John Pirra advises clients on a variety of business matters, including commercial litigation, general liability, and tort defense in federal and state courts throughout the United States. John’s labor and employment practice focuses on representing national and international companies during pre-suit investigations and in state and federal court. He counsels companies with respect to claims involving alleged employment discrimination (race, gender, disability and retaliation), violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois Minimum Wage Law violations. In addition, John gives guidance to his clients on employment policies and associated state and federal labor regulations and requirements.
John regularly advises clients concerning the collection of judgments in Illinois and has successfully litigated supplementary/post-judgment actions, fraudulent transfers and various related commercial claims.
In addition, John assists with white-collar criminal matters and federal investigations. These matters include fraud/anti-money laundering investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Treasury, including FinCEN and OFAC.
John is dedicated to problem solving to the particular needs of each client, and remains mindful of the balance of cost versus results. John views each situation not only from a litigation perspective, but also with a focus on the broader issues that often have larger ramifications, such as the macro impact that litigation could have on his client’s business. Although John is considered a formidable litigator, he is also appreciated for his ability to keep his clients out of court.
John is a regular contributor to Labor Days
, Kelley Drye’s labor and employment law blog.
Obtained summary judgment of common law retaliatory discharge claim and discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Plaintiff alleged that he was terminated in retaliation for seeking benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/1 et seq.), and alleged unlawful discharge/refusal to accommodate based on actual and perceived disability, in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq.). Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. The appellate court found that the plaintiff’s claims under the Illinois Human Rights Act were untimely, and that the plaintiff failed to establish a causal connection between plaintiff’s exercise of rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act and his discharge. The Illinois Supreme Court denied and disposed of plaintiff’s Petition for Leave to appeal the opinion of the appellate court.
Obtained the dismissals of an alleged race discrimination claims against an international construction company. The plaintiff’s claim involved allegations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and violations of section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 (12 U.S.C. 1701u).
Obtained a summary judgment on behalf of an international construction company in a gender discrimination claim. The plaintiff alleged that she was discriminated against and terminated because of her gender during an economic downturn. The court found, among other things, that the plaintiff declined a job offer because she was not satisfied with the final terms of the offer, and the alleged statements made by the defendant were insufficient to create a triable dispute over whether the plaintiff’s termination was motivated by discriminatory animus.
Counsels a national financial firm regarding employee termination procedures and obligations under federal law, as well as its own employment termination policies.
Advises managed care facilities and other businesses regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois Minimum Wage Act, as well as risk analysis and exposure to various litigation.
Part of the defense team that obtained successful resolution of a potential class action claim against a student loan financial institution alleging excessive interest rates in violation of Illinois’ general interest rate statute.
Obtained a dismissal on behalf of a private equity client for alleged claims of breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and violation of the Attorneys’ Fees In Wage Action Act.
Successfully represented private equity companies against allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, deceptive trade practices and various state and federal securities violations.
Represented a commercial printing company in breach of contract claims, obtaining judgments against various business entities and individuals. Commenced supplementary and post-judgment proceedings to enforce the judgments obtained and secure funds to pay judgments.
Part of the defense team that represented a telecommunications company sued for patent infringement violations of call routing and transit traffic, and assisted in the prosecution of counterclaims based on the alleged inequitable conduct of the patent holder. The client’s motion for summary judgment was granted with a finding that the opposing patent is invalid as anticipated by prior art and, therefore, no infringement of the patent could be established. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the summary judgment.
Represents a multi-national banking institution with respect to interpleading funds and third-party citations, as well as the defense of various banking claims, including fraud, misappropriation of assets, etc.
Spearheaded creditors’ rights litigation in Cook County, Illinois, for a national financial services company and was responsible for corporate transactional matters, including leases, nondisclosure agreements and corporate contracts. John advises clients, employees and senior management on corporate and industry regulations to ensure business operations have complied with federal and state regulatory requirements.
Civil Defense Litigation
Represented a Fortune
500 company as a member of its national litigation coordinating legal counsel; work included the coordination and direction of local litigation counsel. Additionally, John has successfully defended product liability, warranty and general liability lawsuits against the Fortune
500 company and its various divisions.
Obtained a favorable result in the representation of an international corporation in the defense of a toxic tort lawsuit brought by the wife and the estate of a deceased former employee alleging asbestos exposure which caused mesothelioma to develop and led to the eventual death of the former employee. In a related case, John assisted in the successful prosecution and appeal (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit) of a declaratory judgment action on behalf of the international corporate client against its former insurer to enforce the terms and conditions under a policy of insurance (duty to pay an insured’s claim expenses and duty to indemnify an insured).
Assisted in the defense of a product liability claim against a medical device manufacturer arising out of the sale and subsequent implantation of a cardiovascular device. A dismissal with prejudice was obtained after a hearing on a Motion for Summary Judgment.
Defended numerous premises liability claims for local and national retailers, as well as the defense of catastrophic claims involving trucking/transportation, construction, product liability and issues involving the tendering defenses.
Lead attorney on more than a dozen jury trials, approximately 150 Illinois mandatory arbitrations and numerous AAA binding arbitrations, and negotiated hundreds of settlements ranging from small claims property damage to complex bodily injury cases, as well as structured commercial litigation settlements.
Chicago Bar Association
Illinois Bar Association
American Bar Association