A nationally known trial lawyer, McGuireWoods Chairman Jon Harmon represents Fortune 500 companies in bet-the-company litigation across the country. His clients include some of the largest U.S. financial institutions as well as telecommunications giants and leading automotive, food and product manufacturers.
Jon has more than 20 years of experience communicating complex information to juries in federal and state courts. Companies often call on him to "parachute" into high-exposure cases shortly before trial and he has won verdicts in some of the most difficult, pro-plaintiff venues in the United States.
With the overwhelming majority of his appearances resulting in defense verdicts, Jon also successfully litigates and resolves cases through dispositive motions or settlements.
Jon formerly led McGuireWoods’ Business & Securities Litigation Department. His business litigation practice spans complex commercial, fraud, class action, insurance fraud, complex business/civil tort, environmental, product liability, employment, construction, toxic tort, and federal or state protected whistle-blower cases.
International Paper Co. v. Kennedy Specialty Lumber (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas). Represented International Paper in a complex commercial fraud and conspiracy jury trial after the principal defendant was acquitted. Defendants counter-claimed and demanded $140 million shortly before trial. More than 20,000 exhibits were introduced during the trial. The jury returned a $1 million verdict (the exact amount requested in closing) in favor of International Paper and rejected defendants’ counter-claim.
Carnell Construction Co. v. Danville Redevelopment Housing Authority (U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia)—Represented a small, African-American contractor in a race discrimination lawsuit against the Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority (DRHA). Carnell alleged that DRHA discriminated against him and his company while they were performing work on a large public housing project, funded by a $20 million grant through HUD. Ultimately, DRHA terminated Carnell from the project. After a nine day jury trial, the jury returned a $3.17M verdict in favor of our client. The case was later reversed, and re-tried three times before settling for several million dollars.
In re: Cellphone Termination Cases (Alameda County Circuit Court, California). Represented a national wireless phone company in a jury trial involving a class of approximately 2 million former California customers who had established that the wireless phone company’s early termination fee was invalid under California law. Represented the company in the damages phase of the trial in which our client was pursuing a counter-claim against the class. The jury awarded our client approximately $18 million in damages. The verdict was later overturned and the case ultimately settled.
Commonwealth of Virginia, et al. v. Nationwide Insurance Co., et al. (Richmond Circuit Court, Virginia). Officially appointed by the commonwealth of Virginia to represent it and Virginia Tech in suing five insurance companies and their agent in a Fraud Against Taxpayers Act case involving fraud in the procurement and administration of student health insurance. Before trial, the insurance companies agreed to pay approximately $20 million, Virginia’s largest-ever Fraud Against Taxpayers Act settlement.
Thomas v. Atlantic Richfield, DuPont (Milwaukee Circuit Court, Wisconsin). Represented DuPont in a five-week jury trial in which the plaintiff and his guardian ad litem alleged that the plaintiff suffered permanent brain damage as a result of childhood lead poisoning. As the first case in the country to go to trial under a recently created "risk contribution" theory of liability, the trial received national attention and was closely followed by the plaintiff and defense bars. The jury returned a complete defense verdict.
Alsobrook v. UPS Ground Freight (U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee). Represented UPS in a four-plaintiff hostile environment, race and retaliation jury trial brought under Title VII and Section 1981. Plaintiffs alleged a hostile environment and sought damages in excess of $10 million. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.
Willie Homer Stephens, Guardian ad Litem for Lillian Colvin v. CSX Transportation (Hampton County Circuit Court, South Carolina). Represented CSX in a three-week jury trial in which the plaintiff alleged that CSX's negligence in operating one of its trains and in failing to clear vegetation at a crossing in Hampton County, S.C., resulted in an accident that caused brain damage. During closing arguments, plaintiff's counsel requested actual and punitive damages in excess of $40 million. The 12-person jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of CSX. The South Carolina Supreme Court later affirmed in part, reversed in part and the case ultimately settled.
Musburger Ltd. v. Meier (Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois). Retained approximately 45 days before trial to represent a prominent entertainment lawyer in a commercial jury trial with a Chicago radio personality. Defendant brought a $15 million counter-claim against our client for malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client.
Nevamar v. Charleswater (Maryland District Court). Retained by Nevamar in this patent infringement case approximately 100 days before trial. The plaintiff calculated damages of approximately $100 million. The case settled favorably shortly before trial.
Named to "The Virginia 500: Power List," Virginia Business, 2020
Selected for inclusion in “Client Service All Stars,” Business and Securities Litigation, BTI Consulting Group, 2014; Commercial Litigation and Employment Litigation, 2016
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law – Individuals, 2009-2021, Commercial Litigation, 2021, Woodward/White, Inc.
Named to Virginia's "Legal Elite," Labor/Employment, 2009; Business Law, Civil Litigation, 2011, 2019
Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor & Employment, Virginia, Chambers USA, 2008-2011, 2013, 2014
Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," General Litigation, Employment Litigation: Defense, Civil Litigation Defense, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2013
Named to "Top 40 Under 40," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2004
Recipient, MCCA Outstanding Outside Counsel, Platinum Circle, 2001
Member, Virginia Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Defense Research Institute
Law360 Features Jonathan Harmon in Law Firm Leaders ‘Diversity Snapshot’
September 16, 2020
“Don’t Hate”: Jon Harmon Shares Powerful Lesson in The Wall Street Journal
June 15, 2020