John Comerford handles all phases of complex, high-exposure business litigation, employment discrimination defense and corporate internal investigations. He represents and counsels Fortune 500 companies, senior-level executives and government employees.
John is a first chair trial lawyer. He tries cases to verdict in
state and federal courts and through any appeals. His clients include
major electronic equipment suppliers, healthcare providers, large
retailers, energy companies, and business owners and executives.
John also represents individuals and corporations facing government
investigations, including cases involving the U.S. Attorney’s Office,
the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the EPA. He counsels
clients under investigation for corporate mismanagement, mortgage fraud,
bank fraud and contractor fraud, as well as alleged violations of the
False Claims Act and state and federal environmental regulations.
Prior to his legal career, John was an officer in the U.S. Navy for
more than seven years. He completed a tour of duty with a Navy air
reconnaissance squadron, serving as mission commander during sensitive
reconnaissance operations focusing on countries in the Western Pacific
and Arabian Gulf areas. He then served in the White House Military
Office as a watch officer and deputy director of the Presidential
Emergency Operations Center in the East Wing of the White House. During
law school, John worked full time as a civilian policy analyst in the
Office of the Secretary of Defense and was a senior staff member of The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics.
John is active with The BackStoppers and with veterans’ issues. He
has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The 25th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© and in the 2018 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers list.
Representative Trial Experience
- In November of 2015, Mr. Comerford served as first chair in
obtaining a unanimous defense verdict from a St. Louis County jury in
favor of Missouri Baptist Medical Center on a plaintiff’s claim of
retaliation in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act. The case was
tried over two and a half weeks. Mr. Comerford earlier won summary
judgment for Missouri Baptist on the plaintiff’s claim for race
discrimination, and won summary judgment on all claims against the
corporate parent of Missouri Baptist. The case is Jeffrey Carter, M.D.
v. Missouri Baptist Medical Center, et al.
- In December of 2012, Mr. Comerford served as second chair in a
federal jury trial in the case of Automation Service v. Emerson Process
Management, et al. Mr. Comerford represented Emerson and its
subsidiaries in a wide ranging dispute brought by a re-manufacturer of
Emerson process control equipment. The plaintiff’s claims were resolved
in Emerson’s favor at the dismissal and summary judgment stages. The
jury ruled for Emerson on its counterclaims and awarded over $5.4
million in damages.
- Mr. Comerford served as second chair in a $280 million multi-week
case in the Delaware Chancery Court. The case, Olson v. Viking Global
Investors, was a dispute between the founders of a hedge fund and a
departing member. The Chancery Court ruled in favor of Mr. Comerford’s
clients and rejected the plaintiff’s claims in full.
Mr. Comerford’s first chair trial experience includes the case
of Herschel, et al. v. Nixon, et al. Mr. Comerford’s clients were
Administrative Law Judges for the State of Missouri.
Representative Appellate Experience
Mr. Comerford has presented oral argument in the United States Court
of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Missouri Court of Appeals for
the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Missouri, including the
- In 2016, Mr. Comerford argued on behalf of BJC Healthcare and
Missouri Baptist Medical Center in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the
Eastern District in the matter of Jeffrey Carter, M.D. v. Missouri
Baptist Medical Center, et al. The appellate court affirmed summary
judgment in favor of Mr. Comerford’s clients on the plaintiff’s claim
for race discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
- In September, 2012, Mr. Comerford argued on behalf of Anheuser-Busch
in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the
matter of Robert D. Carr v. Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. The Eighth
Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Anheuser-Busch and
rejected the plaintiff’s claim for ERISA benefits under an
Anheuser-Busch severance plan.
- In January, 2010, Mr. Comerford argued on behalf of HRI Properties
and its subsidiary, Mermart, LLC, in the United States Court of Appeals
for the Eighth Circuit. The case, Dubinsky et al. v. Mermart
LLC, involved a dispute brought by subordinate bondholders over the
refinancing and redevelopment of a historic structure in the Washington
Avenue Loft District of downtown St. Louis. The Eighth Circuit affirmed
dismissal in favor of Mermart and rejected the plaintiffs’ claims for
breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligence, and fraudulent
Representative Investigation and White Collar Experience
- Mr. Comerford represented a major defense contractor in an
investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Defense
Criminal Investigative Service into allegations of improper billing and
false claims. The matter was abandoned by the Government after an
- Mr. Comerford represented a large agricultural company in an
investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office and the
Environmental Protection Agency into allegations of Clean Water Act
- Mr. Comerford has represented a variety of individuals and
corporations in investigations involving allegations of corporate
mismanagement, mortgage fraud, band fraud and contractor fraud, as well
as violations of the False Claims Act and environmental regulations.