J. Gordon Cooney Jr. has experience with a broad variety of commercial and civil litigation, with a particular focus on defending class actions in state and federal court. As leader of Morgan Lewis’s litigation practice, Gordon leads and oversees the firm’s litigation operations across the globe. He represents clients in matters throughout the United States in consumer, product liability, deceptive trade practice, toxic tort, RICO, antitrust, and securities class actions. His practice also includes substantial commercial, business, and merger and acquisition (M&A) litigation.
Many challenges facing companies today present multiple dimensions—including regulatory and criminal investigations, civil or criminal litigation by US federal and state prosecutors, class action or serial litigation by customers or other stakeholders, and shareholder and corporate governance litigation. Gordon works with companies to shape the overall strategy to successfully navigate multijurisdictional and multidisciplinary challenges. His experience has included both serving as overall strategy counsel as well as working collaboratively in virtual law firms to help solve client challenges.
Gordon has appeared in the courts of more than 35 states, and he has argued before the US Supreme Court and many federal circuit courts. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and as a “Star Individual” for Commercial Litigation in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. The American Lawyer named Gordon “Litigator of the Week” in the summer of 1999.
For nearly 25 years, Gordon represented John Thompson, who was wrongly convicted in 1985 of murdering a New Orleans hotel executive and an unrelated armed carjacking that the prosecutors used in the murder case. Thompson faced the death sentence and 50 years in prison without parole. Over the course of 15 years of postconviction proceedings, Gordon and a Morgan Lewis team uncovered concealed blood evidence in the carjacking case, as well as witnesses and other evidence hidden from the defense. Based on the blood evidence, the carjacking conviction was vacated, and a Louisiana court ordered a new murder trial. On retrial, handled by Gordon and the Morgan Lewis team, a jury found Thompson not guilty of murder. The court released him from custody after 18 years in prison and exonerated him of any involvement in the crimes.
Active in civic and philanthropic organizations, Gordon also served as an adjunct law lecturer at Villanova Law School for 11 years.
In re Actiq Sales & Marketing Practices Litigation, No. 07-4492 (E.D.Pa. March 23, 2015) (denying class certification in a putative class action regarding alleged off-label promotion against a pharmaceutical company brought by third-party payors of prescription medicines)
Ind./Ky./Ohio Reg’l Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund v. Cephalon, Inc., 2014 WL 2115498 (E.D. Pa. May 21, 2014) (dismissing putative class action regarding alleged off-label promotion brought against a pharmaceutical company by third-party payors of prescription medicines).
Travelers Indem. Co. v. Cephalon, Inc., 2014 WL 3408550 (E.D. Pa. July 14, 2014) (dismissing civil action alleging off-label promotion against pharmaceutical company brought by a third-party payor of prescription medicines).
In re Complaint of Judicial Misconduct, 575 F.3d 279 (3d Cir. 2009) (retained as co-counsel by Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to represent Special Committee of five judges investigating allegations of Judicial Misconduct regarding Chief Judge of another circuit that had been referred to the Third Circuit by Chief Justice Roberts).
In re: Toyota Motor Corporation Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, No. 8:10ML 021151 JVS (FMOx) (C.D. Cal.) (co-lead counsel in negotiating and securing final judicial approval of more than 180 economic-loss class actions regarding alleged unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles).
Ironworkers Local Union No. 68 v. AstraZeneca Pharm. LP, 585 F.Supp.2d 1339 (M.D. Fla. 2008), aff’d, 634 F.3d 1352 (11th Cir. 2011) (dismissing putative class action regarding alleged off-label promotion brought against a pharmaceutical company by third-party payors of prescription medicines).
Tae Hee Lee and Alan Quan v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., No. CV13-7431 TFW (VBKx) (C.D. Cal.) (dismissing putative class action regarding pre-collision warning system in Prius vehicles).
Gillette v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 980 F.Supp.2d 660 (D.N.J. 2013) (dismissing putative class action regarding warranty notice).
Cent. Reg’l Emps. Benefit Fund v. Cephalon, Inc., 2009 WL 3245485 (D.N.J. Oct. 7, 2009) (dismissing putative class action regarding alleged off-label promotion brought against a pharmaceutical company by third-party payors of prescription medicines).
