Paul J. Zoeller’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis in business litigation, products liability, toxic tort, intellectual property and environmental, health and safety matters. He has represented manufacturing, automotive, energy, pharmaceutical, chemical and consumer goods companies in a broad range of contract, products liability, intellectual property, antitrust and other commercial litigation matters. Paul also has represented corporations and individuals in white-collar criminal cases. He has served as lead trial and appellate counsel in numerous product liability, commercial, and criminal matters. Paul also has advised numerous large companies in a wide array of areas, including commercial transactions, antitrust, health and safety, employment, insurance and corporate governance.
Prior to joining the firm, Paul was an Associate General Counsel at Celanese International Corporation, where he was responsible for Celanese’s North American litigation. He also served as an Associate General Counsel at Celanese Chemicals and Hoechst Celanese Corporation, where he was at various times responsible for litigation, employment law, and legal oversight of global environmental, health and safety audits, as well as serving as primary legal counsel for two major business groups with combined annual revenues exceeding $2 billion. Before joining Hoechst Celanese, Paul was an Assistant District Attorney and in private practice in New York City.
Paul previously served as President and Chairman of the Corporate Environmental Enforcement Council. He also served on the Board of Directors of the North Texas SIDS Alliance.
Paul has spoken about environmental, criminal, and health and safety issues before the OSHA VPP Participants Association and the N.E. Environmental Prosecution Project.
- National managing counsel for Celanese International Corporation, for whom he developed, instituted and managed comprehensive defense strategies for more than 40,000 product liability and toxic tort claims pending throughout the United States, as well as a large portfolio of commercial and intellectual property cases.
- Fortune 500 company in a misappropriation of trade secrets action in Federal Court against a Saudi Arabian company. Negotiated, over a two-year period, an innovative inspection-based settlement to prevent utilization of any involved trade secrets.
- Chemical company in breach of contract action in Texas state court in which plaintiff sought more than $3 billion in damages.
- Led a large team investigating the potential theft of trade secrets from a Canadian corporation by a company controlled by the government of Iran. Once the theft was confirmed, the team successfully filed actions in Canada that resulted in the issuance of Anton Pilar orders covering 12 locations in Canada, resulting in the seizure of the stolen technology before it could be sent to Iran.
- Successful representation of a senior corporate executive in a grand jury investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York involving allegations of minority business enterprise set-aside fraud.
- Lead trial counsel in the defense of a corporate president in the first criminal hazardous waste dumping case brought to trial in New York State. Trial resulted in an acquittal on all environmental law charges.
- Major corporation regarding assessment of its environmental, health, and safety policies and procedures, and creation of new governance structures.
- At the request of the Board of Directors of a large energy company, led a multidiscipline team that successfully redesigned corporate retirement and retiree medical programs, and analyzed the sufficiency of the company’s insurance coverages.
- Successful defense of a Nigerian corporate executive on felony money laundering charges, resulting in a dismissal of all criminal charges and of a parallel civil forfeiture action.
- A large corporate client regarding insurance coverage issues and buy-out of various long-tail primary and excess insurance policies, resulting in substantial monetary recoveries.
- CNA Holdings and related entities in a multi-district litigation involving alleged price-fixing conspiracy in North American polyester staple fiber market.