James W. Quinn

Biography

James W. Quinn
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 2005-2014, and as a top US trial lawyer in 2010-2014, 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. 

Notable Representations

  • State of New Hampshire v. Hess Corp.
    Lead trial lawyer for ExxonMobil in three-month trial of claims relating to the use of the chemical MTBE as a gasoline additive
  • City of Omaha v. CBS Corp.
    Obtained dismissal, affirmed by the Second Circuit, of putative securities fraud class action concerning a $14 billion impairment.
  • EchoStar, Inc. v. ESPN, Inc. et al.
    Lead trial lawyer in a multiweek jury trial in New York State Supreme Court representing defendants ESPN, Inc. and related Walt Disney Companies. Plaintiff EchoStar sought over $130 million in damages for alleged contract breaches relating to rights to ESPN and Disney’s high-definition television networks. The jury rejected all of plaintiff’s claims and rendered a complete defense verdict on behalf of ESPN and Disney.
  • Eventim LLP v. Live Nation, Inc.
    Lead lawyer for claimant Eventim seeking nearly a billion dollars in damages for breach of contract and breach of the covenant good faith and fair dealing in connection with a long term licensing agreement involving Eventim’s world renowned ticketing system. The claims were litigated before a single arbitrator from the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.
  • Dan Rather v CBS Corporation., et al
    Obtained 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.
  • In re Vivendi Universal, S.A. Securities Litigation
    Co-lead trial counsel representing Vivendi, S.A. in the largest shareholder class action ever to go to trial, in which the plaintiffs alleged that Vivendi violated federal securities laws by misrepresenting or concealing material information about its financial condition.
  • In re Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Antitrust Litigation
    Lead counsel for ExxonMobil in this litigation for which Weil handled a consolidated multidistrict federal class action, 13 state class actions, and two opt-out cases brought by major purchasers of EPDM, alleging that ExxonMobil and co-defendants unlawfully conspired to fix prices in the market for EPDM, which, historically, has exhibited the greatest growth rate among major types of rubber since it was first manufactured in the 1960s. Unlike other defendants in similar actions – who paid in total over $80 million in settlements - ExxonMobil paid nothing in damages or settlement in any of the 16 separate EPDM suits that Weil handled.
  • Siegel et al v. Shell Oil Company et al.
    Successfully defeated certification of a national class on behalf of Exxon Mobil Corporation and co-defendants BP, Citgo Petroleum Corp., Marathon Oil Corp., and Shell Oil Company in a litigation alleging conspiracy among major integrated oil companies to restrict the supply of gasoline and thus increase gas prices. The plaintiff had asked for over $1 billion in damages.
  • Applied Medical v. Johnson & Johnson Co.
    Lead counsel in a successful defense of a $54 million antitrust claim brought by a smaller competitor. The suit involved allegations of monopolization via the so-called “bundling” of discounts across a variety of different medical and surgical product markets. The jury of nine, sitting in federal court in Southern California listened to seven weeks of complex medical and economic testimony before it rejected plaintiff’s claims finding for J&J on all counts.
  • In re Managed Care Multidistrict Litigation
    Lead counsel for UnitedHealth Group in defense of multi-billion dollar RICO and related conspiracy claims brought by a nationwide class of 700,000 doctors. All but one of the other 10 defendants settled out for more than a billion dollars. After three separate hearings, the federal court in Miami granted summary judgment in toto finding insufficient evidence of either conspiracy or fraud.
  • In the Matter of Madison Square Garden, L.P. v. New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Jets Development, LLC
    Lead counsel in defense of the MTA in a lawsuit brought by MSG and several community groups seeking to overturn the MTA’s Board’s decision to proceed with negotiations with the New York Jets football team to allow the Jets to build a new football stadium over the Long Island Rail Road railyards on Manhattan's West Side.
  • Colgate-Palmolive Co. v. Procter & Gamble Co.
    Lead counsel in successful defense of a $80 million claim brought against Procter & Gamble by competitor Colgate-Palmolive in federal court in the Southern District of New York. The suit stemmed from Colgate’s allegations that P&G’s advertising for its highly successful at-home tooth-whitening products, Crest Whitestrips and Crest Night Effects, were false under the federal Lanham Act. Following a three-week trial, the jury wholly rejected Colgate’s claims and awarded no damages, resulting in a complete victory for P&G.
  • Modi Enterprises v. ESPN
    Lead counsel in successful defense of a $231 million claim brought against various ESPN entities arising out of the launch of the ESPN channel in India. After a two-week trial in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of New York, the jury rendered a complete defense verdict for ESPN in the case in which MEN asserted claims for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and breach of fiduciary duty. ESPN also won $1.8 million on its counterclaim, based on MEN’s failure to make payments during the last four months of the parties’ contract. (The Lawyer, a UK legal publication, has cited this case as one of New York’s biggest cases in 2004.)
  • Exxon Mobil v. SABIC
