John W. Halpin

Partner

John W. Halpin

Partner

Biographical

John was a trial attorney at one of the largest civil defense law firms in Wisconsin and an AmLaw 100 firm before joining Laffey, Leitner & Goode. His experience at those firms, which includes his first jury trial win less than two years out of law school and his representation of some of the world’s best-known brands and major manufacturers, has provided him with a depth and variety of experience that truly sets him apart from his peers.

While he has litigated a wide range of commercial disputes over the past decade, the bulk of John’s practice focuses on product liability, transportation, and real estate and construction matters ranging from proper training and quality assurance through eventual trial and appeals.  Although he is most at home in the courtroom, John has a particular interest in helping his clients avoid lawsuits whenever possible by advising on best practices for risk avoidance and mitigation.  He regularly counsels clients about product warnings and instructions, as well as managing accident response and investigation.

Representative Experience

  • Tried Wisconsin personal injury case to verdict for 10% of total damages requested by the plaintiff in closing arguments.
  • Part of defense team that secured dismissal of federal lawsuits in California and Wisconsin alleging more than $300 million in damages for infringement of patents relating to skylight system.
  • Brought in during jury trial in Cook County, Illinois with the future of clients’ engineering firm at stake to negotiate high-low agreement that allowed the firm to stay in business after an adverse verdict was eventually reached.
  • Represented prisoner pro bono in his civil rights lawsuit for denial of medical care and deliberate indifference and secured favorable decision from the Eastern District of Wisconsin after ten hour evidentiary hearing on summary judgment motions brought by the Attorney General and counsel for other private healthcare defendants.
  • Part of defense team that negotiated favorable settlement for construction company client involved in bet-the-company litigation filed by builder and property owner alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of gas valve manufacturer in lawsuit involving extensive water damage to residential property in Wisconsin.
  • Lead author of successful summary judgment motion in New York lawsuit alleging defective manufacture of material handling equipment that led to traumatic brain injury, which was later affirmed on appeal.
  • Won summary judgment for banking client in breach of contract case where a developer wrongfully terminated an offer to purchase a large tract of land.
  • Won dismissal and sanctions on behalf of transportation client when Wisconsin court found the plaintiff’s claims of serious personal injury caused by a low speed collision to be unsupported by the evidence.
  • Obtained dismissal of all claims against client in Wisconsin legal malpractice claim brought by client’s ex-wife and former business partners.
  • Part of defense team that favorably settled catastrophic personal injury claim brought in Massachusetts against manufacturer of construction equipment by a plaintiff who demanded $25 million prior to suit.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a number of lenders that owned foreclosed properties across Minnesota and Wisconsin in action filed by subcontractor who maintained those properties and filed a lawsuit seeking a large sum of money for lien foreclosure, breach of contract, and theft by contractor.
  • Managed day-to-day asbestos docket for two companies frequently named as defendants in Cook County and Madison County, including defense strategy, client reporting, depositions, motion practice, and handling all settlement negotiations, which has saved clients an average of a million dollars per year.
  • Served as lead associate on national counsel team representing leading manufacturers of construction equipment, industrial lift trucks, and rental trailers in product liability claims filed across the country.
  • Successfully briefed issues on appeal before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and state appellate courts in Illinois, New York, and Wisconsin.
  • Represented general contractors, architects, and engineers in various lawsuits across the Midwest alleging various construction and design defects.
  • Attended and actively participated in dozens of site and artifact inspections across the country related to fatalities, fire, and explosions on behalf of various product manufacturers and transportation clients.
  • Defended Wisconsin property owners against multiple suits asserting Safe Place and premises liability claims.
  • Advised on product warnings and recalls for several nationwide product manufacturers.
  • Defended numerous truck drivers and transportation companies against Wisconsin municipal citations for weight violations, speeding, and other infractions.
See More Representative Work

Published Works and Presentations

  • Major Issues for Commercial Motor Carriers, co-presenter, Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter (May 2016)
  • Managing Client Expectations Throughout Litigation, co-presenter, WHD University (January 2016)
  • Now What? Accident Investigation and Response, co-presenter, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Transportation Seminar (September 2015)
  • Can’t This All Just Go Away? Avoiding Suit in the First Place, co-presenter, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Product Liability Seminar (March 2015)
  • North of the Border: Wisconsin Legal Update, co-presenter, Crivello Carlson Seminar for Illinois-based adjusters,  risk managers, and in-house counsel (2010-2012)
  • New Mandatory Insurance Provisions & Tort Reform in the 2009 Wisconsin Budget, co-presenter, Crivello Carlson Seminar for Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa claims personnel (2009)
  • Updates in Insurance Law, co-presenter, Crivello Carlson Seminar for Wisconsin insurers and claims personnel (2007-2008)
See More Published Work & Presentations

Professional Admissions, Associations, and Honors

Eastern District of Wisconsin
Northern District of Illinois
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Western District of Wisconsin
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association
Illinois State Bar
Milwaukee Bar Association
State Bar of Wisconsin
SuperLawyers Rising Star (2011-2016)

Education

Marquette University Law School / J.D., 2007
University of Notre Dame / B.A., Pre-Medicine and Psychology, 2001
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Dean’s List, 2004-2006
MULS Pro Bono Society, 2007
Thomas More Scholar, 2004-2007

Community

When he is not at work , John enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, and his chocolate lab.  He serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Francis Children’s Center and enjoys volunteering with the Special Olympics in his spare time. He is also a member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Notre Dame Club of Milwaukee.