Peter C. John - Partner

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Biography

Peter C. John is a named partner of Williams Montgomery & John. Mr. John, together with Barry Montgomery, is co-chair of the firm's commercial litigation practice. He focuses his commercial litigation practice on contract disputes, commercial product failures, class action defense, attorney malpractice and construction litigation. Mr. John is a past president and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers. He is "AV Preeminent" peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting the highest peer recognition for both ethical standards and legal ability.

Mr. John is widely recognized as an outstanding trial attorney in major litigation matters. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation since 1995 and also is listed for Bet-the-Company litigation, intellectual property law and insurance law. He has extensive jury trial, bench trial and arbitration experience for major commercial disputes over the last 30 years. He has tried cases involving a variety of claims, including breach of contract, construction claims, and legal malpractice.

As examples of results Mr. John as achieved for his clients, he won a decision of "not guilty" for Siemens Westinghouse in the three-and-a-half-year arbitration in Washington, D.C. of a construction lawsuit brought by Athens Generating involving claims for tens of millions of dollars. On behalf of ConocoPhillips, he obtained a $4.7 million jury verdict in a property damage case after a two-week jury trial. In another significant jury trial, he successfully prosecuted a breach of contract case on behalf of client WINFertility. Mr. John also defeated a $7 million construction delay claim against Siemens, and reached a favorable negligible settlement for American Hotel Register in a bench trial involving damages claims of $3.2 million. In addition, Mr. John proved economic coercion in a construction dispute and recovered $64 million in damages for his client.

Mr. John has a rich history and deep roots in the Chicago legal community. He began his career in 1966 as an associate at Isham Lincoln & Beale, where he later was made a partner. In 1979, he left Isham and became a name partner at Phelan, Pope & John, where he practiced for 15 years before joining Hedlund Hanley & John.  Mr. John joined Williams Montgomery & John in 2000. Throughout his career, his victories for clients in major litigation have secured his reputation as a leading trial lawyer.  

Mr. John defended an insurer in a $123 million claim for failure to provide a complete defense to asbestos claims. A three-month jury trial resulted in 11 special verdicts, all in favor of the defendant insurer.

Education/Bar Admissions

Mr. John received a B.A. in 1963 from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He received his J.D. in 1966 from Villanova University School of Law, where he was an editorial board member of the Villanova Law Review.

Mr. John was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1966 and has been admitted to the following federal trial and appellate courts:

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (including the trial bar)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

In addition, Mr. John has been admitted pro hac vice in 14 state and federal courts throughout the country.

Professional Activities/Recognition

Mr. John is a past president and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the exclusive, peer-selected International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an association limited to the 500 top lawyers in the United States and top 100 international lawyers. He also is a fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and International Society of Barristers. In addition, he served for nine years on the Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Civil Jury Instructions.

Mr. John is active in numerous other professional organizations, including:

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates

He has also been active in the community with organizations such as the Better Boys Foundation, Indian Law Resource Center and Alzheimer's Association.

Mr. John has been recognized as one of the outstanding trial lawyers in the United States by his fellow lawyers and numerous publications, including:

  • Best Lawyers in America, Business Litigation, 1995-present
  • Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2010-present
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers Network, Commercial Litigation, Professional Malpractice, Products Liability, Personal Injury: Defense, Class Action/Mass Tort Defense
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, 2005-present
  • Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory "AV" (highest) rating

Over the course of his career, Mr. John has written articles and lectured on numerous trial lawyer issues.

Appellate Decisions

  • Grupo Condumex, S.A., et al. v. SPX Corporation, et al., No. 05-4094 (6th Cir. 2006)
  • Cohen, et al. v. Blockbuster Inc., 351 Ill. App. 3d 772, 814 N.E.2d 933 (1st Dist. 2004)
  • Shula v. HSA, Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District, No.1-00-2885 (1st Dist. 2003)
  • Zurich Ins. Co. v. Raymark Industries, Inc., 514 N.E.2d 150 (Ill. 1987)
  • UNR Industries, Inc. v. Continental Ins. Co., 607 F.Supp. 855 (N.D. Ill. 1984)
  • Imo Industries, Inc. v. Siemens DeMag Delaval Turbomachinery, Supreme Court of Delaware, No. 208-2005

Representative Matters

  • An Engineering Firm v. Siemens Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Mitsui Babcock Energy Limited

    American Arbitration Association, New York (2000)
    Successfully resolved lawsuit against client Siemens Westinghouse alleging economic coercion and seeking to void a contract involving power plants in China. After six-month arbitration, settled damages issues on confidential basis.

  • Bass v. Katten Muchin Zavis Rosenman, et al.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.
    Defended law firm against claims client failed to revoke a prior trust unknown to law firm since client failed to reveal his assets were in a prior trust.  Case settled before opening statements.

