Richard C. Godfrey, P.C. - Partner

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Richard C. Godfrey, P.C.

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Phone: +1 312-862-2391
Fax: +1 312-862-2200
Overview News

Professional Profile

Mr. Godfrey is a senior litigation partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He has acted as trial and appellate counsel in both individual and class action suits involving complex claims in a variety of practice areas, including: antitrust and trade regulation, contracts, consumer fraud and fraud, discrimination, ERISA, environmental, franchise and distribution, insurance, toxic tort, products liability, trade secrets, tax, and others. He also provides strategic litigation counseling to corporations and individuals on regulatory and administrative matters.

Illustrative matters in which Mr. Godfrey has represented companies or individuals over the last several years include:

  • MDL 2543: In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (Counsel for General Motors LLC in litigation relating to vehicle recalls)

  • City Of Neodesha, Kansas v. BP Corporation North America, et al., aff’d No. 109-111 (Kan. App., August 22, 2014) (trial court jury verdict for BP affirmed); see prior Kansas Supreme Court decision, 287 P.3d 214 (Kan. 2012) (Represent BP party defendants on appeals involving certified class in an environmental remediation and cleanup case)

  • MDL 2179: In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon (E.D. La. 2010); see also In re United States Coast Guard - Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Joint Investigation into the Deepwater Horizon Casualty (Counsel for BP)

  • Romero v. A Leading Property and Casualty Insurance Company, consolidated; No. 01-3894, 2014 WL 796005 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 7, 2014) (Summary Judgment Opinion & Opinion on Motions for Reconsideration with respect to alleged private plaintiffs’ claims); 1 F.Supp. 3d 219 (E.D. Pa.) (EEOC Summary Judgment Opinion in favor of defendant company in claims brought by the EEOC); see also 2007 WL 906158 (E.D. Pa., Mar. 21, 2007); 2007 WL 1811197 (E.D. Pa., June 20, 2007), reversed, 2009 WL 2255817 (3d Cir. 2009) (Counsel for client in consolidated cases brought by the EEOC and a putative class of former employee insurance agents alleging age discrimination and breach of contract claims, among others); see also earlier decision in related case reported at 404 F.3d 212 (3d Cir. 2005)

  • Nettles, et al. v. A Leading Property and Casualty Insurance Company, No. 02-CH-14426 (Circuit Court Cook County, July 6, 2010), aff’d, Slip Op. No. 1-10-2247 (1st Dist. Ill. App., May 29, 2012), Nettles’ petition for leave to appeal denied (Counsel for insurance company in certified class action trial alleging violations of Illinois and Washington state wage and hours laws with respect to client’s adjusters)

  • United States v. Debra Hills, 618 F.3d 619 (7th Cir. 2010) (Represented Ms. Hills as appointed counsel (pro bono) on appeal of Hills’ criminal conviction for (i) an alleged conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and (ii) for allegedly filing a false tax return. On appeal, the Court ruled in Ms. Hills’ favor, vacated her conviction, and remanded for a new trial on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct)

  • Siegel v. Shell Oil Co., 612 F.3d 932 (7th Cir. 2010), petition for rehearing denied (7th Cir., July 30, 2010); 656 F.Supp.2d 825, 2009 WL 2905552 (N.D. Ill., Sept. 4, 2009); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13520, 2009 WL 449073 (N.D. Ill., Feb. 23, 2009); 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72314 (N.D. Ill., Sept. 23, 2008) (class certification denied); 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72314, 2008 WL 4378399 (Sept. 23, 2008); 480 F.Supp.2d 1034 (N.D. Ill. 2007) (Represented BP in putative consumer class action challenging gasoline pricing)

  • BP Amoco Chemical Co. v. Flint Hills Resources, LLC, 697 F.Supp.2d 1001 (N.D. Ill. 2010); 615 F.Supp.2d 765 (N.D. Ill. 2009); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32708, 2009 WL 1033373 (N.D. Ill., April 17, 2009); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13524, 600 F.Supp.2d 976, 2009 WL 449081 (N.D. Ill. 2009); 2008 WL 487689 (N.D. Ill., Aug. 28, 2008); 500 F.Supp.2d 957 (N.D. Ill. 2007); 489 F.Supp.2d 853 (N.D. Ill. 2007); 2006 WL 2505691 (N.D. Ill., Aug. 25, 2006) (Represented BP Amoco in a case alleging breach of contract and fraud arising out of the sale of a chemical plant)

  • ExxonMobil Corp. v. Gill, 221 S.W.3d 841, 2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 2819, 2007 WL 1080655 (Tex. App. 2007), reversed in favor of Exxon, 299 S.W.3d 124 (Tex. S. Ct. 2009), petition for rehearing denied (Jan. 15, 2010) (Represented ExxonMobil in putative statewide class action alleging breach of contract and fraudulent concealment over gasoline pricing); see also Flagler Automotive, Inc., et al. v. ExxonMobil Corp., appeal dismissed (2d Cir., Feb. 2009), 582 F.Supp.2d 367, 2008 WL 4604085 (E.D.N.Y. 2008), 67 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) (Represented ExxonMobil in putative nationwide class action with respect to gasoline pricing)

