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Philip M. Guess

Fax +1.206.370.6079
Fax +1.503.248.9085

Phil focuses his litigation practice on complex business disputes and has particular experience representing clients in the technology, energy, and financial services industries. He has served on the firmwide Management Committee and as the Administrative Partner of the Seattle office.

Phil is currently listed in Chambers USA as one of the top lawyers in Washington for General Commercial Litigation and has represented clients in courts throughout the United States in cases involving contractual breaches, usurpation of trade secrets, tortious interference, and class action allegations, among other issues.  For clients’ technology disputes, Phil provides particular experience in contractual disputes regarding the ownership or disposition of intellectual property as well as disputes representing business against consumers.  For clients engaged in energy-related industries, Phil offers particular experience with allegations surrounding supply contact breaches, breaches of non-compete and/or trade secret disputes, as well as federal preemption issues. 

Phil’s recent experience on behalf of financial services clients includes some of the highest profile cases in the nation and Northwest region.  He currently represents and advises clients regarding asserted and potential claims surrounding Bernard Madoff and Bernard L. Madoff Securities, LLC.  Likewise, Phil represented the Trustee in In Re: Consolidated Meridian Funds, which involved a $220 million real estate scheme, the largest fraud of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.  Phil also represented the Bayou Unofficial Creditors' Committee and Bayou Official Creditors' Committee, In re Bayou Hedge Fund Litigation, assisting institutional investors in the Bayou family of hedge funds to recover in excess of $75 million in what was, at the time, the largest Ponzi Scheme in United States history.  Phil is also an experienced securities litigator, handling cases alleging securities fraud and dissenters’ rights cases in state and federal court.  Finally, Phil has represented companies, fund managers and institutional investors in matters involving or disputes with the Securities & Exchange Commission, Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. 


  • Ranked in Chambers USA (2014-2016) for Litigation: General Commercial: Washington 
  • Selected to Washington Super Lawyers (2007-2016) 
  • Selected to Washington Rising Stars (2004-2006)

