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John O'Neill
Co-Chair, Business Disputes Group

John G. O'Neill

Partner

617.227.3030
oneill@sugarmanrogers.com
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John O'Neill
Co-Chair, Business Disputes Group
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John focuses his practice on business litigation and on insurance-coverage and professional-liability matters. He counsels and represents businesses and business owners in a range of high-stakes commercial disputes, including shareholder disputes and claims of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, commercial fraud, and violation of consumer-protection statutes.

John has deep experience in complex insurance-coverage disputes. He regularly advises clients throughout the United States in matters involving professional liability, director-and-officer liability, pollution liability, general liability, and property insurance. He also represents clients in coverage litigation and in suits involving claims of bad faith and extra-contractual liability. John serves as the co-chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Insurance and Reinsurance Committee.

In the professional-liability area, John represents accountants, engineers, architects, attorneys, real estate brokers, and other professionals in the defense of malpractice claims and disciplinary proceedings. Complementing his experience in this field, John has served as a disciplinary-hearing officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.

More about John

Representative Matters
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Insurance

  • Secured summary judgment for contractor’s professional liability insurer in litigation with insured over coverage for an underlying ICC arbitration seeking $18 million.
  • 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.

Business

  • 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.
  • 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.

Professional Liability

  • 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.
  • Secured dismissal of an initial lawsuit, as well as several successive lawsuits, brought by the beneficiary of an estate and her spouse against an attorney retained to represent the estate as litigation counsel in contested probate proceedings.
Professional Affiliations
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  • Boston Bar Association, Co-Chair Insurance and Reinsurance Committee, 2017-present
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • Hearing Officer, Board of Bar Overseers, 2012-2014
  • Massachusetts Insurance and Reinsurance Bar Association, Board of Directors, 2018-present
Writing & Speaking
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  • Author, “Insurance Coverage for Social Engineering Wire-Fraud Scams,” For the Defense, October 2018
  • Author, “Choice of Law in Bad Faith Claims,” For the Defense, May 2017
  • Author, “Can Damaging Internal Emails be Kept From the Jury,” New England In-House, August 2016
  • Presenter, “Engineers’ Professional Liability Insurance,” Half Moon Seminars, October 2017 and February 2015
  • Panelist, “Common Coverage Issues – Or Everything You Need to Know About Insurance Before Being Sued,” Boston Bar Association, May 2015
Honors
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  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers (Business Litigation), Boston magazine, 2009-2018