Philip A. Sechler

Partner
Photo of Philip A. Sechler
Fax: 202.775.4510

Education:

J.D., summa cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 1989.

Editor-in-Chief, Georgetown Law Journal.

B.S., with high distinction, Pennsylvania State University, Finance, 1985.

Bar Admissions:

District of Columbia

Pennsylvania (inactive)

Phil Sechler focuses on high-stakes commercial litigation. He has substantial first-chair trial experience, and over three decades has handled many “bet the company” cases in courts and arbitrations throughout the country. He represents a broad range of corporate and individual clients in a diverse set of litigation matters, including antitrust and business disputes, class action defense, corporate and shareholder litigation, real-estate disputes, insurance recovery lawsuits, and professional malpractice claims. He has also argued before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and numerous state appellate courts.

Phil joined Robbins Russell in January 2017. Before that, he was a trial lawyer and partner in the law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP, where he practiced for more than 22 years. In 2013, Phil joined the faculty at Penn State Law as a Distinguished Visitor from Practice, and taught courses in evidence, legal ethics, and trial advocacy. Phil clerked for Judge Francis Murnaghan, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Professional Activities, Publications, and Honors

  • Corporate Counsel Institute Advisory Board

  • Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center (Sept. 1999 through June 2013)

  • Member, Georgetown Law Alumni Board (2006 to 2012)

  • Antitrust and Business Litigation

  • Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC v. Mylan Inc., No. 2:17-CV-02452 (D. Kan.). I represent a pharmaceutical manufacturer in a Sherman Act case (consolidated in an MDL) in which a competitor claims that rebate agreements with pharmacy benefit managers and managed care organizations were anticompetitive.

  • Cava Mezze Grill, LLC v. Mezeh, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-1148 (E.D. Va.). I brought suit on behalf of a restaurant chain against its direct competitor alleging theft of trade secrets and false advertising through the posting of anonymous Yelp! reviews.

  • St. Paul Pioneer Press v. Star Tribune Co., No. 62-C6-07-003489 (Minn. Dist. Ct. – 2d Jud. Dist.). I represented a newspaper in a trade secrets action against its major competitor, who had hired our client’s former publisher and acquired its trade secrets. After a three-day evidentiary hearing on our emergency motion, we secured the return of our trade secrets, the ouster of our former publisher from his job, and the payment of attorneys’ fees.

  • Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Vector Aerospace, No. 4-12CV-034-Y (N.D. Tex.). I represented a helicopter manufacturer in an antitrust action filed by an independent service center that our client had terminated. We obtained a complete dismissal of the service center’s antitrust claims, and successfully filed a separate action to recover our client’s trade secrets and enjoin the unauthorized use of its name.

  • Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Aon Risk Services, 356 F.3d 850 (8th Cir.). I represented the plaintiff in an insurance-broker malpractice action, obtained $20 million in damages after a full jury trial, and successfully defended the verdict before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

  • Federal Trade Comm’n v. Equinox Int’l Corp., No. CV-S-99-0969 (D. Nev.). I represented a multi-level marketing company in an action brought by the Federal Trade Commission and a class of former distributors alleging that the company was an unlawful pyramid scheme and had falsely advertised. The case was successfully resolved at trial, and a mandatory settlement class was approved.

  • Class Action Defense

  • Luiken v. Domino’s Pizza, No. 09-cv-516 (D. Minn.). I represented the defendant in multiple class actions brought by delivery drivers alleging that they were entitled under state law to retain the delivery charges and that their reimbursement for driving expenses was insufficient under the FLSA.

  • Blaszkowski v. Mars Incorporated, et al., No. 07-cv-21221 (S.D. Fla.). I represented the primary defendant in a major class action alleging false advertising and deceptive trade practices by a number of pet food manufacturers.

  • Pope v. TT of Lake Norman, No. 3:06CV535 (W.D.N.C.). I represented an automobile dealership in a class action alleging that its theft-prevention product constituted the sale of unauthorized insurance and obtained an early dismissal of the case.

  • Real Estate Disputes

  • Greenpenz 2600 Virginia Avenue, LLC v. Euro Capital Properties, No. 2016 CA 007101 B (D.C. Super.). I am pursuing claims on behalf of the former owner of the Watergate Office Building against those responsible for the catastrophic collapse of the Watergate parking garage in May 2015.

