JOHN SKAKUN advises companies, boards of directors, and executives in high-stakes litigation and corporate crises, with a particular focus on securities and shareholder matters, M&A disputes, and bankruptcy litigation. John has delivered winning results for clients including Walgreens Boots Alliance, Johnson & Johnson, Apollo Global Management, United Airlines, JP Morgan Chase, CMG Media, Wanxiang America, Herc Rentals, and Phoenix International Publications.
John is a seasoned litigator and trial lawyer who has achieved major victories at all stages of proceedings in forums across the country. He has led some of the largest securities class actions and derivative cases in the nation, with tens of billions of dollars in potential exposure. He has first-chaired and won trials in complex bankruptcy and commercial cases. He has been lead counsel in board and internal investigations. He has defended government investigations and achieved declinations for companies and individuals. And he has successfully resolved many M&A and post-closing disputes around the world, both before and through litigation.
Recent examples of John’s work include:
- Leading defense of life sciences company and individual officers in securities litigation pending in the District of New Jersey related to sensationalized media coverage about alleged product safety issues and the largest product liability multi-district litigation (MDL) in the country. Retained after the motion to dismiss stage, and devised novel and aggressive strategy to challenge class certification, which remains pending.
- Led defense of healthcare company in securities and derivative litigation in the Northern District of Illinois, as well as SEC investigation, related to missed financial guidance for multi-billion-dollar international merger and defamation suit by the former CFO, which received weeks of front-page news coverage. Won summary judgment on all forward-looking statements in the securities case. Settled SEC investigation for negligence-only claims.
- Won M&A litigation for private equity firm and portfolio company in the Northern District of Illinois and the Seventh Circuit related to $3 billion acquisition. Retained after a temporary restraining order was entered, then won 9 straight motions culminating in defeating the motion for a preliminary injunction on the merits, and winning interlocutory appeal of that decision.
- First chair trial counsel for publishing company in M&A litigation in New York state court. Investigated and brought multi-million-dollar claims for fraud and for post-closing indemnification relating to international bankruptcy and regulatory matters. Defeated multiple summary judgment motions and settled one week before trial; recovered more than 70 percent of amount claimed.
- First chair trial counsel in mass-tort bankruptcy of an automotive parts company in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Won contested appointment of a future claimants representative as well as contested confirmation of plan of reorganization for creation of an asbestos-victims trust.
- Lead litigation counsel providing litigation-risk counseling, and related transaction-structuring advice, for private equity firm in $9 billion acquisition.
- Represented spun-off construction company in crisis involving DOJ, SEC, and foreign regulator investigations, securities class action, multiple shareholder derivative suits, and clawback litigation against former officers, arising from multi-year financial restatement by the former parent company. Securities and derivative cases were dismissed, DOJ and foreign regulators declined to press charges, and SEC settled without charging spun-off company.
- Represented healthcare company in more than a dozen shareholder derivative matters in federal and state courts in New Jersey, including two special committee investigations, primarily related to OTC product recalls and FDA consent decree. Won dismissal of demand-futility litigation and summary judgment on demand-made litigation. Also won dismissal of books and records litigation.
- Represented CEO of bankrupt consumer goods company in securities litigation in the Southern District of Ohio and the Sixth Circuit, as well as SEC investigation. Won dismissal of all claims and affirmance on appeal, and closure of the SEC investigation without charges.
- Lead counsel for private equity sponsor and the board of healthcare company against creditor derivative claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Achieved favorable settlement while the motion to dismiss was pending.
- Lead counsel for board investigation into alleged wrongdoing by former executives for bankrupt automotive industry company. Resulted in favorable pre-litigation settlement with former executives.
- Conducted internal investigation for Big Four accounting firm concerning allegations of fraud in international practice group.
- Trial counsel for bank in three-week trial in complex commercial litigation in the Eastern District of Michigan related to syndicated financing dispute. Won $50 million judgment.
- Represented public company and individuals in SEC investigation regarding Reg FD and hedge fund “wolf packs.” SEC declined to pursue any charges.
John is also an engaged leader in civic life and the Firm. He has a very active pro bono practice, and has won numerous trials and appeals in immigration cases, including the landmark WGA v. Holder decision in the Seventh Circuit. He is on the Leadership Board of the National Immigrant Justice Center and is the Vice Chair of Horizons for Youth. He is a Class of 2022 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Additionally, John heads the Firm’s Political Asylum & Immigrants’ Rights Pro Bono Project, and serves on the Firm’s Technology Committee and its Recruiting Committee.