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Jonathan M. Lively

Shareholder |
Shareholder | Chicago, IL
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t. 312.644.3536
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In today's increasingly litigious society, businesses seek legal counselors that understand their products and can seamlessly manage multiple legal matters. Clients retain Jonathan Lively as local and national counsel for that very purpose.

Mr. Lively is a Shareholder in the firm's Chicago office and serves as Co-Chair of the firm's Product Liability Practice Group. Mr. Lively defends product manufacturers and premises owners who face litigation in areas including toxic tort/asbestos, environmental, products liability, professional liability, transportation, and other civil matters. His diverse practice enables him to manage different types of legal matters for a single client, streamlining the process for the businesses he represents. Acting as national trial counsel for several clients, Mr. Lively appears in court rooms across the country. 

Mr. Lively oversees all aspects of the litigation process for thousands of matters in jurisdictions across the country every year. He is proficient in developing defense strategy, preparing for trial, and, when appropriate, negotiating settlements. Mr. Lively is able to understand both sides of a case and use this valuable information to determine the optimal strategy for his clients. He quickly determines if a case requires aggressive work up or it if will be in his clients' best interests to resolve early, ensuring that the litigation process is efficient and effective.

Mr. Lively serves on the firm's Pro Bono & Public Service committee.

Outside the office, Mr. Lively is active in the community. He serves as 2018-2019 Chairman of the American Bar Association's Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee, as well as the Chairman for the committee’s 28th Annual Spring CLE Meeting. He previously served as the Vice Chair of the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee from 2012-2018. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Chicago Professionals for Parkinson's Research since 2012.

Mr. Lively played soccer during his undergrad years at Kalamazoo College and played professionally in England. He lives in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.


  • Elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (2019 - present)
  • Recognized as an Illinois Leading Lawyer (a designation limited to less than 5% of all lawyers licensed to practice law in Illinois) in the area of Products Liability Defense Law, nominated and selected by peers in the legal community (2018, 2019)
  • Selected for inclusion in the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (no more than 2.5% of lawyers in the state under the age of 40 are selected), nominated and selected by peers in the legal community (2008-2010, 2013)
  • Moot Court Executive Board, Vice President (1997-1999)
  • National Environmental Moot Court Team (1998-1999)

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee, a division of the American Bar Association's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), Chairman (2018-2019)
  • American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Toxic Tort and Environmental Law General Committee, Vice-Chair (2012- present)
  • Chicago Professionals for Parkinson’s Research, Board of Directors (2012- present)
  • Chicago Bar Association, Trial Techniques Committee, Co-Chairman (2002-2003)

Representative Matters

  • Obtained summary judgment for a talc mining corporation accused of causing Plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, WI agreed with Mr. Lively that Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that the cosmetic talcum powder used by the Plaintiff was contaminated with asbestiform minerals. The court further agreed that Plaintiff had insufficient evidence to prove that the use of cosmetic talcum powder can cause mesothelioma.
  • Obtained dismissal for a recycling company accused of co-mingling recycled materials and defrauding Plaintiff, a plastic re-claiming entity. The Circuit Court of Lake County, IL agreed with Mr. Lively that the claims could not proceed because they were insufficiently vague and unsupported by fact.
  • Obtained voluntary dismissal of a wire and cable manufacturer sued in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois for allegedly causing the plaintiff's asbestos-related disease. Mr. Lively prevailed on a choice-of-law motion and obtained a ruling that Indiana law applied to the claims against his client, enabling his client to take advantage of Indiana's 10 year repose statute. Mr. Lively's client was dismissed while the trial proceeded for three weeks against the remaining defendants.
  • Achieved a dismissal with prejudice of a pharmaceutical company sued under the Indiana Product Liability Act in the U.S.D.C. Northern District Indiana.  Mr. Lively moved for dismissal and convinced the court that: 1. state tolling rules announced by the Indiana Court of Appeals prevailed over previously established federal precedent; 2. that under those tolling rules the filing of a motion to amend did not toll the limitations period; and 3. the limitations period barred the claim.
  • Won defense verdict in trial after just 30 minutes of deliberation in Gertzen v. Collins Trucking, a transportation case in which plaintiffs sought $460,000 in damages for injuries sustained during a motor vehicle accident. During the two day trial, the plaintiffs alleged that the tractor trailer driven by defendant was improperly maintained and driven negligently.  Mr. Lively convinced the jury that the tractor was properly maintained and that the driver of plaintiff's automobile was the true cause of the accident.

Published Appellate Opinions

Berry v. American Standard, Inc., 888 N.E.2d 740 (Ill.App. 5th Dist. 2008)

Healy v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 833 N.E.2d 906 (Ill.App. 1st Dist. 2005)

Harris v. A.C.&S., Inc., 766 N.E.2d 383 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002)

Speaking Engagements

American Conference Institute Asbestos Claims & Litigation Conference, co-chair, Chicago, IL (May 21-23, 2018).

