40 & Under Hot List - Midwest

Benchmark Litigation Reviews

Dispute resolution
40 and Under Midwest



At Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, Jessica Heckinger Nowak focuses her practice on a variety of complex commercial, intellectual property, and employment disputes for clients in a number of industries. Among her notable clients, Heckinger Nowak represents a medical device company in a variety of cases involving royalty licensing, product liability, and other commercial matters. In addition, she defended several individuals against allegations of breach of contract in relation to non-competition agreements. Jack Snyder dedicates his practice to complex commercial litigation with a particular expertise in handling litigation on behalf of clients in the automotive industry. Snyder, who is part of the firm’s Motor Vehicles practice group, recently represented FCA US in a motor vehicle franchise case involving the termination of several car dealerships in California. The plaintiff, Porter Auto Group, filed a protest with the California New Motor Vehicle Board after the client issued notices of termination of the plaintiff’s dealership agreements. Snyder as co-lead partner in the dispute prevailed on a motion to dismiss and received an order from the board permitting the termination.

Jennifer Greenblatt of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum offers a diverse practice spanning complex commercial, product liability, antitrust and intellectual property litigation. Among her current matters, Greenblatt represents John & Johnson in ongoing product liability case. In addition, Greenblatt defends Merck against more than a dozen putative antitrust class actions and opt-out actions stemming from the client’s settlement in a Hatch-Waxman patent case. She has handled oral arguments in the case as well, including before the Judicial Panel and on arbitration motions before the MDL court. Over the last year, Greenblatt has handled two oral arguments on behalf of separate clients before the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation. In one case as lead counsel representing Bayer, Greenblatt successfully conducted oral argument opposing the plaintiffs’ MDL petition in the Gadolinium retention product liability case. Rami Fakhouri currently serves as co-lead partner for Medtronic in an ongoing product liability dispute. In addition, Fakhouri is involved in an ongoing product liability matter for client Bayer regarding the company’s Essure® system. Previously, Fakhouri served as co-lead partner in the Xarelto product liability trial in the Philadelphia mass tort division representing Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The trial took place in April of last year and resulted in a complete defense verdict from the jury, rejecting the plaintiff’s claim that the companies failed to properly warn about the health risks associated with the drug. Fakhouri also represents the client in discovery for the MDL cases pending nationwide. Michael Pieja focuses his practice on complex intellectual property and technology disputes. Pieja recently represented 3M in two patent litigation actions involving eight patents, with both cases resulting on favorable terms for the client. In addition, Pieja currently defending a major technology company in a series of patent infringement disputes spanning five jurisdictions with ten-figures sought in damages.

Katten Muchin Rosenman’s Peter Wilson dedicates his practice to antitrust and securities litigation and government enforcement actions, primarily on behalf of clients in the financial services industry. Wilson serves as co-head of the defense team representing UBS in two separate consolidated putative class actions seeking billions of dollars in damages. One action involves alleged violations of the Sherman Act in the interest rate swaps market, while the other alleges violations of the Sherman Act in the stock lending market. Wilson is also involved in representing Wells Fargo in litigation under the Fair Housing Act against the Cook County government.

Katharine O’Connor of McDermott Will & Emery focuses her practice on representing healthcare providers in antitrust and regulatory litigation. O’Connor represents group purchasing organization, Premier, in a putative class action. O’Connor drafted a substantial portion of the client’s motion to dismiss and reply briefs, which were successful before the court as the team obtained complete dismissal. The case is currently on appeal at the Seventh Circuit. O’Connor also ran the day-to-day defending non-profit health system, SIH, against allegations that its contracts with certain insurance companies violate the federal and state antitrust laws through unlawful tying, exclusive dealing, and monopolization. She was the initial and primary drafter of the summary judgement papers, which have been fully briefed and are pending.

