Education & Honors

University of Michigan Law School, 2000, J.D., summa cum laude

Articles Editor, Michigan Law Review

Darrow Scholar

Bates Memorial Award

Internship for Bruno Simma of the United Nations International Law Commission

University of Texas, 1994, B.A., with Highest Honors, Biology and Plan II Honors Liberal Arts

Government service

Deputy Chief Counsel, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, 2010-2011

Law Clerk, Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, United States Supreme Court, 2003-2004

Assistant Federal Public Defender, Washington, D.C., 2001-2003

Law Clerk, Honorable Harry T. Edwards, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 2000-2001

Bar admissions



Professional activities and community service

Board of Directors, Colorado Lawyers Committee

Sean C. Grimsley

Denver Office
1899 Wynkoop Street
Suite 800
Denver, CO 80202
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Professional Practice

Sean Grimsley has been with Bartlit Beck since 2004.  Sean has a diverse trial and appellate practice, representing clients nationally and internationally in high-stakes, complex litigation matters.  In recent years, he has focused on antitrust, oil and gas and intellectual property cases, but has a broad range of experience in both civil and criminal matters.  Sean has tried 11 cases, argued three appeals and briefed many others.  Most recently, Sean was first-chair trial counsel in a $50 million damages-only breach of contract trial in Colorado where Sean and his team won a major victory for client Tyco, holding damages to roughly 10% of what plaintiffs were seeking by getting the damages number sponsored by the defense.  In the past three years, Sean and his colleagues have also tried a patent case to verdict in the Eastern District of Texas, tried a separate post-verdict proceeding in that matter, tried a multi-billion dollar antitrust case in Texas state court (which settled during trial), won a major class action appeal in the Seventh Circuit, and represented a major U.S. oil company in China and the United States regarding an oil spill in Chinese territorial waters.

Sean also recently served as Deputy Chief Counsel to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling in Washington D.C. Sean and Fred Bartlit investigated and presented findings to the President's Commission regarding the root causes of the worst oil spill in the nation's history.  The Chief Counsel's report is available here:  The Co-Chairs of the Commission described Sean's work here:  You can see Sean at the two-day hearing where the investigative team presented their findings here:  Sean regularly gives talks and advises clients on how to deal with disasters and minimize their impact when they occur.

Prior to joining Bartlit Beck, Sean clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and, before that, served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Washington, D.C. for two years.

Cases tried or otherwise taken to judgment

General Commercial Litigation

Core-Mark v. Sonitrol (Adams Cty, Colo. 2014)
First-chair trial counsel for defendant Sonitrol, former subsidiary of Tyco, International, in one-week damages-only trial where plaintiffs were seeking over $50 million in damages because Sonitrol willfully and wantonly breached its burglar-alarm monitoring contract by failing to detect three burglars in plaintiffs’ warehouse who looted the warehouse and eventually lit fires that ultimately destroyed the warehouse. The jury awarded plaintiffs the damages number sponsored by Sonitrol, which was roughly 10% of what plaintiffs were seeking and included no fire-related damages.


American Airlines v. Sabre, et al. (Tarrant Cty, Tex., N.D. Tex. 2011-2012)
Trial counsel for Sabre in antitrust suit brought by American Airlines in both state and federal courts in Texas alleging unlawful monopolization, conspiracy and illegal contractual arrangements and seeking nearly $3 billion in damages.  Case proceeded to trial in state court in Ft. Worth.  Case settled on confidential terms during trial.

Intellectual Property

Sensormatic Electronics Corp. v. The TAG Co., et al. (S.D. Fla., Fed. Cir. 2008-2010)
Trial counsel for plaintiff Sensormatic Electronics Corporation in patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract suit. Following a three-week bench trial, the Court entered judgment in favor of Sensormatic on all counts and entered a permanent injunction, all affirmed by the Federal Circuit. 

Applied Medical Resources Corp. v. United States Surgical Corp. (C.D. Cal., Fed. Cir. 2005-2009)
Trial counsel for defendant United States Surgical Corporation, a subsidiary of Covidien, in medical device patent infringement suit in which Applied Medical sought $300 million and an injunction. Won non-infringement jury verdict after five-week trial, which was affirmed on appeal in the Federal Circuit.  