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Board Member, Executive Committee, Chair of Governance and Nominations Committee, Seattle Aquarium
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Law, Seattle University, Securities Law
  • Former Board Member, Washington Community Alliance for Self Help
Business Litigation Experience
  • Represent and represented large financial institution in series of cases involving allegations of wrongful foreclosure and/or violation of various federal lending laws and regulations. Secured numerous dismissals (e.g., Case No. C16-9RAJ, 2016 WL 4061813 (W.D. Wash. July 29, 2016) and settled other cases on favorable terms.
  • Represented Pennsylvania-based energy company in large breach of contract arbitration related to transportation and delivery of natural gas. 313 F. Supp. 2d 1039 (D.N.D. 2004). Case settled in favorable terms.
  • Represented a large national pipeline company in dispute with various agencies of the State of Washington regarding awarding requisite permits for expansion.  Obtained injunctive relief in client’s favor. 
  • Represented Pacific Northwest energy services company in trade secrets dispute with former employees in Southwestern United States.  Case settled on favorable terms. 
  • Represented a Northwest-based maritime company in trade secret/non-compete litigation with two former executive employees in King County Superior Court.  Case settled on favorable terms. 
  • Represented a Seattle-based technology company in multi-million dollar breach of contract action pending in King County Superior Court.  Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented national cellular telephone company in litigation in Kitsap County Superior Court involving multi-million dollar breach of contract dispute.  Obtained multi-million dollar summary judgment award.
  • Represented warehouse lending company in fraudulent conveyance action against former retail lender in King County Superior Court.  Obtained multi-million dollar summary judgment award. 
  • Represented a partnership real estate venture in litigation with dispute with former partner in Montana Federal District Court.
  • Represented a large Northwest-based technology company in defamation case in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia.  Obtained summary dismissal of case. 
  • Represented a British university in breach of contract dispute with former PhD candidate filed in federal court in the Western District of Washington.  Obtained summary dismissal of case which was confirmed on appeal. 
  • Represented a Taiwan-based technology company in breach of contract litigation in federal District Court in Indiana and Hong Kong.  Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented a large national bank in dispute in breach of contract/fiduciary duty claim by mortgage holder.  Obtained summary dismissal. 
  • Represented telecommunications-company in breach of contract action with predecessor entity.  Obtained summary judgment in client’s favor resolving entire case. 
  • Represented a national cellular telephone company in consumer class action filed in King County Superior Court regarding purported improper allocation of minutes.  Case summarily dismissed. 
Securities and Fraud Litigation Experience
  • Represented Pacific Northwest mining company in defending ’34 Act and state fiduciary claims in federal and state courts seeking to enjoin acquisition. Injunctive relief defeated in state case and federal case summarily dismissed. Case No. 2:16-CV-00256-SMJ, 2016 WL 4611573 (E.D. Wash. Sept. 2, 2016).
  • Represented individual/fund in defense of $10 million lawsuit seeking compensation for alleged investment advice. Case summarily dismissed. Case No. 4:15-CV-40082-TSH, 2015 WL 5822629 (D. Mass. Oct. 1 2015).
  • Representation of numerous institutional investors that were victims of the Madoff fraud scheme in Trustee adversary proceedings for the bankruptcy estate of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.  As part of a defense group, recently obtained a favorable ruling in the Second Circuit that dismissed many of the Trustee’s claims, preserving tens of millions for firm clients.  In re Bernard L. Madoff Inv. Sec. LLC, 773 F.3d 411 (2d Cir. 2014).
  • Represented Liquidating Trustee for the Meridian real estate funds in resolution of a $220 million fraudulent scheme, the largest fraud of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.  In Re: Consolidated Meridian Funds et al, 487 B.R. 263 (W.D. Wash. 2013). 
  • Represent defrauded institutional investors in In Re Bayou Group, LLC in Southern District of New York bankruptcy court.  Ultimately, Institutional investors ultimately recovered monies and judgments in excess of $75 million.  363 B.R. 674 (S.D.N.Y. 2007)
  • Represent Northwest- and California-based investment funds with respect to investor losses in the investments in the Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi Scheme, in California state litigation. 
  • Represent East Coast-based investment fund in Lehman Brothers bankruptcy proceeding pending in the Southern District of New York. Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Lehman Bros, Inc. 433 B.R. 127 (S.D.N.Y. 2010).
  • Represent large state employees pension fund in dispute with investment fund and former founder pertaining to founders’ recent criminal plea related to bribery scandal.
  • Represent former officer of technology company in class action securities litigation in Idaho federal court. Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented mineral company in class and derivative actions in Idaho federal court Represented interests of co-founder in technology company derivative litigation pending in King County Superior Court. Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented Texas-based security and technology company in dissenters’ rights litigation in King County. Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented outside directors of Northwest technology company in companion derivative cases pending in the Western District of Washington and King County Superior Court. Case settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented Northwest-based time share company in shareholder derivative litigation pending in federal court in the Northern District of California.
  • Represented former Chief Financial Officer of San Diego-based technology company in company investigation and associated derivative action. 
  • Represented medical diagnostic laboratory in derivative case pending in San Jose Superior Court. 
  • Represented several companies with respect to a series of informal or formal investigations by the Securities & Exchange Commission into potential employee insider trading. 
Regulatory Litigation Experience
  • Represented an Idaho-based mining company with respect to Securities & Exchange Commission investigation. 
  • Represented a large Seattle-based technology company with respect to Securities & Exchange Commission insider trading investigation pertaining to acquisition. 
  • Represented an investment fund in investigations before the Washington Department of Financial Institutions pertaining to management fees. 
  • Represented a large broker dealer before Washington Department of Financial Institutions regarding a disputed settlement agreement.
  • Represented a Colorado-based mortgage broker before Washington Department of Financial Institutions.