FRANK R. VOLPE is a partner in Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office. His practice areas include: general commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, constitutional litigation and product liability defense. On behalf of a wide variety of clients, Frank has handled investigations involving the United States Department of Justice and several federal agency Inspectors General. Frank has also handled several environmental and products liability matters, including litigation involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, automobile manufacturing and design defect allegations, litigation involving chemicals used in mining applications, and various pharmaceutical drug-related lawsuits and investigations. Frank has experience in all aspects of litigation, from initial investigation and discovery through trial and appeal. In addition to litigating cases in federal and state courts around the country, Frank has litigated over 50 cases in the District of Columbia federal and state courts.
Frank honorably served in the United States Navy and in the Naval Reserve.
- Represented financial institution during HUD and DOJ investigation into reverse mortgage practices.
- Acted as client and trial team advisor for antitrust litigation, which after a six-week trial, ended with a verdict in favor of all defendants.
- Represented trade associations in federal court litigation involving allegations that the federal government has not adequately addressed climate change.
- Represented a private prison provider in alien tort claim litigation, which after several week jury trial, resulted in a defense verdict on all but one count.
- Represented the former CEO of Freddie Mac, Richard Syron, in response to congressional subpoenas, an SEC enforcement action in the Southern District of New York and multiple class action securities cases. Negotiated dismissal of SEC’s fraud claims against Mr. Syron without imposition of any fine, injunction, disgorgement or finding of any wrongdoing against him.
- Represented company and individual in investigation arising out of one of the largest food-related recalls in U.S. history.
- Represented Duke Energy in North Carolina federal court against the Department of Justice in defense of New Source Review environmental claims.
- Anthony Williams et al. v. Duke Energy — Represented Duke Energy in a class action arising out of the deregulation of Ohio electricity rates in the late 1990s.
- United States v. Cinergy Corp. (Duke Energy) (S.D. Indiana)—Frank was a member of the trial team representing Duke Energy in two successive jury trials in May of 2008 and May of 2009. Both cases were brought by the EPA, certain States and citizen groups and alleged numerous violations of the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act relating to 55 repair and replacement projects at Duke Energy’s coal-fired generating units. As of the conclusion of the 2009 trial, Duke was the first and only utility that had elected to contest the charges in a trial by jury. By the time both trials had concluded, only 14 projects were submitted to the juries for decision. Duke prevailed on 10 of them, which represents the first New Source Review verdict in favor of a defendant. As reported in the American Lawyer, the two trial victories “framed the score as 44 to 6” in favor of Duke “based on the original charges.”
- United States v. Tyson Foods, Inc.—Member of trial team representing company in jury trial on 36 count Indictment charging conspiracy to violate federal immigration laws and seeking criminal forfeiture of over $100 million. Jury acquittal on all counts. The National Law Journal named this result the top defense verdict of 2003.
- Pickett v. IBP—Member of trial team defending claims of anti-competitive conduct by defendant meat processor in connection with the purchasing of fed cattle. The trial court entered judgment as a matter of law for defendant IBP, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
- State of Oklahoma v. Tyson Foods - Represented Tyson Foods, Inc. in one of the largest environmental cases tried in 2009-10. The state sought up to $1.6 billion in damages and injunctive remedies in connection with a claim under CERCLA, RCRA and state law alleging pollution of a million-acre watershed. The case was tried between September 2009 and February 2010 in the Northern District of Oklahoma and the parties are awaiting a decision from the trial court.
- Correctional Services Corporation v. Malesko (U.S. Supreme Court)—Member of appellate team successfully arguing on behalf of the Correctional Services Corporation that damages actions for constitutional violations could not be brought against federal corporate contractors.
- Co-counsel for former Los Alamos nuclear scientist, Dr. Wen Ho Lee, who was falsely accused by the U.S. government of spying for the People’s Republic of China. Frank represented Dr. Lee in two civil lawsuits: the first civil suit was brought on Dr. Lee’s behalf against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Justice. That case settled. The second lawsuit was a defamation suit brought against Dr. Lee by Notra Trulock, the former Director of Intelligence at the Department of Energy. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Dr. Lee.
- Trollinger v. Tyson Foods et al.—Successfully represented one of the largest food processing companies in North America in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) class action alleging that the company engaged in a scheme to knowingly hire undocumented workers in an effort to depress wages paid to its hourly employees at several poultry processing plants throughout the country. Plaintiffs sought treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees under RICO. After several years of litigation, summary judgment was granted to Tyson with prejudice.
Publications and Press
Alan Charles Raul, Frank R. Volpe, and Gabriel S. Meyer. 2001. “Liability for Computer Glitches and Online Security Lapses,” BNA Electronic Commerce Law Report, 6(31):849.
Frank has been quoted in several publications, including the National Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New Jersey Law Journal and the Chicago Lawyer.