Sean Sullivan

Sean M. Sullivan

Sean concentrates his practice in defending product liability, construction negligence and other tort cases involving wrongful death and serious personal injury. During his thirty years of practice, Sean has had the privilege of representing utilities, industrial plant operators, petroleum refiners, gas liquids producers, manufacturers, railroads and similar companies where a hard hat is a required accessory, even for the senior business leaders.

Sean has extensive experience defending catastrophic fire and explosion cases involving multiple defendants, complex issues of causation and liability, and the potential for massive jury verdicts. He regularly appears in federal and state courts throughout the country on behalf of clients who retain him as national or regional counsel to handle cases with that level of exposure.

Sean provides his clients the bedrock skills needed to protect their rights at trial and on appeal - writing clearly, arguing forcefully and making complicated issues easy to understand. He also offers the judgment -- gained through experience -- necessary to navigate the often twisting path to a successful defense of a major multi-defendant case.

Sean respects the trust his clients place in him, and welcomes the responsibility of being their advocate. He has handled many sophisticated business lawsuits, but his greatest satisfaction comes from those catastrophic cases where emotion and sympathy make it most difficult for a company to receive a fair trial. It is those cases -- where the challenges are the most daunting -- that offer the greatest reward.

Sean is a member of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, the Defense Research Institute, the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel and the Propane Gas Defense Association, and has been a frequent speaker on litigation topics to both legal and industry groups.



  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., with honors, 1985
  • Eastern Illinois University, B.A. with honors, 1982


  • Illinois, 1985


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh Ninth and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Member, Trial Bar)


  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Propane Gas Defense Association (Board of Directors)


  • Baldi v. Samuel Son & Company, Ltd., 548 F.3d 579 (7th Cir. 2008)
  • Marseilles Hydro Power, LLC v. Marsailles Land and Water Company, 518 F.3d 459 (7th Cir. 2008)
  • Cacia v. Norfolk & Western Railway Company, 290 F.3d 914 (7th Cir. 2002)
  • Hitachi Credit America Corporation v. Signet Bank, 166 F.3d 614 (4th Cir. 1999)
  • Beck v. Deloitte & Touche, 144 F3d. 732 (11th Cir. 1998)
  • Resolution Trust Corporation v. Gallagher, 10 F.3d 416 (7th Cir. 1993)
  • Mid-Continent Wood Products v. Harris, 936 F.2d 297 (7th Cir. 1991)
  • Wedgewood Investment Fund, Ltd. v. Wedgewood Realty Group, Ltd., 878 F.2d 693 (3d Cir. 1989)
  • Logan & Kanawha Coal Company, Inc. v. Banque Francaise Du Commercie Exterieur, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14197 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)
  • Baxt v. Liloia, 656 A.2d 835 (N.J. App. 1995) and 714 A.2d 271 (N.J. 1998)


  • Who’s In Control? Why the Defense Bar Should Challenge the IPI Instructions on Construction Negligence., IDC Quarterly
  • Recent Trends in the Implied Duty of Good Faith, Commercial Lending Review
  • Can You Prove It? Why and how to document your good deeds., Propane Gas Defense Association
  • Preparing Accounting Expert Testimony, Illinois CPA Society & Foundation
  • Understanding the Illinois Credit Agreements Act, Illinois Bankers Association
  • Lender Liability Litigation - American Style. Can it happen in Canada?, Ontario Chapter/Canadian Bar Association
  • The Enforceability of Guarantees - Are they worth the paper they’re written on?, Turnaround Management Group


  • Chicago Challenge (Board of Directors, 1997-2000)
  • Youth Soccer Coach



Download/Print Sean's bio (PDF)


Sean serves as a national and regional litigation counsel for energy companies;

Has extensive experience in banking and finance-related litigation; and

Is an enthusiastic amateur photographer.

55 West Monroe • Suite 1600 • Chicago, IL 60603 • P: 312.422.9999 • F: 312.422.5370