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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 an associate in Montgomery McCracken’s Litigation Department. He focuses his practice on complex litigation, including a wide variety of high stakes commercial disputes, intellectual property, white-collar criminal defense, 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 global consumer products company, the plastics division of a Saudi Arabian petrochemical company, and a leading distributor of prescription drugs. John has also represented companies in the financial services, health care, technology, 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 a national law firm and an analyst at a large international investment bank.

Selected Representations

  • On behalf of a New York based hedge fund, obtained emergency injunctive relief in the Southern District of New York against a former portfolio manager based in Shanghai, China, and against Amazon Web Services, resulting in the successful recovery of computer source code and encryption keys used in the client’s quantitative trading operations.
  • As new counsel on appeal, obtained reversal of felony convictions for unlawful use of a computer by arguing that the prosecution failed to obtain competent expert testimony concerning the relationship between IP addresses and physical locations. The decision significantly altered Pennsylvania’s evidentiary requirements for proving certain computer-related allegations.
  • Defeated class action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging fraud and professional negligence against a large national 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.
  • Successfully moved the United States District Court for the Southern District of California to compel a California law firm to produce patent prosecution files for use in related patent litigation in the District of Utah.
  • Successfully obtained full recovery for a prominent attorney and long-time partner at a large national law firm 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.
  • 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.
  • Obtained favorable resolution of ICC arbitration involving claims of intellectual property theft asserted by a Korean manufacturing conglomerate against John’s client, a global chemical manufacturer. Among other things, John successfully excluded certain European affiliates from the proceedings and successfully opposed U.S. discovery in related federal actions in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • Successfully moved to quash multiple grand jury subpoenas issued by state attorney general on the basis that the subpoenas violated the fourth amendment rights of John’s client, a large energy company.
  • 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.
  • Helped defeat a products liability mass tort action involving hundreds of claims against a multi-national consumer goods company by successfully moving to exclude scientific testimony, offered by several professors of medicine, on the grounds that the scientific testing supporting the testimony 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
  • Temple American Inn of Court
    • Executive Committee Member
  • 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.