Alexsam v. IDT (E.D. Tex. 2011, 2013)
Trial counsel in patent infringement case involving point-of-sale gift and phone card activation technology.  Despite the court having deemed that roughly half the accused products were infringed as a discovery sanction based on issues pre-dating Bartlit Beck’s involvement, the trial team won a finding of no willfulness and limited the damages verdict to half of what plaintiff sought.  The case is on appeal and in post-verdict proceedings in the trial court.

ICE Corp. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. et al. (10th Cir. 2010-2011)
Appellate counsel for Hamilton Sundstrand and Ratier-Figeac in appeal of adverse jury verdict on a Kansas misappropriation of trade secrets claim.  Obtained reversal of $9 million punitive damages award before the Tenth Circuit and prevailed on remand before the district court.  Case settled on confidential terms.   

Honeywell International, Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. (D. Del. 2005)
Counsel for defendant United Technologies’ Hamilton Sundstrand division in patent infringement trial in Delaware. Honeywell alleged that Hamilton Sundstrand infringed an airplane engine patent and sought $135 million in damages. Jury verdict in the client’s favor, finding no infringement and that asserted patent was invalid.

Products Liability and Mass Tort

Lead Paint Litigation (2005-2010)
Counsel for defendant NL Industries in trial and appellate proceedings in Rhode Island. The AG sued to declare past sale of lead paint a “public nuisance” throughout State of Rhode Island, seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as abatement. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island in June 2008 ordered dismissal of the AG’s lawsuit after nine years of litigation, resulting in a complete defense victory.    


United States v. Goree (D.C. Cir. 2003-2004)
First-chair trial and appellate counsel for federal criminal appellant in successful appeal of denial of motion to suppress before the D.C. Circuit. Panel vacated and remanded to district court, which granted the motion to suppress.

United States v. Taylor (D.D.C. 2003)
First-chair trial counsel for federal criminal defendant charged with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses. Facing ten years in prison. Case dismissed with prejudice by government following briefing and argument of motion to suppress.

United States v. Johnson (D.D.C. 2003)
First-chair trial counsel for federal criminal defendant charged with firearms offenses. Facing fifteen years in prison as an armed career criminal. Successfully briefed and argued motion to suppress before the district court. Government dismissed case with prejudice.

United States v. Anderson (D.D.C. 2002-2003)
Lead trial counsel for federal criminal defendant charged with firearms offense facing up to five years in prison. Tried case to verdict, winning favorable sentencing determination.

United States v. Jones (D.D.C. 2003)
Second chair trial counsel for federal criminal defendant charged with firearms and marijuana possession offenses. Facing multiple years in prison for firearms offense. Won jury verdict of not guilty on firearms charge. Sentenced to time served.   

Other representative cases


US Airways v. Sabre, et al. (S.D.N.Y. 2011-present)
Trial counsel for Sabre in federal antitrust suit brought by U.S. Airways in New York alleging unlawful monopolization, conspiracy and illegal contractual arrangements and seeking over hundreds of millions in damages. Discovery complete, summary judgment motions pending.

Oil and Gas

Ideal Royalty Class Action (Santa Fe, N.M., D.N.M., 2014-present)
Trial counsel for defendant Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company, a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, in a certified class action alleging underpayment of royalties on coal bed methane gas in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. Bartlit Beck recently became involved. Case currently in discovery phase.

Li, et al. v. ConocoPhillips Co. (S.D. Tex. 2012-present)
Lead counsel for ConocoPhillips in tort action brought by multiple Chinese fishermen plaintiffs for alleged harm from a June 2011 oil release from the Penglai-19-3 offshore oil field operated by ConocoPhillips China in Bohai Bay, China.  ConocoPhillips has moved to dismiss the claims on forum non conveniens and other grounds.

