John defends companies against individual claims and putative class actions in state and federal courts throughout the country, and frequently partners with national counsel to defend against such claims outside the United States. John has represented manufacturers of a broad range of products, including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, prescription pharmaceuticals, animal vaccines, specialty chemicals, passenger and commercial vehicles, industrial equipment, asbestos, and sports equipment.  John also represents companies in complex commercial litigation, and has significant experience responding to bankruptcy filings by adverse parties.

John focuses his domestic litigation practice on developing legal strategy to ensure that key legal issues are briefed and preserved at the trial court level. In the last 10 years, John has been a member of more than two dozen trial teams, many of which were multi-week jury trials. He frequently serves as legal issues counsel at trial and has primary responsibility for all aspects of appellate preservation and issue development, including drafting and arguing motions in limine, dispositive motions, directed verdict and post-trial motions, interlocutory appeals during trial, proposed jury instructions and verdict forms, and evidentiary objections. His goal is to develop the key legal issues that will secure victory for clients at the trial court level, and ensure those victories can be preserved on appeal.  

John leverages his significant courtroom experience to bring a holistic perspective to cases─from day one, he is identifying legal arguments that may result in cases being dismissed through dispositive motion practice, coordinating discovery to ensure that clients can effectively tell their stories in the courtroom, and preserving key issues for appeal. He works collaboratively with his colleagues to ensure that strategic goals are executed throughout the life of a case, starting with initial motion practice, continuing throughout fact and expert discovery, and into pretrial preparation. 

Outside of the U.S., John frequently provides clients with strategic advice and coordinates the defense of cases pending in multiple jurisdictions. He draws on his significant experience representing clients in U.S. litigation to partner with multinational clients and their national litigation counsel to implement innovative strategies in a broad range of cases. John has successfully represented clients in novel litigation in jurisdictions around the world, including in Latin and South America, the Middle East, and Europe.

John maintains an active pro bono practice and supervises the firm’s review of cases for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. He is co-counsel with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project representing an incarcerated individual who is seeking exoneration for a wrongful conviction more than 20 years ago. John has also advised a local nonprofit on appealing real estate tax assessments for low income owners of manufactured and mobile homes. Before joining Shook, John worked with New York City’s Legal Aid Society on class action litigation that resulted in increased rent subsidies for families with children on public assistance who were facing eviction.

John received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a contributing editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law. He received his B.S. from Cornell University.

Representative Matters

  • Served as lead counsel representing a leading manufacturer of smokeless tobacco in a product liability suit. Responsible for removing case to federal court, coordinating fact and expert discovery, and all dispositive and Daubert motion practice. District court granted motion to exclude the plaintiffs’ medical causation experts and entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants, a decision that was not appealed by the plaintiffs. Hoefling v. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, LLC, No. 19-3847, --- F.Supp.3d ---,  2021 WL 6051382 (E.D. Pa. 2021).

  • Identified novel statute of limitations argument and drafted briefs in the trial court that resulted in a plaintiffs’ verdict in a product liability being reversed on appeal with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the defendant. Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Freeman, 285 So. 3d 999 (Fla. 1st DCA 2019).
     
  • Developed legal strategy and drafted a Daubert motion that resulted in the exclusion of the plaintiff’s six general and specific causation experts on the issue of whether a wood preservative (chromated copper arsenate) caused pulmonary nodular lymphoid hyperplasia, which resulted in the court granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all claims relating to this condition. McCarty v. Arch Wood Protection, Inc., No. 11-109, 2016 WL 1306067 (E.D. Ky. 2016).

  • Drafted mistrial and post-trial motions resulting in the reversal on appeal 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, 188 So. 3d 53 (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, which was affirmed on appeal. Irimi v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 234 So. 3d 789 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).

Publications

Co-author, Commentary: Revised Innocent Seller Statute Protects Resident Defendants, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, March 24, 2021 (with Henry Adams and Brian Jackson).

Co-author, Corporations: Are You Voluntarily Consenting to General Jurisdiction in Pennsylvania?, Westlaw Journal: Corporate Officers & Directors Liability, July 10, 2017 (with Joseph Blum and Sean Wajert). 

Co-author, Court Rejects 'Res Ipsa Loquitur Dressed Up as Expert Opinion,' The Legal Intelligencer, February 9, 2017 (with Joseph Blum).

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, 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, February 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, January 2011.

Co-author, Is `Private' Data on Social Networks Discoverable?, The National Law Journal, August 23, 2010.

Co-author, Medicare Secondary Payer Statute: New Reporting Requirements for Products Liability and Toxic Tort Clients, New Jersey Law Journal, December 2009.

Presentations

Personal Jurisdiction Post-Daimler: Recent Developments and Looking to the Future, Update of the Law CLE, Kansas City, Missouri, June 22, 2017 (with April Byrd, Erin Loucks and Chris McRae).