Richard H. Tilghman IV - Complex Commercial Disputes attorney - Nixon Peabody LLP

Richard H. Tilghman IV

Rich Tilghman, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Complex Disputes practice, assists clients in resolving complex commercial litigation matters. He represents a broad range of clients in state and federal courts and alternative dispute resolution forums throughout the country, with an emphasis on healthcare, life sciences, and biometric privacy disputes. Rich also co-leads the firm’s Biometric Privacy team.

What do you focus on?

Healthcare and life sciences disputes

Many of the disputes I handle involve the health care, life sciences, and other highly regulated industries, including commercial disputes with vendors and customers, breach of contract actions, claims for violation of restrictive covenants, internal investigations, and theft of confidential information and trade secrets. I have prosecuted several high-stakes litigation claims against companies acting as third-party service providers for our clients’ health, welfare, and retirement plans. I also work with companies in the medical and adult-use cannabis sector.

I keep the client’s interests at the forefront by looking for efficient, cost-effective ways to avoid or resolve litigation. When cases cannot be resolved, I act as a forceful advocate to meet my clients’ business and legal objectives.

Biometric privacy litigation

I have defended numerous clients against claims alleging the misuse of biometric data. I also counsel clients on compliance with biometric privacy rules and regulations. My thought leadership in the biometric privacy arena includes news articles, industry presentations, and publications regarding all facets of biometric privacy litigation.

Trade secrets, restrictive covenants, and confidential information

I frequently advise clients on protecting, licensing, and leveraging company data, trade secrets, and other confidential business information. I have litigated numerous cases involving allegations of trade secret misappropriation, breaches of confidentiality provisions, and violations of post-employment restrictive covenants. I also counsel clients on how to avoid the misappropriation of confidential and proprietary data through non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality provisions, and restrictive covenants.

What do you see on the horizon?

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)—the first such legislation to allow for a private right of action by individual plaintiffs—has spawned numerous class action cases in Illinois and other US jurisdictions. I will continue to monitor the development of similar privacy laws that regulate biometric information and evaluate the risk of ensuing class action litigation under these new regulations.

Representative experience

  • Handling several arbitration matters related to the development and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products
  • Advising clients on biometric privacy issues, as well as defending several class actions filed under BIPA
  • Defending a hospital and healthcare center in a significant dispute with a third-party service provider
  • Representing a company in the cannabis industry on regulatory requirements and compliance investigations
  • Defending a manufacturer of pharmaceutical drugs in a claim brought by one of its clients for breach of contract and gross negligence
  • Litigating a contract pricing dispute involving a pharmacy benefits manager and its client
  • Prosecuting claims of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of restrictive covenants, and trade secret misappropriation against a regional sales director for a medical device manufacturer
  • Resolving third-party professional liability claims on behalf of a client that who had been improperly advised by its actuaries regarding the computation of benefits under its ERISA-qualified benefit plan
  • Defending claims of alleged employee poaching, breach of confidentiality, and breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of one of the largest mortgage loan originators in the country
  • Representing a manufacturer of in-store advertising displays in a case involving allegations of trade secret misappropriation and breaches of restrictive covenants; helped the client defeat the plaintiff’s request for preliminary injunction, which would have essentially shut down the defendants’ businesses, by showing that the plaintiff’s employment agreements were likely unenforceable and that there were no protectable trade secrets at issue
  • Representing the defendant in a class action case and subsequent appeal in which the plaintiff sought over $70 million in damages; obtained a dismissal in the trial court, the appellate court affirmed, and the plaintiffs recovered no damages


  • “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

NP thought leadership in leading journal

Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report | March 21, 2022

This industry journal, which covers the latest legal issues involving cybersecurity and data privacy, includes two NP articles based on client alerts. Complex Disputes practice group leader John Ruskusky, partners Rich Tilghman and Laura Bacon, and associate Kate Letcher, all in Chicago, contributed an article entitled, “The Seventh Circuit certifies question regarding accrual of BIPA claims to Illinois Supreme Court.” John and Rich also contributed a second article, “Workers’ Compensation Act does not bar claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, Illinois Supreme Court rules.” Both pieces provide insight on the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and its litigation impacts to date.

IDEXX Laboratories Inc sues former employees for disclosing trade secret information

Law Street | March 01, 2022

This article covers a lawsuit filed by Maine-based veterinary diagnostics company IDEXX Laboratories against two former employees for allegedly violating trade secret laws and mentions NP for representing IDEXX Laboratories. The NP team is comprised of Labor & Employment partner Steve Jones and Complex Disputes associate Eric Ferrante, both in Rochester, and Chicago Privacy & Technology partner Richard Tilghman.

Planet Fitness scores end to two suits over fees in pandemic

Law360 | March 26, 2021

This article covers an Illinois federal judge’s decision to toss out a lawsuit filed by two Planet Fitness members claiming the gym had unlawfully charged them fees during the pandemic. Chicago partner Rich Tilghman and associate Henry Caldwell, and Manchester partner Dan Deane and associate Nate Warecki, all in the Complex Commercial Disputes group, were mentioned for representing Planet Fitness.

Big questions for BIPA case law in 2021

Cybersecurity Law Report | February 17, 2021

In this article focusing on case law developments around Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act in the year ahead, Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner Rich Tilghman is quoted extensively for his outlook on facial and voice recognition cases, extraterritoriality, arbitration defenses, what counts as a BIPA violation, and collected data.

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.

5 BIPA Cases That Moved the Needle in 2020

Law360 | December 17, 2020

Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner Rich Tilghman is quoted in this article for his thoughts on two major BIPA cases in 2020: Bryant v. Compass Group USA Inc. and McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park LLC.

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.

What’s Next: Why Facebook’s $550M biometrics settlement isn’t a huge deal

The American Lawyer | February 05, 2020

This article features Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners John Ruskusky and Richard Tilghman analyzing Facebook’s recent $550 million settlement in a class action suit alleging violations of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Biggest Illinois Decisions of 2019

Law360 | December 19, 2019

This article includes quotes and legal insights from Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partners Seth Horvath and Richard Tilghman discussing some of year’s biggest Illinois decisions.

Ruling against Facebook could propel additional biometric lawsuits

Business Insurance Magazine | August 20, 2019

In this article, Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner Rich Tilghman discusses the impact of a recent Ninth Circuit ruling recognizing the plaintiffs’ standing in a class action suit accusing Facebook of violating Illinois’ biometric law through its use of facial recognition technology.


Richard H. Tilghman IV



Phone: 312-977-4881

DePaul University College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude; Managing Editor of Notes and Comments, DePaul Law Review; Order of the Coif

Boston College, B.S., cum laude


U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Federal Trial Bar, Northern District of Illinois

U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

  • Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2012-2015
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