Steve McCormick has been with Kirkland's Litigation Practice Group for 43 years. Admitted in Illinois and New York, he has tried cases as lead counsel in 24 different federal and state courts in every region of the country, as well as to arbitration panels in New York, Chicago, Mexico City, and Brussels.
Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers
Selected by The National Law Journal as one of the 10 Winning Trial Lawyers of 2006
Recognized by peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News and World Report, Best Lawyers® for Business Litigation, "Best Lawyers in America," Woodward & White
Head of Kirkland & Ellis in-house trial advocacy program from 1995 to 2010. Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, Integrated Trial Advocacy course since 1995
Jury trials in 21 state and federal jurisdictions from the Southern District of New York to the Los Angeles Superior Court and bench trials or arbitrations in 11 jurisdictions, including international arbitrations in Mexico City and Brussels.
Defense jury verdict in a federal criminal antitrust case
Judgment for the plaintiff in a $36 million international arbitration (collected in full)
Defense jury verdict in one of the most closely watched smoking-and-health cases of 1999
Defense jury verdict in a Florida state court fraud action named by The National Law Journal as one of the 10 most significant defense victories of 2006
Defense judgment in 2014 in a multi-hundred million claim against technology outsourcing provider
A complete list of matters tried and argued on appeal since 1980, with outcomes, is set out below in reverse chronological order.
Carlson Companies Inc. v. IBM Corp (Bench trial in the District of Minnesota (Minneapolis), 2014. Lawsuit by travel and leisure company against client in connection with the early termination of a $700 million outsourcing contract. Judgment for client was granted in all respects. Plaintiff's claims were dismissed in their entirety. Client's counterclaim for termination payments awarded in full. Judgment for client of $14.2 million in termination payments collected in full, with interest.
State of Indiana v. International Business Machines and International Business Machines v. State of Indiana (Bench trial in the Marion County (Indiana) Superior Court, 2012. The lawsuits, filed in 2010, revolved around a 10-year contract under which the State of Indiana hired an IBM-led coalition of companies to assist it in modernizing its welfare eligibility system. Following termination of the contract by the State in 2010, the parties filed competing lawsuits in Marion County Indiana Superior Court. Based on the six-week trial record, the Court dismissed all claims brought against IBM by the State, including the State's claim for more than $1.3 billion in damages, and awarding IBM approximately $62 million in termination payments and prejudgment interest. The matter is currently on appeal.
Stone & Webster, Inc. v. Public Service Company of Colorado d/b/a XCEL Energy (Jury trial in the District Court for the City and County of Denver, 2010). Represented Stone and Webster as contractor on the Comanche 3 power plant project in Pueblo, Colorado, in a claim against the owner, Xcel Energy, for delay and disruption and in defense of counterclaims, including claims for liquidated damages. Four weeks of trial. Case settled while on appeal for payment of $45 million to client, dismissal of $80 million claim against client for construction delay, and limitation on client's warranty obligation for $1.3 billion power plant.
In Re: Visteon Corporation et al. (Bench trial in Delaware bankruptcy court, 2009). Represented Visteon Corporation, as debtor in bankruptcy in action for a determination that Visteon is permitted to terminate $310 million in balance sheet liability for post-employment health and welfare for approximately 7,000 current and retired U.S. workers. After a two-day trial, court granted Visteon's requested relief as to all issues except for the remaining 15 months of one collective bargaining agreement covering approximately 350 of those employees. Argued case on appeal to the District Court (judgment affirmed) and to the 3rd Circuit (judgment reversed).
Honeywell International Inc. v. Universal Avionics and Sandel Avionics (Jury trials in Delaware federal court, 2004 and 2008). Represented aerospace manufacturer as plaintiff in patent infringement case (one asserted patent tried in 2004, remaining two tried in 2008). After seven days of trial in 2004, jury found client's patent not invalid and infringed by Universal Avionics and assessed damages of $5.3 million. Damages and injunction against Universal affirmed on appeal by the Federal Circuit and damages collected in full. Case lost against Sandel Avionics. On defendants' claim of inequitable conduct, tried to the court, court entered judgment for client, affirmed on appeal. In 2008 trial, case settled by Universal Avionics on eve of trial and case lost against Sandel Avionics after five days of trial. Judgment not appealed.
