John W. Patton, Jr.

Managing Partner

Throughout his 30+ year career, John Patton’s name has become associated with a wide array of colorful epithets:

  • The “Fearless John Patton”
  • “The On-Call Trial Lawyer Who Saves Millions”
  • “He’s the closer you bring in for high-pressure situations.”

These are but a few examples of the many accolades that have been published heralding John’s legal prowess. Countless other articles giving him accolades for his successes at trial have been written over the years.  The numerous publications about John’s career and the myriad of awards and honors continuously bestowed upon him are a testament to not only his superior litigation skills, but also his vast experience in trying cases. It is this experience that truly distinguishes him from other lawyers.

While attorneys often boast about being accomplished litigators, in actuality, the vast majority of cases never make it to trial. Most of them will try only a handful of cases throughout their careers.

John Patton, however, starts an average of one major trial every single month. Year round. Nationwide.

“He’s already tried multi-million dollar cases in more than half the states in the nation, many of which he inherited on the eve of trial. While most would call taking over a case just weeks or even days before trial an impossible feat, John simply calls it “parachuting.”

Obviously, John prefers handling cases from the outset, where he and his trial teams can conduct discovery and craft trial strategies that will elicit the favorable results his clients have come to expect. However, he understands that with a trial date right around the corner, there may suddenly be a need to call in an experienced trial attorney if settlement negotiations fail or plaintiffs’ demands remain unreasonable. When those situations arise, his clients know that John always answers his phone.  After all, it’s his willingness to be parachuted into those eight and nine figure cases that earned him the moniker, “Fearless John Patton.”

Although John has earned the awards and honors such as Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, and an AV-rating that are expected of a lawyer of his stature, even the most resolute opponents quietly acknowledge that his fearless readiness to take even the toughest cases to trial can soften their settlement posture.  John’s outstanding track record and his tireless pursuit of his client’s best interests are well known among his adversaries. When they see that John has taken on a case, they know that a trip to the settlement table with a lower, more reasonable demand is in their own client’s best interests.

Sometimes, however, overconfident plaintiff’s lawyers do decide to take their chances against John in court, as they did in a recent case. Instead of possibly walking away with a seven- or eight-figure settlement for their clients, John’s opponents gambled against him and lost it all in a $180 million reversal on appeal.

In the more than 3 decades John has spent handling cases involving general tort, professional malpractice, construction defects, insurance coverage and bad faith, transportation, and products liability for insurance companies and major corporations across the country, he has learned that sometimes the facts just aren’t on your side. He knows that when liability is clear, some plaintiff’s lawyers seek damages that far exceed what’s appropriate under the tragic circumstances. In those situations, when a client is most in need of an advocate on their behalf, John is always there to ensure a fair result.

Education

  • B.A., Miami University, Ohio, 1980
  • J.D., DePaul College of Law, 1983

Admissions

John has been admitted to the bar of the State of Illinois and Wisconsin as well as federal district and appellate courts including:

  • Illinois, 1983
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (General Bar and Federal Trial Bar)
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Pro Hac Vice Admissions

Trying multi-million dollar cases nationwide, John has been admitted pro hac vice into states across the country including some of the most hostile state and federal jurisdictions in the country, including:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

In the Community

Known as a generous philanthropist, John is active in the legal and business community. These activities include:

  • Village Trustee, Village of Glenview
  • Alternative Director, Board of Directors, Northwest Municipal Conference of Mayors.

Honors & Awards

Renowned as among the nation’s most-effective trial lawyers, John has been received dozens of awards and accolades.  These include:

  • “Trial Lawyer Excellence Award in Recognition of the Outstanding Defense Verdict in an Automobile Personal Injury Case” re Pister v. Brown, Jury Verdict Reporter, Oct, 2014
  • “Top 10 General Lawyers Illinois: Personal Injury Defense,” Leading Lawyers Magazine, 2014
  • “Top Attorney in Illinois for Professional Liability-Defense Law” by Martindale Hubble, 2013
  • “Leading Civil Defense Lawyer” by Chicago Lawyer, 2012
  • “Top Attorney in Illinois for Government/Cities/Municipalities Law” by Chicago Magazine in 2012
  • Annually selected among the “Top Lawyers in the Chicago Area” by Leading Lawyers, Chicago Lawyer Magazine, 2011-present
  • “Top Defense Trial Lawyer in Illinois” by Jury Verdict Reporter, 2010
  • Annually selected among the “Top Attorneys in Illinois” by Chicago Magazine, 2010-present
  • Annually selected as a Super Lawyer, 2009-present
  • Annually selected to the Leading Lawyers Network by Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2004-present
  • Annually AV-rated by Martindale Hubble, 1993-present

