Philip S. Beck
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.
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
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;
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Confidential AAA Arbitration (Phoenix, AZ) Represented a Fortune 100 company in confidential, multi-billion 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 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.
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.
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 vs. 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 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.
- Business Insider
- Business Wire
- Chambers USA
- Chambers USA
- National Law Journal
- The Miami Herald
- Chicago Magazine
- The National Law Journal
- National Law Journal Lawyers of the Year 2001
- Tribune staff reporter
- Department of Justice -- For Immediate Release
- USA Today
- CNN.com.law center
- Law Business Research
- The National Law Journal
- Corporate Counsel
- The Trial Lawyer's Guide
- The National Law Journal
- The American Lawyer
- The National Law Journal
- Phoenix, AZ (2016)
- Rolls Royce PLC v. United Technologies Corporation (d/b/a Pratt & Whitney) (2011)
- In re Metropolitan Securities Litigation (2009)
- Bartlit Beck Wins Complete Defense Verdict in Cook County Jury Trial of 27 Firefighters' Hearing Loss ClaimsRago v. Federal Signal (2008)
- Vioxx Trials (2006)
- Honeywell v. Hamilton Sundstrand (2005)
- Bartlit Beck Defeats Product Liability Claim Where Plaintiff Sought $172 Million Plus Punitive DamagesTicoFrut v. DuPont (2005)
- Haltom v. Bayer Corp. (2003)
- Residential Funding v. DeGeorge (2001)
- James Newsome v. McNally & McCabe (2001)
- Gore v. Bush (2000)
- Viskase v. American National Can (1999)
- Alpha Therapeutic Blood Factor Concentrate Litigation (1999)
- SK Hand Tool v. Dresser
- Howray v. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (1997)
- Technology Innovations v. United Technologies (1996)
- Wagner v. Anzon (NL Industries) (1994)