Francis A. Citera - Greenberg Traurig LLP

Francis A. Citera

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2008
Phone: 312-456-8413

Francis A. Citera is Co-Chair of the firm's Products Liability & Mass Torts Litigation Group and Co-Chair of the Chicago Litigation Practice. Frank has 30 years of experience defending purported class actions, toxic tort actions, and other complex litigation in both federal and state courts. He has tried many cases, including an action by the Government to enforce a unilateral administrative order, an allocation case among potentially responsible parties, and a complex product liability, wrongful death case. Frank is also an experienced appellate lawyer, having argued many appeals in state and federal appellate courts. Additionally, Frank has substantial experience in bankruptcy litigation, having represented debtors-in possession in a broad range of disputes, as well as lenders, landlords, and trade creditors in bankruptcy litigation matters.

Frank also counsels clients on risk management and product safety matters for both consumer and industrial products. In this capacity, he has been responsible for matters pending before various federal and state agencies and committees regulating the importation and sale of goods in the United States, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee, the State of California Department of Justice and the Illinois Attorney General's office. In connection with these efforts, Frank also has counseled clients on crisis management and crisis communications. He has participated in a briefing before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Oversights and Investigations regarding the safety of certain products intended for children. Frank has written and spoken extensively on class action litigation, product safety issues and claims for medical monitoring.

Columbia UniversityBA 1980University of Miami School of LawJ.D. 1983
University of Miami School of Law Dean's Circle CommitteeJustinian SocietyItalian American Chamber of Commerce - MidwestInternational Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO)Defense Research InstituteCity Club of ChicagoAmerican Bar Association Section of Litigation, Committee on Class ActionsAmerican Apparel and Footwear Association, Product Safety CouncilPottawattomie Country Club, Michigan City, IndianaChicago Bar Association

Case History

Areas of Concentration
  • Litigation
  • Class actions
  • Mass torts
  • Environmental
  • Civil practice
  • Appellate
  • Bankruptcy litigation

Other Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Trial Bar, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Significant Representations
  • Served as counsel for an industrial client in two trials arising from the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund site:
    • Represented defendant on claims of the government for a mandatory injunction to implement the remedy for the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund site tried December 2012, and for recovery of costs and natural resource damages. United States v. NCR Corp., 76 Env’t Rep. Cas. (BNA) 2163 (E.D. Wis. May 1, 2013), appeals pending, No. 13-2436 (7th Cir.).
    • Represented defendant and counterclaim plaintiff in Superfund allocation case for the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund site tried February 2012. Appleton Papers Inc. v. Geo. A. Whiting Paper Co., No. 2:08-cv-16-WCG (E.D. Wis. judgment entered June 25, 2013, appeals pending, No. 13-2447 (7th Cir.).
  • Represented Sears, Roebuck & Co. both before the Supreme Court of Mississippi and the U. S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit. In Learmonth v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 710 F.3d 249 (5th Cir. 2013) the Fifth Circuit affirmed the constitutionality of Mississippi's $1 million statutory cap on noneconomic damages.
Part 2
  • Represented Sears, Roebuck & Co. in an argument before the Supreme Court of Illinois. Plaintiffs sought to apply Illinois law to the issues of liability and damages in an action involving an allegedly defectively-designed riding lawn tractor. The Court reviewed the choice-of-law analysis to be applied in a tort case in Illinois, concluding that the law of Michigan, as the state where plaintiffs resided and where the injury occurred, governed the conflicting issues presented. Townsend v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 227 Ill.2d 147 (2007).
  • Represented Sears, Roebuck & Co. in a series of putative class actions pending in state and federal courts. Plaintiffs allege that Sears deceptively marketed and labeled its proprietary line of Craftsman tools as "Made in USA" when, in fact, some of these tools contained significant foreign components. On March 23, 2012, the Honorable John F. Grady denied plaintiff’s motion to certify a class of Florida consumers for claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and Florida’s unjust enrichment common law. This is the fourth time that the Court has refused to certify a class of consumers in these MDL proceedings. In re Sears, Roebuck & Co. Tools Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation. In two related actions, the Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the dismissal of two putative class actions seeking compensatory and injunctive relief with respect to the plaintiffs' purchase of various Craftsman brand tools. Baumann v. Sears Roebuck & Company (October 3, 2008).
Part 3
  • In Santamarina v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., No. BC326946 (Los Angeles County November 30, 2012), a related action, the trial court denied Plaintiffs' motion for class certification, finding that Plaintiffs' putative class was not sufficiently ascertainable and was impermissibly overbroad.
  • National coordinating counsel for Lockheed Martin Corporation in actions alleging harmful exposure to industrial sand. In one of these actions, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the entry of judgment in favor of Lockheed Martin on the grounds that the plaintiff's employer was a sophisticated user of industrial sand, to whom Lockheed Martin had no duty to warn. Bergfeld v. Martin Marietta Corp., et al., 319 F. 3d 350 (8th Cir. 2003). More recently, an Ohio court entered judgment in favor of Lockheed Martin, concluding that the sophisticated user doctrine was a viable and legitimate defense for Lockheed Martin. 
  • Served on the national counsel for two manufacturers in a series of class action lawsuits that have been filed against manufacturers, suppliers, vendors and lessors of wireless handheld telephones, those who provide wireless services for such devices, and two trade associations. In Farina v. Nokia, et al., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's putative class action, concluding that plaintiff's claims are preempted by the FCC's radio frequency regulations. No. 08-4034 (October 22, 2010).
Part 4