  • Eastbanc, Inc. v. Georgetown Park Assocs. II, L.P., No. 06-CV-1092 (D.C. Super. Ct.). I represented a private equity firm that purchased the Georgetown Park Mall out of bankruptcy and then intervened in litigation to resolve claims concerning an alleged right of first offer.

  • World Trade Center Redevelopment Arbitration. I represented the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in arbitration on demands for rent abatement made by the master lessee of the World Trade Center pending further progress on the rebuilding of the WTC’s infrastructure following the September 11th attack.

  • Hovnanian Land Investment Group, LLC v. Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, LLC, No. 71 (Md.). I represented a residential developer in litigation over a closing on a land purchase agreement and successfully appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals to vacate the summary judgment that had been entered in the trial court.

  • Corporate and Shareholder Litigation

  • Archstone-Smith Operating Trust LBO Arbitration. I pursued claims on behalf of a number of partners who had contributed properties to Archstone but whose OP units in the UPREIT were canceled in connection with the 2007 leveraged buyout of Archstone. These claims were resolved after a lengthy arbitration hearing.

  • Pentagon Plaza, Inc. v. H Street Building Corp. (D.C. Super. Ct. and Fairfax County Circ. Ct.). I represented a major office developer who purchased a 50% interest in substantial real-estate assets held through two deadlocked corporations and pursued litigation in two jurisdictions that successfully unlocked the value of those assets.

  • In re Sunrise Senior Living, Inc. Derivative Litigation, No. 07-00413 (D.D.C.). I represented an outside director in shareholder derivative suits arising from stock option grants.

  • Insurance Recovery Lawsuits

  • AutoNation, Inc. v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., No. 05-61277 (S.D. Fla.). I represented an automotive retailer in a case claiming that its health insurer had breached its duties under ERISA in administering a self-funded healthcare program for the company’s employees.

  • SR Int’l Business Ins. Co. v. World Trade Center Properties, No. (S.D.N.Y.). I represented a property insurer who participated in the $3.5 billion program on the World Trade Center in litigation over whether the September 11 attack was one or two occurrences.

  • AutoNation, Inc. v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., No. 04-60281 (S.D. Fla.). I represented an automotive retailer in a coverage action against its liability carrier that successfully challenged limits the carrier had placed on coverage and claims-handling processes.

  • Archer Daniels Midland v. Hartford, No. 95-CV-4001 (S.D. Ill.). I represented a Fortune 500 company in an action against its insurers for losses arising from the Flood of 1993 and covered by the contingent business interruption provision in its manuscript policy.

About

Phil Sechler focuses on high-stakes commercial litigation. He has substantial first-chair trial experience, and over three decades has handled many “bet the company” cases in courts and arbitrations throughout the country. He represents a broad range of corporate and individual clients in a diverse set of litigation matters, including antitrust and business disputes, class action defense, corporate and shareholder litigation, real-estate disputes, insurance recovery lawsuits, and professional malpractice claims. He has also argued before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and numerous state appellate courts.

Phil joined Robbins Russell in January 2017. Before that, he was a trial lawyer and partner in the law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP, where he practiced for more than 22 years. In 2013, Phil joined the faculty at Penn State Law as a Distinguished Visitor from Practice, and taught courses in evidence, legal ethics, and trial advocacy. Phil clerked for Judge Francis Murnaghan, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Professional Activities, Publications, and Honors

  • Corporate Counsel Institute Advisory Board

  • Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center (Sept. 1999 through June 2013)

  • Member, Georgetown Law Alumni Board (2006 to 2012)

Representative Matters
  • Antitrust and Business Litigation

  • Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC v. Mylan Inc., No. 2:17-CV-02452 (D. Kan.). I represent a pharmaceutical manufacturer in a Sherman Act case (consolidated in an MDL) in which a competitor claims that rebate agreements with pharmacy benefit managers and managed care organizations were anticompetitive.

  • Cava Mezze Grill, LLC v. Mezeh, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-1148 (E.D. Va.). I brought suit on behalf of a restaurant chain against its direct competitor alleging theft of trade secrets and false advertising through the posting of anonymous Yelp! reviews.

  • St. Paul Pioneer Press v. Star Tribune Co., No. 62-C6-07-003489 (Minn. Dist. Ct. – 2d Jud. Dist.). I represented a newspaper in a trade secrets action against its major competitor, who had hired our client’s former publisher and acquired its trade secrets. After a three-day evidentiary hearing on our emergency motion, we secured the return of our trade secrets, the ouster of our former publisher from his job, and the payment of attorneys’ fees.

  • Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Vector Aerospace, No. 4-12CV-034-Y (N.D. Tex.). I represented a helicopter manufacturer in an antitrust action filed by an independent service center that our client had terminated. We obtained a complete dismissal of the service center’s antitrust claims, and successfully filed a separate action to recover our client’s trade secrets and enjoin the unauthorized use of its name.

  • Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Aon Risk Services, 356 F.3d 850 (8th Cir.). I represented the plaintiff in an insurance-broker malpractice action, obtained $20 million in damages after a full jury trial, and successfully defended the verdict before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

  • Federal Trade Comm’n v. Equinox Int’l Corp., No. CV-S-99-0969 (D. Nev.). I represented a multi-level marketing company in an action brought by the Federal Trade Commission and a class of former distributors alleging that the company was an unlawful pyramid scheme and had falsely advertised. The case was successfully resolved at trial, and a mandatory settlement class was approved.

  • Class Action Defense

  • Luiken v. Domino’s Pizza, No. 09-cv-516 (D. Minn.). I represented the defendant in multiple class actions brought by delivery drivers alleging that they were entitled under state law to retain the delivery charges and that their reimbursement for driving expenses was insufficient under the FLSA.

  • Blaszkowski v. Mars Incorporated, et al., No. 07-cv-21221 (S.D. Fla.). I represented the primary defendant in a major class action alleging false advertising and deceptive trade practices by a number of pet food manufacturers.

  • Pope v. TT of Lake Norman, No. 3:06CV535 (W.D.N.C.). I represented an automobile dealership in a class action alleging that its theft-prevention product constituted the sale of unauthorized insurance and obtained an early dismissal of the case.

  • Real Estate Disputes

  • Greenpenz 2600 Virginia Avenue, LLC v. Euro Capital Properties, No. 2016 CA 007101 B (D.C. Super.). I am pursuing claims on behalf of the former owner of the Watergate Office Building against those responsible for the catastrophic collapse of the Watergate parking garage in May 2015.

  • Eastbanc, Inc. v. Georgetown Park Assocs. II, L.P., No. 06-CV-1092 (D.C. Super. Ct.). I represented a private equity firm that purchased the Georgetown Park Mall out of bankruptcy and then intervened in litigation to resolve claims concerning an alleged right of first offer.

  • World Trade Center Redevelopment Arbitration. I represented the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in arbitration on demands for rent abatement made by the master lessee of the World Trade Center pending further progress on the rebuilding of the WTC’s infrastructure following the September 11th attack.

  • Hovnanian Land Investment Group, LLC v. Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, LLC, No. 71 (Md.). I represented a residential developer in litigation over a closing on a land purchase agreement and successfully appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals to vacate the summary judgment that had been entered in the trial court.

  • Corporate and Shareholder Litigation

  • Archstone-Smith Operating Trust LBO Arbitration. I pursued claims on behalf of a number of partners who had contributed properties to Archstone but whose OP units in the UPREIT were canceled in connection with the 2007 leveraged buyout of Archstone. These claims were resolved after a lengthy arbitration hearing.

  • Pentagon Plaza, Inc. v. H Street Building Corp. (D.C. Super. Ct. and Fairfax County Circ. Ct.). I represented a major office developer who purchased a 50% interest in substantial real-estate assets held through two deadlocked corporations and pursued litigation in two jurisdictions that successfully unlocked the value of those assets.

  • In re Sunrise Senior Living, Inc. Derivative Litigation, No. 07-00413 (D.D.C.). I represented an outside director in shareholder derivative suits arising from stock option grants.

  • Insurance Recovery Lawsuits

  • AutoNation, Inc. v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., No. 05-61277 (S.D. Fla.). I represented an automotive retailer in a case claiming that its health insurer had breached its duties under ERISA in administering a self-funded healthcare program for the company’s employees.

  • SR Int’l Business Ins. Co. v. World Trade Center Properties, No. (S.D.N.Y.). I represented a property insurer who participated in the $3.5 billion program on the World Trade Center in litigation over whether the September 11 attack was one or two occurrences.

  • AutoNation, Inc. v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., No. 04-60281 (S.D. Fla.). I represented an automotive retailer in a coverage action against its liability carrier that successfully challenged limits the carrier had placed on coverage and claims-handling processes.

  • Archer Daniels Midland v. Hartford, No. 95-CV-4001 (S.D. Ill.). I represented a Fortune 500 company in an action against its insurers for losses arising from the Flood of 1993 and covered by the contingent business interruption provision in its manuscript policy.