At MoloLamken, Gerald Meyer focuses his practice on white-collar criminal litigation and investigations, complex commercial disputes and appellate litigation. Meyer was previously involved in a dispute that went up to the US Supreme Court, which resulted in a unanimous victory for the client, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The case concerned the seizure of ancient Persian artifacts owned by the Iranian government, which were excavated from the ruins of Persepolis in the 1930s and lent to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute for academic study. The plaintiffs held default judgments against Iran and tried to seize the artifacts to pay off the judgments; however, Iran and the University of Chicago objected on the ground that the artifacts were not being used for commercial activity and were therefore immune from execution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which the court agreed. The case involved important foreign relations implications and the Supreme Court’s decision set a major precedent concerning sovereign immunity.

Matthew Carter at Winston & Strawn focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and white-collar crime disputes. He has an appellate background and a steady stream of appellate work related to his primary practice areas. Carter clerked for the Supreme Court of Illinois, which took a case he is involved in as co-counsel along with several other firms, defending Atlantic Richfield Company in a class action concerning lead paint testing. He serves as one of the lead partners defending TreeHouse Foods against securities fraud claims and follow on derivative actions, and he is additionally involved in a significant RICO prosecution on behalf of an individual client.


Christopher Kurtz of Rouse Frets Gentile Rhodes dedicates his practice to commercial and insurance litigation, as well as construction, labor and employment, real estate and medical malpractice disputes. Kurtz recently represented a homeowner in a declaratory judgement lawsuit against Winnebago Home Owners Association and LW Holdings relating to the application of restrictions within a subdivision. The court ruled in favor of his client and motions to appeal by the defendants were dismissed. In addition, Kurtz is on the American Arbitration Association’s panel of arbitrators and serves as sole arbitrator on consumer disputes involving a number of areas, such as vehicle dealers and service centers, financial services, telecommunications, educational institutions and retail sales. John Witten focuses on medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits as well as commercial and insurance related disputes. Witten as co-lead partner successfully defended a primary care physician in a wrongful death medical malpractice case. After filing a motion for partial summary judgment to narrow the claims against the client in trial, the plaintiff dismissed the doctor and added the hospital as a defendant prior to the court’s summary judgment ruling. Witten assisted in a Section 1983 civil rights action, defending an off-duty police officer, which resulted in the court granting summary judgment in favor of the client.

Patrick Edwards at Stinson’s Wichita office specializes in commercial, product liability, construction and labor and employment litigation. In particular, Edwards focuses on assisting a number of clients in the energy and manufacturing industries in complex collection disputes. Edwards was involved in a commercial dispute defending Tenawa Haven Processing against claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment and damages of over $650 thousand in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Edwards and team have received several favorable rulings, including the dismissal of the unjust enrichment, attorney’s fees and 24% super-interest claims.



Bodman partner Justin Bagdady focuses on complex commercial, intellectual property and securities litigation. Bagdady represents Big Boy Restaurants in a variety of matters and was lead litigator in in two lawsuits that successfully defended the company against breach of contract and fiduciary duty, anticipatory repudiation, fraudulent conveyance claims. The plaintiff also sought immediate injunctive relief. Bagdady successfully obtained a dismissal of most cause of action and favorably settled the matter. Among other clients, Bagdady is currently representing Battery Company, LLC in a dispute over a trademark license agreement, royalties and unfair competition. Sarah Cylkowski concentrates her practice on antitrust, general commercial and insurance litigation. Cylkowski represents Michigan’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, in a nationwide class action that challenges the structure of the Blue Cross Blue Shield system, alleging that the Blue Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association violated antitrust laws. The case has the potential to impact healthcare delivery and providers. Thomas Rheaume represents Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in a separate antitrust action against competitor Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, alleging that the client’s contracts with various hospital providers were anticompetitive. In addition, the plaintiffs bring an unreasonable restraint of trade claim in violation of both the Sherman Act and the Michigan Antitrust Reform Act with damages reaching hundreds of millions of dollars. Nathan Dupes is a commercial litigator with a particular specialty in environmental litigation and chemical regulation. In the environmental space, Dupes serves as co-lead attorney for an intervening plaintiff, the City of Ann Arbor in a long-running 1,4-dioxane groundwater remediation case against Gelman Sciences. He defeated the opposing company’s attempt to challenge the intervention in the Michigan Supreme Court.

