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 Gore v. Bush, 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 MDLs, 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 has named Phil as one of Chicago's top intellectual property litigators. 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 PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, and, before its demise, Arthur Andersen. Click for list of financial and accounting/auditing cases
Mass Tort/Product Liability Cases
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.
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 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.'"
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. Represented Federal Signal in two bellwether cases.
Rago v. Federal Signal
Jury trial in Cook County, Illinois, on the claims of twenty-seven 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.
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.
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.
In the early 1980s, 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.
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. 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 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 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 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.
Confidential AAA Arbitration (Phoenix, AZ)
Represented a Fortune 100 company in confidential, multibillion-dollar contract dispute. The two-week arbitration hearing included testimony from numerous senior executives and expert witnesses. Obtained complete victory for client.
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 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 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 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 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 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 seventeen 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
Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation (D. Mass.)
Represented MassMutual in its actions under the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act, against underwriters Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, arising from their sales of residential mortgage-backed securities to MassMutual in 2005-2007. Credit Suisse settled after four weeks of trial, taking an additional $79.5 million charge to earnings because of the settlement payment. Goldman Sachs settled shortly thereafter.
Rauner v. Kirkpatrick (Confidential AAA Arbitration, Chicago) and Kirkpatrick v. Rauner (Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois)
Represented Bruce Rauner (former Illinois Governor and former managing partner of private equity firm GTCR) in arbitration related to his investment as a limited partner in a private equity fund. The dispute centered on whether the general partner (Kirkpatrick) breached his fiduciary duties by deviating from the partnership agreement's waterfall provision. The case was tried to a final arbitral award, but the results are confidential. Kirkpatrick attempted to litigate a portion of the dispute in the Cook County Circuit Court, but we successfully moved to compel arbitration.
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
Represented hedge fund and trading advisor in action against investment bank, commercial bank, and futures commission agent.
Elliott Associates v. Porsche SE
Represented 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.
FDIC & Colonial BancGroup v. PwC (M.D. Ala. 2017-2018)
Defended PwC against Colonial Bank and the FDIC in a suit filed after the collapse of PwC's audit client Colonial Bank. Colonial Bank sought several hundred million dollars in damages. The FDIC sought over $2 billion in actual damages, plus unspecified punitive damages. Following a bench trial on liability, the court ruled for PwC on the entirety of Colonial Bank's claim. The court ruled against PwC on some of the FDIC's claims and in favor of PwC on others. The court also ruled in favor of PwC on the FDIC's request for punitive damages. Following a bench trial on damages, the court awarded the FDIC $625 million. Before judgment was entered, and while post-trial motions were pending, the parties settled the case for $335 million. One member of the FDIC's board of directors publicly dissented from the settlement because it did not contain an acknowledgment of liability by PwC.
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
Represented Deloitte in 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
Represented 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
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.
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.
- Bartlit Beck's General Commercial Litigation Practice Listed as Band 1 by Chambers for 15 Consecutive Years06.02.2022
- Bartlit Beck Files a Lawsuit Against KKR, Shamrock Capital, and Former Members of FanDuel Board of Directors02.25.2020
- Phil Beck, Chris Lind and Chris Landgraff Win Complete Defense Victory for Ernst & Young in Accountant Malpractice Claim01.2008
- National Law Journal, 03.2004
- The Miami Herald, 12.2003
- Chicago Magazine, 03.2002
- The National Law Journal, 02.2002
- Tribune staff reporter, 10.2001
- Department of Justice—For Immediate Release, 08.2001
- USA Today, 07.2001
- CNN.com.law center, 11.2000
- Law Business Research, 01.2000
- The National Law Journal, 11.1999
- Corporate Counsel, 07.1999
- The National Law Journal, 04.1999
- The National Law Journal, 04.1998
- The Trial Lawyer's Guide, 01.1998
- The National Law Journal, 09.1997
- Forbes, 12.1996
- The American Lawyer, 12.1995
- The National Law Journal, 07.24.1995
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
Benchmark Litigation-2020 Litigation Star, 2018 National and Illinois Litigation Star, and Top 100 Trial Lawyer
The Best Lawyers 2021 Chicago Litigation- Intellectual Property "Lawyer of the Year"
Who's Who Legal-2015 Lawyer of the Year for Commercial Litigation
The Best Lawyers 2014 Chicago Bet-the-Company Litigation "Lawyer of the Year"
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"
The Best Lawyers in America
The Best of the Best USA
Chambers USA, Chambers Global
Illinois Super Lawyers
Lawdragon-Leading Lawyers in America, 500 Better than the Best
Leading Lawyers Network-Top Business Lawyers in Illinois
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
Education & Honors
Boston University School of Law, 1976, J.D., magna cum laude
Editor-in-Chief, Boston University Law Review
University of Wisconsin, 1973, B.A.