James D. Dasso



James D. Dasso is a partner and trial lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Dasso focuses his practice on disputes relating to business acquisitions (such as fraud, breach of contract, working capital, purchase price adjustment and earnout cases); intellectual property lawsuits (involving patent, trademark, copyright and licensing issues); product liability and food and drug contamination claims; and other commercial lawsuits, including breach of contract and business tort.

Mr. Dasso has nearly three decades of experience in presenting complex scientific, technical and business cases to judges, juries and arbitration panels around the United States. He has appeared in lawsuits and arbitrations pending in nineteen different states from Alaska to Florida and California to New York, as well as in the District of Columbia.

Before joining Foley, he clerked for the Honorable J. Edward Lumbard, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Representative Experience

Examples of disputes relating to business acquisitions that Mr. Dasso has successfully handled include:

  • Recovering more than $13 million in working capital adjustment after sale of manufacturing company.
  • Securing a verdict of more than $8 million after a two-plus week jury trial relating to a sale of business and associated claims of food contamination (before trial, the court granted summary judgment on fraud counterclaims seeking in excess of $40 million).
  • Obtaining a purchase price adjustment of more than $8 million for the sale of a manufacturing company.
  • Reducing the purchase price of a manufacturing company by more than $5 million after litigation in state court and before an arbitration panel.
  • Winning a nearly $5 million decision after a five-day arbitration after the sale of a division of a corporation.
  • Prevailing on nearly 80 percent of $20 million in dispute after a week-long evidentiary hearing to determine purchase price of insurance company.

Examples of intellectual property lawsuits that Mr. Dasso has successfully handled include:

  • Obtaining summary judgment dismissing patent claims seeking in excess of $100 million for a major consumer products company.
  • Prevailing after a nearly three-week jury trial in the Eastern District of Texas and appeal to the Federal Circuit in an educational software patent dispute seeking in excess of $50 million.
  • Successfully settling a $100 million-plus patent licensing dispute involving an internationally-known engine manufacturer (for less than an existing judgment) before closing arguments in a jury trial.

Examples of product liability and food and drug contamination claims that Mr. Dasso has successfully handled include:

  • Securing a verdict of more than $8 million after a two-plus week jury trial relating to a sale of business and associated claims of food contamination (before trial, the court granted summary judgment on fraud counterclaims seeking in excess of $40 million).
  • Convincing an Indiana court not to certify a class asserting breach of warranty, fraud and negligent misrepresentations with respect to a diesel engine sold by the firm’s client.

Examples of other jury and bench trials, and evidentiary hearings before arbitration panels, include:

  • Securing a judgment in excess of $8 million for usurpation of a corporate opportunity, along with the rejection of $12 million in counterclaims, after a week-long arbitration and related multi-state litigation.
  • Preventing any recovery after a month-long trial in the Northern District of Illinois and appeal to the Seventh Circuit in a breach of contract and fiduciary duty case brought against a prominent financial institution seeking more than $20 million.
  • Significantly limiting a client’s liability during a three-week jury trial on an employment discrimination class action, allowing for a favorable settlement on appeal.
  • Obtaining a seven-figure recovery after week-long trial of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claim and related settlement against his client's former business partner.

Examples of class actions that Mr. Dasso has successfully handled include:

  • Resolving two consumer fraud act class actions filed in Madison County, Illinois, against an insurance claims administrator without any payment by his client and with the recovery of a substantial portion of his client's attorney's fees and costs.
  • Persuading court in a purported commodities fraud class action (which plaintiffs' counsel had announced on Good Morning America! and in the Wall Street Journal) to compel arbitration (eliminating the possibility of class certification) and to award attorney's fees to his client.

Firm Leadership

Mr. Dasso is chair of the Chicago Office Litigation Department. Prior to assuming that position, he served as co-chair of the firm's nationwide Appellate Practice and as the lead litigation training partner for that office.


Mr. Dasso graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1986. He was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as the executive editor of the Michigan Law Review. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon with a double major in mathematics and economics in three years.


Mr. Dasso has been recognized by his fellow lawyers, including:

  • He is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one half of one percent of American lawyers
  • He was included in the 2005, 2007, 2009-16 Illinois Super Lawyers® lists*
  • He is listed as a Leading Lawyer in the following categories: Advertising & Media Law, Commercial Litigation, and Copyright & Trademark Law
  • He was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in since 2015 in the fields of food and beverage law and commercial litigation 

Affiliations and Professional Memberships

Mr. Dasso teaches trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and through The National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, including its Sections on Litigation and Intellectual Property Law and its Trial Evidence Committee, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association and the Practicing Law Institute.


Mr. Dasso is member of the State Bar of Illinois, and has been admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar), the Western District of Michigan, the Southern District of Indiana, the District of Maryland and the Central District of Illinois. He belongs to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Federal Circuits.

*The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

Representative Matters

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For more than two decades, Foley has provided a range of legal services to Peerless Industries Inc., a leading U.S. manufacturer of audiovisual mounting equipment for commercial and residential installations. After Peerless moved a portion of its manufacturing plant overseas from Illinois to China in 2005, the company experienced a number of production and patent-related issues. The company therefore decided to bring its production capabilities back to the United States and acquired a new facility in Aurora, Illinois, where it has since been manufacturing its entire product line in-house. Foley supported the company’s reshoring effort from start to finish. The firm provided a wide variety of IP counseling and prosecution services to help protect Peerless’ rights in both China and the United States. Foley also assisted Peerless with real estate financing and transactions for the sale and purchase of its new production facility. Our attorneys have also regularly provided counseling and other services to Peerless relating to its previous activities in China and the effects of its reshoring activities to the United States.
Represented a private equity company in its working capital dispute with the seller of a business. The dispute arose out of the client's acquisition of an industrial company in November 2007 for $50 million. The acquisition agreement provided for a potential working capital adjustment. The working capital of the acquired company fell well below the target amount. The seller, however, refused to pay, contesting all working capital adjustments. After an arbitration before a national accounting firm, the client recovered over $13 million.