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John P. Hutchins

1170 Peachtree Street, NE
Suite 2350
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Phone:  404.267.2733
Fax:  404.942.2810

Biography

John Hutchins is a seasoned technology lawyer with a broad range of skills and experience. His practice is a combination of complex commercial litigation and trial work, technology transactions, and compliance advice and counseling. He is Co-Leader of LeClairRyan’s Technology practice.

His quarter century of litigation experience runs the gamut in subject matter, from software, to data breaches, to eminent domain, to vintage race cars, to death penalty habeas corpus, but he has particular experience in matters involving technology, intellectual property, privacy and data security, government procurement, restrictive covenants and breach of fiduciary duty. He has tried numerous cases to jury verdict, as well as bench trials, arbitrations and other evidentiary hearings in state and federal courts around the country.

His transactional practice consists of a mix of complex technology transactions, including sourcing deals, hosted services arrangements, cloud computing, technology licensing, systems procurement and project implementation.

His compliance practice focuses on state, federal and international privacy and data security issues, the Internet, e-commerce, cloud computing, social media, and records management. He founded LeClairRyan’s Privacy & Data Security practice (and also founded the privacy practice as a previous firm in 2005). He founded and is the Editor of the firm’s blog – Information Counts. He is a frequent speaker and is published widely on technology law topics, and he has been quoted by news outlets like National Public Radio, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Forbes, ComputerWorld and Law360.  

Representative Experience

  • Lead counsel in bringing $20+ million claims for breach of fiduciary duty against former company officer and aiding and abetting breach by $2 billion investment fund for misappropriating client’s food product concepts; defeated defendants’ dispositive motions based Georgia Trade Secrets Act pre-emption.
  • Lead counsel in obtaining summary judgment in federal suit over one of the largest recorded data breaches, defeating damages claims based on allegations of breach of contract, negligence and fraud.
  • Lead trial counsel for one of the nation's largest publicly-traded REIT's in fraud action against former employee and general contractor arising out of bribery and kickback scheme. Obtained a $2.7 million verdict in client's favor.
  • Lead trial counsel in successfully defending patent licensee against breach of license and patent infringement claims brought by publicly-traded licensor of healthcare field operations tracking technology.
  • Lead counsel for Fortune 500 healthcare company as one of four winning bidders of $4 billion contract award for Medicaid and ‘PeachCare for Kids’ in successfully defeating bid protests of three losing bidders.
  • Lead counsel in handling numerous claims asserted against email marketing firm arising out of highly publicized data breach of millions of customer records.
  • Lead counsel in action overturning award of $145 million state contract for non-emergency transportation services.
  • Lead outside counsel in advising client in connection with $8 million Oracle R12 implementation.
  • Lead outside counsel representing Fortune 500 aftermarket auto parts retailer in connection with multi-million dollar information technology sourcing project.
  • Lead counsel for major food products manufacturer in obtaining injunctive relief against former distributor for breach of non-competition agreement.
  • Lead counsel in advising and representing employee benefits consulting vendor in connection with data breach of personally identifiable information on more than 200,000 employees.
  • Lead outside counsel in advising one of the country's largest municipal-owned utilities in connection with $21 million BearingPoint implementation of customer care and billing software.
  • Lead counsel in obtaining injunctive relief on behalf of technology investment partnership to halt the sale of audio-capture technology firm to company insiders.
  • Lead counsel in bid protest action against State of Georgia on behalf of large technology vendor as incumbent, high bidder. Obtained permanent injunction forcing $20 million contract back out to bid and preventing $2 million payment from State to successful bidder; client awarded contract worth estimated $40 million on re-bid.
  • Lead outside counsel in advising large western states utility in connection with multiple software transactions totaling more than $20 million.
  • Lead negotiator in acquisition of $5 million enterprise-wide, multi-station/multi-channel traffic, accounting and yield management software solution for 47-station independent television company.
  • Lead counsel for digital video signal processing equipment manufacturer in obtaining injunctive relief against former employee in action alleging breach of restrictive covenant and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Lead counsel representing plaintiff in dispute over propriety of Internet application and other goods and services provided by educational systems and customized assessment vendor to State of Georgia. Obtained $2.1 million settlement on behalf of client.
  • Primary outside general counsel for industry-leading staffing software company. Regularly assist client in numerous negotiations for contracts ranging from 70 to 1000 seats.
  • Lead counsel for nuclear-industry government contractor in responding, as subcontractor to Northup Grumman, to U.S. Department of Homeland Security RFP for open source development project based in part on client's proprietary source code previously developed as part of joint venture development contract for U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Lead trial counsel for defendant in litigation filed by major software manufacturer and subsidiary against former employee. Defense verdict.
  • Lead counsel in successfully defending former employee of world’s leading automotive logistics, distribution and transportation services company against motion for preliminary injunction, arising out of alleged trade secret misappropriation and non-disclosure agreement. Motion for Injunctive Relief denied after oral argument.
  • Trial counsel for plaintiffs in action for breach of contract and quantum meruit against Fortune 100 telecommunications company related to procurement of major contract with State of Georgia. Obtained $2.2 million jury verdict on behalf of client.
  • Led trial team on behalf of industry-leading software vendor in arbitration over alleged system failure, including claims and counterclaims for breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Obtained $1.2 million award on behalf of client.
  • Lead trial counsel for publicly-held computer hardware manufacturer in federal lawsuit over alleged system failure, including claims and counterclaims for breach of contract, breach of warranties and fraud. Opposing party settled for nuisance value after client’s case presented at trial.
  • Lead trial counsel representing healthcare information consulting division of Fortune 100 client as defendant in action alleging fraud and breach of contract. Plaintiff settled for nuisance value during trial.
  • Lead trial counsel for defendant direct-mail distributor in litigation related to warranties arising out of the purchase and sale of large direct mail technology system. Limited jury verdict against client to half of plaintiff’s last settlement demand prior to trial.
  • Lead counsel for world's largest manufacturer and marketer of footwear in $12 million, multi-country dispute with world's third-largest independent software supplier arising from failure of major retail and finance software system. Successfully moved to stay U.S. action pending resolution of Canadian action.
  • Counsel to client in acquiring license for application service provider software for loan origination, processing and call center management.
  • Lead counsel for immunization registry software manufacturer as plaintiff in obtaining injunctive relief against former employee in action alleging copyright infringement, breach of restrictive covenants, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with business relations and related claims.
  • Lead counsel for defendant in trademark infringement action brought by Atlanta-based company against California-based landscape supply distribution company, involving claims of Internet jurisdiction. Plaintiff dismissed case voluntarily after motion to dismiss filed on behalf of client.
  • Counsel for plaintiff, a name brand ice cream retail chain, in suit alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition. Obtained Consent Order prohibiting further infringement.
  • Counsel for multinational residential and commercial construction and real estate development services firm in suit alleging trademark infringement. Obtained Consent Order prohibiting further infringement.
  • Successfully defended start-up competitor to world’s largest manufacturer of industrial pumps, in preliminary injunction proceeding seeking equitable relief arising out of alleged trade dress infringement and unfair competition.
  • Counsel to a variety of clients, including Fortune 1000 and other publicly-traded companies, covering a broad gamut of issues related to privacy and data security, e-commerce and social media, including message board misconduct and internet anonymity, website spoofing, privacy policies, network “hacking” issues and other “cybercrimes,” Gramm-Leach-Bliley compliance, document retention and destruction, data aggregator compliance and liability, online behavioral advertising and social media strategy.
  • Counsel to various clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, in actions challenging or defending trademark registrations.
  • Representation of multiple clients in disputes over Internet domain name ownership and trademark rights, including actions filed in ICANN arbitration proceedings under Internet Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

Classes and Seminars Taught

  • Faculty, "Building Trial Skills," Gulf Coast Regional, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 5-8, 2017
  • Faculty, "Depositions Skills," National Institute of Trial Advocacy, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 20-22, 2016
  • Faculty, "Building Trial Skills," Gulf Coast Regional, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 24-29, 2015
  • Faculty, "Building Trial Skills," Gulf Coast Regional, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 25-29, 2014
  • Faculty, "Building Trial Skills," Gulf Coast Regional, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 12-16, 2013
  • Faculty, "Building Trial Skills," Gulf Coast Regional, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 21-25, 2012

