John R. Worth

Partner Chicago
John Worth

A veteran trial lawyer with two decades of high-stakes litigation experience, John represents clients in complex commercial disputes, class action litigation, environmental and toxic tort cases, and product liability and consumer fraud matters across the country.

John is a seasoned litigator and lead partner of Phillips Lytle’s Chicago office. Over the course of his career, he has successfully litigated and tried complex disputes in federal and state trial and appellate courts and in arbitrations throughout the United States.

John’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including contract disputes, consumer fraud, product liability, mass tort and toxic tort, and class action litigation. A tenacious advocate at trial, John is highly regarded both for his strategic focus and his ability to distill and convey complex and, often, arcane factual and legal arguments to clients, courts and juries effectively.

Prior to joining Phillips Lytle, John was a litigation partner for over 10 years at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.


Education & Admissions

  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, 2004
  • University of Chicago, The Divinity School, M.A., 2001
  • Wabash CollegeB.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1997
Admitted to Practice
  • Illinois
  • Michigan


Representative Cases
  • Lead trial counsel for interstate trucking company in a federal lawsuit in Chicago brought by a suburban community that had claimed the company was responsible for contamination of the community’s drinking water supply. Complete defense verdict for the company following a multi-day jury trial.
  • Counsel for manufacturing company in an ongoing insurance coverage dispute in federal court in Connecticut involving more than $50 million dollars in prescription drug claims that had been approved under the company’s self-funded group benefit plan and paid for by the company, for which the company’s stop-loss insurer subsequently denied coverage. Litigation ongoing.
  • Counsel for petroleum company in a series of disputes related to the company’s Caribbean liquid natural gas production and processing businesses and joint ventures.
  • Counsel for chemical company in litigation brought by two subsidiaries against the operator and co-owner of an ethylene manufacturing facility in Alberta. Resulted in a significant trial award in favor of the client’s subsidiaries.
  • Counsel for petroleum company against claims brought by a second petroleum company and several individuals involving the payment of overriding royalties on deepwater oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Settled prior to trial.
  • Counsel for real estate investment company in litigation against three real estate investment trusts (REITs). Following years of litigation, the Illinois court found the defendant REITs has breached their fiduciary duties to a target company’s shareholders by, among other things, usurping billions of dollars in corporate opportunities and violating basic principles of corporate governance.
  • Lead counsel for petroleum company in litigation brought against an Italian parts manufacturer following an operational upset resulting production outrage at one of the company’s refineries in Indiana. Settled prior to trial.
  • Counsel for pharmaceutical company in its defense of claims brought by a prospective purchaser under a supply contract following the closure of the company’s manufacturing facility near Cleveland, Ohio. After the prospective purchaser filed a TRO and PI demand with the AAA, successfully argued the first TRO proceeding under the then-new AAA mediation rules. Following the denial of the prospective purchaser’s TRO, the matter was quickly settled on favorable terms.
  • Lead counsel for chemical company in dispute over a 1998 settlement with multiple insurers involving potential nationwide environmental liabilities. First-chaired a multiday arbitration in New York ultimately resulting in indemnification of any client liabilities by a second chemical company.
  • Lead counsel for chemical company in wrongful death lawsuit in federal court in Illinois brought by family of a chemical worker alleging worker’s death was caused by chemical exposure. Dismissed on motion to dismiss.
  • Counsel for petroleum company in product liability class action in federal court in Illinois alleging engine damage resulting from client’s production and distribution of off-specification gasoline. Settled prior to trial.
  • Counsel for chemical company in multiple lawsuits in Philadelphia state court alleging brain cancer caused by vinyl chloride exposure. Cases included residents of an Illinois town claiming air and groundwater exposure and a former contact worker at client’s research lab in Pennsylvania claiming workplace exposure. First case resulted in judgment for client after six-week jury trial. Second care resulted in dismissal of plaintiff’s case on eve of trial.
  • Counsel for chemical company in lawsuit federal court in Colorado brought by more than 200 plaintiffs alleging personal injury for radiation exposure from client’s former uranium mining and milling operations in Western Colorado. Dismissed on summary judgment.
  • Counsel for chemical company in personal injury lawsuit in Indiana state court involving serious brain injuries to two siblings allegedly caused by exposure to client’s pesticide. Settled prior to trial.
  • Counsel for engine manufacturer in nationwide multidistrict consumer fraud class action litigation. Settled prior to trial.

Articles & Publications


  • Author, “Globalization and the Myth of Absolute National Sovereignty: Reconsidering the “Un-signing” of the Rome Statue and the Legacy of Senator Bricker,” Indiana Law Journal, Vol 797, Iss. 1, Article 5, January 2004