Scott Glauberman is a litigation partner in Winston & Strawn’s Chicago office. He handles complex commercial matters, prominently including accounting and auditing cases and individual and class action consumer and product liability cases.
Mr. Glauberman has twice received national recognition for his litigation skills and achievements. In 2011, Law360 named Mr. Glauberman one of five Rising Stars in the United States in the area of product liability litigation. In 2012, Law360 named Mr. Glauberman one of five Rising Stars in the United States in the area of class action litigation. In addition, Mr. Glauberman is a member of the Law360 Product Liability Editorial Advisory Board.
Product Liability and Consumer Class Action Litigation:
Mr. Glauberman presently represents LG Electronics USA, Inc., the American subsidiary of Korean electronics giant LG Electronics, Inc., in consolidated cases seeking certification of a nationwide class of purchasers of LG-brand front-loading washing machines. The plaintiffs contend that the design of the machines is defective, on the theory that the design allows mold and odor to accumulate inside the machine, rendering it unfit to launder clothes. The plaintiffs seek $300 million in damages. Mr. Glauberman is leading LG USA’s defense, and the case has now entered the class certification phase. He has also, in the past two years, successfully represented LG USA in several different class action cases that included product liability claims against the company’s refrigerators. In one such class action, Mr. Glauberman succeeded in convincing Judge Joseph Greenaway, then of the U.S. District Court and now of the Third Circuit, to dismiss all but one of the claims.
Mr. Glauberman has represented McDonald’s Corporation since 2002 in class action cases brought by consumers alleging injuries from eating McDonald’s food. These cases include the infamous “obesity case,” the first and still the only case alleging that a restaurant is responsible for weight gained by a class of people. In October 2010, Mr. Glauberman and the Winston & Strawn team prevailed on the key issue of class certification, when the district court agreed with their arguments and decided against certifying any class.
Mr. Glauberman also represented McDonald’s in a series of class action cases across the country related to trans fatty acid (TFA) levels in McDonald’s french fries. In the most recent of those cases, filed in New York and Illinois, he succeeded in having most of the claims dismissed, after which the individual plaintiffs settled at nuisance value.
Mr. Glauberman’s product liability cases include appellate work as well. Mr. Glauberman and Winston & Strawn were hired to appeal a product liability verdict against Ford Motor Company that, at $27 million, was one of the 75 largest verdicts in the nation that year. The plaintiff’s estate alleged that the design of the car seat in which the plaintiff was sitting caused his death when his car was demolished by a drunk driver. The jury agreed and awarded record-setting damages.
Mr. Glauberman wrote Ford’s briefs to the Illinois Appellate Court, which reversed and remanded approximately $25 million of the $27 million damages award. He then successfully petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to exercise its discretion to hear the case, and he wrote the briefs that convinced the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse the liability verdict against Ford. The Illinois Supreme Court held, as Mr. Glauberman had argued, that a design defect claim must be evaluated using the risk-utility test to weigh the pros and cons of a particular design and of feasible alternatives. Before that decision, Illinois practice for decades had been to evaluate whether a design was “unreasonably dangerous” under the consumer expectations test. This win for Ford overturned the Illinois pattern jury instruction on design defect claims and resulted in a remand for a new trial. The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin described the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision as one of the court’s five most important decisions of the year.
Accountants and Auditors
Mr. Glauberman has wide experience defending auditors and accounting firms in cases alleging that they failed to discover fraud committed by an audit client.
He recently tried an enforcement case against the SEC on behalf of a former Ernst & Young auditor, together with another Winston & Strawn partner. The SEC alleged that the auditor failed to discover a fraud at the audit client. After hearing two weeks of proceedings, an administrative law judge issued a suspension from practice. The case was then heard by the full Securities and Exchange Commission, which reduced the suspension to the minimum possible, over the dissent of one Commissioner who would have imposed no suspension at all.
In 2010, Mr. Glauberman briefed, argued, and won a motion to dismiss with prejudice all claims against auditor Grant Thornton LLP in the Countrywide subprime mortgage securities class action cases. All 50 defendants moved to dismiss, but Grant Thornton alone won dismissal. Other defendants later paid over $600 million to settle the cases.
Mr. Glauberman has also defended accountants and auditors in cases brought by audit clients (or their bankruptcy trustees) alleging that they failed to discover a fraud. His clients in these professional malpractice and fraud cases have included Ernst & Young (HealthSouth), Grant Thornton (Parmalat, Refco), and J.H. Cohn (U.S. Mortgage).
Mr. Glauberman is one of the firm’s most experienced attorneys in handling technology and related matters for Microsoft Corporation. He was a member of the firm’s trial team that successfully defended Microsoft during the three-month remedy trial for the government antitrust case, during which he personally helped prepare Chairman Bill Gates for deposition and trial testimony. He also defended Microsoft in lawsuits brought by Lindows (Windows® trademark), Sendo (smartphones), and Veritas (volume management operating system software).
Mr. Glauberman has argued appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, and he has briefed appeals in the Supreme Courts of Illinois, Delaware, and Colorado, among other courts.
Mr. Glauberman regularly represents pro bono clients, who have included an inmate on death row, in post-conviction proceedings; a convicted murderer, in post-conviction proceedings; a convicted hostage taker, on appeal; a child facing expulsion from the Chicago public schools; and a non-profit school.
Honors and Awards
- Law360: Named one of five Rising Stars in the United States in product liability litigation (2011), and in class action litigation (2012).
- The Legal 500: Recognized and recommended as one of four Winston & Strawn attorneys in the area of product of product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products. The commendation singled out Mr. Glauberman’s polished legal writing in product liability cases.
- Best Lawyers in America: Commercial Litigation (2013)
- Copyright Society of the U.S.A.: Charles B. Seton Award
Mr. Glauberman is the Co-Chair of the Associate Evaluation Committee, where he has primary responsibility for associates in the firm’s United States offices. He is a past member of the Hiring Committee, where he was responsible for the firm’s recruiting and hiring at Harvard Law School. He also conducts, on behalf of the Harvard College Admissions Office, interviews of area high school students who have applied for admission.
Mr. Glauberman graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994, with a B.A. in Finance. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and he was awarded the Bronze Tablet, the university’s highest academic honor. Three years later, he graduated cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Speeches and Publications
- “Up The Ladder: Litigator Responsibilities Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,” 30 Litigation 22, Summer 2004, with Dan K. Webb. This article was reprinted in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.
- “Citizen Suits Against States: The Exclusive Jurisdiction Dilemma,” 45 Journal of the Copyright Society 63 (1997).