John T. Wagener

Phone 312 602 7369

Mr. Wagener is a partner in Dressler | Peters, LLC and is an experienced trial attorney who understands what it means to be a valued client, experience he gained while managing litigation for a Fortune 500 retailer and also for what was the largest pest control operator in the Southeastern United States. Knowing what was expected from the attorneys he had hired allows him to better tailor his services to the specific needs of the client while always remaining cost conscious.

John T. Wagener

Attorney Profile

Mr. Wagener concentrates his practice in the litigation, insurance and risk management, and regulatory compliance areas and has substantial experience handling a wide range of cases, including those related to products liability, premises liability, automobile negligence, chemical exposure and other tort law matters, insurance coverage disputes, and commercial/contract law issues. He litigates cases throughout the country on behalf of major businesses involved in the retail, manufacturing, distribution, and transportation sectors.

He has tried products liability, chemical exposure and accident reconstruction cases requiring the application of complex scientific and engineering principles. In addition to having worked as a member of a national tire failure defense team and an early responder in catastrophic mass injury events, his cases have involved a diverse range of products, including motor coaches, trucks and heavy equipment, pesticides and other chemicals, outdoor power products, automotive components and hand tools, and unique premises and vehicular liability scenarios. He has been involved in several cases of first impression, resulting in the creation of new legal doctrines by various appellate courts in Illinois and in other jurisdictions. In addition to his insurance coverage work, Mr. Wagener has specialized expertise in health care insurance benefit appeals.

Mr. Wagener is AV Preeminent Peer Review rated by Martindale-Hubbell, a member of the CLM – Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, and resides in central Lake County, Illinois with his wife and children. He is an elected municipal official in his home town and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.

John Wagener serves as panel counsel for the Jeanne A Carpenter Legal Defense Fund of the Epilepsy Foundation of America assisting persons with seizure disorders with various health insurance and prescription drug benefit issues related to their care. John Wagener was featured in a recent edition of the Defense Fund’s newsletter.


Business Dispute Litigation & Contract Enforcement

Litigating business disputes involves several complex areas of law which include a variety of contractual and tort claims such as breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference with contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Risk & Insurance Litigation

Our commitment to our clients and our track record of results have earned us a reputation as aggressive, skilled and effective advocates in the areas of risk management and insurance litigation.


  • J.D., University of Illinois College of Law (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Harno Fellow Scholar), Champaign, Illinois, 1983
  • B.A., Spring Hill College (magna cum laude, Presidential Scholar), Mobile, Alabama, 1980

Recognition & Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell – AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • Trial Attorneys of America – 2009 Worker Achievement Award

Professional Activities

  • Trial Attorneys of America – Director/Vice-President, Treasurer (2009-2012)
  • CLM – Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Jeanne A. Carpenter Legal Defense Fund, Epilepsy Foundation of America – Panel Counsel
  • Former Co-Chair, Appellate Law Committee of CBA’s Young Lawyers Division

Publications & Presentations

  • Recent presentations include a June 2014 presentation “Attorney Ethics: Top Pitfalls for the Social Media Age,” Trial Attorneys of America, Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, an October 2012 presentation “Additional Insured’s & Risk Transfer Strategies” for Zurich Insurance NA, October 2011 presentation “Tender of Defense Program for Vendor’s Endorsements & Additional Insureds” at REBEX 2011, an April 2010 presentation “Flip or Hold? Troubled Property Legal Checklist,” as part of “Business Problems & Legal Solutions” presented by Willis Insurance, a March 2009 talk at Willis Insurance on “The WARN Act” as part of “Running Your Business in a Difficult Economy,” “Sellers Breach of Contract Damages Under the UCC,” Trial Attorneys of America, Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, June 2009, and 2007 Trial Attorneys of America lecture on the expert witness topic of “Why Frye?”.
  • Mr. Wagener is the co-author of “Bankruptcy and the Series LLC: Can Creditors Pierce the Veil?” 102 ILL. B.J. 236 (May 2014) and the author of The Legal Process and Record Keeping Practices, §505, Managing for Products Liability Avoidance, CCH Inc. (1994). Mr. Wagener is also the author of the Dressler | Peters, LLC’s quarterly “Risk & Insurance Newsletter.”
  • He has also prepared forms for discovery and pleadings appearing in civil practice texts such as the following: Fraudulent Misrepresentation of Payment to Hospital Supplier, Callaghan’s Ill. Civ. Prac. Fms. §118.39.50 (1994 Cumm. Supp.) and Supplemental Interrogatories to Plaintiff, Based on a Loss of Consortium Claim, Callaghan’s Ill. Civ. Prac. Fms. §23.48.52 (1992 Revised Volume).
  • Earlier, Mr. Wagener spoke at seminars for high level corporate and legal executives in Florida on topics such as “Compliance with New Mandatory Disclosure Requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a),” “Proposed Federal Discovery Rules,” “Arbitration,” and “Punitive Damages.” Mr. Wagener has also spoken at the Equipment Manufacture’s Institute (EMI) annual Product Safety Seminar about responding to written discovery, at the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s (RIMS) annual meeting on the topic of “Questions you should ask your liability attorney” and also at American Lawyer’s Legal Tech Event concerning the field of electronic case management systems.