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John J. Powell
Philadelphia Office

1735 Market Street
21st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103-7505

P: 215-772-7298
F: 215-772-7620

Biography

John J. Powell is a partner in Montgomery McCracken’s Litigation Department. He handles a wide variety of complex litigation, including high-stakes commercial disputes, intellectual property, white-collar criminal, securities, and antitrust matters in federal and state courts around the country and in international arbitration.

John has represented several of the world’s largest companies, including the largest energy company, a premier consumer products company, the plastics division of a Saudi Arabian petrochemical company, and a leading distributor of prescription drugs. John has also represented clients in the financial services, computer software, health care, real estate, gaming, automotive, and heavy machinery industries, as well as individuals, including a professor at an Ivy League law school, the European CEO of a global equipment manufacturer, a cutting-edge chemical scientist, and an indigent man wrongly convicted of murder.

Before joining Montgomery McCracken, John was an associate at another prominent law firm and an analyst at a leading investment bank.

Selected Representations

  • Representing a New York hedge fund as plaintiff, obtained emergency injunctive relief in the Southern District of New York against a former portfolio manager in Shanghai, China and Amazon Web Services, resulting in the successful recovery of computer source code and encryption keys used in the client’s quantitative trading operations
  • Defended SEPTA in a two-day federal trial of a First Amendment challenge asserted by a news organization represented by the ACLU, resulting in a judgment upholding SEPTA’s right to prohibit political advertisements on city buses
  • As new counsel on appeal, obtained reversal of five felony convictions for unlawful use of a computer, resulting in a decision that significantly altered Pennsylvania law by requiring prosecutors to obtain expert witnesses in cases involving crimes allegedly committed over the internet
  • Defeated class action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging fraud and professional negligence against a large accounting firm arising out of its work as administrator in a $490 million securities class action settlement. John’s briefing on complex choice of law issues resulted in the court entering summary judgment sua sponte soon after class certification
  • Defending a leading medical device company against patent infringement claims brought by a competitor in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, and in related proceedings in the Southern District of California
  • Successfully obtained full recovery for a prominent attorney in a AAA arbitration against the client’s former law firm, alleging breach of a partnership contract. John’s cross examination of the law firm’s managing partner helped secure the client’s victory
  • Successfully represented the European CEO of a global equipment manufacturer in civil and criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning potential FCPA violations arising from the company’s operations in Angola, Africa. The DOJ declined to bring charges against John’s client
  • Defended directors and officers of a Fortune 25 company in shareholder derivative lawsuits
  • Represented the Board of Directors of a major corporation in derivative lawsuits and a Delaware Section 220 books and records proceedings based on the equity compensation awarded to the company’s CEO.
  • Defended a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in actions brought by private plaintiffs and two dozen state attorneys general alleging fraud related to the use of certain drug pricing metrics.
  • Successfully obtained emergency injunctive relief for the minority owner of a commercial real estate brokerage firm against the majority owners on grounds of breach of contract and fiduciary duties
  • Defeated federal class action alleging fraud and breach of contract against a consortium of more than 100 U.S. law schools, related to complex transactions concerning the financing of student loans
  • Defeated claims of intellectual property theft against Autotrader.com by persuading state trial and appellate courts to apply principles of adverse possession to proprietary computer algorithms
  • Defended a global chemical manufacturer in ICC arbitration against claims of intellectual property theft asserted by a Korean manufacturing conglomerate, successfully excluding certain European affiliates from the proceedings, opposing U.S. discovery in related federal actions in Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and favorably resolving the dispute
  • Represented an international energy company in state and federal criminal investigations of environmental claims, and successfully moved to quash multiple grand jury subpoenas issued by state attorney general on the basis that the subpoenas violated the fourth amendment
  • Persuaded a federal judge in Iowa to recuse himself in a business dispute involving John’s client, a large national gaming company, because the judge previously had been affiliated with a non-profit organization connected to the dispute
  • Defended a global consumer products company in a products liability mass tort action in which a state trial court excluded plaintiffs’ expert testimony, offered by several professors of medicine, on the grounds that the scientific testing supporting the experts’ opinions lacked sufficient epidemiological rigor
  • Defeated criminal charges filed against a business executive in New York by moving to dismiss the charges and helping to secure sealed disposition of the proceedings
  • Obtained an order from a Pennsylvania trial court requiring state-of-the-art touch DNA analysis of murder evidence on the basis that the testing could prove the innocence of John’s client, a prisoner represented in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project

Selected Publications

Community Involvement

John maintains an active pro-bono practice. He has worked closely with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project on several wrongful conviction cases.

John also provides free legal representation to underprivileged Philadelphia residents in a wide variety of matters through the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program.

Professional Activities & Achievements

  • Serves on the board of advisors of Text IQ, a technology company founded by computer scientists at Columbia University that is currently developing ways to apply new language processing and machine learning technology to reduce the costs of electronic discovery and to save the legal profession from the exponential growth of electronically stored information that increasingly defines important aspects of pre-trial litigation practice
  • Pennsylvania Innocence Project
    • Secretary and member, Advocates for Innocence Board
  • Served as an Executive Committee Member of the Temple American Inn of Court
  • Indego Africa, a nonprofit social enterprise that works to help Rwandan artisans access international markets
    • Regional Board Member

Academic Achievements

John earned a law degree from Columbia Law School and a B.A., magna cum laude, in Philosophy from Boston College. In law school, John was the president of the Columbia Alpine Society (the ski club), a member of the Columbia Journal of Tax Law, and served on the boards of the Columbia Business and Law Association and the Columbia Law Students for Social Enterprise.