Professional ProfileSeth Gastwirth is a litigation partner in Kirkland’s Chicago office. He serves as lead trial, appellate and arbitration counsel in both individual and class action lawsuits involving complex, multimillion dollar claims in a variety of practice areas, including: commercial disputes, product liability, labor and employment, contracts and warranties, intellectual property, real estate, consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, trade secrets, fiduciary duty, securities law, financial services, insurance, and litigation matters arising out of bankruptcy disputes.
Liberty Petroleum v. ExxonMobil, (Va. Cir. Ct): Second-chaired injunction trial for Exxon in Virginia state court in a breach of contract dispute. Following trial, court ruled in Exxon’s favor on every element of injunction standard and denied injunction. Related arbitration against Exxon voluntarily dismissed in light of court findings.
ExxonMobil, et al. v. Prysmian Power Cables and Systems USA, LLC, et al., (S.D.N.Y.): Trial counsel for Exxon in dispute asserting breach of contract, product liability, and breach of warranty claims relating to the supply and installation of submarine power cables. Negotiated and drafted favorable settlement on behalf of Exxon following filing of Complaint.
Colella v. Chicago Title; Chultem v. Ticor Title Ins. Co., (Ill. Cir. Ct.): Trial counsel for Chicago Title and Ticor Title in putative statewide consumer class actions alleging violations under the Illinois Title Insurance Act and Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. Successfully defeated class certification motions.
Coll v. BP America Production Company, (E.D. Tex.): Lead trial counsel for BP America Production Co. in putative class action alleging that defendants failed to properly refund severance taxes withheld from royalty and working interest owners. Lawsuit involved claims for breach of leases, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Negotiated a favorable settlement-class settlement on behalf of client and oversaw administration of settlement to class members.
Dayton Superior Corp. v. Thumann, (Ia. Cir. Ct.): Lead trial counsel for Dayton, a leading supplier to the concrete industry, in lawsuit asserting claims against former employee for breach of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of fiduciary duty. Negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of client.
City of Chicago v. Murphy/Jahn Inc.,(Ill Cir. Ct.): Lead trial counsel for SSAB Enterprises in lawsuits asserting breach of contract, breach of express and implied warranty, and implied indemnity claims concerning purportedly “defective steel” supplied by SSAB in connection with a construction project at O’Hare International Airport. Represented SSAB in court-ordered mediation proceedings and negotiated a favorable settlement.
Murphy/Jahn, Inc. v. Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, (Ill. Cir. Ct.): Trial counsel for third-party defendant Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP in lawsuits asserting negligent misrepresentation claims against Skidmore stemming from an engineering peer review it performed in connection with a construction project at O’Hare International Airport. Following oral-argument on a motion to dismiss, achieved successful dismissal of all claims against Skidmore and ruling was not appealed.
Araujo v. McDonald’s Corporation, (N.D. Ill.): Successfully represented McDonald’s in federal lawsuits asserting wrongful termination, defamation and misrepresentation claims. Case dismissed following a series of motion to dismiss hearings.
Harris Bank v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (Ill. Cir. Ct): Represented PwC in lawsuit alleging negligence based on PwC’s audit of a California technology company. Case settled on a favorable basis for client three weeks prior to trial.
Coram Healthcare Corp. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (Ill. Cir. Ct): Trial counsel for PwC in lawsuit asserting professional negligence claims and seeking damages in excess of $300 million. Obtained complete defense verdict following a three-week jury trial.
Various v. First Horizon Asset Securities, Inc. and First Tennessee Bank, National Association: Trial counsel for First Tennessee and First Horizon in various lawsuits pending in California, Illinois and Ohio state courts that allege violations of state and federal securities laws stemming from the issuance of residential mortgage backed securities.
In re Tropicana Entertainment, (Bankr. D. Del.): Represented debtor Tropicana, a nationwide casino and resort business. Successfully defended Tropicana in trial of trustee motion brought by bondholders. Motion settled during trial without appointment of trustee.
Tronox Inc. et al. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Kerr-McGee Corp., (S.D.N.Y.): Trial counsel for Tronox in multi-billion dollar four-month trial against Kerr-McGee challenging Kerr-McGee’s spin-off of Tronox as a fraudulent conveyance. Obtained a historic $14 billion verdict in December 2013. Final judgment will be entered following additional briefing to value Kerr-McGee's bankruptcy claims.
Chevron v. Southern Sierra, (N.D. Ill.): First-chair trial counsel for Southern Sierra and Western Sierra in a several hundred million dollar breach of partnership agreement dispute involving two gas cogeneration facilities located in Bakersfield, CA. Successfully represented Southern Sierra and Western Sierra during trial and appeal.
In re Edison Mission Energy, (Bankr. N.D. Ill.): Lead litigation counsel to Debtors on several employment litigation and benefits disputes relating to the termination of retiree medical benefits.
Various v. Ally Bank, Ally Financial, and Ally Securities: Trial counsel for Ally in several lawsuits pending in state and federal courts that allege violations of state and federal securities laws stemming from the issuance of residential mortgage backed securities.
Equistar v. Solutia, (S.D.N.Y.): Trial counsel for Solutia in dispute with Lyondell over whether Lyondell could abandon a former petrochemical plant and force Solutia to clean up tens of millions of dollars of environmental liabilities. Case settled on the morning trial was scheduled to begin before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on highly favorable terms that allowed Solutia to record a significant gain against reserves it previously had taken.
Various v. Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation: National defense counsel for several pharmaceutical companies in nationwide federal and state False Claims Act qui tam litigation cases relating to off-label marketing and alleged false claims paid by Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration and other federal health care programs.
Pro Bono Experience
Provide tax counseling and tax preparation services to low income families in the Chicagoland area in conjunction with the City-Wide Tax Assistance Program.
Represented the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in two disputes stemming from the administration of the World Trade Center Memorial Competition. Successfully argued an appeal before the New York Appellate Division - First Department.
Memberships & Affiliations
Member, Board of Directors, Ladder Up (2007-present)
Member, Board of Directors, Ravinia Associates (2008-present)
Alumni Student Recruitment Volunteer, The University of Michigan (2006-present)
Selected as an “Illinois Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine, a publication of Key Professional Media, Inc. in 2010 and from 2012-2014.
Selected as one of 30 “Future Stars” in Illinois litigation by Benchmark Litigation in its 2009 publication of the “Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys.”
Address to the National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference concerning recent litigation and court cases affecting royalty determination and payment, Houston, Texas, October 2011.
Panelist - Pogue Law Leaders Panel, University of Michigan Law School (Ann Arbor, March 2014)
Presenter - PLI Seminar on Fundamentals of Taking and Defending Depositions (New York, March 2014)
Presenter - Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Seminar: Deposing Parties and Professionals (November 2013)
Presenter - Rossdale CLE Seminar: Successfully Preparing for Trial (April 2013)
Presenter - Rossdale CLE Seminar: Mastering E-discovery, Litigation Holds & Metadata (March 2013)
Chair - PLI Seminar on Taking and Defending Depositions (Chicago, June 2012)
US Bill to Curb Online Downloading of Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings: The Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2003, co-author with Adam I. Cohen, Esq., Global Intellectual Property Asset Management Report - World Trade Executive Publication, December 2003
“CARP” Sound Recording Royalty Rates for Radio or the Internet, co-author with Adam I. Cohen, Esq., Media Law Letter - Media Law Resource Center, December 2003
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Litigation Associate (Summer 2002, 2003-2006)
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (trial bar and general bar)