Chicago-Kent College of Law (J.D., 2005), with high honors
University of Louisville (B.A., 2001), cum laude
Tonya represents clients in complex civil litigation, products liability, and insurance coverage matters. Her practice includes defense of state and federal products liability matters and representation of policyholders in insurance coverage matters, as well as the defense and prosecution of complex commercial litigation. She also counsels clients on complex risk management and insurance issues across an array of insurance lines. Clients value the way she concentrates on relationship building and her enthusiasm for tackling challenging matters.
She co-chairs the firm’s Women’s Network Leadership Team. From 2013 through 2015 she served on the Board of Directors of Chicago’s Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, and in 2014 and 2015 she was the co-chair of the Coalition’s Community Outreach Committee. She was selected as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star” in 2011, 2012 and 2013; a Super Lawyer since 2011; and was named to the Top 50 in the 2015 and 2016 editions of Women Illinois Super Lawyers.
Community outreach is very important to Tonya. From 2009 through 2013 she was a member of the Leadership Council of Posse Foundation’s Chicago chapter, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping diverse public high school students who may be overlooked by the traditional college selection process attend, and succeed in, college by awarding four-year, full tuition leadership scholarships. She presently serves on the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run Chicago, which is a nonprofit that empowers pre-teen girls and fosters their self-esteem through running.
- American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Products Liability Committee
- Co-Chair, Products Liability Committee (2018-2019)
- Co-chair, Women in Products Liability Subcommittee (2015-present)
- Co-chair, Consumer Products Subcommittee (2013-2015)
- American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee (ICLC)
- Managing Editor of Coverage, a nationally distinguished ABA publication (2010-2019)
- Co-chair, 2016 Annual CLE
- Vice Chair, 2015 Annual CLE
- Chicago Bar Association
- Chair, Insurance Law Committee (2011)
- Vice Chair, Insurance Law Committee (2010)
- Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law
- Co-chair, Community Outreach Committee (2014-2015)
- Co-chair, Associates Committee (2011-2012)
- Board of Directors (2012-2015)
- International Association of Defense Counsel (May 2014-2017)
- Propane Gas Defense Association
- President (2016)
- Board of Directors (2011-present)
- Community Involvement
- Girls on the Run Chicago, Board of Directors (2017-present)
- Posse Foundation, Leadership Council Member (April 2009-December 2013)
- St. James Episcopal Cathedral, Chapter Member (2012-2014)
- Together with NGE partner Peter Newton, works as national products liability counsel for a propane gas equipment manufacturer to coordinate all aspects of defense of potential and actual litigation across the country.
- Worked with leading automobile manufacturer in breach of warranty claims throughout Cook and Lake Counties.
- Counsels manufacturers regarding appropriate product warnings, disclaimers and warranties for various new and existing products.
Complex Civil Litigation:
- Defends publisher in complex mass tort, MDL and other cases around the country.
- Obtained jury verdict in favor of national bank against claims seeking millions of dollars for alleged breach of contract and violations of the Fiduciary Obligations Act.
- Counsel in five-week jury trial on fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims seeking more than $550 million.
- Defended Ohio-based distributor against claims brought under the False Claims Act and negotiated favorable settlement.
- Defended six prominent California wineries in multiple False Claims Act matters, negotiating favorable, de minimis settlements in each.
- Defended a False Claims Act matter brought against golf equipment manufacturer and quickly negotiated a de minimis settlement.
- Represented limited liability company in several related matters pending in DuPage County, Illinois, arising out of ownership and subsequent crash of private aircraft.
- Defended commercial developer and prosecuted counterclaims in mortgage foreclosure action.
- Represented Canadian telecommunications equipment designer and manufacturer in complex working capital and other disputes arising out of stock purchase agreement.
- Counsels public and not-for-profit entities and not-for-profit associations across a range of business sectors regarding renewals of several different lines of insurance policies.
- Negotiated successful resolution of insurance coverage dispute on behalf of publicly traded company, obtaining insurer’s agreement that related claims implicating multiple policies were subject to one – rather than two – multimillion-dollar retentions.
- Negotiated settlement with insurer to obtain property damage and liability coverage under aircraft insurance policy.
- Counseled Fortune 500 company regarding indemnification and the use of indemnification trusts to supplement insurance coverage.
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit