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Todd C. Jacobs


Todd Jacobs was Managing Principal of the firm from 2006 to 2014 and now serves on its three-person Executive Committee. He represents commercial clients nationwide in complex disputes. These cases often involve claimed damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars. His track record speaks for itself: more than 90 percent of these matters were favorably resolved. When necessary, Todd brings extensive trial experience to the table, including having won judgments described by opponents and the trade press as "landmark" decisions. Included within his practice are class action defense, antitrust, securities and shareholder derivative actions, complex commercial contract cases, mass tort insurance coverage litigation and a variety of intellectual property matters. Many cases involve allegations of fraud, tortious conduct, bad faith and/or breach of fiduciary duty and often relate to contested Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Among the clients who have turned to Todd to handle some of their most significant disputes are:, CNA, EMC2, Fireman’s Fund, Groupon, IBM, RealNetworks, and Resolute Management.

Todd has tried cases to judgment in California, Florida, Illinois and New York and has been a member of the Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar for 15 years. He also has broad appellate experience having briefed dozens of appeals nationwide and presented oral argument in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits as well as before state appellate courts in California, Illinois, Ohio and Washington State.

Representative Cases

  • Currently representing Harbinger Capital Partners in the Southern District of New York in its multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the GPS industry relating to Harbinger's investment in Chapter 11 debtor LightSquared Inc.'s LTE wireless network.
  • Co-lead counsel for CNA in the seminal Ninth Circuit decision establishing insurer standing to object to Chapter 11 reorganization plans in mass tort bankruptcies. In re Thorpe Insulation Co., 677 F.3d 869 (9th Cir. 2012).
  • Lead counsel for Groupon in a variety of matters, including shareholder derivative actions, consumer class actions, intellectual property matters and commercial contract actions.
  • Lead counsel for, DIRECTV and RealNetworks in a U.S. Supreme Court appeal concerning enforcement of arbitration provisions banning class actions. The Supreme Court recently upheld the legality of such provisions, an argument pioneered by Grippo & Elden more than a decade ago (see description of RealNetworks' privacy cases immediately below).
  • National coordinating counsel for streaming media pioneer RealNetworks in multidistrict privacy class-action litigation relating to RealPlayer and RealJukebox software. See, e.g., Lieschke v. RealNetworks, Inc., 2000 WL 198424 (N.D. Ill. 2000); In re RealNetworks, Inc. Privacy Litigation, 2000 WL 631341 (N.D. Ill. 2000); RealNetworks, Inc. v. Superior Court in and for the County of Orange, 2001 WL 1527492 (Cal. Ct. App. 2001) (sixteen nationwide putative class actions dismissed and claims ordered into individual, non-class arbitrations).
  • Lead counsel for IBM in disputes relating to implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and related software. See, e.g., Irwin Seating Co. v. IBM, 2009 WL 32711 (6th Cir. 2009) (affirming grant of summary judgment to IBM on all claims); Business Systems Engineering v. IBM, 547 F.3d 882 (7th Cir. 2008) (affirming grant of summary judgment to IBM on all claims); 249 F.R.D. 313 (awarding costs); M. Block & Sons, Inc. v. IBM, 2004 WL 1557631 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (dismissing fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and warranty claims).
  • Lead counsel for RealNetworks in defense of consumer class actions relating to the RealOne online subscription service. See, e.g., Koresko v. RealNetworks, Inc., 291 F. Supp. 2d 1157 (E.D. Cal. 2003) (dismissing case pursuant to End-User License Agreement forum selection clause).
  • Counsel for in defense of patent infringement claims relating to online personalization technologies. Pinpoint, Inc. v., Inc., 347 F. Supp. 2d 579 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (Posner, J. sitting by designation) (case dismissed for lack of standing); 369 F. Supp. 2d 995 (N.D. Ill. 2005) (subsequently filed case dismissed with prejudice following favorable claim construction).
  • Trial counsel for CNA in New York state court class action litigation (four-month bench trial) pertaining to alleged unaggregated "non-products" exposure for asbestos bodily injury claims. Continental Casualty Co. v. Employers Ins. Co. of Wausau, et al., 871 N.Y.S.2d 48 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008) (Phase I) (no coverage for class claims). Todd subsequently represented CNA as lead counsel in two California state court cases and one Los Angeles-based bankruptcy proceeding presenting similar issues. See Employers Reinsurance Co. v. Superior Court, 161 Cal. App. 4th 906 (Cal. Ct. App. 2008).
  • Trial counsel for Fireman’s Fund in bankruptcy court litigation seeking coverage for asbestos bodily injury and asbestos property damage claims. Celotex Corp. v. AIU Ins. Co., 216 B.R. 867 and 222 B.R. 644 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1998) (defense judgment on late-notice grounds); 251 B.R. 163 (awarding costs). The judgment in Fireman's Fund's favor was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. See In re Celotex Corp., 299 Fed. Appx. 850 (11th Cir. July 7, 2008). In related contribution litigation, Todd successfully represented Fireman's Fund in its efforts to recover millions of dollars in defense costs from a nondefending primary insurer. See Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co., 2011 WL 1303148 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 31, 2011).

Publications, Speeches and Conferences

  • Co-Chair, Class Action Litigation Conference (Perrins, Chicago Conference, coming May 6-7 2015)
  • Legal Ethics and Social Media (presentation to in-house counsel, 5/28/14)
  • Co-Chair, LSI Litigating Class Actions Conference (Chicago, 12/9 and 12/10/13)
  • The Shifting Landscape of Class Litigation:  Consumer Class Actions in a Post-Concepcion World (Chicago Bar Association, 5/14/13)
  • Co-Chair, LSI Litigating Class Actions Conference (Chicago, 12/6 and 12/7/12)
  • Emerging Insurance Issues (Perrin's New York Conference, 1/24/11)
  • Practical Advice for Handling Civil Appeals (in-house presentations, 4/29/10 and 6/20/12)
  • Motions Practice in State and Federal Court (in-house presentation, 7/12/07)
  • Enforcing Clickwrap Agreements, NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL (3/11/2002) (with Gary M. Miller)


University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1989

  • Order of the Coif

University of Iowa, B.A., 1986

  • With highest distinction
  • Phi Beta Kappa (as a junior, one of 7 students university-wide)


State of Illinois

United States Supreme Court

United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits

United States District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar), District of Colorado, Middle District of Florida, Central District of Illinois, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Michigan

Admitted on a pro hac vice basis to numerous other courts nationwide

Honors & Awards

Rated AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell in Insurance, Litigation and Commercial Law

Best Lawyers in America:  2015

Repeatedly selected as one of the "Top Lawyers in Illinois" and "Leading Lawyer - Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Law, Commercial Litigation and Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law" by Leading Lawyers Network (Chicago Law Bulletin)

From 2005-2014 (current) voted a "Business Litigation Super Lawyer" in Chicago Magazine's Annual Guide to the Top Attorneys in Illinois

May 2010 graduate of Harvard Law School's "Leadership in Law Firms" Executive Education program

Since 2008 Honorary North American member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), the leading organization of British barristers