Education

Boston University School of Law, 1976, J.D., magna cum laude

   Editor-in-Chief, Boston University 
   Law Review

University of Wisconsin, 1973, B.A.

Professional Activities

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers 

Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers

Fellow, International Society of Barristers

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Barrister, Order of Centurions

Member, The Trial Law Institute

Member, Diversity Law Institute

Board of Visitors, Boston University School of Law

Recognized in:

The Best Lawyers' 2014 Chicago Bet-the-Company Litigation "Lawyer of the Year"

The Best Lawyers in America

The Best of the Best USA

Chambers USA, Chambers Global

Chicago Magazine

Illinois Super Lawyers

Lawdragon - Leading Lawyers in America, 500 Better than the Best

Leading Lawyers Network - Top Business Lawyers in Illinois

The National Law Journal - Top Defense Verdicts 1994, 1997, "Winning Lawyer" 1997, 2003, Honorable Mention Defense Verdicts 1998, Top 10 Litigators in Illinois, Top Plaintiffs' Verdicts 2001, Lawyer of the Year Runner-Up 2001, "Designs for Winning"

PLC Cross-Border Handbooks - Dispute Resolution

Super Lawyers - The Top Attorneys in Business Litigation

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Commercial Litigators

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Product Liability Lawyers

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers

Philip S. Beck

Chicago Office
Courthouse Place
54 West Hubbard Street, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60654
T:312.494.4411
F:312.494.4440
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Professional Practice

Phil Beck is widely recognized as one of the leading courtroom lawyers (both trial and appellate) in the United States.  Although he primarily represents business entities, he has handled several other types of high profile cases.

In Bush v. Gore, Phil headed George W. Bush’s trial team in the Florida recount litigation that ultimately determined the 2000 presidential election.

Click to view Phil Beck's cross-examination of voting machine expert.

Click to view Phil Beck's cross-examination of statistical expert.

In United States v. Microsoft, Phil represented the United States in the remedial phase of the Microsoft antitrust action.  Click for press coverage

In Newsome v. McCabe, Phil won a record-setting damages verdict in a civil rights case involving the wrongful imprisonment of an innocent man for fifteen years.

Phil has a broad business litigation practice with particular emphasis on mass tort/product liability, intellectual property, commercial and financial cases. 

In the mass tort/product liability arena, Phil has been lead counsel in several federal MDL’s, including Vioxx and Baycol, and has defended manufacturers before state court juries in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions such as Philadelphia, Corpus Christi, St. Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, and Miami.  The National Law Journal has awarded him multiple Defense Verdicts of the Year.  Click for list of mass tort/product liability cases

The Best Lawyers publication recently named Phil as Chicago’s top intellectual property litigator.  Phil has handled patent cases involving such diverse technologies as jet engines, industrial sanders, natural gas fracking, chemical compositions, treadmills, and medical diagnostic systems.  Click for list of intellectual property cases

Phil has tried commercial cases in areas such as lender liability, antitrust, contracts, joint ventures, fraud, and insurance coverage.  Click for list of commercial cases

Phil has represented several hedge funds and other corporate plaintiffs against major financial institutions.  He has also handled several auditing cases and arbitrations for Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, and, before its demise, Arthur Andersen.  Click for list of financial and accounting/auditing cases

Mass Tort/Product Liability Cases

Vioxx

Plaintiffs claimed that Merck’s drug Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes.  Merck suffered setbacks early in the litigation in state courts in Texas and New Jersey.  In the federal MDL in New Orleans, Merck was facing five bellwether jury trials in less than twelve months.  Merck retained Phil to be its lead trial lawyer in the federal cases.  Phil tried all five cases, winning outright defense verdicts in four of five trials.  These results were widely credited with making possible the eventual settlement of tens of thousands of claims.

Plunkett v. Merck  Trial in Houston federal court (relocated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina).  Mistrial declared after jurors deadlocked 8-1 in favor of the defense.  Retrial in New Orleans federal court.  Jury verdict for Merck on all issues.

Barnett v. Merck   Trial in New Orleans federal court.  Jury verdict for plaintiff. 

Smith v. Merck  Trial in New Orleans federal court.  Jury verdict for Merck on all issues.

Mason v. Merck  Trial in New Orleans federal court.  Jury verdict for Merck on all issues.