  • Bechtel Power Corp., et al. v. Athens Generating Corp., et al. v. Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp.

    Arbitration in Washington, D.C. (2009)
    Achieved verdict of "not guilty" for client Siemens Westinghouse Power in arbitration of construction claims brought by Athens Generating seeking tens of millions of dollars in delays and liquidated damages. Siemens supplied combustion turbine generators and other equipment to a power plant in New York owned by Athens. When delays derailed the construction schedule, the general contractor, Bechtel, sued Athens for liquidated and other damages. Athens sought contribution or indemnity from Siemens. After a hearing spanning periods over more than three years, the arbitration panel found that Athens was entitled to no relief from Siemens by way of contribution, indemnity or otherwise.

  • CNA v. Meckler

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.
    Represented defendant in claim for legal malpractice in the defense of plaintiff's insureds. Defendant counterclaimed for $1.5 million in fees owed by plaintiff. Case resolved in mediation.

  • ConocoPhillips v. Level 3 Communications, et al.

    Circuit Court of Madison County, Ill. (2006)
    Won $4.7 million jury verdict on behalf of ConocoPhillips in property damage case. Jury found negligence, trespass and nuisance against the defendant after a two-week trial.

  • Duro-Med Industries, et al. v. Bryan Cave

    Private Arbitration, Kansas City, Mo.
    Action involving patent rights in Japan and Europe.

  • Imo Industries, Inc. v. Siemens DeMag Delaval Turbomachinery

    Court of Chancery for the State of Delaware, New Castle County (2005)
    Secured summary judgment for defendants Mannesmann Corporation and DeMag Delaval Turbomachinery on a counterclaim for contractual indemnity of asbestos claims under an asset purchase agreement. Judgment was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.

  • Marc Cohen, et al. v. Blockbuster Entertainment, et al.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., Chancery Division
    Represented Blockbuster in a $90 million purported class action involving late fee claims by video renters and buyers.  Appealed trial court certification twice resulting in the trial court's certifications being overturned.  Trial court eventually decertified class.

  • Polsky v. Indeck Energy Service, Inc.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill. (1994)
    Obtained reversal of $17 million of a $24 million arbitration award against client in breach of employment and stock agreements lawsuit.

  • Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. v. The Shaw Group, Inc. and Stone & Webster, Inc.

    U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division
    Won summary judgment for Siemens, defeating $7 million claim for liquidated damages based on the alleged delay in delivering a turbine to a power plant in Cordova, Ill.

  • Tishel v. Shell Oil Company, et al.

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.
    Chancery Division (2001): Secured dismissal of class action against client Phillips Petroleum Company related to high gasoline prices in Illinois during the spring of 2000.

  • Trinova v. LOF Glass, et al.

    Circuit Court of Lucas County, Ohio (1995)
    Won jury verdict for Trinova in breach of contract lawsuit related to the acquisition of LOF Glass by Pilkington Holdings of England. LOF refused to pay large tax liability. Jury awarded Trinova $6 million in additional taxes plus interest and attorneys' fees totaling $10 million.

  • UNR v. Continental, et al.

    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (1984)
    Successfully defended an insurer of UNR in $123 million claim for failure to provide complete defense to asbestos claims.  UNR claimed it was forced into bankruptcy by its insurers' actions.  Three-month jury trial resulted in 11 special verdicts, all in favor of defendant insurer.

  • Utility Resource Management v. American Hotel Register

    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (2004)
    Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of American Hotel Register in a $3.2 million breach of contract suit brought by Utility Resource Management. Confidential minimal settlement was reached prior to closing arguments in a bench trial.

  • Warriner v. 3M
    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.
    Obtained dismissal of national class action product liability lawsuit against 3M concerning the sale of furnace filters.
  • WINFertility, Inc. v. IntegraMed, Inc.

    Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester, White Plains, N.Y. (2005)
    Won jury verdict for client WINFertility in breach of contract claim against IntegraMed. After a three-week trial, jury found IntegraMed breached a five-year contract after one year, but found no breach by WINFertility.

  • Zurich American Insurance Company
    Represented Zurich American in class action in Louisiana involving workers' compensation bill review.
  • Zurich Insurance Co. v. Raymark

    Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.
    Defended Commercial Union Insurance Co. in claim for coverage for asbestos litigation. Lost at trial. Decision resulted in creation of "triple trigger" theory of coverage in asbestos litigation.

  • Zurich Services Corporation Bill Review Cases

    Circuit Courts in Illinois, Oklahoma and Tennessee
    Represent Zurich Services Corporation, a bill review company, as national counsel defending national and state class actions claiming improper reduction of medical bills. Tennessee class action successfully resolved through motion practice; Illinois class action successfully resolved; obtained exclusion from Oklahoma class action.