Brian O'Connor Watson

Partner ( Chicago )

Direct 312.471.8776 Fax 312.471.8701 LinkedIn

Bio

Brian is truly a five-point star: a lawyer with advanced engineering and business experience who is as comfortable litigating cases in the courtroom as he is creating solutions at the negotiation table.

Through a heavy dose of caffeine, hard work, and Irish luck, Brian completed graduate degrees in law, engineering, and business while working full time. He’s been on the factory floor, in the field, at the tech centers, and at the company headquarters. He understands first-hand the issues facing his clients and their own stakeholders.

With his humble roots lies a penchant for aggressive fact finding that comes from a tireless work ethic, obsessive attention to detail, and vibrant creativity. He’s tracked down crucial witnesses, dug through historical records, and startled opposing parties with game-changing evidence. He’s exhausted witnesses, asking questions determined to get an answer. And he’s delivered results in writing briefs, reaching settlements, trying cases, and handling appeals.

As a trusted advisor, skilled negotiator, and courtroom lawyer, Brian has successfully represented national and international clients in agricultural, automotive, aviation, chemical, children and consumer products, construction, education, energy, food, glass, healthcare, industrial products, medical, rail, telecommunications, transportation, and other industries.

Because public service is one of both his and the firm’s core values, Brian dedicates countless hours to pro bono work in a broad range of areas from constitutional and civil rights, housing discrimination, family and consumer law, to public benefits and immigration. He’s deeply proud of the commitment to public service and the tradition of serving clients most in need at the firm.

Experience

Clerkships

Judicial Extern, Honorable Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Judicial Extern, Honorable Ronald S. Davis, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Law Division

Brian has personally litigated cases in jurisdictions throughout the country, tried cases to conclusion, handled more than a dozen appeals, and serves in national coordinating counsel roles for a variety of clients.

Representative Engagements

  • Krik v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 870 F.3d 669 (7th Cir. 2017) (affirming defense verdict in products liability action)
  • Pecher v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 859 F.3d 396 (7th Cir. 2017) (affirming dismissal of product liability theory against a patent licensor)
  • Major League Baseball Properties & Chicago Cubs Baseball Club v. Stevens et al., No. 1:16-cv-09140 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 22, 2016) (obtaining injunctive relief and judgment in trademark infringement action)
  • Wiederhold v. Deere & Company, No. 1316-CV13192 (Mo. Cir. Ct. June 30, 2016) (obtaining defense verdict in products liability action)
  • Suoja v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., No. 99-CV-475-SLC, 2016 WL 5660299 (W.D. Wis. Sept. 30, 2016) (obtaining defense verdict in products liability action)
  • Krik v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., No. 10-CV-07435, 2015 WL 5050143 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 25, 2015) (obtaining defense verdict in products liability action)
  • Arendt v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., No. 13-C-727, 2015 WL 3452549 (E.D. Wis. June 1, 2015) (obtaining summary judgment in wrongful death products liability action)
  • Smego v. Mitchell, No. 3:08-cv-03142-SEM-TSH, 2015 WL 728550 (C.D. Ill. Feb. 20, 2015), jury verdict (Feb. 27, 2015) (excluding plaintiff’s liability experts in constitutional dental care action and trying case to verdict)
  • Padilla v. Hunter Douglas Window Coverings, Inc., 14 F. Supp. 3d 1127 (N.D. Ill. 2014) (excluding plaintiff’s liability experts in wrongful death products liability action)
  • Krik v. Crane Co., 76 F. Supp. 3d 747 (N.D. Ill. 2014); Krik v. Crane Co., 71 F. Supp. 3d 784 (N.D. Ill. 2014) (excluding plaintiff’s liability experts in products liability action)
  • Ahnert v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 13-C-1456, 2014 WL 4257740 (E.D. Wis. Aug. 29, 2014) (obtaining summary judgment in wrongful death products liability action)
  • Boyer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 39 F. Supp. 3d 1036 (W.D. Wis. 2014) (obtaining dismissal of product liability theory against a patent licensor)
  • Bowles v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 2013 IL App (4th) 121072, 996 N.E.2d 1267 (4th Dist. 2013) (affirming summary judgment in complex civil conspiracy and product liability action)
  • In re Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), No. 13-1999, 2013 WL 3295312 (3d Cir. June 26, 2013) (obtaining dismissal of appeal in consolidated product liability actions)
  • Lamb v. Graco Children’s Prods. Inc., 291 F.R.D. 665 (N.D. Fla. 2013) (obtaining summary judgment in putative consumer fraud class action)
  • In re Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), 289 F.R.D. 424 (E.D. Pa. 2013) (striking expert reports and entering sanctions in consolidated product liability action)
  • Ellis v. Pneumo Abex Corp., No. 11-cv-01128, 2013 WL 1099016 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 3, 2013) (obtaining summary judgment in complex civil conspiracy and product liability action)
  • Purepecha Enters. Inc. v. El Matador Spices & Dry Chiles, No. 11-cv-2569, 2012 WL 3686776 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 24, 2012) (obtaining summary judgment in a trademark infringement and unfair competition action)
  • McCune v. Graco Children’s Prods. Inc., 495 Fed. App’x 535 (5th Cir. 2012) (affirming and obtaining defense verdict in product liability matter)
  • Posey v. Pruger, 762 F. Supp. 2d 1086 (N.D. Ill. 2011) (obtaining dismissal of civil rights complaint)

Credentials

Education

Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 2010, cum laude
Dean’s Honor List
Merit Scholarship
CALI Awards for highest grade awarded in The Corporation and the Constitution, Disability Law, Energy Law, Illinois Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property in the High Tech Era, Legal Writing IV, Litigation Technology, Mediation, Patent Office Practice, and Police Misconduct Litigation

Purdue University, West Lafayette, M.S., Engineering, 2005
DePaul University, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, M.B.A., Applied Economics, Operations Management, 2004, with distinction, Delta Mu Delta
Michigan Technological University, B.S., Electrical Engineering, Economics Minor, 2002, cum laude

Bar Admissions

Illinois
Indiana
Missouri
Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Honors & Awards

 

Illinois Emerging Lawyer in Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Defense Law: General, and Products Liability Defense Law

Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2017-2020)

Top 100 Emerging Lawyers
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2020)
 

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Federal Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Missouri Bar Association
Wisconsin Bar Association

Publications & Presentations

“Brian O’Connor Watson, Skilled Advocate Goes Toe-to-toe With Tough Trial Law Adversaries,” (editorial profile) Emerging Lawyers Magazine (February 2020)

“Appellate Court Clarifies ‘Sole Proximate Cause,’” (author) Illinois State Bar Association’s Bench & Bar Section Council Newsletter (August 2018, vol. 49, no. 2)

“The Seventh Circuit Rejects Plaintiff’s Cancer Causation Theory,” Illinois State Bar Association’s Bench & Bar Section Council Newsletter (September 2017)

“Recent Developments in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law,” Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Winter 2017)

“Recent Developments in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law,” Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Fall 2013)

“Defending Product and Service Providers Overseas,” The Network of Trial Law Firms (June 15, 2012)