Speaking Engagements

  • Co-Chair, Cloud Computing 2016: Key Issues and Practical Guidance, Practising Law Institute, San Francisco, California May 22, 2017
  • "Cloud Computing in the Courts: a Consideration of Litigation Issues," Cloud Computing 2016: Key Issues and Practical Guidance, Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 1, 2017
  • Legal Developments In Cybersecurity: Emerging Practices and Standards for Detecting and Responding to Cyber Threats,” Trade Secret Summit, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Atlanta, Georgia , March 2, 2017
  • "An Update on Data Privacy Litigation,” Understanding and Controlling Cybersecurity Risks, DRI, Atlanta, Georgia, September 22, 2016
  • Co-Chair, "Cloud Computing 2016: Key Issues and Practical Guidance," Practising Law Institute, San Francisco, California June 10, 2016
  • "Cloud Computing in the Courts: a Consideration of Litigation Issues," Cloud Computing 2016: Key Issues and Practical Guidance, Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 9, 2016
  • “Responding to Cyberhacks—What Would You Do?” 2016 American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2016 
  • "Tackling Risk Assessments," CapSpecialty Insurance Cyber Liability Webinar, October 14, 2015
  • "Written in Concrete? An Examination of Actual Harm Arising from Data Breaches," IAPP Privacy. Security. Risk. Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 1, 2015
  • "The Last Year in Privacy and Security Litigation," Sixteenth Annual Institute on Privacy and Data Security Law, Practising Law Institute, Chicago, Illinois, July 13-14, 2015
  • "Privacy," Cloud Computing 2015: Key Issues and Practical Guidance, Practising Law Institute, San Francisco, California, June 8, 2015
  • Co-Chair, "Cloud Computing 2015: Key Issues and Practical Guidance," Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 11, 2015
  • Co-Chair, "Cloud Computing 2014: Key Issues and Practical Guidance," Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 9, 2014
  • "Facebook, the NLRB, and State Regulation of Access to Social Media by Employers and Litigants," 28th Annual Technology Law Institute, Atlanta, Georgia, October 25, 2013
  • Co-Chair, Cloud Computing 2013: Cut Through the Fluff & Tackle the Critical Stuff, Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 10, 2013
  • "The Fundamentals of Data Security Assessment," Retail Regulatory Realities Regarding Records and Warning Requirements, Association of Corporate Counsel, Greater New York Chapter, New York, New York, April 17, 2013
  • "Laws that Impact Data Mining and Marketing" & "Legal Ethics of E-mail and Other Considerations for the Digital Age," Internet Privacy: Now What? National Business Institute, nationwide webinar, April 9, 2013
  • "Electronic File Management Best Practices," Construction Financial Management Association, Georgia Chapter, Atlanta, Georgia, October 19, 2011
  • "Managing a Crisis: Panel Discussion on a Complex Data Breach Hypothetical," Twelfth Annual Institute on Privacy and Security Law, Practising Law Institute, Chicago, Illinois, July 19, 2011
  • "Blogging, Friending, and Tweeting, Oh My! The Legal and Ethical Issues of Playing in the Social Media Sandbox," 2011 American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference, Miami, Florida, April 15, 2011
  • "Privacy & Security Impact on Corporations that are Using or Allowing Social Media," A-LIST: Information Security, Infrastructure Protection & Law Enforcement Conference, InfraGuard Members Alliance, Kennesaw State University, August 25, 2010
  • "State Law: Defining the Duty to Secure Personal Data," Eleventh Annual Institute on Privacy and Security Law, Practising Law Institute, Chicago, Illinois, July 19, 2010
  • "Legal Ethics in the Age of Information Mobility," Information Technology Law Institute 2010: Opportunities in Cloud Computing, Blogs, Brand Protection and Targeted Marketing, Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 18, 2010
  • “Everyday Tools: The Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses,” 2010 American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference, New York, New York, April 23, 2010
  • “Twitter, Facebook and You Tube - Social Media Policies to Protect Your Company,” Annual Compliance and Ethics Advanced Best Practices Workshop, ACE Roundtable, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, November 3, 2009
  • “Hot Topics in Privacy in 2010” and “Emerging Issues/Information Security Regulation and Compliance,” 24th Annual Technology Law Institute, Atlanta, Georgia, October 15, 2009
  • "Ethical Aspects of Privacy and Information Security for Lawyers," Tenth Annual Institute on Privacy and Security Law, Practising Law Institute, Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 2009
  • “Perspectives on Privacy: International Privacy Schema and Changing Paradigms in the US,” Hot Topics in Retailing Law, Association of Corporate Counsel, Greater New York Chapter, Retailing Committee, New York, New York, June 23, 2009

