Attorney focuses on asbestos-related disease litigation


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Attorney John Mark Mooney got his first taste of the law at the age of 16, when another driver tried to cut inside in the left-hand turn around lane on Woodward Avenue, and the two cars collided. 

“She screamed bloody murder, and I ended up being ticketed and hauled into small claims court,” Mooney explains. “I went to the local businesses on Woodward to see if I could locate a witness to the accident, and sure enough I found one. I got both cases dismissed.”

So it was no surprise that Mooney ultimately lived up to family comments that he had been a lawyer his whole life.

After receiving his undergrad degree in business management from Central Michigan University, Mooney earned his J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, launching a legal career that led to his current position as a partner in the Detroit office of Foley & Mansfield, located in Ferndale.

Focusing his practice in product liability, insurance coverage, environmental claims, and general liability defense, Mooney works primarily in asbestos-related disease litigation.

“With me – and I think this is true with most lawyers – my specialty found me more than I found it,” he says.  “I’ve specialized in cases were the injury occurs over long periods of time, as opposed to a single definable event, like an auto accident.”

In the early 1990s, Mooney was involved in the national environmental insurance coverage case involving just about every Firestone Tire manufacturing facility across the country. 

“The amount in controversy against my client alone was $600 million, and we were one of the smaller players,” he says.

A member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), rated AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and named among Top Rated Lawyers™ by American Lawyer Media, Mooney also recalls a memorable case in West Virginia.

“I started a trial in which the judge directed a liability verdict against all defendants as soon as the jury was seated, although he had taken no evidence regarding liability against my client,” he says.

A native of Berkley, and a graduate of Berkley High School, Mooney served on Berkley City Council from 1995-97, and as mayor from 1997 to 2005, and also served as legislative affairs director for his hometown. The experiences gave him an interesting client perspective in many legal, financial and employment issues.

“I’ve always been interested in politics, because I truly believe in the concept of public service,” he says. “Being able to be involved in planning long term solutions to issues of the city I grew up in was a very fulfilling role.”

Mooney also served on the Board of Directors for the Woodward Avenue Action Association, that was able coordinate all communities to participate in an address numbering project so that all address on Woodward would flow in an arithmetic manner.     

“Before, the address numbering system was different in each city along Woodward, causing great confusion to people trying to find a business address,” he says.

For the past three years, Mooney has lived in South Lyon with his wife Lisa and stepchildren, Jack, 13 and Katy, 15, and where he is the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the South Lyon Varsity White Panthers.

“I coach football, and I’m the least talented triathlete in the state of Michigan,” he says with a smile.