26th Annual American Bar Association Spring CLE Meeting for the Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Committee, co-chair, Phoenix, AZ (April 6-8, 2017). 

Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit "Personal Jurisdiction after Daimler," panelist, New Orleans, LA (November 9, 2016)

American Conference Institute Asbestos Claims & Litigation Conference, co-chair, Chicago, IL (June 27-28, 2016).

25th Annual American Bar Association Spring CLE Meeting "Trends in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond", moderator (April 7-9, 2016).

American Conference Institute  20th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, "State of the Market: Hotbed States Including PA, CA, IL, MO, NY; and Key Filing Trends and Rulings With Regard to Personal Jurisdiction, Choice of Law, Discovery, Removal, FNC, Duty to Warn, Causation, 'Each and Every Exposure,' and Punitive Damages," panelist, Chicago, IL (January 14, 2016).

Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit “Defending Lung Cancer Cases- Medical Defense & Alternate Exposure: Genetics, Erionite, Spontaneous,” panelist & co-chair, Las Vegas, NV (November 4, 2015)

2015 American Bar Association Annual Meeting, "Don't Forget About Medicare! How to Comply with Medicare Reporting Requirements when Settling Toxic Tort Claims" Moderator (August 2015)

American Conference Institute's 19th Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, "State of the Market: Hotbed Jurisdictions, New Case Law, New Defendants and Plaintiffs and Issues Associated With These New Parties, Forum Shopping, Time for Filing Claims While Considering Statutes of Repose, and More," panelist and co-chair, Chicago, IL (June 23-24, 2015).

American Conference Institute’s 18th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation “State of the Market:  Hotbed States; Increased Filings; Recent Removal and FNC Rulings; Trends in Joint and Several Liability, Punitives, Successor Liability, and Supplier Liability/Duty to Warn; and Newer Defendants and Plaintiffs (including Women) and Issues Associated with these New Parties,” panelist, Philadelphia, PA (January 15-16, 2015)

Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit “In-House/Insurance Corporate Perspective,” panelist, San Francisco, CA (November 5, 2014)

American Conference Institute's 17th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims and Litigation, Chicago, IL, co-chair (June 26-27, 2014).

American Conference Institute's 16th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims and Litigation, "National Developments and Emerging Trends," San Francisco, CA (January 30-31, 2014).

American Conference Institute's 15th Annual Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims and Litigation, "Bankruptcy Filings, Confirmations & Estimations and the Transparency Between Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Litigation," New York, NY (October 7, 2013).

Toxic Tort & Environmental Law Committee Spring Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ, "Obesogens: Are Chemicals Causing the Obesity Epidemic?" moderator (April 4-6, 2013)

ACI's 13th Annual Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Philadelphia, PA, "Year in Review: Examining Hot Jurisdictions, Emerging Trends, and What to Expect in 2013 After the Presidential and Congressional Elections" (January 31, 2013).

In-house CLE for insurance carrier, New York, NY, Mock Trial involving defective crane on construction site (July 31, 2012).

DRI's Asbestos Medicine Seminar, Las Vegas, NV, "Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind: How to Get the Bankrupt Parties on the Verdict Sheet," panelist (November 10, 2011).

In-house CLE for insurance carrier, Jersey City, NJ, "National Trends in Lead Poisoning Litigation" (August 11, 2011).

Perrin Conferences Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit, San Diego, CA, "Multi-District Asbestos Litigation," co-presenter (November 10, 2010).

HarrisMartin's Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference, St. Louis, MO, "Liability for Replacement Parts" (September 23, 2010).

Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit, Las Vegas, NV, "Plaintiff's Go To Experts - How to Cross Examine Them," co-presenter (November, 2009).

HB Litigation Conferences' National Asbestos Litigation Conference, San Francisco, CA, "Hot Jurisdictions: Illinois Verdicts, Filing Trends, New Rulings" (September 23-25, 2009).

Mealey's Emerging Trends in Asbestos Litigation Conference, Beverly Hills, CA, "A National Perspective on Asbestos Rulings and Appellate Decisions" (March 9-11, 2009).

Articles & Publications


"Illinois Law Regarding Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act Related Tort Claims," American Bar Association's 50-State Survey of FDCA-Related Tort Causes of Action (2001).


Washington College of Law, American University, J.D., Dean's List (1999)

Kalamazoo College, B.A., Economics and Public Policy, Dean's List (1995)


  • Illinois, 2000
  • Indiana, 2000
  • Missouri, 2015
  • Virginia, 1999
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana