John M. Simpson has practiced law in the Washington, DC, office for more than thirty-nine years, with the longest continuous service in that office of any lawyer in the history of the firm. A graduate of Harvard University, where he was a member of the Harvard Varsity Football Team, and a former infantry officer in the US Marine Corps, Mr. Simpson attended Columbia University Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and articles editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. Mr. Simpson has been a partner since 1986. Mr. Simpson has handled complex commercial, employment and regulatory cases at all levels of the American legal system. He has conducted numerous jury and bench trials in both federal and state court and administrative hearings before a number of federal and state agencies. He has argued eighteen appeals in the United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Fourth, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, the Supreme Courts of North Carolina and West Virginia and the Texas and North Carolina Courts of Appeals. He is a member of the District of Columbia and North Carolina Bar, the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and multiple lower federal appellate and trial court bars.
Mr. Simpson is experienced in the conduct of complex, protracted federal court litigation and has a deep background in federal administrative law involving multiple US regulatory programs. Mr. Simpson also has more than thirty-three years' experience in employment law and has handled every type of discrimination claim that is cognizable in federal or state court. Several of those cases were precedent-setting. Recently, Mr. Simpson achieved a national profile in the area of animal law and animal rights litigation. Mr. Simpson tried a landmark case under the Endangered Species Act to a defense verdict for the client in a case that received international media attention and in which the court made an explicit finding that Mr. Simpson had "pulverized" the testimony of the plaintiff and lead witness on cross examination. [677 F. Supp.2d 55, 67 (D.D.C. 2009), aff'd, 659 F.3d 13 (D.C. Cir. 2011)]. In that same litigation, Mr. Simpson obtained an unprecedented ruling that the client was entitled to recover attorneys' fees because the court found the plaintiffs' case to be "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception." This ruling, the first in favor of a private defendant under the 44-year old Endangered Species Act, paved the way for the recovery by the client of more than $25 million from the adverse parties, which represented a 100 per cent recoupment of the legal fees expended on the case. This was reportedly the largest lodestar attorneys' fee claim ever made in the US District Court for the District of Columbia and one of the largest fee recoveries ever under the Christiansburg Garment Co. v. EEOC defense fee recovery standard.
Building upon his natural interest in the subject and his experience as a football player at the NCAA level, Mr. Simpson is certified by the National Football League Players Association as a Contract Advisor and is a registered athlete agent at the state level. Mr. Simpson has represented multiple NFL players, inlcluding players on current active/inactive lists.
Mr. Simpson's trial and appellate dockets have given him experience in the following areas:
► Animal law and animal rights litigation and regulatory counseling under federal and state animal welfare laws, including representation of businesses or entities in the entertainment, agricultural, food production, educational and research spaces whose operations involve animals or animal products or services.
►Administrative and judicial enforcement actions, rulemaking proceedings and judicial declaratory judgment cases involving regulatory programs of the US Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Labor and Energy as well as the National Labor Relations Board, Food and Drug Administration, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission.
►Complex business-related torts and claims, including class action litigation, involving RICO, federal wire-tapping laws, state conspiracy and unfair trade practices laws, tortious interference, patent, trademark and copyright infringement, defamation breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
►Claims of disparate treatment and impact discrimination in the workplace and in federally funded programs based on race, gender, mental and physical disability, religion, national origin, age, veteran or service status, sexual orientation, and a variety of retaliation claims. Other issues in the workplace, including overtime issues, child labor, employee privacy, wage payment and collection issues, WARN issues, involuntary servitude and family medical leave.
►Design, implementation and judicial enforcement of pre-dispute arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act and state arbitration laws covering issues arising out of employment and the provision of medical treatment.
►Legal issues for institutions of higher education, including allegations of discrimination in employment and in federally funded programs, tenure disputes, research fraud, grants for federally funded research, academic and conduct disciplinary actions involving students, medical practice and privileges issues in teaching hospitals, issues arising in intercollegiate athletic programs and issues pertaining to university governance.
►Energy litigation involving deep horizon rights, enhanced recovery techniques on unitized properties, royalty and other rights among working and royalty interest owners, issues involving the refining of gasoline and other petroleum products, take-or-pay disputes involving natural gas producers and interstate pipelines, and natural gas purchase and sale contracts.
►Medical malpractice defense in the areas of psychiatry, psychology, pathology, cytopathology, urology, radiology, general surgery, orthopedics and general medicine.
►Corporate governance and officer and director issues, including litigation before the Delaware Chancery Court, bondholder rights, breach of fiduciary duty, duty of loyalty, faithless employees, self-dealing and corporate alter ego issues.
►Securities issues, including Securities and Exchange Commission investigations, contested tender offers, and private fraud actions under Rule 10b-5, including class actions.
►Federal district and claims court litigation involving federal procurement and other government contract issues.
►Proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, including representation and unit clarification cases and unfair labor practice charges.
►Litigation under the federal Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.