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ACT) v. ConocoPhillips Company (Arbitration before a panel of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, New York, 2006-07). Represented defendant ConocoPhillips Company against claims brought by ACT, the third largest convenience store operator in North America, arising from the sale by client of a convenience store business. Nine trial days. ACT's claims against client "denied in their entirety."
Breed Technologies v. Honeywell International, Inc. (Jury trial in Polk County, Florida, 2006). Represented Honeywell International as defendant in a dispute arising from the sale of a business by Honeywell to a competitor. Thirty-nine trial days. Verdict and judgment for Honeywell, not appealed. This case was featured in The National Law Journal's 10 Winning Attorneys edition for 2006 (June 5, 2006) and in the June 2006 issue of The American Lawyer.
Universal Avionics v. Honeywell International Inc. (Bench trial in Delaware federal court, 2003). Represented aerospace manufacturer as plaintiff in patent infringement case and defendant in antitrust, unfair competition, patent invalidity, and patent misuse case, following summary judgment against client on client's patent infringement claim. Five trial days. Judgment for client on all issues. 343 F. Supp. 2d 272. Argued appeal and cross appeal in Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, June 5, 2006. That portion of the judgment in client's favor affirmed; summary judgment against client reversed. Client's infringement claim now pending in the district court.
Colgate-Palmolive Company v. Baser Petro Kimya et al. (Arbitration before a panel of the International Court of Arbitration, Brussels, Belgium, 2002). Represented plaintiff Colgate-Palmolive in arbitration against Turkish joint venture partners. Seven trial days. Obtained $13.5 million judgment for Colgate and dismissal of $61 million counterclaim. Case settled following post-judgment litigation in Turkey.
Simmons Foods, Inc. v. Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. (Summary judgment and Eighth Circuit argument in Fayetteville, Arkansas federal court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2001). Represented Colgate-Palmolive subsidiary in breach of contract and promissory estoppel case brought by client's largest raw material supplier. Obtained summary judgment for client on all issues. Argued case in Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals which affirmed the summary judgment in all respects. (270 F3d 723.)
Steele v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company (Jury trial in Kansas City federal court, 1999). Represented tobacco company in a wrongful death case by the estate of a lung cancer victim. Nine trial days. Defense verdict on all issues. The financial press reported that this verdict moved tobacco company stocks generally higher and moved the ADR's of the defendant's British parent by more than six percent. (See The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 1999, A1 Col. 2 and B7.)
State of Washington v. American Tobacco Company, et al. (Jury trial in King County Circuit Court, Seattle, Washington, 1998). Represented tobacco company in suit by the State of Washington to recover Medicaid and other medical costs of smoking-related disease. Approximately 40 trial days. Case voluntarily dismissed at close of plaintiff's case in connection with November 1998 national tobacco settlement.
Colgate-Palmolive de Mexico v. Clorox de Mexico (Arbitration before a panel of the American Arbitration Association, Mexico City, 1996). Represented plaintiff Colgate-Palmolive in an arbitration seeking damages arising from the termination of a series of foreign joint ventures with the Clorox Company. Five trial days. Obtained $35.8 million judgment for Colgate and dismissal of all counterclaims. The judgment was sustained in post-judgment litigation in Mexico and the U.S., and collected in full.
Printware Corporation v. A.B. Dick Company (Arbitration before a panel of the American Arbitration Association, Chicago, 1995). Represented defendant A.B. Dick Company as defendant in breach of contract claim by developer of digital imaging system. Approximately eight trial days. Case lost — arbitration judgment for the plaintiff.
Kissinger Company v. A.B. Dick Company (Jury trial in Richland County (Mansfield) Ohio Court of Common Pleas, tried in 1990 and again in 1991). Represented defendant manufacturer in distributor termination, trade defamation, and tortious interference case. Eight trial days. Defense verdict on all issues, including verdict for client on counterclaim for trademark infringement. The case was tried to a mistrial in the Fall of 1990, and to verdict in the Spring of 1991. This case was one of three related cases stemming from a broad-ranging dispute between client A.B. Dick Company and its distributor network. See Inland Printing Company and A.B. Dick Products below.