  • Represented an insurer in a case of first impression before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, involving the burden on a removing defendant to establish the amount in controversy under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The Court rejected plaintiffs' argument that the defendant must prove to a "legal certainty" that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional minimum, holding instead that the removing defendant must show to a "reasonable probability" that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. Amoche v. Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Co., 556 F.3rd 41 (1st Cir. 2009).
  • Represented Gaming Partners International USA, Inc. ("GPI") in an action for breach of contract. Plaintiff alleged that GPI breached its contract by failing to prepay for cloth used for gaming layouts. GPI filed a counterclaim, alleging that plaintiff failed to deliver cloth that was ordered and purchased by GPI and failed to replace defective cloth in a timely manner. Shortly after trial commenced and following cross-examination of the plaintiff's president, the Judge dismissed plaintiff's claims against GPI and entered judgment in favor of GPI on its counterclaim.
Part 5
  • Represented FPL Energy Power Marketing, Inc. in two putative class actions pending in the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiffs alleged that certain of the defendants, who are wholesale suppliers of electricity, had conspired and colluded to artificially fix electrical charges in Illinois, causing Illinois consumers to pay inflated prices for electrical service. On December 21, 2007, Judge William Hart dismissed both actions, holding that the Federal Power Act preempts state-law consumer fraud, unjust enrichment and unfair competition claims such as those asserted by plaintiffs. In so holding, Judge Hart concluded that plaintiffs' claims would require the Court to consider matters regarding the reasonableness of rates that are exclusively entrusted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Represented a leading international specialty retailer in a putative class action alleging exposure to excessive amounts of lead and seeking relief in the form of medical monitoring.
  • Represented Husky Injection Molding Systems, Ltd., the world's largest supplier of injection molding equipment and services to the plastics industry. On October 13, 2006, the Court of Common Pleas, County of Summit, Ohio, granted Husky's motion for summary judgment in a wrongful death action. In so holding, the Court agreed with Husky's argument that it adequately warned of the risks associated with the operation of a plastic injection molding press manufactured by Husky.
Part 6
  • Represented Mestek, Inc. in connection with the Chapter 11 case of its wholly owned subsidiary, Met-Coil Systems Corporation, Inc., a metal-forming company that manufactures advanced sheet-metal forming equipment. We resolved significant personal injury and property damage litigation relating to the alleged release of chlorinated solvents into the drinking water of a residential area. A recent law journal article described our efforts in this matter as a "new legal model for resolving mass tort claims against a company as a result of environmental contamination." The article went on to state that this model "offers significant advantages to companies and claimants in other mass tort situations in which the universe of future claims is uncertain but potentially overwhelming." Eric Green et al., Future Claimant Trusts and "Channeling Injunctions" To Resolve Mass Tort Environmental Liability in Bankruptcy: The Met-Coil Model, 22 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 158 (2006).
  • Represented the City of Chicago in UAL Corporation's bankruptcy proceedings. United Airlines, Inc. sought a declaratory judgment as to the effect in bankruptcy of a provision in its Airport Use Agreement with the City of Chicago, governing United's use of O'Hare International Airport. 346 B.R. 456 (N.D.I.L. 2006).
Part 7
  • Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in action for equitable subordination and recharacterization of senior secured lender's claims. In re Radnor Holdings Corp.
  • Represented Xpedior Inc. and related companies as debtors-in-possession in several adversary proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. After creditors were paid 100 percent of their claims, there was nearly $750,000 remaining which was donated to charity.
  • Represented a leading manufacturer of audio-visual electronics in two putative class actions. In one of these actions, plaintiffs alleged that VHS videotapes prematurely fade, distort or deteriorate, although they were allegedly marketed as a better means to preserve images than 8-millimeter film. The Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing plaintiffs' third amended complaint with prejudice. The Appellate Court made clear that subjective descriptions relating to quality are not actionable under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.
Part 8
  • Defended an offshore gaming company in a putative class action brought on behalf of individuals who wagered and lost personal property by placing wages via wire and the Internet.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Nintendo of America Inc. in a putative class action in which plaintiffs alleged that they developed visually induced seizures while playing video games sold and distributed by Nintendo. Coursey v. Nintendo of America, Inc., 309 Ill. App. 3d 1069 (1st. Dist. 1999).
  • Brought suit on behalf of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and others to enjoin the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District and the FAA from closing Meigs Field, an airport located in the City of Chicago. AOPA sought to compel the FAA to prepare an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement regarding the closure of Meigs Field.
  • Supervised the resolution of the compensatory damages portion of one of the largest product liability class actions (Salmonella victims) certified in the United States.
  • Represented the debtor, Robbins Resource Recovery Partners, L.P., a partnership formed to develop and operate a solid waste-to-energy facility in the Village of Robbins, IL.

Office Location

77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3100
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

Practice Areas

Litigation - Bankruptcy