (Fla. 17th Cir. Ct. 2015, rehearing denied).
- Co-author of a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a Frye challenge to the each-and-every-fiber opinion of a plaintiff’s expert in an asbestos case. Betz v. Pneumo Abex LLC, 44 A.3d 27 (Pa. 2012).
- Co-author of an amici curiae brief in a pharmaceutical product liability action. Sager v. F. Hoffman-La Roche, Ltd., Nos. L-197-05, L-196-05, and L-199-05 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div.).
- Co-author of an amicus brief urging the New Jersey Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction and to reverse the intermediate appellate court’s decision in an asbestos product liability action. Buttita v. Allied Signal, Inc., No. C-1051SEPT.TERM2009, 065974 (N.J.).
Co-author of bi-annual updates to Product Liability by Theodore V.H. Mayer, Robb Patryk and John S. Allee, Law Journal Seminars-Press (2011-2016).
Co-author, Is `Private' Data on Social Networks Discoverable?, The National Law Journal (Aug. 23, 2010).
Co-author, Significant Changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Will Protect Drafts of Expert Reports from Discovery, Current Developments In Federal Civil Practice 2011, Practising Law Institute (Feb. 8, 2011).
Co-author, District Court Dismisses Medicare's Suit Seeking Reimbursement from Defendants, Insurers and Attorneys, Law Journal Newsletters --Products Liability Law and Strategy (Jan. 2011).
Co-author, Medicare Secondary Payer Statute: New Reporting Requirements for Products Liability and Toxic Tort Clients, New Jersey Law Journal (Dec. 2009).