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John Nields
John W. Nields Jr.
Senior Of Counsel
Washington +1 202 662 5058 Download V-card

John Nields is senior of counsel in the firm’s Washington, DC office and specializes in antitrust and other civil litigation, arbitration, and white collar criminal defense.  He has particular expertise in criminal appeals and matters involving the U.S. Congress.  As special counsel for the Justice Department, Mr. Nields successfully prosecuted top FBI officials for authorizing secret searches into the homes of innocent American citizens, and copying their private papers.  In private practice, he defended Webster Hubbell against a series of indictments filed by the independent counsel investigating former President Clinton.  He also served as chief counsel of the House panel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal.

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37 Health & Security Plan v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Southern District of New York.  Representing Bristol-Myers Squibb in a class action lawsuit alleging that BMS’ co-pay assistance program for its blockbuster drug Abilify® violates RICO and Robinson Patman Act § 2(c).
  • FTC v. Schering-Plough, 402 F.3d 1056 (11th Cir. 2005).  Successfully defended antitrust case brought against pharmaceutical company alleging that so-called “reverse payment” patent settlements were anticompetitive. Case involved a successful nine-week trial, and a landmark decision in the Court of Appeals dismissing all allegations in the case.
  • In Re K-Dur Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil Action No. 01-CV-1652 (JAG), MDL No. 1419.  Successful defense of class actions filed in the wake of FTC v. Schering-Plough mentioned above.  Summary judgment granted in Schering’s favor on March 25, 2010.
  • In Re Wellbutrin XL Antitrust Litigation.  Representing Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (formerly Biovail Corporation) in class action litigation consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania involving allegations of sham litigation.
  • In Re Schering-Plough Corporation Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil Action No. 01-0829 (KSH).  Defended and eventually settled a securities fraud class action arising out of FDA enforcement action against, and large penalties extracted from, Schering-Plough as a result of alleged manufacturing deficiencies.
  • In Re Schering-Plough Corp. Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil Action No. 01-CV-4965 (KSH).  Won dismissal of a putative securities fraud class action in which Plaintiffs tried to turn an alleged Reg FD violation into a securities fraud case.
  • United States v. Kuehne.  Represented prominent attorney charged with money laundering, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.  Obtained pre-trial dismissal of multiple counts, as well as a landmark decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirming dismissal of the central count in the case, following which the Department of Justice voluntarily dismissed the remaining counts of the indictment.
  • United States v. Felt. As Special Counsel for the Department of Justice, successfully prosecuted the second and third ranking officials of the FBI for secretly breaking into homes of US citizens, copying their private documents and falsifying FBI records to conceal the manner in which the documents were obtained, all in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Witnesses included five former Attorneys General and a former President of the United States.
  • United States v. Hubbell. Defended Webster L. Hubbell against repeated indictments by Independent Counsel over a five-year period. Obtained the dismissal of one such indictment on the ground that it was tainted by documents produced under immunity, and obtained an affirmance of that dismissal in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • United States v. Heller. Obtained, in the same criminal tax case, two reversals by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 1986 and 1987. The first was based on ethnic slurs uttered by the jury during its deliberations. The second was based on threats made to the defendant’s accountant by the IRS, resulting in the accountant’s untruthful testimony against the defendant.

Pro Bono

  • Led a successful challenge to an HHS regulation which would have required federally funded birth control clinics to notify parents before prescribing birth control to teenagers.
  • Atchison v. Barry.  Represented a class of homeless persons seeking to enforce rights under the Right to Overnight Shelter Law. Obtained a preliminary injunction, consent decree and several contempt findings.  As a result, shelter space was expanded and conditions improved.  The court placed $4 million in contempt fines into a trust for the benefit of homeless people, and 400 new units of housing have been constructed.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • District of Columbia Bar, Past President; Pro Bono Committee, Chair

Previous Experience

  • Special Counsel for Rhode Island's commission to investigate the failure of Rhode Island's Insured Financial Institutions (1991-1992).
  • House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Chief Counsel (1987)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Special Counsel (1979-1980)
  • U.S. House of Representatives, Chief Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (1977-1979)
  • Senior Law Clerk to Associate Justice Byron R. White, U.S. Supreme Court (1974-1977)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York (1969-1974)
  • Listed as a leading lawyer in Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence 2014
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial and White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (2014-2016)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense (2014-2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Appellate (2013-2017)
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Star: District of Columbia (2013-2014)
  • Washingtonian, Criminal Defense White Collar "Top Lawyer" (2013)