  • In re General Growth Properties, Inc., 409 B.R. 43, 51 Bankr.Ct.Dec. 280 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (Represented General Growth project-level debtors at trial in challenge to Chapter 11 filings; bench trial opinion in favor of clients)

  • MDL 1532: In re New Motor Vehicles Canadian Exp. Antitrust Litig., 632 F.Supp.2d 42 (D. Me. 2009) (Summary judgment ruling in favor of defendants in multidistrict litigation antitrust case); 2009 WL 861485 (D. Me., March 26, 2009). See also 522 F.3d 6 (1st Cir. 2008), motion for rehearing denied (1st Cir., May 2008); 533 F.3d 1, 2008 WL 2568457, 2571402 (1st Cir. 2008), and other opinions reported at: 307 F.Supp.2d 136 (D. Me. 2004); 490 F.Supp.2d 12 (D. Me. 2007); 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10240 (D. Me., Mar. 10, 2006); 235 F.R.D. 127 (D. Me. 2006); 236 F.R.D. 53 (D. Me. 2006); 466 F.Supp.2d 364 (D. Me. 2006); 241 F.R.D. 77 (D. Me. 2007); 243 F.R.D. 17, 20 (D. Me. 2007); 244 F.R.D. 70 (D. Me. 2007); 2008 WL 583548 (D. Me., Jan. 29, 2008); 2008 WL 1924993 (Apr. 29, 2008); 2009 WL 861485 (March 26, 2009); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30260 (April 2, 2009) (Represented General Motors in putative class action alleging antitrust conspiracy)

  • Nolan v. Weil-McLain, 233 Ill.2d 416, 910 N.E.2d 549, 331 Ill. Dec. 140 (Ill. 2009), petition for rehearing denied (June 11, 2009), and reversing, 365 Ill.App.3d 963, 851 N.E.2d 281, 303 Ill. Dec. 383 (Ill. App. Ct., 4th Dist. 2006) (Counsel on appeal for Weil-McLain; Illinois Supreme Court reversed lower court’s entry of adverse jury verdict and judgment in an asbestos case, and reversed the Court of Appeals to set aside what was known as the "Lipke" rule)

  • Daniel v. Aon Corp., No. 1-06-0240, Slip Op. (1st Dist. Ill. App., June 19, 2008), petition for rehearing denied (Represented the Aon parties in putative class action involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, constructive trust, and claimed violations of consumer fraud statutes); see also related cases in MDL 1663: In re Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2818 (D.N.J., Jan. 14, 2008); 2007 U.S. Dist.LEXIS 74711 (D.N.J., Oct. 5, 2007); 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73220 (D.N.J., Sept. 28, 2007); 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65037 & 64767 (D.N.J., Aug. 31, 2007); 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47659 (D.N.J., June 29, 2007); 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40729 (D.N.J., June 5, 2007); 2007 WL 1062980 (D.N.J., Apr. 5, 2007); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17019 (March 3, 2009); 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63633, 2008 WL 3887616 (Aug. 20, 2008); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17754; 17755 (Feb. 17, 2009)

  • UAW v. General Motors Corp., 235 F.R.D. 383, 2006 WL 1071904 (E.D. Mich. 2006); 2006 WL 891151 (E.D. Mich. 2006), aff’d, 497 F.3d 615 (6th Cir. 2007) (Represented GM in class action involving retiree health care benefits; class settlement resulted in restructuring of union retiree health care benefits); see also Int’l Union v. General Motors Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92590, 2008 WL 2968408, 156 Lab.Cas. ¶ 11,098 (E.D. Mich., July 31, 2008); 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16767 (E.D. Mich., Mar. 5, 2008); see also Int’l Union v. General Motors Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92590, 2008 WL 2968408, 156 Lab.Cas. 11,098 (E.D. Mich., July 31, 2008); 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16767 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 5, 2008) (Represented GM in case involving retiree health care benefits alleging class action claims under ERISA and LMRA)

  • MDL 1510: In re Daewoo Motor Co., Ltd. Dealership Litig., and Daewoo Motor America, Inc. v. General Motors Corp., 315 B.R. 148 (M.D. Fla. 2004), aff’d, 459 F.3d 1249 (11th Cir. 2006), cert. denied, 127 S. Ct. 2032 (2007) (Represented GM in putative class action litigation arising out of the sale of Korean automobile manufacturer’s assets)

Memberships & Affiliations

Member, The National Association of Distinguished Counsel - Nation’s One Percent

Trustee, Augustana College (Rock Island, IL; 1996–2003, 2005–2012, 2015–2019)

Trustee, Boston University; also Member, Dean's Advisory Board, Boston University School of Law

Trustee, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Member, Board of Directors, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Member, Board of Directors, The Appleseed Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

