John Muench is a Litigation & Dispute Resolution senior counsel in Mayer Brown’s Chicago office and a member of the firm’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice. His practice focuses especially on general and appellate litigation, with particular emphasis on antitrust, telecommunications, state and federal constitutional law, preemption, state and federal jurisdiction and procedure, mass tort and products liability securities, and class actions. John handles complex civil litigation and has written dozens of briefs and argued numerous cases in state and federal appellate and supreme courts.
Within the firm’s Litigation practice, John is also a member of the telecommunications subgroup, which was named “Communications Law Firm of the Year” in 2003 by Chambers USA. He is recognized in Chambers USA’s Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers as a “leading individual” in the area of Communications and Technology Law. Chambers reported that John “is regarded as ‘strategic’ and ‘terrifically creative’” and that “[c]lients consider him to be ‘astute, diplomatic and responsive.’”
Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 1983, John taught constitutional law, federal courts, and evidence at the University of Illinois College of Law (1978–1983). Earlier, he served as Law Clerk to The Honorable John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, DC (1977–1978) and to The Honorable Robert A. Sprecher, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1976–1977).
John has represented AT&T (and before that, SBC, Ameritech and BellSouth) in dozens of telecommunications, preemption, right-of-way and, antitrust matters, including as amicus curiae in Verizon v. Law Offices of Curtis Trinko, in which the Supreme Court held that a complaint alleging that an incumbent carrier breached its federal duties to share its network with competitors does not state a claim under the federal antitrust laws.
John represented AT&T in a significant preemption case in Illinois federal district court in which AT&T challenged as inconsistent with the federal Telecommunications Act certain wholesale access requirements imposed by the Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”) under Section 5/13-801 of the Illinois Public Utilities Act (“Section 801”). The district court accepted all of AT&T’s arguments on preemption. The Court then entered a permanent injunction that tracked, virtually word for word, the order proposed by AT&T. Illinois Bell Tel. Co. v. O’Connell-Diaz, No. 05 C 1149, 2006 WL 2796488 (Sept. 28, 2006) (granting partial summary judgment) & 2008 WL 239149 (Jan. 28, 2008) (granting summary judgment, final judgment, and permanent injunction).
John assisted in representing three “affiliates” of Sprint in high-profile, high-stakes breach of contract cases challenging Sprint’s conduct in the aftermath of the Sprint-Nextel merger. These affiliates received favorable results in two separate bench trials (one in Delaware and the other in Illinois). The Illinois court’s opinion specifically commends the parties’ “excellent legal representation.” John is currently representing iPCS on appeal. (iPCS Wireless, Inc. v. Sprint Corp., No. 05 CH 11792 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Ch. Div., Aug. 15, 2006); Horizon Personal Comms., Inc. v. Sprint Corp., No. Civ. A. 1518-N, 2006 WL 2337592 (Del. Ch. Aug. 4, 2006)).
John represented SBC in winning dismissal of a class action lawsuit that alleged that a provision of the Illinois Public Utilities Act violated several provisions of the Illinois Constitution and sought hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds from SBC.
John represented BellSouth Corporation as principal outside counsel in rights-of-way litigation against cities and counties. He successfully represented BellSouth in obtaining a reversal in the Tennessee Court of Appeals of a trial court’s ruling that BellSouth must pay a percentage of its gross revenue to the City of Memphis in exchange for the right to operate in the City’s public rights-of-way. BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. v. City of Memphis, Tenn., 2004 WL 1562535 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jul 12, 2004) (No. W-2003-01047-COA-R3-CV), appeal denied (Jan 04, 2005).
John represented BellSouth as amicus curiae in City of Macon v. Alltel Communications, Inc., 277 Ga. 823 (2004), in which the Georgia Supreme Court held that a municipal ordinance was preempted by state law to the extent that it sought to require excessive fees unrelated to the city’s reasonable regulatory costs of maintaining its public rights-of-way.
John successfully argued an Eleventh Amendment appeal on behalf of Ameritech in the Sixth Circuit. Michigan Bell Tel. Co. v. Climax Tel. Co., 202 F.3d 862 (6th Cir. 2000).
Products Liability, Toxic Torts, Expert Testimony
John helped develop global strategies for the coordination of breast-implant litigation against Dow Chemical in the MDL proceeding and in the Sixth Circuit and Michigan district and bankruptcy courts. Also coordinated briefing and strategy for Daubert motions in the breast-implant litigation.
John wrote an amicus brief for Dow Chemical in General Electric v. Joiner, 522 US 136 (1997), in which the Court clarified the standard of review for trial court “gatekeeper” decisions and further held that expert opinions may be excluded where the proposed expert fails to explain the links between his methodology and his conclusions.
John served as lead appellate counsel for General Motors in the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court in successfully obtaining dismissal of a toxic tort action brought by GM employees, alleging injury from exposure to machining fluids. General Motors Corp. v. Bock, 247 Mich. App. 705 (2001), appeal denied, 466 Mich. 862 (2002).
Northwestern University School of Law, JD, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Editor-in-Chief, Northwestern University Law Review
College of the Holy Cross, AB, magna cum laude, Fenwick Scholar (“the College’s highest academic award”); King-Keenan Memorial Prize (outstanding graduate in political science)
- US Supreme Court
- US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois (Board of Directors, 1998–2000)
- American Bar Association, sections on Antitrust, Litigation and Administrative Law