Dedrick v. Merck  Trial in New Orleans federal court.  Jury verdict for Merck on all issues.

Baycol

Plaintiffs claimed that Bayer’s drug Baycol caused a rare muscle disorder called rhabdomyolosis. Bayer faced tens of thousands of claims in a federal MDL in Minneapolis, coordinated cases in state courts in Philadelphia and Houston, and individual cases in state courts around the country.  Phil was Bayer’s lead lawyer for all the Baycol litigation.  In the course of the litigation, Phil has:

  • argued class certification in federal court and state courts in Illinois, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania;
  • argued appeals on various issues in the Eighth Circuit (twice), the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts, and the United States Supreme Court;

Click for video of Illinois Supreme Court argument

Click for audio of United States Supreme Court argument

  • argued Daubert and Frye motions in federal and state court;
  • argued motions to dismiss qui tam actions;
  • coordinated activities with Bayer’s securities lawyers;
  • negotiated individual settlements and the eventual global settlement; and
  • won a defense verdict in the first bellwether case in Haltom v. Bayer, a jury trial in Corpus Christi, Texas, in which plaintiff sought $560 million in actual and punitive damages. 

Case profiled in May 3, 2004 Wall Street Journal article and in the National Law Journal June 2, 2003 article, “Designs For Winning:  Ten of the Nation’s Top Litigators Tell How They Prevailed in the ‘Big Case.’”

Fidelis Leads

Lead trial counsel for Medtronic in an MDL concerning fractures of leads used with implanted defibrillators.  The cases settled before any trials were conducted.

Firefighter Hearing Loss

Thousands of firefighters from around the United States sued Federal Signal, claiming that its sirens caused hearing loss.  Phil represented Federal Signal in two bellwether cases.

Rago v. Federal Signal.  Jury trial in Cook County, Illinois, on the claims of 27 firefighters.  Jury verdict for Federal Signal on all claims of all plaintiffs. 

Friel v. Federal Signal.  Jury trial in Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the claims of nine firefighters.  Jury verdict for Federal Signal on all claims of all plaintiffs. 

Benlate

Tico Fruit v. DuPont.  Costa Rica's largest citrus operation sought $170 million plus punitive damages from DuPont, claiming that DuPont's fungicide Benlate had destroyed its orange tree groves.  Represented DuPont in trial in state court in Miami, Florida.  Jury verdict for DuPont.

Lead

Wagner v. NL Industries.  Class action on behalf of 7,500 neighborhood residents seeking several hundred million dollars in personal injury and property damages due to emissions of lead from factory over a thirty-five year period.  Represented NL Industries at trial in state court in Philadelphia and on appeal.  Jury verdict for NL on all issues.  Judgment affirmed on appeal. 

Case listed as one of Top 15 Defense Verdicts for 1994 by The National Law Journal.

Factor Concentrates

In the early 1980’s, HIV had infected the nation’s blood and plasma supplies before scientists knew that AIDS existed.  Factor concentrates, the medicine used to control bleeding in people with hemophilia,  is derived from human plasma and was itself contaminated.  Thousands of hemophilia patients were infected with HIV and sued the manufacturers of the medicine. 

Phil tried three of the bellwether cases on behalf of Alpha Therapeutic Corp., and helped negotiate the global settlement of the remaining claims.

Howray  v. Alpha Therapeutic Corp.  Jury trial in state court in Harris County, Texas, on claims that two adolescent boys had contracted AIDS from Alpha’s blood clotting medicine.  Jury verdict for Alpha on all claims of both plaintiffs.

Case profiled in The National Law Journal 1997 issue entitled Winning:  10 of the Nation’s Top Litigators. 

Case listed as one of the Top 15 Defense Verdicts for 1997 by The National Law Journal.

Doe v. Alpha Therapeutic Corp.  Jury trial in state court in St. Louis, Missouri, on claims that three young men had contracted AIDS from Alpha’s blood clotting medicine.  Jury verdict for Alpha on all claims of all plaintiffs.

Smith v. Alpha Therapeutic Corp.  Jury trial in state court in New Orleans Parish, Louisiana, on claim by parents that their son had died from AIDS contracted from the blood clotting medicine of Alpha or one of three co-defendants.  Represented Alpha at trial and on appeal.  After four-month trial, judge granted judgment for defendants on statute of limitations grounds notwithstanding verdict for plaintiff.  Judgment for defendants affirmed by Louisiana Court of Appeals.