Member, Board of Directors, The Churchill Centre; formerly a Trustee, American Friends of the Churchill Museum (War Cabinet Rooms, London)

Member, Board of Governors, The Mid-America Club (IL)

Member of the Civic Committee, The Commercial Club of Chicago

Former Member, Board of Directors, National Center for State Courts (2009-2015); also formerly Co-Chair, Lawyer’s Committee, National Center for State Courts (Williamsburg, VA)

Former Member, Kirkland Worldwide Management Committee (1999-2015)

Member of the American, Illinois, Chicago, 5th and 7th Circuit Bar Associations; Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation; and Fellow, The American Bar Foundation

Member, Chicago Inn of Court

Fellow, American Bar Association

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Other Distinctions

Chambers USA profile (2003–2015)

  • Band 1, Litigation: General Commercial: Illinois (2011–2015)

Benchmark Litigation

  • National: General Commercial (2008–2016)
  • Illinois (2008–2016)

The Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News and World Report, Best Lawyers®

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation (2015–2016)
  • Commercial Litigation (2006, 2010–2016)
  • Litigation: Antitrust (2011–2014, 2015–2016)
  • Litigation: Environmental (2011)
  • Litigation: Labor & Employment (2011)

The BTI Client Service “All Stars” Survey (2006, 2013, 2014)

Chicago’s Best Lawyers

  • Commercial Litigation (2006, 2010–2016)
  • Litigation: Antitrust (2011–2014)
  • Litigation: Environmental (2011)
  • Litigation: Labor & Employment (2011)

Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America (2008–2009, 2014–2015)

Lawdragon Guide to World-Class Lawyers (2005–2007 and 2010–2013)

Legal 500 U.S.

  • Industry Focus: Energy: Litigation (2010–2015)
  • Industry Focus: Environment: Litigation (2011–2012)
  • Commercial Litigation (2015)
  • Litigation: Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Toxic Tort (2012-2015)
  • Supreme Court and Appellate (2011)
  • Antitrust (2010)

Leading Lawyers (2003–2015)

  • Civil Appellate Law
  • Commercial Litigation

Who’s Who Legal: Illinois (2006, 2008)

Illinois Super Lawyers (2005–2016)

  • Business Litigation
  • Appellate

Martindale-Hubbell (2000–2016)

  • Commercial Litigation, AV Preeminent 5/5 Rating

PLC Which Lawyer? (2011–2012)

  • Illinois: Dispute Resolution

Pillars of Justice Award, Appleseed Foundation (2013)

10 for 10: Ten Attorneys Who Raised the Bar Over the Last Decade, Law Bulletin Publishing Company (2010)

Member, Warren E. Burger Society, National Center for State Courts (Williamsburg, VA)

Law360 Distinctions

  • Law360 Practice Group of the Year — Class Action (2012, 2014)
  • Mr. Godfrey’s inclusion in the 2013 BTI Client Service “All Stars” Survey was highlighted in “GCs Name Cream of the Crop Litigators,” Law360, February 15, 2013.
  • Mr. Godfrey was recognized for his “…responsiveness, his analytical mind, and his ability to think quickly on his feet” in “5 Insights From ADM General Counsel Cameron Findlay,” Law360, May 6, 2014.
  • Mr. Godfrey’s representation of BP in the Deepwater Horizon case was highlighted in “Product Liability Cases to Watch in 2012,” Law360, January 1, 2012.

Press Mentions

Excerpt from the May 1, 2015, Bloomberg BNA publication, “Archer Daniels Midland GC: Be Responsive, Keep the Steak,”

Q. [To Cameron Findlay] With your background you’ve had the chance to be around some very talented people. Who is someone you looked up to?

A.…on the litigation and investigation side, there’s a guy named Rick Godfrey at Kirkland. I got to see him in action during our Spitzer matter. He is just 100 per cent client responsive, brilliant, hard-working, and always precise and to the point in terms of his advice.

Excerpt from the May 6, 2014, Law360 publication, “5 Insights From Archer Daniels Midland GC Cameron Findlay,”

Q. Outside your own company, name an attorney who has impressed you and tell us why.

A. …We were given a very short deadline to seek guidance on this question [relating to the possible interaction between a proposed settlement and a pending class action litigation being handed by Kirkland], and so over the lunch break we managed to reach Rick Godfrey of Kirkland, who might have been distracted because he was himself on a lunch break from a multiweek trial for a different client. Without any opportunity to prepare, Rick calmly set forth a proposed solution to our complicated legal problem. The solution satisfied both Aon’s needs and the AG’s needs, and we were able to wrap up the settlement very quickly after that. I have always been impressed by Rick’s responsiveness, his analytical mind, and his ability to think quickly on his feet.


Member of the bars of the United States Supreme Court and United States Court of Claims

Member of the bars of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeal

Member of the bars of the United States District Courts for the District of Colorado, the Northern District of Illinois, the Central District of Illinois, the Northern District of Indiana, the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, and the United States Tax Court

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