In Grand Rapids, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge’s Charissa Huang focuses her practice on a variety of complex commercial litigation, product liability, personal injury and labor and employment matters. Huang represents a Hong Kong-based supplier of wildlife call technology products as the defendant and counter-plaintiff in a pending complex commercial dispute involving breach of warranty, breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment claims. She additionally represents the plaintiff in a wrongful death case that is also pending in District Court for the Western District of Michigan. This case involves product liability and negligence claims against American, Canadian and Japanese defendants from the robotics industry. Outside of her private practice, Huang maintains an active pro bono practice, which has included handling immigration proceedings on behalf of individuals, prisoners pursuing civil rights through litigation and non-profit organizations.


Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg partner Nick Callahan dedicates his practice on complex commercial and securities litigation. Callahan served as co-lead partner defending former employees of Sears against allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims. In addition, Callahan successfully defended a major American bank in several financial services-related litigation, including having an alleged fraud case dismissed.

Mathew Korte of Minneapolis-based Ciresi Conlin has a practice that spans a number of areas including commercial, environmental, energy and product liability litigation. Korte currently represents Flint Hills Resources against Williams Alaska Petroleum in litigation and cross-claims related to groundwater contamination. Barry Landy dedicates his practice to complex commercial, class action, and employment matters. Landy recently represented the ERISA participants, beneficiaries and trustees that hold ADRs in a dispute against the Bank of NY Mellon and its affiliates, which acted as a depositary. The case resulted in a multimillion-dollar settlement, pending final approval from the court. In addition, he also negotiated a $27 million settlement in a royalty fee dispute on behalf of a client.

Robins Kaplan’s Patrick Arenz is an intellectual property litigator predominantly handling patent, trademark and copyright disputes, as well as trade secrets and other business-related issues. Arenz is involved in a patent infringement dispute, representing Puget Bioventures in separate patent infringement lawsuits related to methods for minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery. Previously, Arenz and his team successfully resolved the cases against Styker and Biomet. As co-lead partner, Arenz is handling a dispute on behalf of celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli against her former business partners ESquared Hospitality LLC and its restaurant group BC Hospitality Group LLC (BCHG). The lawsuit alleges a number of commercial and intellectual property claims, including copyright and trademark infringement, and is ongoing in the Southern District of New York. Also focused on intellectual property litigation at the firm is Aaron Fahrenkrog. Among his current matters, Fahrenkrog is co-lead partner representing Corel Software against Microsoft in Federal District Court for the District of Utah. The client’s lawsuit alleges that Microsoft willfully infringed based on its use of the Live Preview function in many Microsoft Office products.

Peter Schwingler at Stinson focuses his practice on antitrust litigation. Prior to joining Stinson, Schwingler spent four years in the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, where he played key roles on the DOJ’s trial teams in two of the largest litigated merger challenges in history. Schwingler continues to have a significant role in his private practice defending clients in a variety of antitrust lawsuits. Among his current clients, Schwingler represents a major pork producer as well as a high profile chicken producer in two separate class action lawsuits.


In St. Louis, John Cooney of Brown & James focuses on commercial, product liability and insurance litigation with a particular emphasis on premises liability issues. Among his matters, Cooney previously defended a client’s apartment complex in a lawsuit arising from an alleged dog attack, which resulted in a summary judgement ruling in the client’s favor. Christopher Seibold in the firm’s Kansas City office handles insurance and personal injury litigation matters. He recently assisted in defending a partner of Storsafe Mini Warehouses in a premises liability and loss of consortium case against husband and wife plaintiffs who alleged that the defendant landlord’s property was dangerous and violated code for failing to have a cover over electrical wiring in an electrical junction box. One of the plaintiffs suffered third degree burns to his chest from an arcing event while he was working on the junction box. Seibold and the team obtained a verdict that resulted in no award to the plaintiffs who asked the jury for $1 million.