Trasylol

Plaintiffs claim that Bayer’s drug Trasylol, which helps control bleeding in the chest cavity during open heart surgery, causes kidney failure.

Lead counsel for Bayer in the federal MDL and state court cases.

Yaz and Yasmin

Plaintiffs claim that Bayer’s birth control drugs, Yaz and Yasmin, cause blood clotting and gallbladder disease.

Lead counsel for Bayer in the federal MDL and state court cases.

Intellectual Property Cases

Rolls Royce v. United Technologies  Rolls Royce sought $4 billion in damages from United Technologies and its Pratt & Whitney division, claiming infringement of a patent concerning the fan blades used in jet engines.  Phil was lead counsel for UT and P&W.  Shortly before trial, the district court granted summary judgment to UT and P&W on non-infringement.  This ruling followed earlier orders granting summary judgment to UT and P&W on willful infringement and striking major portions of Rolls Royce’s damages theory.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals v. Bayer  Represented Bayer in case concerning the ownership of an anti-cancer drug created after the expiration of a joint venture agreement to develop such drugs.  Case settled halfway through jury trial.

Cytologix v. Ventana Medical Systems  Theft of trade secrets and patent infringement case involving medical diagnostic technology.  Represented Ventana in trial in federal court in Boston.  Jury verdict for Ventana on trade secrets claims and for CytoLogix on patent claims.

DuPont v. Phillips Petroleum  Appeal from District Court decision upholding a DuPont polyethylene patent and enjoining infringement by Phillips.  Represented Phillips Petroleum on appeal.  Trial handled by other law firm.  Federal Circuit stayed the injunction pending appeal (the first such order in the Federal Circuit’s history), reversed the District Court’s holding of validity, and held for Phillips. 

BJ Services v. Halliburton  Patent case involving oil field technology.  Represented Halliburton in trial in federal court in Houston, Texas.  Jury verdict for BJ Services.

Energy Absorption System v. Roadway Safety Service  Appeal from adverse judgment in patent case involving highway safety devices.  Represented plaintiff Energy Absorption Systems.  Trial handled by other firm.  Federal Circuit reversed invalidity finding and remanded for new trial on infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.

Brunswick v. Precor  Patent case involving treadmill technology.  Represented Brunswick at trial in federal court in Seattle, Washington and on appeal.  Jury verdict for Precor.  Federal Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Johnson Products v. Pro-Line  Patent infringement litigation involving chemical compositions used in hair treatment products.  Represented plaintiff Johnson Products in federal court in Chicago.  After evidentiary Markman hearing, all patent claim interpretation issues resolved favorably to client. Case settled on favorable terms.

Haney v. CRL Industries  Patent infringement case involving industrial sanders.  Represented defendant CRL in federal court in Portland, Oregon.  Jury verdict on damages for CRL.  Advisory jury verdict on invalidity favored Haney.  District judge ordered additional briefing on invalidity.  Case settled on favorable terms.

Sportvision v. Princeton Video Image  Represented Princeton Video Image in patent case concerning insertion of video images, such as billboards in sports arenas and first-down lines on football fields, into live broadcasts.  Case settled.

Commercial Cases

Government of Canada  Represented Canadian government in prosecution of civil RICO claim against R.J. Reynolds seeking more than $1 billion in damages caused by tobacco companies’ scheme to smuggle tobacco into Canada and avoid Canadian taxes.  Second Circuit affirmed dismissal on jurisdictional grounds.

Riceland Foods v. Bayer  Jury trial in state court in Stuttgart, Arkansas in which Riceland Foods, the country’s largest rice mill, sued Bayer Crop Science for damages due to the contamination of the nation’s rice supply by Bayer’s experimental genetically modified rice.   Riceland sought $390 million in actual damages, plus punitive damages.  Judgment for Riceland for $12.9 million.

Echostar v. NewsCorp  Contract and fraud case against Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp.  Case settled before trial.

SK Handtools v. Dresser Industries  Fraud case in which Dresser, represented by a different law firm, lost $4 million in compensatory and $50 million in punitive damages.  Represented Dresser on appeal.  Liability verdict upheld; damages verdict reversed and remanded for new trial.  Represented Dresser in state court in Cook County, Illinois on remand.  Jury verdict of $1 in nominal damages.

Case profiled in Corporate Counsel, Producing a Winner: Backstage at Three of Corporate America’s Megasuccesses (July 1999).

Murphy v. United Technologies  Fraud and breach of contract case involving the sale of a business.  Represented defendant United Technologies in state court in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Jury verdict for United Technologies. 

Case listed as Honorable Mention Defense Victory For 1996 by The National Law Journal.

Stone Container v. Hartford Steam Boiler  Insurance coverage case in which paper manufacturer sought $80 million for the explosion of a pulp digester.  Represented defendant Hartford Steam Boiler in federal court in Chicago.  Trial judge entered summary judgment for Stone.  Seventh Circuit reversed with instruction to enter judgment for Hartford Steam Boiler.

First Olefins Limited Partnership v. Phillips Petroleum Company  Corporate governance case in which financial partner sought to enjoin a $100 million expansion of an ethylene facility in Sweeny, Texas.  Represented defendant Phillips Petroleum in Delaware Chancery Court.  Preliminary injunction motion denied.  Case dismissed. 

FMC v. Lloyds of London and Liberty Mutual  Insurance coverage case for reimbursement of environmental cleanup costs at several manufacturing sites.  Represented plaintiff FMC at trial in state court in San Jose, California.  Jury verdict of coverage on all sites.  Subsequent jury finding of bad faith denial of coverage in second jury trial.

Wisconsin Steel Litigation  Consolidated suits by bankrupt purchaser and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. asserting that Navistar’s sale of a division was a fraudulent transaction designed to evade liabilities.  Represented Navistar at trial in federal court in Chicago and on appeal.  District Court decision for Navistar on bankrupt purchaser’s claims for approximately $1 billion.  Judgment affirmed on appeal.  Decision for Navistar on PBGC’s fraud-based claims; decision for PBGC on a portion of its claim for unfunded pensions as of the date of the sale.  Settlement in advance of final judgment.

PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric Co., Puget Sound Power and Light, and Washington Water Power Co. v. Western Energy Company  Represented four utilities in arbitration involving purchase obligations under a long-term coal supply agreement.  Split decision.  Some relief granted; some relief denied.

Medcare HMO v. Bradley  Injunction action to restrain state agency from terminating $30 million Medicaid contract.  Represented Medcare HMO at trial in federal court in Chicago.  Court issued preliminary and permanent injunction.

ARTRA v. D.P. Kelly & Associates  Defended fraud and breach of fiduciary cases in bankruptcy court and state court in Chicago.  Both cases won. 

Richards Oil Co. v. Amoco  Fraud case by Amoco jobber seeking damages for Amoco’s withdrawal from Montana.  Represented Amoco at trial in federal court in Montana.  Jury verdict for Amoco on the fraud claim and directed verdict for Amoco on contract counterclaim.

Thor Power Tool Company v. Weintraub  Sale of business case in which Thor (a subsidiary of Stewart-Warner Corp.) sought the unpaid balance of the purchase price, and Weintraub counterclaimed for fraud.  Represented Monroe Weintraub at trial in federal court in Chicago and on appeal.  Jury verdict for Weintraub.  Judgment affirmed on appeal.

Amalgamated Sugar v. NL Industries  Contested takeover involving the validity of NL Industries’ “poison pill” defense.  Represented Amalgamated Sugar (Harold Simmons) at trial in federal court in New York.  Court enjoined the poison pill; client achieved control.

FTC v. Weyerhaeuser  Government suit to enjoin a merger.  Represented Weyerhaeuser at trial in federal court in Washington, D.C. and on appeal.  Court denied injunction; merger went forward.  Judgment affirmed on appeal.

Pullman Corp. v. J. Ray McDermott  Hostile tender offer case.  Represented the target, Pullman Corp., at trial in federal court in Chicago.  Target company acquired by white knight during the litigation.

FTC v. Great Lakes Chemical Corporation  Government suit to enjoin a merger.  Represented Great Lakes Chemical Corp. at trial in federal court in Chicago.  Court denied injunction; merger went forward.

Nuggett Oil v. Amoco  Price fixing and attempted monopoly case brought by three Florida Amoco dealers against Amoco and its local jobber.  Represented Amoco at trial in federal court in Florida.  Court denied preliminary injunction and dismissed action.

