John Ruskusky

John Ruskusky

John Ruskusky, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Complex Commercial Disputes practice group, is a trial attorney who represents companies and individuals in high-stakes and bet-the-company business disputes. John leads the firm’s Medical Device, Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic Health team, co-leads the Biometric Information Privacy Act team, and also serves on the firm’s Pro Bono committee.

What do you focus on?

I have more than twenty years of trial, arbitration and counseling experience involving the management of complex business disputes and disputes involving law firms.

General Commercial Litigation

I counsel businesses and their executives, members and owners in a wide range of disputes, including large business transactions (such as distribution and purchase agreements), life sciences and medical devices, fiduciary duty claims, data privacy matters, and dissolution and valuation. Some of my relevant recent experience includes the following:

  • In 2019, lead counsel for large pharmaceutical company in expedited trial in Delaware Chancery Court claiming fraud against defendant (a biotech company).  Following a six-day bench trial, the Court found in our client’s favor on this fraud claim.
  • In 2019, lead counsel for large international manufacturing company in expedited arbitration defending against claim seeking injunctive relief (which was withdrawn following responsive briefing) and damages.  The arbitration panel rejected the claimant’s entire claim for millions in lost business value and its request for over $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees.
  • Significant experience with emerging issues involving privacy and data claims including data breach claims and the flood of lawsuits recently filed pursuant to Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
  • In 2018, lead counsel for three California companies facing a more than $25 million alter ego levy claim brought by the United States on behalf of the IRS. Through focused and aggressive discovery, we defeated the United States’ motion for summary judgment and resolved the case for less than 10% of the claim.
  • Regularly represent Fortune 500 and other large business clients in litigation in Illinois, Delaware and other venues throughout the country in a variety of business disputes relating to their agreements and operations.
  • Recently represented a Fortune 500 life sciences company in a dispute involving its Cellular Therapy business and the use of stem cells for chronic myocardial ischemia and critical limb ischemia.
  • Represented a company that received a cease and desist letter of its operations and its enrollment of new students from the State of Illinois. Through the expedited filing of a verified complaint and a motion for temporary restraining order, and follow-up representation, the cease and desist was vacated and the company continued to grow its successful operations in 2018.
  • Represent high-performing employees and executives when they resign from their prior employers. I recently tried a week-long case in which a $2.8 million judgment, plus attorneys’ fees and expenses, was awarded in favor of my clients under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and for unjust enrichment.
  • Obtained the dismissal of two lawsuits (one on a motion to dismiss (which was not appealed) and one on summary judgment) in favor of a deceased client, the former majority owner of a real estate auction company, and his probate estate, claiming that more than $5 million was misappropriated by the decedent. The summary judgment decision was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court.
  • Obtained a defense verdict at trial for a Fortune 200 company against claims of national origin discrimination seeking more than $5 million in damages. I also successfully argued the Seventh Circuit appeal.
  • Represent business clients with pre-litigation resolution of claims against their former professionals, including a recent case that settled with a multimillion-dollar payment to the client relating to faulty tax and transactional advice. I also represent large law firms in their disputes with their former clients.

False Claims Act and Qui Tam

I represent corporate clients in a variety of False Claims Act cases, including those at the pre-intervention stage. My experience includes Department of Defense, Department of Education and General Services Administration matters.

I also represent clients in government investigations and proceedings, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.

Real Estate and Construction Litigation

I represent corporate clients in a variety of construction and real estate disputes, including construction defect and delay, property management, general contract, indemnity, Fair Housing Act and zoning matters.

What do you see on the horizon?

As litigation costs continue to rise, I see growing client demand for alternative-fee arrangements, including discounted rates coupled with “banked” fees and success fees. I have employed these and other risk-reward sharing arrangements with my clients to fairly allocate risk, and to provide certainty in fee exposure while ensuring the best possible result.


  • “Fingerprint Scans and Other Biometric Privacy Claims: Limiting Your Company’s Exposure,” CHRMS Risk Management and Patient Safety Law Day 2020, Webinar, November 20, 2020

NY, FTC Lead Charge to Expand Biometric Privacy Shields

Law360 | January 15, 2021

In this article on the increasing regulatory scrutiny around biometric data, Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners John Ruskusky and Rich Tilghman are quoted for their outlook on New York’s bill introducing a biometric privacy bill and the move toward more disclosure and transparency in the way companies collect biometric data.

A Post-Thanksgiving Litigator of the Week Runner-Up and Shout Out Marathon

The American Lawyer | December 04, 2020

This week’s “Litigators of the Week“ column by American Lawyer includes the dismissal for outsourcing facility Leiters, Inc. in a multiple-state dispute. Leiters was represented by Chicago partners Ethan Trull, John Ruskusky and Lisa Sullivan, and associates Bill Kirby and Tina Jonsson; and San Francisco partner Bruce Copeland and counsel Lauren Michals—all in the Complex Commercial Disputes group.

Adding value through litigation funding: Unique solutions can help your firm, clients

Chicago Lawyer | October 15, 2020

Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner John Ruskusky co-authored this article with Longford Capital Management on how litigation funding can offer unique and flexible financial solutions to clients.

Illinois Workers’ Comp Law Doesn’t Pre-Empt Biometric Privacy Claim

HR Magzine | September 28, 2020

Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners Rich Tilghman and John Ruskusky, and associate Henry Caldwell contributed this article, based on their recent blog post, on the rise in putative class actions in Illinois by employees against entities that employ biometric technology.

Takeda Subsidiary Seeks $130M for Drug Firm's Spinoff Fraud

Law360 | September 22, 2020

This article covers a trial to consider the amount of damages to be awarded to Millennium Pharmaceuticals for being fraudulently induced into investing more than $100 million into a spinoff of Harpoon Therapeutics. The story mentions Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners John Ruskusky and Lisa Sullivan for representing Millennium.

Plated Sues Albertsons in Del. Claiming Post-Merger Letdown

Law360 | September 02, 2020

Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners John Ruskusky and Lisa Sullivan were mentioned in this article for representing Shareholder Representative Services LLC in a post-merger suit accusing the food and drug chain of breaches of contract, fraudulent inducement and breaches of good faith covenants. Complex Commercial Disputes counsel Tracey Scarpello in Buffalo and associate Tina Jonsson in Chicago were also part of the litigation team.

Biggest Illinois Decisions So Far in 2020: Midyear Report

Law360 | July 16, 2020

This article includes commentary from Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners John Ruskusky and Seth Horvath on some of the most noteworthy Illinois decisions thus far in 2020. John discusses a decision related to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, while Seth comments on a decision regarding parents suing paint makers for children’s lead test costs, as well as a ruling on a record destruction provision in the Chicago police union contract.

Breaking Down Illinois' Biometric Privacy Litigation Boom

Law360 | April 27, 2020

In this article on the rise of BIPA litigation in Illinois, Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner John Ruskusky is quoted for his outlook on what it means for a defendant to be negligent under BIPA, and the technologies at issue.


John Ruskusky

Leader, Medical Device, Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostic Health


Phone: 312-977-4460

Fax: 844-571-6779

George Washington University Law School, J.D., with highest honors; Order of the Coif; The George Washington University Law Review

University of Notre Dame, B.S., cum laude


U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

  • Representing indigent persons in all stages of jury and bench trials in criminal courts.
  • Representing victims of domestic violence in obtaining orders of protection.
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