Published Works

  • Editor, Information Counts, 2015 - present
  • “Keeping the Data-Breach Headlines in Perspective,” E-Commerce Law & Strategy, Volume 32, Number 6 , October 2015
  • "Like Neiman Marcus, Wyndham Is Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be," Law360, Expert Analysis, October 2015
  • "Not So Fast on Data Breach Liability," Retailing Today, August 28, 2015
  • "Your Clients’ Contracts Shouldn't Bury Limitation of Liability Clauses in the Fine Print," Georgia Bar Journal, August 2015 
  • Editor-In-Chief, Information Intersection, 2010 – 2014
  • “Do Email Disclaimers Really Work?” Technology for the Litigator, Vol. 7, No. 2, Winter 2013
  • "Does Your Company Need a Chief Privacy Officer?" Law360, Expert Analysis, October 2012
  • "Can I Use That Great YouTube Video?" Law360, Expert Analysis, July 2012
  • "The Problem with Access and Accuracy," Law360, Expert Analysis, May 2012
  • "Direct Examination of Your Expert at Trial," Litigators on Experts: Strategies for Managing Expert Witnesses from Retention Through Trial, American Bar Association, 2010
  • "A New Frontier: Litigation Over Data Breaches," The Practical Litigator, July 2009
  • "Who owns the code? Beware copyright pitfalls," Computerworld Magazine Online, January 30, 2009
  • "Major Victory for Open Source Software Industry," ABA Section of Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation Committee, News & Developments, November 2008
  • U.S. Data Breach Notification Law: State by State, American Bar Association, 2007

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, Atlanta, Georgia, 2015 – Present
  • Troutman Sanders, Atlanta, Georgia, 2004 – 2015
  • McKenna Long & Aldridge, Atlanta, Georgia, 1993 – 2004
  • Ballard & Ballard, Atlanta, Georgia, 1992 – 1993

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association: Litigation Section, Member-at-Large, Council, 2016 – present; Division Director, 2014 - 2016; Death Penalty Representation Project, Steering Committee, 2015 – present, 2009 - 2012, Special Advisor, 2014 - 2015; Litigation Section, Intellectual Property Litigation Committee, Past Co-Chair; Litigation Section, Technology for the Litigator Committee, Past Co-Chair
  • State Bar of Georgia: Technology Law Section, Past Chair
  • Atlanta Bar Association: Litigation Section
  • South Carolina Bar Association
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Techbridge: Board of Directors, 2007 - 2012, 2016 - present
  • Youth Villages: Board of Directors, 2009 - 2011
  • Inner Harbour: Board of Directors, 2007 – 2009

Distinctions

  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer in Intellectual Property Litigation and Business Litigation by Law & Politics and Atlanta magazine, 2005 – 2016
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® in Information Technology Law, Copyright Law, 2009 – 2017
  • Named Best Lawyers' 2017 Information Technology Law "Lawyer of the Year" for Atlanta, GA.
  • Selected as a Future Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2011 – 2017
  • Appointed as Special Advisor to ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, 2014 – 2015
  • Named to Georgia Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite” in Intellectual Property, 2005 - 2008, 2012, and Technology Law, 2012
  • Thurgood Marshall Award for Capital Representation, 2008
  • Serves as member of Practising Law Institute’s Privacy Law Advisors Group
  • “Advocate” designation by National Institute of Trial Advocacy, signifying completion of a series of intensive, multi-day, hands-on programs in trial advocacy
  • “Faculty” designation by National Institute of Trial Advocacy, accorded faculty members who have continuously maintained a highly rated teaching level

   

Education

  • J.D., University of South Carolina, 1992, South Carolina Law Review
  • B.A., University of South Carolina, 1988, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia
  • South Carolina

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina