John Daukas, a partner in Goodwin's Business Litigation group and a member of the group’s steering committee, concentrates his civil trial practice in the principal areas of complex business litigation, and sophisticated products liability actions.





For over 25 years, Mr. Daukas has successfully represented a range of clients in complex litigation involving government and private entities. Such matters include complex business litigation and product liability actions, including post-closing disputes, breach of contract actions, business divorces, noncompetes, torts, and government investigations. Mr. Daukas’s clients have included companies and individuals in the private equity, venture capital, financial services, waste management, consumer products, computer products and services, legal services, and seafood industries, among many others. Illustrative matters include:


  • Represented an entrepreneur in a $60 million post-closing dispute involving one of the most successful seafood processing and marketing businesses in the country.
  • Represented numerous private equity firms and their portfolio companies in a range of post-closings and other litigation.
  • Represented one of the largest U.S. financial institutions in a mortgage-backed securities litigation.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 company in SEC investigations involving derivatives and complicated accounting issues.
  • Represented cutting-edge healthcare services company in dispute involving major hospital chain.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 investment company in a one-week arbitration concerning an alleged breach of fiduciary duty in the investment fund context.
  • Represented law firms in legal malpractice/fiduciary duty matters.
  • Represented Red Sox ace Curt Schilling in 38 Studios Lawsuit brought by State of Rhode Island concerning State-Insured Development Loans.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 healthcare company in a complex business arbitration spanning 84 days of hearings in which he proved fraud and obtained an award of multiple damages and attorneys’ fees.
  • Recovered $5 million award for a marine engine and generator manufacturer in a 32-day international arbitration against an affiliate of Toyota Corporation. Westerbeke Corporation v. Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd., 304 F.3d 200 (2nd Cir. 2002).
  • Represented a leading computer manufacturer in litigation instituted by its distributors. dB Sales, Inc. v. Digital Equipment Corp., 125 F.3d 855 (6th Cir. 1997), and Trent Partners v. Digital Equipment Corp., 120 F. Supp. 2d 84 (D. Mass. 1999).
  • Won summary judgment in a products liability action for an engineered membrane manufacturer in the U.S. District Court for Utah. Coverstar v. Cooley, 2006 WL 1579620 (D. Utah 2006).


  • Represented Waste Management, Inc. in a $60 million dollar property tax appeal against the City of Bridgeport, CT – in which after trying the matter he argued and won a far-reaching decision concerning governmental misconduct in the Connecticut Supreme Court. Wheelabrator v. City of Bridgeport, 133 A.3d 402 (2016).
  • In 2010, won a two-week arbitration for Waste Management involving complicated operating and accounting issues and claims of over $100 million in a decades-old unfair trade practices dispute. Zielinski v. Connecticut Valley Sanitary Waste Disposal, Inc., C.A. No. 10-3850 (Massachusetts Superior Court). Argued a companion appeal before the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. Zielinski v. Connecticut Valley, 70 Mass. App. Ct. 326 (2007).
  • Represented Waste Management in challenges to operation of waste-to-energy facilities, renegotiation of recycling agreements in light of China/USA trade war, and sundry contract negotiations with public entities.
  • Won a two-week arbitration for Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. against the State of Connecticut involving financing and operation of a $225 million waste-to-energy facility.


  • Represented Philip Morris in over 100 smoking and health and other product liability cases in numerous federal and state courts.
  • In 2001, he successfully tried the first tobacco case to go to jury verdict in New England in a decade – a three-week jury trial in the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island: Hyde v. Philip Morris, Incorporated, C.A. No. 97-359ML, slip op. (D.R.I. May 21, 2000).
  • In 2003, won a seven-week jury trial in New Hampshire: Longden v. Philip Morris, Incorporated.
  • Successfully argued numerous dispositive motions on behalf of the cigarette industry. See, e.g., Penniston v. Philip Morris, 2000 WL 1585609 (D. Mass. 2000); Varney v. R.J. Reynolds, 118 F. Supp. 2d 63 (D. Mass. 2000); Nicolo v. Philip Morris, 37 F. Supp. 2d 121 (D.R.I. 1999), reversed, 201 F.3d 29 (1st Cir. 2000), dismissed on remand; Perrelli v. Philip Morris, C.A. No. 3:99CV01871 SRU, slip op. (D. Conn. 2000).
  • In total, he has been instrumental in disposing of over 100 smoking and health and fire safe cigarette cases.


  • Represented major corporations in environmental litigation in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
  • Defended public companies in securities fraud and corporate governance class actions.
  • Represented clients in government investigations involving:
    • Securities and Exchange Commission
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Transportation
    • State Banking Commissioners
    • State Fire Marshals
    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation E.g. F.D.I.C. v. Raffa, 935 F. Supp. 119 (D. Conn. 1995).


  • Represented a Fortune 50 company in bankruptcy court trial involving valuation of the W Boston Hotel and residence.
  • Trial counsel in bankruptcy litigation resulting in a $70 million victory. In re: Armada Realty Group, Ltd., C.A. 96-40356 JFQ (B.R. Mass. 1997).
Professional Activities

Mr. Daukas is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Rhode Island Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association.

He is a past president of the Dartmouth College Alumni Council, a past president of The Dover Foundation Scholarship Fund, a Boy Scout volunteer, and an active volunteer of Most Precious Blood Parish.

Mr. Daukas served on the Goodwin pro bono team responsible for forming and securing charitable status for The One Fund, created to provide financial assistance to survivors and families of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombings.

For the past seven years, Mr. Daukas has participated with Team Goodwin in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a marathon bicycle ride across Massachusetts that raises money for cancer research and is the largest athletic fundraising event in the world.

In addition, he has served on Goodwin’s Hiring and Associate Review Committees.

Professional Experience

Mr. Daukas served as a special assistant district attorney for Middlesex County (MA), where he prosecuted a variety of misdemeanor and felony cases and argued numerous dispositive and evidentiary motions.


Mr. Daukas has been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer by Boston magazine. While attending law school, he was on the editorial board of the University of Virginia Law Review.

In The News









J.D., 1988
University of Virginia School of Law

(Order of the Coif)

B.A., 1984
Dartmouth College


1988 to 1989 U.S. District Court of Rhode Island, Honorable Ronald Lagueux



Rhode Island


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
U.S. District Court of Rhode Island
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Massachusetts
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Our clients rely on us for world-class advisory services, counsel on complex transactional work and high-stakes litigation. Specializing in matters involving the financial, life sciences, private equity, real estate, and technology industries, we use a collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach to resolve our clients’ most challenging issues. To find out more, please contact us.

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