Wu v. Pearson Educ., Inc., 277 F.R.D. 255 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (securing decertification of a putative class of photographers alleging copyright infringement).
Marchbanks Truck Service, Inc. v. Comdata Network Inc., No. 07-1078-JKG (E.D. Pa.) (lead counsel defending putative class action alleging that certain provisions in merchant card-acceptance agreements allegedly violated the antitrust laws).
Wright v. Rite Aid Corporation, No. 9909-02906 (SEL) (C.P. Phila.) (dismissing putative class action regarding prescription drug pricing).
King v. Baldino, 2010 W.L. 5078008 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirming dismissal of shareholder derivative action).
Long v. Hewlett Packard, 2009 W.L. 530082 (9th Cir. 2009) (affirming dismissal of putative class action regarding allegations that laptop computers failed prematurely).
Baggett v. Hewlett Packard, 317 W.L. 8066 (C.D. Cal. 2009) (granting summary judgment in favor of printer manufacturer in putative class action).
Flying J Inc. v. Comdata Network, Inc., 405 F.3rd 821 (10th Cir. 2005) (reversing trial court determination that Comdata breached license agreement incorporated in settlement agreement).
Minadeo v. Alcon Laboratories, Inc., 168 S.W.3d 699 (Mo. App. 2005) (affirming dismissal of putative class action filed in Madison County, Illinois, on forum non conveniens grounds).
Thompson v. Connick, No. Civ.A.03-2045, 2005 WL 3541035 (E.D. La. Nov. 15, 2005), aff’d, 553 F.3d 836 (5th Cir. 2008), aff’d by an equally divided en banc court, 578 F.3d 293 (5th Cir. 2009), rev’d, Connick v. Thompson, 131 S.Ct. 1350 (2011) ($14 million jury verdict in civil rights action against Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office ultimately overturned by 5-4 opinion of the United States Supreme Court).
State v. Thompson, 825 So.2d 552, 2002-0361 (La. App. 4 Cir. 7/17/02) (securing reversal of criminal convictions and winning exoneration of former death row inmate following decades of post-conviction proceedings and a murder re-trial).
Alcon Laboratories, Inc. v. Will Vision & Laser Centers, Inc., 126 Wash App. 1025 (Wash App. Div. 1 2005) (enforcing settlement agreement and rejecting claim of fraudulent inducement).
Contawe v. Crescent Heights of America, 2005 W.L. 21196 (E.D.Pa. 2005) (denying class certification in putative class action against condominium developer).
Villanova University School of Law, 1984, J.D.
Wesleyan University, 1981, B.A.
Awards and Affiliations
Influencer of Law, Business Litigation, The Philadelphia Inquirer (2018)
Recommended, Dispute resolution: Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport, The Legal 500 US (2018)
Recommended, Dispute resolution: General commercial disputes, The Legal 500 US (2017)
Recommended, Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices: defense, The Legal 500 US (2017)
Recommended, Antitrust: Cartel and antitrust: Civil litigation/class actions, The Legal 500 US (2015–2016)
Recommended as a local litigation star for Pennsylvania for Commercial Litigation and Products Liability in Benchmark Litigation (2008–2014, 2017, 2018)
Ranked, Litigation: General Commercial, Pennsylvania, Chambers USA (2006–2018)
Life Sciences Star, Non-IP Litigation and Enforcement, LMG Life Sciences (2016–2018)
Lawyer of the Year, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, Philadelphia, The Best Lawyers in America (2015, 2019)
Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America (2007–2019)
Outside Director of the Year, Philadelphia Business Journal (2014)
Named 2014 Pennsylvania Product Liability Department Of The Year by The Legal Intelligencer
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
Past Co-chair, Third Circuit Judicial Council Lawyers Advisory Committee
Member, American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Class Action and Derivative Suits Committee
Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award (2006)
Boston College Law School Alumni Association, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Award (2006)
Villanova Law School, St. Thomas of Villanova Award (2009)
American Jewish Committee, Learned Hand Award (2011)
Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Rosemont School of the Holy Child
Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Gesu School
Chair-elect, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania