Biography

John represents companies in complex, high-stakes toxic tort, product liability and environmental litigation.

He has served in leading roles in litigation matters with potential damages/awards in the billions of dollars, and has secured dismissal or reduction of claims in numerous matters that have saved clients millions of dollars. By blending regulatory, transactional, and litigation expertise (including representation of clients as plaintiffs) into an integrated whole, John offers clients the benefit of all three perspectives in charting a course of action that is most advantageous for their businesses.

John serves as lead national counsel for a petroleum refiner in all MTBE product liability litigation and is a member of the defense steering committee for the refining industry in those cases. He leads a team that is currently defending a public utility in multiple cases claiming health effects due to alleged lead exposure. In one of these cases, he recently successfully argued in opposition to class certification.

John devotes a substantial part of his practice to the defense of natural resource damages (NRD) cases brought by trustees. He currently represents defendants in NRD litigation brought by five different sovereigns.

Other examples of his environmental litigation experience include serving as lead counsel in cases arising under NEPA, RCRA, CERCLA, and the Clean Air Act. These matters have included cases pending in various federal trial and appellate courts, cases before the Department of Interior Board of Land Appeals, and administrative enforcement actions at EPA.

John's litigation experience also includes indemnity litigation, securities class actions, breach of fiduciary duty claims, directors and officers liability suits, complex contract cases, unfair competition cases, and health insurance matters. He also has represented several clients in SEC enforcement proceedings.

Before joining the firm, John served as law clerk for Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr. of the United States District of Columbia. He has served in numerous firm leadership positions, including as Managing Principal.

John holds leadership positions in a number of organizations. He is a National Director of the Defense Research Institute and previously served as Chair of DRI's Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee. John is General Counsel and member of the Board of Directors of NAEM (formerly the National Association for Environmental Management), and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the C&O Canal Trust, which is the official nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historic Park.  

In addition, he has spoken on topics related to environmental litigation at meetings sponsored by the Defense Research Institute, the American Bar Association and the Environmental Law Institute as well as at the annual NRD conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

John is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania  (B.A., cum laude, 1975)
  • Cornell University  (J.D., 1978)

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association

Honors & Awards

John was selected for inclusion in the 2015-2018 editions of The Best Lawyers in America, the 2015-2018 editions of Super Lawyers, and the 2017-2018 editions of Who's Who Legal: Environment.

Publication