Estate of George L. Parker v. General Motors (Jury trial in Vilas County (Eagle River) Wisconsin Circuit Court, 1990). Represented defendant General Motors in a quadriplegia and death case alleging negligent design of the passenger restraint system in approximately 40 million GM cars. Seven trial days. Defense verdict. Was also national lead counsel to GM in connection with all similar pending cases.
Puma v. General Motors (Jury trial in Albuquerque, New Mexico, federal court, 1990). Represented defendant manufacturer against claim of negligent design of automobile restraint system in approximately 40 million GM cars. Three trial days (plaintiff's case). Obtained directed verdict for client at close of plaintiff's case.
United States v. N.L. Industries, Inc., et al. (Criminal antitrust jury trial in New Orleans federal court, 1990). Represented defendant N.L. Industries in a criminal antitrust case charging § 1 price-fixing conspiracy among oil-field services companies. Approximately eight trial days. Although one alleged co-conspirator plead guilty and testified as a government witness, the jury returned a verdict of acquittal as to all remaining defendants.
Kansas City Employees Credit Union v. Unisys Corporation (Jury trial in Kansas City federal court, approximately 1989). Represented computer company in fraud and breach of contract action involving sale of computer system. Approximately 10 trial days. Case lost. Jury verdict for plaintiff not appealed.
Prentice Colour, Inc. v. A.B. Dick Company (Jury trial in Houston federal court, approximately 1989). Represented the defendant in suit claiming breach of contract for distribution of plaintiff's graphic arts products. Case lost. New trial granted and new counsel retained for retrial.
Almon v. Burroughs Corporation (Jury trial in Chicago federal court, 1988). Thirteen consolidated cases alleging repetitive stress injuries from use of client's keyboard. Eighteen trial days. Jury verdict for client on all issues. Was also national lead counsel for 30+ similar cases elsewhere in country, and all other cases were dismissed without payment by client following the Almon trial.
Inland Printing Company v. A.B. Dick Company (Bench trial in Springfield, Missouri federal court, 1987). Represented defendant A.B. Dick Company in distributor termination case. Two trial days. Preliminary injunction denied; judgment on the merits entered for defense on all issues. (1987 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15,256.) After trial, related case of A.B. Dick Products v. A.B. Dick, Idaho Federal Court, voluntarily dismissed with prejudice — no payment by client.
American Can Company, et al. v. A.B. Dick Company (Jury trial and preliminary injunction hearing, New York federal courts (Southern District) 1986). Represented defendant A.B. Dick Company in breach of contract and antitrust case brought by American Can Company. Successfully opposed preliminary injunction in three-day hearing in New York federal court (Chief Judge Brieant) (1983-2 CCH Trade Cases 65,751). Case proceeded to 14-day trial by jury on the merits, resulting in complete defense verdict for client. (Judge Griesa). Jury verdict included $1.35 million verdict for defendant-client on counterclaim for breach of contract.
Franmara Co. v. Unisys Corporation (Jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, 1986). Represented computer manufacturer against charges of fraud and negligence in the sale of a computer system. Approximately 10 trial days. Obtained defense verdict for client on all issues, including counterclaim for unpaid balance due. This was the last of seven trials as national lead counsel for Unisys (and its predecessor, Burroughs Corporation) in 100+ lawsuits and an FTC investigation of alleged design and performance problems with three lines of computer products. These were typically fraud, breach of contract, breach of warranty and consumer protection act claims. In addition to trials described herein, obtained summary judgment for client in Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa federal courts.
Fluid Dynamics v. Burroughs Corporation (Jury trial in Jefferson County, Alabama, Circuit Court (Birmingham), approximately 1985). Represented defendant computer manufacturer in fraud and breach of contract action involving sale and performance of a computer system. Approximately five trial days (plaintiff's case). Case settled at close of plaintiff's case.
St. Louis Home Insulators v. Burroughs Corporation (Jury trial in St. Louis, Missouri, federal court, 1984). Represented defendant computer manufacturer in suit by a chain of insulation companies involving three-city computer network. After plaintiff's case (approximately five trial days) court discharged jury and granted summary judgment for the defense on all issues. (597 F.Supp 100.) Argued the case on appeal in the Eighth Circuit, which affirmed judgment for client. (793 F.2d 954; cert denied, 479 U.S. 1021.)