McAleer v. General Motors  Suit involving retroactivity of Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act.  Represented General Motors at trial in Illinois state court and on appeal.  Following entry of injunction in favor of dealer, Illinois Appellate Court reversed, holding that the statute did not retroactively apply to pre-enactment dealership contracts.

Burroughs v. Pitney Bowes  Suit to enjoin defendant and individual employees from violating non-compete covenants with plaintiff.  Represented plaintiff Burroughs at trial in federal court in Chicago.  Court denied injunction.

Diaz v. Indian Head  Contract claim by former employee for post-employment compensation.  Represented Indian Head, Inc. at trial in federal court in Chicago.  Court held for Indian Head.

Westinghouse Uranium Contract Litigation  Contract claims by 17 electric utility companies regarding uranium supply agreements.  Represented Westinghouse at trial in federal court in Richmond, Virginia.  Cases settled after trial while awaiting decision.

Financial and Accounting/Auditing Cases

Residential Funding Corp. (GMAC) v. DeGeorge Financial Corp.  Lender liability case involving an agreement to purchase home construction loans.  DeGeorge sought $390 million plus punitive damages.  Residential Funding sought $96 million by counterclaim.  Represented Residential Funding in trial in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut.  Verdict for Residential Funding on all issues.  Jury awarded Residential Funding $96 million in damages.

Case listed as one of the Top Plaintiffs’ Verdicts for 2001 by The National Law Journal.

Amaranth LLC v. J.P. Morgan Chase  Representing hedge fund and trading advisor in action against investment bank, commercial bank, and futures commission agent.  

Elliott Associates v. Porsche SE  Representing hedge funds in securities fraud and manipulation lawsuit against Porsche SE  related to Porsche’s attempted takeover of Volkswagen in 2008.

DK Acquisition Partners v. J.P. Morgan Chase  Represented holders of more than $1 billion in Enron debt in action against J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup alleging concealment of Enron’s true financial condition.  Case settled.

Morgan Stanley v. Discover  Represented Discover against Morgan Stanley (its former parent) in dispute over proceeds of settlement of antitrust litigation against MasterCard and Visa.  Case settled.

Confidential AAA Arbitration  Represented “Big Four” accounting firm in arbitration brought by venture capital firm alleging faulty due diligence and audit work.  Decision in client’s favor.

Ernst & Young Cases

Metropolitan Creditors’ Trust v. Ernst & Young  The bankrupt estate of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities sought several hundred million dollars from Metropolitan's auditor, Ernst & Young.  Represented Ernst & Young in trial-type arbitration.  Decision for Ernst & Young.

Kriedler v. Ernst & Young  Represented Ernst & Young in trial-type arbitration in which the Washington Insurance Commissioner sought $90 million as receiver for Western United Life Assurance Company.  Decision for Ernst & Young.

Metropolitan Securities Class Action  Represented Ernst & Young in federal securities class actions concerning the collapse of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co.  Class action settled shortly before trial.

Swift Transportation v. Ernst & Young  Represented Ernst & Young in accounting malpractice action arising from merger between Swift Transportation Co. and a competitor.  Case settled shortly before trial.

Deloitte & Touche Cases

Taylor Bean & Whitaker Litigation  Representing Deloitte in ongoing litigation in Florida state court concerning the audits of defunct mortgage company.

Adelphia Communications Corp.  Represented Deloitte in accounting malpractice case brought be Adelphia.  Case resolved on confidential terms.

National Century Financial Enterprises  Represent Deloitte in lawsuits brought by bondholders concerning  the collapse of National Century Financial Enterprises.  Most cases have been resolved on confidential terms.

Sompo Japan Insurance  Represented Deloitte against claims of accounting errors in reinsurance pool.  Case resolved on confidential terms.

Arthur Andersen Cases

Boston Chicken  Represented Andersen in action brought by bankruptcy trustee alleging accounting malpractice, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.  Case settled.

Coleman Holdings  Represented Andersen in negligence and fraud action in connection with Andersen’s audit of Sunbeam.  Case settled.

Board of Trustees of City Colleges  Represented Andersen in litigation concerning derivative securities trading.  Obtained partial summary judgment as to most of damages claim.  Case settled thereafter. 

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