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David E. Morrison


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Trial and Appellate Experience

  • As an appointed Special Assistant State’s Attorney, served as lead litigation counsel representing Cook County, Illinois, in a case of national significance addressing the power of the federal government’s Executive Branch relating to the nation’s immigration laws, specifically how the term ‘public charge’ is applied to green card applicants. Represented the County at all three levels of the federal judiciary, including on a single day in 2020, filing briefs in the Northern District of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit, and the Supreme Court. Obtained a preliminary injunction in the Northern District in October 2019, Cook County, Illinois et al. v. Wolf, 417 F. Supp. 3d 1008 (2019). Argued the merits of the appeal before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Cook County and affirmed the preliminary injunction. Cook County, Illinois et al. v. Wolf, 962 F.3d 208 (2020). On November 2, 2020, the Northern District of Illinois granted Cook County’s summary judgment motion, vacating the public charge rule on a nationwide basis, which decision also was affirmed on appeal. As a result of the litigation team’s successful efforts, the Department of Homeland Security immediately stopped enforcing the public charge rule nationwide on March 9, 2021. The case finally came to a close in January 2023, when the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari filed by a group of 14 states, led by Texas, who sought to intervene to defend the public charge rule in light of the change in administrations. Because of the public policy implications of the case, it received intense media coverage, including from the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other national publications. The judges who ruled over this case were well aware of the case’s significance. During an interview after leaving the bench, Judge Feinerman described this case as one of his most memorable cases while serving as a federal district court judge. Likewise, in her Response to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Questionnaire for Nominee to the Supreme Court, Justice Barrett identified this case as one of the 10 most significant cases over which she presided as a judge.
  • As an appointed Special Assistant State’s Attorney, represented Cook County in a case challenging whether Cook County is complying with the Illinois Constitution’s spending authorizations relating to approximately $230 million in annual transportation tax revenues. At a two-day evidentiary hearing on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, led examinations of both sides’ expert witnesses on issues of accounting, government budgeting and cost allocation. Court issued opinion denying plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in October 2022, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Stretching over much of the COVID pandemic, represented a Fortune 25 national bank in a FINRA arbitration matter involving allegations of wrongful termination, among other claims. After 15 trial days of trial, defeated the wrongful termination after skillful development of the facts and theory of the case.
  • Represented a California-based private equity company that had formed a business to acquire the majority lender position in a secured credit facility. The private equity company acquired the assets of a Chapter 11 debtor that operated 80 restaurants and bars nationwide in a Section 363 Sale under the Bankruptcy Code. A disappointed auction participant and minority lender in the facility sued the client in the Southern District of New York, attempting to use the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to extract one-third of the value of the purchased company. After successfully arguing for the dismissal of the good faith and fair dealing claim, a trial on the merits was held in February 2019 before Judge Jesse Furman where the minority lender claimed the client breached the credit agreement’s “sharing provision” when, instead of tendering cash at closing, the client tendered court-approved non-cash consideration. The SDNY entered a judgment fully in favor of the client, representing a significant win for majority lender rights and rejection of a minority lender’s efforts to establish a rule of law that would have prohibited the use of non-cash consideration at bankruptcy auctions.
  • Served as lead attorney in the defense of two former executives of the plaintiff and their new employer who were sued in the Northern District of Illinois on federal and state trade secret misappropriation claims. After extensive emergency discovery and a two-day trial, Judge John Tharp entered a published decision fully in favor of the clients and denied the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction. The opinion has been discussed heavily by intellectual property and employment counsel around the country, (“For years to come, that’s going to be a decision that’s cited by litigators on both sides of these issues,” as quoted in “5 Noncompete Rulings from 2019 Attorneys Should Know,” Law 360 (December 13, 2019)). As a result of this case, David has been a sought-after speaker on the topic of reasonable protections for trade secret information. See Abrasic 90 Inc. v. Weldcote Metals, Inc. et al., 364 F. Supp.3d 888 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 4, 2019).
  • Represented a Fortune 125 company for more than 20 years in a variety of commercial matters, including serving as its national employment counsel. Highlights include:
    • Defending more than 100 single-plaintiff employment discrimination cases throughout the country and successfully obtaining summary judgment or dismissal of the cases.
    • Over a one-year period, won appeals affirming three summary judgment decisions in the Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal.
    • Successfully defended the corporation and five individual defendants in a California state court case involving a former employee who sought $7 million in her nine-count wrongful termination suit. Led a team of lawyers in extensive discovery, including 25 depositions, as the plaintiff amassed a record of what she claimed was more than 150 disputes of material facts in an attempt to force the defendants to a four-week jury trial. After simplifying the facts and issues, and persuasively arguing that not one material fact was in dispute, the clients were granted summary judgment. Subsequently argued the case before the California Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court’s decision in full, and the California Supreme Court denied the plaintiff’s Petition for Review.


Other Bankruptcy-Related Trial Experience

  • Successfully tried a week-long commercial case before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of an international jet airplane manufacturer, resulting in an award of 40 percent of the debtor’s estate, or more than $3.2 million.
  • Successfully tried a one-day commercial case before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware concerning the valuation of debtor’s domestic intellectual property assets, resulting in an order of adequate protection in favor of a lending client and the entry of an injunction against the use of infringing intellectual property in Europe.
  • Successfully tried a breach of contract case over two days before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, resulting in a judgment in favor of the client.
  • On behalf of a Fortune 50 national banking client, won summary judgment in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California on an issue involving a complex UCC conflicts-of-law analysis over a retention-of-title dispute that was central to the secured lender’s ongoing business practices. The winning oral argument occurred days before commencing trial on another matter.
  • Successfully tried a one-day preliminary injunction hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to enjoin class action environmental litigation from proceeding against the client, which litigation was valued at more than $50 million.
  • Represented a New York lender seeking to collect on a $3 million judgment. The night before a state court trial was to commence, at which the lender was seeking to declare an irrevocable dynasty trust a sham and make all of the trust’s assets available to the judgment debtor’s creditors, the judgment debtor filed for bankruptcy protection to obtain an automatic stay and stop the trial from commencing. Obtained a lift of the automatic stay from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to force the case back to a state court trial. Rather than defend the trust’s validity at trial, the debtor capitulated and conceded that the trust’s assets should be available to his creditors in the bankruptcy case.
  • Represented a middle-market specialty finance firm in defense of an action by a vendor of its borrower seeking to recover millions of dollars from the client (the secured lender) and several other defendants. The case was being litigated as a contested matter in the main bankruptcy case and as an adversary proceeding pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. After aggressive motion practice and discovery to shape the client’s defenses, led a complex, multi-party, multi-day mediation, which ultimately led to a resolution extremely favorable to the client.



  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1993

    – cum laude

    – Louis Honigman Memorial Award Recipient

    – Raymond K. Dykma Scholarship Recipient

    – Scribes award for outstanding legal writing

  • Indiana University, B.A., Political Science, 1990

    – with honors

    – Wendle L. Wilkie Senior Thesis Award


  • Illinois
  • New York
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including the Trial Bar
  • U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Professional Activities

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • American Bar Association