Publications

John has written dozens of articles regarding trial techniques, catastrophic personal injury, tort liability, products liability; automotive, trucking cargo, and other transportation-related accidents; medical malpractice; manufacturing; health care; agriculture; including:

“Tort Reform Issues and Trends”
“Preparation and Trial of the Automobile Collision Case”
“Preparing and Handling Toxic Tort Cases”
“Handling Slip and Fall Cases”
“Defending the Employer in Construction Cases”
“Successful Preparation and Handling of Discovery Objections and Trial Motions”
“Defense of the Catastrophic Loss Trucking Case”
“Insurance Coverage Issues/Trucking Policies”
“Placard/Logo Liability and Punitive Damage Liability of Motor Carriers”
“Negligent Hiring and Negligent Entrustment as Causes of Action Against the Motor Carrier”
“The Defense of the Employer Post-Kotecki, Braye, Briseno, and Lannom”
“That Delete Key May Bite You: Spoliation Claims Against Trucking Companies for Destruction of Electronic Data”
“Defending Employers In Third Party Liability Litigation”
“Defending the Nuisance Value/Soft Tissue Claim”
“Negligent Hiring and Negligent Entrustment”
“Catastrophic Loss Cases”

Speaker

John has presented dozens of keynotes and other speeches regarding trial techniques, catastrophic personal injury, tort liability, products liability; automotive, trucking cargo, and other transportation-related accidents; medical malpractice; manufacturing; health care; agriculture; including:

  • The Defense and Trial of Catastrophic Loss Medical Malpractice Cases, Insurance Forum. Chicago, 2014
  • Trial Strategy for Catastrophic Loss, Medical Malpractice and Construction Cases, CLM Professional Liability Conference, 2012
  • Addressing Discovery Violations and Sanctionable Conduct, Claims Association of Greater Chicago General Meeting, 2011
  • The Impact on Tort Reform in Medical Malpractice Actions, A.M. Best, Oldwick, NJ, 2010
  • The Aerosol Products Liability Lawsuit: What to Expect and How to Improve Customer Stewardship While Minimizing Liability Exposure,” CSPA (aerosol industry) Annual Meeting, 2009
  • Keynote Speaker, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Case Evaluation Conference, Catastrophic Event, November, 2009
    Motor Transport Underwriters Seminar, 2005
  • Casualty Adjusters Association of Chicago, Spring Seminar: Apportionment of Fault, 2005
  • Chicago Bar Association, numerous presentations re general tort topics, e.g. auto/trucking, products liability, premises liability, trial strategies, professional liability, and construction, 1992-present
  • Casualty Adjusters Association: Illinois Tort Reform Present and Future, 1996
  • Insurance and Transportation Industry seminars on the investigation, defense and trial of catastrophic loss claims, cargo claims, insurance coverage, and compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 1992-present
  • The Investigation and Defense of Trucking Cases, International Air Cargo Association of Chicago, 2002

Reported Cases

  • Pehl v. Environmental Systems, Ill.App.3d 218, 653 N.E.2d 766 (1995)
  • Hernandez v. Paschen Contractors, Inc. 335 Ill.App.3d 936, 781 N.E.2d 1083 (2002)
  • Jentz v. Con Agra $180 million case

Associations

  • Chicago, Illinois State and American Bar Association
  • American Bar Association Vice-Chair of Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee
  • American Trucking Association
  • ATA Litigation Center
  • Trucking Industry Defense Association
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society, Mediator for Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Defense Trial Lawyer Association
  • Illinois Transportation Association
  • National Council of Self-Insurers
  • Chicago Casualty Adjuster Association
  • Leading Lawyers Network
  • Transportation Lawyers Association