Defco v. Burroughs Corporation (Jury trial in Decatur, Alabama, federal court, approximately 1983). Represented computer manufacturer in breach of contract and fraud action involving sale of computer system. Case lost. Jury verdict for plaintiff not appealed.
Industrial Distributors v Burroughs Corporation (Jury trial in Casper, Wyoming, federal court, 1982). Represented defendant computer company in fraud and breach of contract action involving sale of computer system. Approximately 10 trial days. Case lost. Verdict for plaintiff for 60 percent of system purchase price. Following this verdict, approximately 100 pending cases were settled for partial refund of hardware purchase price.
Rex Rotary v. A. B. Dick Company (Arbitration before a panel of the American Arbitration Association, Chicago, 1983). Breach of contract action against client-defendant. Ten to 15 hearing days. Case lost on liability and settled before damages phase.
Century Automotive v. Burroughs Corporation (Jury trial in Twin Falls County, Idaho, Circuit Court, 1982). Represented defendant computer company in fraud and breach of contract action involving role of computer system. Approximately 15 trial days. Directed verdict for client on fraud claim. Jury verdict for plaintiff on breach of contract claim in the amount of $35,000. Client awarded costs as the prevailing party under the Offer of Judgment Rule.
Barton Chemical v. Pennwalt (Bench trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, 1981). Represented the defendant seller of bulk chemicals in a declaratory judgment and damages action by client's customer concerning the price term of a supply contract. Obtained summary judgment for defendant, which was reversed by the Illinois Appellate Court. (79 Ill.App.3d 829; 399 N.E.2d 288.) The case proceeded to trial and the court rendered judgment against our client. On appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the liability finding and reduced the damage award to $56,000. (106 Ill.App.3d, 436 N.E.2d 51.)
People v. Tucker (Jury trial in Cook County Circuit Court, Criminal Division, approximately 1980). Represented the defendant charged in this case with burglary. Approximately three-day jury trial resulting in a guilty verdict.
Other Representative Matters
Summary judgment on all issues in favor of German and Japanese electronics manufacturers’ joint venture in Chicago Federal Court, affirmed by Seventh Circuit.Summary judgment on all issues for major folding paperboard carton manufacturer in multi-district class action price fixing case in Chicago federal court. Client was the only defendant to obtain summary judgment.
Represented one of defendant plywood manufacturers in Federal Trade Commission price fixing case tried and lost at an FTC ALJ. Judgment affirmed by the Commission but reversed by the Ninth Circuit with direction to dismiss complaint.
Represented defendants in MDL price fixing class actions not tried to verdict involving: bromine (Indianapolis Federal Court); oil and gas drill bits (Houston Federal Court); metal containers (Chicago Federal Court); kitchen appliances (vertical price fixing allegation; Chicago Federal Court).
In addition to the defense verdict in U.S. v. NL Industries, described above, represented clients in various U.S. Department of Justice price fixing grand jury investigations, including metal containers (Philadelphia, and New York); oil and gas drill bits (Houston); folding paperboard cartons (Chicago); liquefied petroleum gas (Arkansas); silicon metal (New York); plywood (New Orleans); school milk (Detroit); sanded plywood (Portland, Oregon); lumber (Portland, Oregon); copper oxide (Philadelphia).
Author of “Responding to the Grand Jury Document Subpoena,” American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law.
In addition to the three trials and one appellate argument described above, represented a computer manufacturer as defendant in patent infringement case involving optical character recognition, in Chicago Federal Court. Summary judgment for client reversed by CAFC; case settled. Represented aerospace manufacturer as plaintiff in patent infringement case in Miami Federal Court. Case settled. Obtained a TRO on behalf of client computer manufacturer against former employee in possession of trade secrets, Chicago federal court. Permanent injunction stipulated as part of case settlement.
In addition to the trials described above, represented a personal care products manufacturer in a class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York, and obtained a denial of class certification. Case settled with individual plaintiffs thereafter.