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Appellate/Critical Motions Counsel at Trial

Business and Commercial

Class Actions

Critical Motions / Appeals


Internal Investigations

Product Liability / Advanced Technologies


Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2011

Northwestern University, B.A., Political Science, History, & Legal Studies, cum laude, 2008

Judicial Clerkship

Judge Eric L. Clay, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2012-2013

Judge Edward C. Prado, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2011-2012

Court Admissions

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United Sates District Court for the Western District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Michigan State Courts

Illinois State Courts

District of Columbia Courts

Derek Linkous focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on critical motions and appeals. He has experience with a broad range of business litigation, including class actions, contract disputes, environmental issues, and product liability. Trial tested, he frequently represents original equipment manufacturers in state and federal courts throughout the country, assisting with presenting the most persuasive legal arguments and preserving the record.

Appellate/Critical Motions Counsel at Trial

  • Secured pre-trial victories on motions in limine relating to experts and causation that precipitated a favorable settlement
  • Won directed verdict as to punitive damages in product-liability case before trial team ultimately obtained a complete defense verdict
  • Led briefing on successful summary judgment for automotive manufacturer in case involving advanced driver-assistance technologies
  • Won summary judgment on issue of future damages in an opinion that distinguished three other unfavorable decisions
  • Procured favorable settlement after pretrial motions practice in multiple-fatality case involving emerging technology
  • Obtained trifurcated trial in a consumer-warranty action that paved the way for successful judgment as a matter of law motion
  • Reached favorable settlement in the face of multiple motions relating to dismissal of punitive damages in a fatality case
  • Led multi-defendant team in briefing motions in limine, jury instructions, and verdict form in a case alleging design, manufacturing, and warnings defects


  • Defended jury verdict on appeal in personal-injury collision case
  • Achieved affirmance of summary disposition in a statutory-immunity case on behalf of a telecommunications provider
  • Won multiple appeals for employer in defense of dismissals of discrimination claims
  • Obtained vacatur on appeal of trial-court order purporting to re-open a putative RICO case against an automotive manufacturer after several years
  • Served as appellate counsel to trucking manufacturer in $80-million supply-contract dispute
  • Represented pro bono a juvenile lifer in successful appeal of re-sentencing

Business and Commercial Litigation

  • Defended closely-held corporation in bet-the-company alter ego action following bankruptcy of the corporation’s subsidiary
  • Represented medical professional in LLC member dispute, which led to minority member being able to buyout partners on favorable terms
  • Defended alternative energy company in contract dispute with LLC member
  • Represented LLC board members on fiduciary-duty counterclaims after securities-fraud suit was brought
  • Won pre-discovery dismissal of employment-benefits suit
  • Counseled automotive manufacturer in trademark and trade-dress litigation and parallel regulatory action
  • Defended company in trade-secret and breach-of-contract action following the company’s acquisition

Class Actions

  • Represented automotive manufacturer in multiple class actions alleging loss of a “benefit of the bargain” based on a claimed defect
  • Counseled specialty insurance company in securities class action related to executive compensation
  • Counseled national athletic association in class action related to concussions in college sports

Additional Matters

  • Represented trucking manufacturer in multiple product-liability cases involving advanced driver-assistance features
  • Secured pre-discovery dismissal for world’s largest metal options exchange in putative multi-billion-dollar antitrust class action
  • Litigated on behalf of nuclear power plant operator in international arbitration related to defective steam generators
  • Represented defendant accused of neighborhood-wide groundwater contamination from volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Defended worldwide religious organization in multi-plaintiff negligence, fraud, and conspiracy action, including multiple appeals to the state supreme court
  • Advised digital marketing company on investigations, including vendor disputes and employment-related matters
  • Defended individual investor in defamation action

Prior to joining Bush Seyferth PLLC, Derek worked as an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and Sperling & Slater, P.C., a litigation boutique in Chicago.

Before entering private practice, Derek clerked for Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for Judge Edward C. Prado of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During law school, he interned for Judge Amy J. St. Eve then of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Derek received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law. There, he served as Senior Articles Editor of the Northwestern University Law Review, President of the Julius H. Miner Moot Court Competition, and a member of the Northwestern Supreme Court Clinic. He received his B.A., cum laude, in Political Science, History, and Legal Studies from Northwestern University.

Honors & Awards

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Leaders in the Law (2021)

State Bar of Michigan Pro Bono Honor Roll (2021), Tier 2 – 50-99 hours

Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© Ones to Watch: Appellate Practice (2021 – present), Commercial Litigation (2021 – present), Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action – Defendants (2021 – present)

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star (2019 – present)

Order of the Coif

Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Activities

Defense Research Institute, Member

Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of Michigan, Appellate Practice Co-Chair and Sustaining Member 

Northwestern Law Alumni Club of Detroit, Ambassador

State Bar of Michigan, Appellate Section, Member


“Navigating the Politics of Appeal” presented to DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar (November 2022)

“Abundant Data: ADAS Features Enabling Early Understanding of Crash Dynamics” presented to DRI Strictly Automotive Seminar (September 2021)

“SCOTUS Key Business Case Review & Preview” presented to Association of Corporate Counsel-Michigan (August 2021)

“Better Know a Sixth Circuit Judge,” co-moderated to FBA’s Eastern District of MI Chapter (2021)

“Federal Bar Association – Appellate Practice Panel,” co-moderated to FBA’s Eastern District of MI Chapter (2019)

“Internal Investigations – Key Considerations for Companies and Their Counsel,” co-presented to FBA’s Eastern District of MI Chapter (2019)


“Settlement Fundamentals and Tactics (MI)” Lexis Practical Guidance (September 2022)

“Remote Deposition Stipulated Protocol and Proposed Order (MI)” Lexis Practical Guidance (December 2021)

“‘People v. Bennett’ and the importance of pro bono” Michigan Lawyers Weekly (April 2021)

“Teaming Up: Appellate and Trial Counsel Partnering to Win” DRI For the Defense (March 2021)

“Presidential Signing Statements in the Modern Era,” 2 Nw. Interdisc. L. Rev. 155 (2009)

“Panel Effects, Whistleblowing Theory, and the Role of Legal Doctrine,” co-author, 158 U. Pa. L. Rev. PENNumbra 83 (2009)

Favorite Sport: Hockey (been playing since age 3)

Favorite Vacation: Cuba

Favorite TV Show: The Wire

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