John Ruskusky

John Ruskusky, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Commercial Litigation practice group, is a trial attorney who represents companies and individuals in high-stakes and bet-the-company business disputes. John 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 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 seeking permanent injunction and other damages against defendant (a biotech company).
  • In 2019, lead counsel for large manufacturing company in expedited arbitration defending against claim seeking injunctive relief (which was withdrawn following responsive briefing) and damages.
  • In 2018, lead counsel for three 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 large health care 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Fire Safety Co. reaches $5M settlement for gov't FCA claims

Law360 | January 26, 2017

This article highlights a recent action by the U.S. government who filed a $5M settlement agreement in a False Claims Act case involving Monaco Enterprises. The settlement does not require the company to admit any wrongdoing. Chicago commercial litigation partner John Ruskusky and government investigations and white collar defense partner Dean Polales are listed as representing the defendant.


John Ruskusky



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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