Elliott focuses his practice on complex legal issues in product liability litigation. His goal is to shape and present the key legal issues that will secure victory for clients at the trial-court level, and preserve those victories on appeal.  

Before joining Shook, Elliott sharpened his legal strategy, briefing and oral-argument skills during his nearly seven-year tenure with the United States Department of Justice. Elliott held a variety of roles at DOJ, including a year-long assignment as the principal deputy to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. In his most recent role at the Justice Department, Elliott defended the federal government from constitutional and statutory challenges to a number of executive-branch actions, including several attacks on the implementation of the 2020 decennial census—two of which were ultimately reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court and decided in favor of the government. Earlier in his DOJ career, he successfully defended the federal government in a number of high-profile tort cases relating to torture at Abu Ghraib prison, the Benghazi attack, and corruption at the FBI’s Boston field office, among other matters. He has argued and prevailed before the Tenth Circuit, a three-judge district court, and several single-judge district courts nationwide, and has also contributed to and appeared on a number of Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals briefs. Among other honors, Elliott has received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Justice Department’s second-highest award for employee performance.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Elliott represented pharmaceutical, health-services and insurance companies at a global law firm and served as legal-issues counsel at five jury trials that went to verdict.  

Representative Matters

United States v. Secretary, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, __F.4th__, 2021 WL 6062625 (11th Cir. Dec. 22, 2021): Edited and developed the opposition to Florida’s petition to rehear en banc a split panel decision holding that the Attorney General may enforce Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over a dissental, the Eleventh Circuit voted against rehearing en banc.

Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education, No. 6:21–cv–474, 2021 WL 3861154 (D. Or. Aug. 30, 2021): Briefed the opposition to a motion for a temporary restraining order that asserted constitutional challenges to Title IX’s religious exemption and statutory challenges to certain of Title IX’s implementing regulations. The district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion and held that the plaintiffs had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits.

Alabama v. U.S. Department of Commerce, __F. Supp. 3d__, 2021 WL 2668810 (M.D. Ala. June 29, 2021) (three-judge court): Briefed and argued the opposition to a preliminary-injunction motion that asserted constitutional and statutory challenges to the U.S. Census Bureau’s disclosure-avoidance methodology. The three-judge district court unanimously denied the plaintiffs’ motion.

Common Cause v. Trump, 506 F. Supp. 3d 39 (D.D.C. 2020) (three-judge court): Briefed the opposition to a preliminary-injunction motion asserting that a presidential memorandum regarding the decennial census’ apportionment base violated the Constitution. The three-judge district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion, with the majority concluding that the plaintiffs’ claims were not ripe. The Supreme Court later arrived at the same conclusion in Trump v. New York, 141 S. Ct. 530 (2020).

Al Shimari v. CACI Premier Technology, Inc., 368 F. Supp. 3d 935 (E.D. Va. 2019): Led the defense of third-party tort claims brought by a government contractor against the United States concerning alleged torture at Abu Ghraib prison. Developed the overarching legal strategy, defended a number of pseudonymous depositions, and briefed and argued the motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment to the United States.

Kile v. United States, 915 F.3d 682 (10th Cir. 2019), affirming sub nom., Lemmings ex rel. Kile v. United States, No. CIV–00–404, 2017 WL 7734081 (E.D. Okla. Dec. 11, 2017): Defended the United States against intervenors’ attempts to reopen a 2001 settlement agreement relating to a minor’s birth-related brain injury. Briefed, argued and defeated the intervenors’ motion to reopen the settlement agreement in the district court, and then briefed, argued and won the Tenth Circuit appeal.
Smith v. Clinton, 253 F. Supp. 3d 222 (D.D.C. 2017): Moved to substitute the United States for Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit alleging that Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server led to the wrongful deaths of two U.S. citizens during the terrorist attack in Benghazi. The district court granted the motion to substitute and then dismissed the United States. The district court’s judgment was later affirmed by the D.C. Circuit.  

McGonagle v. United States, 155 F. Supp. 3d 130 (D. Mass. 2016): Briefed and argued a motion to dismiss tort claims against the United States arising out of the murder of an individual by James “Whitey” Bulger. The district court concluded that the United States was immune from suit and dismissed the action.  

Media Coverage

Judges Hear Arguments Over Contentious Census Privacy Tool, Associated Press, May 3, 2021.