Derek Teeter of Husch Blackwell’s Kansas City office frequently litigates on behalf of higher education clients, including both private and public colleges and universities, in a variety of disputes. Teeter was the lead lawyer in a Title IX civil rights case defending Iowa State University on appeal before the Eight Circuit. The appellate panel affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment ruling in the client’s favor.

Polsinelli’s Robert Spake handles commercial litigation and class actions, specializing in disputes before the Delaware Court of Chancery. Spake served as one of the lead lawyers representing data software technology company, Basho, in litigation against a venture capital investor and its board designees. The Delaware Court of Chancery ruled in favor of the client, finding that the defendants committed serial breaches of fiduciary duty to secure majority control over and extract value from Basho, which caused the company to fail. The Vice Chancellor also awarded $20 million in damages to the client.

In Kansas City, Christina Arnone of Stinson handles insurance disputes, especially issues related to business policyholder insurance coverage. Arnone was co-lead lawyer serving as insurance coverage counsel for the Unsecured Creditors’ Committees, which collectively represents hundreds of survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the bankruptcy proceedings of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Diocese of Duluth, and the Diocese of New Ulm. Arnone has obtained a number of multimillion-dollar settlements, totaling in at more than $31.5 million to resolve more than 120 claims of clergy sexual abuse. Scott Mueller in the firm’s St. Louis office focuses his practice on real estate litigation and has handled real property litigation across the country on behalf of national mortgage lenders, title insurers, and owners. Mueller assisted a major national bank in more than 50 matters involving real estate mortgages throughout the country impacted by the fraud of a mortgage predator that manipulated public records to create false chains of title and defrauded unsuspecting homeowners under duress and their lenders. He has also been involved in securing mineral rights on a large scale in Southern Illinois on behalf of a coalmine and power plant utility over the last year. Outside of his private practice, Mueller continues to assist in real estate issues, including as a planning and zoning commissioner, an editor for the Appraisal Institute, and as a volunteer with St. Louis senior citizens.


Tara Stingley of Cline Williams specializes in variety of labor and employment matters. In addition to handling litigation on behalf of clients, Stingley routinely conducts internal investigations in response to claims of discrimination or harassment. In litigation, Stingley has served as lead counsel to clients facing a variety of employment related claims. She handled the defense of a federal court lawsuit that involved multiple corporate entities and individual defendants against alleged claims under the ADA, FMLA and Title VII. In a federal case in the District of Nebraska, Stingley was lead defense counsel to SalonCentric, defending the client against claims under the ADEA and Title VII.


Based in Dayton, Erin Rhinehart serves as head of the media and communications practice at Faruki. Rhinehart engages in class action litigation, as well as commercial and employment disputes, for a variety of clients in the healthcare, technology, and consumer goods industries. Among her notable matters, she successfully defended Procter & Gamble in a consumer class action lawsuit as well as another case involving a breach of contract dispute.

David Bules at Calfee Halter & Griswold in Cincinnati focuses his practice on securities litigation. Bules represents RPM International in an ongoing case against the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges violations of several provisions of the securities laws. The claims particularly focus on the RPM’s application of accounting rule ASC 450 regarding the reporting of loss contingencies. The client and other defendants challenge the SEC’s interpretation of ASC 450.


At Husch Blackwell’s Madison offices, Marci Kawski dedicates her practice to representing clients in consumer finance litigation. She recently defended World Finance Corporation of Wisconsin against alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The plaintiff filed motions for summary judgment as to the liability on her claims against the defendants and Marine’s first affirmative defense; however, the court ultimately dismissed the case as the co-defendants filed a joint defense, which was the winning brief. Kawski also prevailed at the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a creditor’s collective action case that involved the borrower’s counterclaim, which was dismissed by the trial court. The borrower attempted to allege that violations of one section of the WCA also automatically results in a violation of the WCA debt collection statute. The result of Kawski’s win at the Wisconsin Supreme Court has wide application to the state’s creditor community.