    Co-lead counsel for Exxon Mobil in this breach-of-contract suit against Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. Exxon claimed that SABIC had overcharged Exxon in two joint venture agreements concerning the technology responsible for petrochemical products used in a variety of plastics products sold worldwide. After Mr. Quinn’s careful jury selection due to the international nature of the case, the trial was complicated by the fact that the two contracts in question were both governed by unique Saudi law principles, and therefore Saudi law would be applied to the case. Mr. Quinn won every single count against SABIC, and the jury awarded Exxon with $416.8 million in compensatory damages. This is one of the largest verdicts in the United States in 2003 and the largest verdict in a commercial case in the history of Delaware. Every challenge that SABIC has exercised through post-trial motions has been defeated.
  • Duquesne Co. v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation
    A large Pennsylvania utility brought suit against Westinghouse alleging breach of contract and fraud, among other claims. Mr. Quinn represented the defendant in this four-month jury trial and obtained a complete defense verdict on a billion dollar claim. The verdict was upheld on appeal by the Third Circuit. More than a dozen lawsuits and arbitration of this kind were filed against Westinghouse in the United States and Europe, and Mr. Quinn successfully resolved every one of them.
  • Furnas SA v. Westinghouse
    Mr. Quinn handled this international arbitration brought by a Brazilian utility asserting a multi-billion dollar claim against Westinghouse before a panel of three arbitrators in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris. After extensive evidentiary hearings and voluminous submissions by both sides over several years, the panel dismissed all claims against Westinghouse and instead awarded Westinghouse millions of dollars in costs and expenses related to the arbitration.
  • McNeil v. NFL
    Lead counsel for the NFL players in this historic dispute concerning the players' challenge to the antitrust player restrictions in the National Football League. Mr. Quinn guaranteed that a fair jury was chosen for his client after he cited a psychologist expert in sports fans who had concluded that avid sports fans were unable to be convinced that athletes had the right to sue for free agency or higher salaries. Mr. Quinn was just as resourceful during pretrial strategy as he was during jury selection. Due to the dismissal of a previous antitrust suit, Mr. Quinn had the players’ association disband, in order to thwart the defendants’ accusations that the players already had a union for a labor solution. After lengthy cross-examination of witnesses and a three-month jury trial, Mr. Quinn persuaded the jury to grant his eight players millions in damages which led to a $200 million damage settlement to the players in the NFL and true free agency for NFL players for the first time in the history of the NFL.
  • Buffalo Broadcasting v. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
    As Class Counsel for Buffalo Broadcasting and 600 other television stations nationwide in this antitrust class-action concerning blanket licensing,. Mr. Quinn led a three month bench trial after which the Court held that so-called “blanket” licensing of music performing rights was an impermissible restraint on trade. While the case was later reversed on other grounds, this landmark ruling led to a complete reconstruction of music licensing rights in television and radio industries across the United States.
  • Girl Friends Productions Inc. et al. v. ABC Inc. et al
    Lead counsel for ABC in a case involving the original idea for ABC’s television show, “The View.” Plaintiff Sandra Furton Gabriel, who had developed an idea for a show entitled “Girl Friends” in 1994, alleged breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good faith, among other complaints. On summary judgment, the Judge dismissed the lawsuit, reasoning that not only were the shows fundamentally different from one another, but that Mr. Quinn had proven the defendants had independently created “The View.” The Second Circuit recently affirmed this decision.
  • LILCO v. Imo Industries Inc.
    Serving as lead counsel for the defendant, Mr. Quinn represented Imo Industries when an electric utility sued IMO alleging defects in diesel generators they had sold to LILCO for use at the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant. LILCO asserted a dozen claims, including RICO, and sought nearly a billion dollars in damages as a result of the diesel failures which prevented the plant from operating. After two jury trials, Mr. Quinn eliminated all but a single warranty claim and was able to bring in a verdict at less than $8 million dollars, all of which was covered by insurance.
  • Houston Light & Power v. Westinghouse
    Mr. Quinn represented Westinghouse in this six-month trial involving yet another multi-billion dollar claim. This time a group of utilities sued for breach of contract and fraud involving corroding steam generating equipment supplied to the largest nuclear power plant in the United States. Ultimately, Mr. Quinn used his resourceful ability to settle cases for Westinghouse immediately before jury deliberations to obtain an extraordinarily favorable settlement for Westinghouse.
  • North American Soccer League v. NFL
    As lead counsel for the North American Soccer League and its teams in this suit against the NFL, Mr. Quinn successfully attacked an NFL regulation prohibiting NFL team owners from owning other professional sports teams. After an eight-week trial and an appeal to the Second Circuit, Mr. Quinn established the law that allows professional sports owners today to participate in the cross-ownership of major league teams.
  • Oscar Robertson et al. v. NBA
    This antitrust class action was filed by 14 NBA players union against team owners in search of free agency in professional basketball. After completing 200 depositions in five cities over the course of six months, the players and owners settled, and Mr. Quinn won in the biggest case in basketball history, establishing that basketball players were free agents. In the early 1980s, Mr. Quinn won again, this time with a new collective bargaining agreement guaranteeing players 53 percent of gross revenues in exchange for a league-wide salary cap.

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