United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
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David Coar

Hon. David H. Coar (Ret.)

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Juliana Wilkin
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Hon. David H. Coar (Ret.) served as United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois for 16 years and as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for 8 years.  From 1979 to 1982, he served as the first United States Bankruptcy Trustee in the Northern District of Illinois.  As Associate Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law, Judge Coar taught courses on ethics, corporations, corporate finance, constitutional law, labor law, and professional responsibility.  As a practicing lawyer, Judge Coar represented private plaintiffs in the case that determined how Title VII impacted the merger of previously segregated lines of progression in the steel industry.

Judge Coar has traveled extensively across the globe to consult on judicial and economic issues and has participated in educational programs for foreign judges in the U.S. and overseas.  He has participated in programs in China, Russia, Nigeria, and Cameroon sponsored by law schools, the National Center for State Courts, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Bar has praised Judge Coar for his excellent legal ability, handling of complex cases, integrity, and independence.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • As a U.S. District Judge, he has tried and settled hundreds of cases involving the full array of matters subject to federal jurisdiction including class action Multi District Litigation, complex corporate, commercial, employment, intellectual property, mass tort, and securities cases.  Maintaining a special interest in automation within the courts, he was a member of the Information Technology Committee, heading the Budget Subcommittee.
  • Prior to being appointed to the District Court, Judge Coar was appointed a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in 1986, where he oversaw large corporate reorganization and bankruptcy cases.
  • In 1979, pursuant to the newly enacted Bankruptcy Code, Judge Coar became one of ten U.S. Trustees in the country, under a pilot program established within the U.S. Department of Justice.  In that capacity, he monitored cases and appointed and supervised trustees and examiners in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • As a former member of the Bankruptcy and District Judge Education Committees of the Federal Judicial Center, he has been a frequent presenter at its programs.

Representative Matters

  • Bankruptcy:
    • Presided over the first large (and most successful) asbestos bankruptcy case resulting in a consensual plan that has served as a model for subsequent cases.  Claims totaling over $92 billion dollars were resolved.  Over 90% of the stock of the reorganized company was issued to a trust for asbestos injury claimants.  Complicated (and at the time, unresolved) issues of future claims, corporate governance, and liability of the trust were successfully navigated.
    • Successfully settled a $30 million dollar avoidance action in a bankruptcy case involving a foreign creditor of a debtor.
  • Class Action MDL Cases:
    • Served as assignee judge in three large class action multi-district litigation cases involving alleged product liability, antitrust, and securities/breach of fiduciary duties issues.
  • Employment:
    • Resolved case of first impression under the Wage and Hour law after a five week trial and remand after appeal.
    • Presided over several large Title VII class action cases involving claims of race, sex, and age discrimination, all of which were resolved short of trial.
  • Intellectual Property:
    • Panelist on a tripartite mock arbitration on questions of trade secrets violations in the pharmaceutical industry
    • Mediated patent infringement matter regarding electronic trading software 
    • Presided over, then mediated trade dress cases involving the rights of franchisees after termination of the franchise agreements.
  • Lender Liability:
    • Presided over and resolved many lender cases including counterclaims for equitable subordination and claims of breach of fiduciary duty by the lender.
  • Securities:
    • Resolved complex securities matters including cases alleging breach of fiduciary duty, violations of the Williams Act, and fraud under federal and state securities law.  Some of these cases included determining whether a particular instrument was a security within the meaning of the securities laws.
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2014
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 2007-2010
  • Member, Information Technology Committee, Judicial Conference of the United States, 1999-2005 (served as chair of the budget subcommittee)
  • Visiting Committee, University of Chicago Law School, 1998-2000
  • Conferee, Emeritus, National Bankruptcy Conference
  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Member, American College of Bankruptcy
  • Past board member, Federal Judges Association
  • Past board member, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
  • Served on the editorial board of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal
  • Speaker on topics ranging from bankruptcy, intellectual property, sentencing, employment discrimination, and the use of technology in the courts
  • Law360’s Minority Powerbrokers Q&A series with Judge David Coar, December 3, 2014
  • Judge, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1994-2010
  • Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1986-1994
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Marshall-Wythe Law School, College of William and Mary, 1985
  • Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law, 1974-1979 and 1982-1994
  • United States Trustee, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1979-1982
  • Private law practice, Mobile and Birmingham, AL, 1971-1974
  • Carnegie Foundation Intern, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., 1970-1971
  • LL.M., Harvard Law School, 1970
  • J.D., Loyola University Law School, 1969
  • B.A., Syracuse University, 1964
  • United States Marine Corps Reserves, 1965-1971
  • Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, 1965

Counsel Comments

    Best Lawyers in America, 2014

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    Specialties

    • Antitrust
    • Arbitration
    • Bankruptcy
    • Business/Commercial
    • Civil Rights
    • Class Action/Mass Torts
    • Employment
    • Federal Judge
    • Financial Markets
    • Intellectual Property
    • Securities

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