Jonathan M. Lively is a proven trial lawyer in the firm’s Complex Commercial Disputes practice group. He regularly defends product manufacturers and premises owners who face litigation in toxic tort (asbestos/talc), environmental, products liability, professional liability, transportation, and other civil matters.
What do you focus on?
My diverse practice enables me to manage various types of matters and provide a streamlined process for the entities I represent. Acting as both national trial counsel and primary local counsel for various clients, I regularly appear in courts across the country. My two decades of experience allows me to oversee all aspects of the litigation process for thousands of matters in jurisdictions across the country every year. I develop and implement defense strategies, prepare matters for trial, negotiate settlements when appropriate, try cases, and seek and secure dismissals when feasible. Clients rely on me to grasp the big picture and develop a national approach to the litigations in which they are embroiled, and to efficiently identify key issues and determine the optimal strategy for individual case management and resolution, whether that be aggressive workup from inception to verdict or an early resolution.
What do you see on the horizon?
Product manufacturers and premises owners continue to face challenges posed by an ever-increasingly litigious society. Novel lawsuits pertaining to climate change, talc powder, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are filed at an alarming rate. Even mature litigations, such as asbestos, continue to evolve as scientific theories develop, the pool of plaintiffs and solvent defendants changes, and new liability and defense theories are identified. Companies affected by these litigations must determine an effective global strategy from the outset to manage these risks before they become generations-long mass torts.
- Obtained summary judgment for a talc mining corporation accused of causing plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, WI, agreed that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that the cosmetic talcum powder used by the plaintiff was contaminated with asbestiform minerals. The court further agreed that plaintiff had insufficient evidence to prove that the use of cosmetic talcum powder can cause mesothelioma.
- Obtained voluntary dismissal for a wire and cable manufacturer sued in the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, for allegedly causing plaintiff’s asbestos-related disease. Prevailed on a choice-of-law motion and obtained a ruling that Indiana law applied to the claims against his client, enabling his client to take advantage of Indiana’s 10-year repose statute. The case was dismissed while the trial proceeded for three weeks against the remaining defendants.
- Obtained dismissal for a recycling company accused of co-mingling recycled materials and defrauding plaintiff, a plastic re-claiming entity. The Circuit of Court of Lake County, IL, agreed that the claims could not proceed because they were insufficiently vague and unsupported by fact.
- Achieved a dismissal with prejudice for a pharmaceutical company sued under the Indiana Product Liability Act in the U.S.D.C. Northern District Indiana. Moved for dismissal and convinced the court that: 1. state tolling rules announced by the Indiana Court of Appeals prevailed over previously established federal precedent; 2. under those tolling rules, filing a motion to amend did not toll the limitations period; and 3. the limitations period barred the claim.
- Won a defense verdict in trial after just 30 minutes of deliberation in a transportation case in which plaintiffs sought $460,000 in damages for injuries sustained during a motor vehicle accident. During the two-day trial, plaintiffs alleged that the tractor-trailer driven by Defendant was improperly maintained and driven negligently. The jury was convinced that the tractor was properly maintained and the driver of plaintiff’s automobile was the true cause of the accident.
Before joining Nixon Peabody in February 2020, Jon was a partner at a U.S.-based litigation firm headquartered in Chicago.
- “Managing Asbestos Claims and Litigation,” Jonathan M. Lively, Corporate Disputes Magazine, fall 2015.
- American Conference Institute’s Asbestos Claims & Litigation Conference, co-chair, Chicago, IL (May 21–23, 2018)
- 26th Annual American Bar Association’s Spring CLE Meeting for the Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Committee, co-chair, Phoenix, AZ (April 6–8, 2017)
- Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit “Personal Jurisdiction after Daimler,” panelist, New Orleans, LA (November 9, 2016)
- American Conference Institute’s Asbestos Claims & Litigation Conference, co-chair, Chicago, IL (June 27–28, 2016)
- 25th Annual American Bar Association Spring CLE Meeting "Trends in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond", moderator (April 7–9, 2016)
- American Conference Institute’s 20th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, “State of the Market: Hotbed States Including PA, CA, IL, MO, NY; and Key Filing Trends and Rulings with Regard to Personal Jurisdiction, Choice of Law, Discovery, Removal, FNC, Duty to Warn, Causation, ‘Each and Every Exposure,‘ and Punitive Damages,” panelist, Chicago, IL (January 14, 2016)
- Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit, “Defending Lung Cancer Cases- Medical Defense & Alternate Exposure: Genetics, Erionite, Spontaneous,” panelist & co-chair, Las Vegas, NV (November 4, 2015)
- American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, “Don’t Forget About Medicare! How to Comply with Medicare Reporting Requirements when Settling Toxic Tort Claims,” moderator (August 2015)
- American Conference Institute’s 19th Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, “State of the Market: Hotbed Jurisdictions, New Case Law, New Defendants and Plaintiffs and Issues Associated With These New Parties, Forum Shopping, Time for Filing Claims While Considering Statutes of Repose, and More,” panelist and co-chair, Chicago, IL (June 23–24, 2015)
- American Conference Institute’s 18th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, “State of the Market: Hotbed States; Increased Filings; Recent Removal and FNC Rulings; Trends in Joint and Several Liability, Punitives, Successor Liability, and Supplier Liability/Duty to Warn; and Newer Defendants and Plaintiffs (including Women) and Issues Associated with these New Parties,” panelist, Philadelphia, PA (January 15–16, 2015)
- Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit “In-House/Insurance Corporate Perspective,” panelist, San Francisco, CA (November 5, 2014)
- American Conference Institute’s 17th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims and Litigation, Chicago, IL, co-chair (June 26–27, 2014)
- American Conference Institute’s 16th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims and Litigation, “National Developments and Emerging Trends,” San Francisco, CA (January 30–31, 2014)