John O’Neill focuses his practice on business litigation, insurance coverage and professional liability litigation. He represents individuals and businesses in a wide range of commercial disputes including claims for breach of contract, commercial fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of consumer protection statutes. He also represents clients in broker/dealer disputes and in class actions.
John has extensive experience representing clients in complex insurance coverage disputes. He advises and represents clients on coverage issues involving professional liability, directors and officers, general liability, and property insurance policies. He also advises and represents clients in connection with claims for bad faith and extra-contractual liability.
In addition, John represents attorneys, architects, engineers, accountants, real estate brokers and other professionals in the defense of malpractice litigation and disciplinary proceedings. John recently completed a two-year term as a Hearing Officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
Banking and Financial Services
- Obtained dismissal of claims alleging that a national mortgage lender had committed violations of various federal statutes (TILA, HOEPA, and RESPA) and the Massachusetts consumer protection statute on the grounds that the plaintiff’s complaint, as well as two successive amended complaints, did not articulate actionable claims.
- Obtained dismissal of lender liability claims asserting that a national mortgage company had wrongfully declined to close and fund a loan, in breach of its contractual obligations and the Massachusetts unfair business practices act.
- Secured substantial recovery for investor clients in claims for unauthorized trading against a broker-dealer that was liquidated by the Securities Investors Protection Corporation. Successfully argued to the Trustee that the unauthorized trades should be considered in determining the investors’ net equity under the Act.
- Obtained dismissal of class action claims against a national salvage vehicle auction facility alleging that the facility’s method for disposing of unclaimed vehicles was fraudulent and violated the Massachusetts consumer protection statute. Also negotiated a favorable resolution of the lead plaintiff’s individual claims.
- Secured summary judgment ruling on behalf of release of information service provider that precluded named plaintiffs and prospective class members from recovering damages in class action asserting that provider had imposed unlawful charges when fulfilling medical records requests.
- Obtained defense verdict representing an Oracle Applications implementer at a six-day jury trial on claims that the implementer improperly installed the software, leading to extensive consequential losses.
- Part of a team that successfully defended a recruitment outsourcing company against claims for commercial fraud and unfair business practices brought by a former customer, resulting in a $2.1 million judgment on provider’s counterclaim for breach of contract.
- Secured summary judgment for contractor’s professional liability insurer in litigation with insured over coverage for an underlying ICC arbitration seeking €18 million. In an issue of first impression, successfully argued that the prejudice requirement of New York Insurance Law § 3420(a)(5) does not apply to policies placed through a surplus lines broker located in the state.
- Obtained summary judgment for legal malpractice insurer in litigation filed by insured law firm in West Virginia state court seeking coverage for a late-reported claim. The judgment was affirmed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
- Won summary judgment in favor of a legal malpractice insurer in a dispute over coverage for an underlying fee dispute between an insured lawyer and his former law firm.
- Secured partial summary judgment in favor of a policyholder declaring that defendant insurer owed and breached a duty to defend the policyholder in connection with a Notice of Responsibility issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
- Successfully defended an accounting firm in connection with contribution and indemnity claims brought by an attorney who had been sued for failing to timely file amended tax returns in order to claim a refund due to a mutual client. After conducting discovery, convinced attorney to withdraw his claims.
- Secured summary judgment for trustees of a condominium unit owners’ association on claims that they had wrongfully conditioned the receipt of insurance proceeds upon the execution of a release. The trial court’s ruling was affirmed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
- Summary judgment in favor of a closing attorney on malpractice and consumer protection claims brought by purchasers who asserted that the attorney had improperly certified title to the acquired property as being clean and free of defects.
- Successfully defended closing attorney against a homeowner’s claims that he was liable for failing to prevent the fraudulent sale of her home by a sibling. After conducting discovery, convinced homeowner to withdraw claims.
- Summary judgment on behalf of a triathlon organizer in a suit brought by a participant who had suffered catastrophic personal injuries after being struck by a car during an event.
- Summary judgment on behalf of a golfer who was sued by another member of his foursome after his errant golf shot struck her in the head.
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers (Business Litigation), Boston magazine, 2009-2015; "Rising Stars" (Business Litigation), 2005-2007
- Hearing Officer, Board of Bar Overseers (2012-2014)
- Boston Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society
Speaking and Other Engagements:
- Presenter, “Engineers Professional Liability Insurance,” HalfMoon Seminars, February 2015 and May 2008
- Author, The Mortgagee’s Rights and Responsibilities Under the Standard Mortgage Clause, Spring 1998