James W. Quinn
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

James Quinn is an accomplished trial lawyer who, until 2013, served for many years as co-head of Weil’s litigation department. Mr. Quinn specializes in high stakes commercial disputes. He has practiced in all areas of complex litigation and alternative dispute resolution, with particular emphasis on antitrust, securities, false advertising, sports, entertainment, patent, and related complex intellectual property litigation.

Known for his judgment, thorough preparation, and mastery of detail, Mr. Quinn is able to take command of the courtroom with penetrating cross-examination of witnesses and logically compelling arguments. Clients call upon him in matters that are high-profile, high-stakes, and often international in scope.

Mr. Quinn’s most recent successes include winning for CBS Corporation the dismissal, affirmed on appeal, of a putative securities fraud class action relating to a $14 billion impairment; obtaining a complete dismissal for ESPN, Inc. and certain Walt Disney Co. companies in a $130 million suit brought by Echostar concerning alleged contract breaches relating to rights to ESPN and Disney’s high-definition television networks; securing a complete dismissal for CBS Corporation in a $70 million breach of contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty suit filed by its former anchorman and correspondent Dan Rather stemming from his departure from the network in 2006; on behalf of ExxonMobil, defeating class certification of a purported national class alleging that major petroleum companies conspired to restrict the supply of gasoline; and securing summary judgment for ESPN, Inc. in litigation against boxing promoter Don King who alleged defamation and false light invasion of privacy and sought $2.5 billion in damages.

In another recent and high-profile matter, he served as lead trial counsel for ExxonMobil during a three-month trial in New Hampshire state court of claims brought by the State of New Hampshire relating to the use of the chemical MTBE as a gasoline additive. Earlier, he served as co-lead counsel for Vivendi in In re Vivendi Universal, S.A. Securities Litigation, the largest shareholder class action ever to go to trial.

Throughout the past decade and beyond, Mr. Quinn has established himself as a leading commercial litigator with a string of impressive wins, including a $417 million verdict for ExxonMobil (Exxon Mobil v. SABIC) which was among the largest verdicts in the United States in 2003 and remains the largest in a commercial case in Delaware’s history; a complete defense verdict for Procter & Gamble Co. on an $80 million false advertising claim brought by the Colgate-Palmolive Co., relating to home teeth-whitening products; and representation of the Arthur Andersen Worldwide Member Firms in the largest International Chamber of Commerce arbitration in history, which involved nearly 300 parties and almost $15 billion in claims. During this time, Mr. Quinn also scored significant wins for UnitedHealth Group, Johnson & Johnson, and Disney, among others.

Additionally, Mr. Quinn has earned a reputation with his clients for his unmatched experience in sports and entertainment litigation. He is the most successful and influential litigator of sports antitrust cases in the quarter-century that these cases have been played out in the national arena. He is known for his strategic personal assessment of each client and his keen execution of the facts in the courtroom. Mr. Quinn has counseled and represented players associations in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. Mr. Quinn served as the lead counsel for the NFL players in their successful antitrust challenge to the player restrictions in the League (McNeil v. NFL). In this three month jury trial, Mr. Quinn ensured that a fair jury was chosen for his clients, and his winning strategy secured for his clients a multi-million dollar treble damage verdict as well as the right to free agency. He is able to make juries understand complicated cases by presenting his client’s points in a readily comprehensible and persuasive manner. The New York Times labeled Mr. Quinn’s participation at trial as “instrumental in helping change the face of major professional sports.”

His precedent-setting success extends beyond sports to include all manner of contract disputes, antitrust litigation, and novel, evolving areas of law and business. Mr. Quinn represented Westinghouse in a series of multi-billion dollar lawsuits concerning nuclear power plants. Over a dozen lawsuits of RICO, fraud, and breach of contract were brought against Westinghouse, and Mr. Quinn used judgment and tenacity to win every single one. Mr. Quinn also represented a group of local television stations in an antitrust case against music licensing societies. The results of this litigation led to a complete change in the manner in which music licensing rights in television and radio industries are handled nationwide.

Among many honors and awards, Mr. Quinn was selected in 1993 and 2004 by The National Law Journal as one of the ten top trial lawyers in the United States in its annual feature, “Winning: Successful Strategies From 10 of the Nation’s Top Litigators” (only a handful of lawyers have ever been selected twice for this prestigious award).

Mr. Quinn was also ranked as a leader in New York commercial litigation and nationwide sports law in 2005-2013, and as a top US trial lawyer in 2010-2013, by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In 2013, he received the Chambers USA “Award for Excellence” in the category of “Litigation: Business Trial Lawyer” after being shortlisted for the award since 2009; he subsequently has been named to the shortlist for the inaugural, 2014 edition of “The Chambers 100,” a list of the top 100 business lawyers in the United States. He has also been recognized as a Leading Trial Lawyer by Legal 500 US (2011-2013). He was also listed as highly recommended in PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2006-2009 for Dispute Resolution, and was included in Euromoney’s 2004 Guide to the World’s Leading Experts In Commercial Arbitration, The International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigators 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2013 and Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers 2004/2005 and 2009-2013. Mr. Quinn has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2009-2013 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, International Arbitration, and Sports Law, and recognized by Benchmark Litigation since 2010 as a national “Litigation Star” for General Commercial Litigation. In 2013, Mr. Quinn was recognized as a “Client Service All-Star” in BTI Consulting Group’s annual survey of corporate counsel.

Mr. Quinn is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the International Society of Barristers. He is also a Fellow of The New York Bar Foundation. He has chaired a variety of committees of both The American Bar Association and The Bar Association of The City of New York. He is a member of the Advisory Board of The National Judicial College and the Panel of Distinguished Neutrals of the Center for Public Resources.

Until last year, Mr. Quinn served for over 20 years on the Firm’s Management Committee.

Mr. Quinn lives in Armonk, New York with his wife. They have four children and five grandchildren. Outside of the Firm, he enjoys golf, running, and reading. Mr. Quinn serves as a Board Member of the American Diabetes Association, the Landmark Foundation, and The Respect For Law Alliance, among many others.

  • Bar Admissions
    US Court of Appeals 2nd Cir.; US Court of Appeals 3rd Cir.; US Court of Appeals 7th Cir.; US Court of Appeals 8th Cir.; US Court of Appeals 9th Cir.; Eastern District New York; US Ct App Federal Circuit; New York State; Southern District New York; US Supreme Court
  • Education
    University of Notre Dame (B.A., cum laude, 1967); Fordham University (LL.B., 1971)
  • New York
  • +1 212 310 8385 tel
  • +1 212 310 8007 fax

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