BP Oil Supply Co. v. ConocoPhillips Co. (Del. Super. Ct. 2010); ConocoPhillips Co. v. BP Oil Supply Co. (Harris Cty Tex. Ct. 2010)
Lead trial and appellate counsel for ConocoPhillips in contract dispute with BP Oil Supply in Delaware and Texas state courts. BP alleged that ConocoPhillips had breached a crude oil buy-sell agreement in the wake of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.  Case resolved on confidential terms.

Intellectual Property

Tessera, Inc. v. AMD et al. (N.D. Cal., 2011-present)
Trial counsel for plaintiff Tessera in patent suit against multiple defendants alleging infringement of groundbreaking patents related to semiconductor packaging. Tessera has settled with all but one of the defendants (on confidential terms). Case currently in the summary judgment phase. 

Tyco Healthcare Group LP v. C.R. Bard, et al. (D. Del. 2009-2011)
Trial counsel for plaintiff Tyco Healthcare in patent suit alleging that Bard's SorbaFix and PermaFix hernia mesh fixation products infringe one of Tyco Healthcare's patents and that Bard's infringement has been willful.  Case settled on confidential terms.

Rembrandt Data Technologies, LP v. ADT Security Services, Inc. et al. (E.D. Va. 2008-2009)
Trial counsel for defendant ADT in patent infringement lawsuit filed by Rembrandt against ADT and seven other defendants. Rembrandt alleged that various products and services provided by defendants infringed four patents related to dial-up modem technology. Case resolved on confidential terms.

Edge Capture L.L.C. et al. v. Citadel Investment Group, LLC et al. (N.D. Ill. 2007-2008)
Trial counsel for defendant Citadel, an investment group, in patent infringement suit brought by Edge Capture. Edge alleged that various Citadel trading strategies infringed two of Edge Capture’s trading system and method patents. Case resolved on confidential terms.

SanDisk Corp. v. Infineon Technologies AG (N.D. Cal. 2004-2007)
Trial counsel for Infineon in patent litigation involving flash memory devices. Infineon accused SanDisk's CompactFlash products of infringing two of Infineon's CMOS circuitry patents. Case resolved on confidential terms.

Products Liability and Mass Tort

Vioxx Litigation (2007-2009)
Counsel for Merck in state court cases brought in New Jersey and federal MDL by health insurance companies and health and welfare funds seeking reimbursement for payments insurance companies made for Vioxx. Plaintiffs were seeking billions in damages. Merck announced favorable settlement for $80 million.

General Commercial Litigation

LaPlant v. The Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company (Mil. Cty Ct.., E.D. Wis. 2011-present)
Trial counsel for defendant Northwestern Mutual in putative class action alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties in connection with certain Northwestern Mutual annuity products. Recently won appeal regarding application of the Class Action Fairness Act in the Seventh Circuit. Plaintiff is currently seeking class certification in the federal district court.

Mercury Companies, Inc. et al. v. The First American Company et al. (D. Colo. 2008-2010)
Co-lead trial counsel for counter-defendant Fidelity National Financial, Inc. and four plaintiff title agents in breach of contract and tortious interference action.  Case resolved on confidential terms.

 Adelphia Communications Corp. v. Deloitte & Touche LLP v. John Rigas et al. (Philadelphia Ct. Common Pleas 2006-2007)
Trial counsel for defendant Deloitte & Touche in multi-billion dollar accounting malpractice case brought by Adelphia, with third-party claims against the Rigas family. Case resolved on confidential terms.

LSI Logic Corp. v. Broadcom Corp. et al. ( Colo. D. Ct. 2005)
Trial counsel for defendant Broadcom Corporation and seven of its employees in suit by LSI Logic alleging trade secret misappropriation, improper solicitation, breach of contract, and tortious interference. Case resolved for $0.

Pro Bono

Holte et al. v. Titan Chair et al. (D. Colo. 2010)
Lead trial counsel for small business owner plaintiff in patent infringement and false advertising lawsuit against company selling cheap knockoffs of plaintiff's products. Case resolved on confidential terms.

State v. Peters (Douglas Cty. Ct. 2005-2006)
Lead trial counsel representing defendant in criminal trial in Douglas County Court in Colorado. Defendant charged with seven criminal counts. Case resolved by favorable plea deal during trial.