Knuckey, Ashlee

Ashlee Knuckey

Partner
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Ashlee Knuckey is a member of the Firm's Board of Directors. Ashlee helps clients assess legal risk and develop practical, business-focused strategies to manage and resolve issues. She maintains a cross-functional practice handling litigation, regulatory and M&A matters, primarily in the health care, insurance and food industries, among others. Ashlee regularly deals with federal and state regulators across the country, including HHS, CMS, FDA and state Medicaid, health and insurance agencies. She also focuses on handling regulatory and litigation matters concerning government-sponsored and subsidized programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, PDP, Exchange and specialty plans. Ashlee is also Chair of the Firm's Food, Beverage & Cosmetics Industry Group.

Ashlee Knuckey is a member of the Firm's Board of Directors. Ashlee helps clients assess legal risk and develop practical, business-focused strategies to manage and resolve issues. She maintains a cross-functional practice handling litigation, regulatory and M&A matters, primarily in the health care, insurance and food industries, among others. Ashlee regularly deals with federal and state regulators across the country, including HHS, CMS, FDA and state Medicaid, health and insurance agencies. She also focuses on handling regulatory and litigation matters concerning government-sponsored and subsidized programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, PDP, Exchange and specialty plans. Ashlee is also Chair of the Firm's Food, Beverage & Cosmetics Industry Group.

What sets Ashlee apart from other attorneys is her business acumen, her love for complex issues and her drive to succeed. Ashlee's business background has given her the understanding that all companies, even when faced with legal issues, must make business decisions, and the lawyer's role in dealing with any transactional, regulatory or litigation issue is to assist the client in weighing legal costs, benefits and risk in making such business decisions.

Ashlee has been recognized as an Emerging Lawyer by Leading LawyersSM for Commercial Litigation and Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law (2015-2021), as a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers® (2018-2021), as a Lawyer of Distinction for Health Care (2020) and a Notable Woman in Law by Crain's Chicago Business (2020). Ashlee was also the inaugural recipient of Locke Lord Chicago's Mike Ditka Award.

Ashlee's experience includes:

Health Care & Insurance Practice

A large part of Ashlee's practice involves insurance and health care-related matters. She has significant experience representing insurers, reinsurers, guaranty funds and hospital systems. Ashlee has led and/or been a key contributor to the teams acting as national insurance and health care regulatory counsel in several recent major health insurance transactions, helping Locke Lord's clients obtain the required regulatory approvals from state and federal regulators across the nation. This role required thoroughly understanding all of the businesses and health products at issue as well as developing and implementing strategies that balanced numerous stakeholders and competing interests. Ashlee has also acted as hearing counsel for Locke Lord's clients before state insurance departments that required evidentiary hearings, including addressing competition issues, before granting approvals.

A large percentage of Ashlee's cases have involved insurance and health care disputes and arbitrations, and include complex issues surrounding the business of insurance, health insurance regulatory matters, reimbursement issues, Medicare/Medicaid disputes and False Claims Act litigation. Ashlee also has experience with insurance insolvency and rehabilitation proceedings. She has handled matters across various lines of business, including property and casualty, life, health and long-term care insurance.

  • Lead counsel for the Locke Lord team representing WellCare as national insurance and health care regulatory counsel in its completed $17.3 billion merger with Centene
  • Lead counsel for the Locke Lord team representing WellCare as national insurance and health care regulatory counsel in its completed sale of its Missouri and Nebraska Medicaid plans to Anthem, Inc.
  • Lead counsel for the Locke Lord team representing WellCare as national insurance and health care regulatory counsel in its completed $2.5 billion acquisition of Meridian Health Plan of Michigan, Inc., Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, Inc., and MeridianRx, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)
  • National insurance regulatory counsel to CVS Health in its completed $70 billion acquisition of Aetna
  • National insurance regulatory counsel to Aetna in connection with its proposed $38 billion acquisition of Humana and its completed $8.7 billion acquisition of Coventry
  • Regularly represents national health insurers and managed care organizations in working through all manner of compliance issues or disputes with federal and state health agencies, including Medicaid agencies, insurance departments and state attorneys general
  • Regularly represents national health insurers and managed care organizations in provider disputes brought in federal and states courts and arbitration, arising out of alleged breach of contract, fraud and a variety of other disputes
  • Regularly represents a major insurance company in breach of contract disputes in both arbitration and litigation, which to date have resulted in recoveries on negotiated settlements, arbitration awards and judgments often close to or above 100% of principal amounts owed
  • Recently obtained $7.6 million allowed claim amount for national insurance company following bankruptcy court bench trial in dispute with large commercial insured
  • Arbitrated $100 million breach of contract dispute for reinsurer over long-term care insurance policies
  • Represents PBMs and TPAs in breach of contract disputes

Food & Beverage Practice

Ashlee regularly provides regulatory counseling concerning all manner of issues related to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). For example, she regularly provides counsel concerning labeling and claims, including those related to proper ingredient labeling and use of terms such as natural, organic, non-GMO, Made in (a particular location) and the like. In addition, Ashlee is outside general counsel to the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA). 

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CREDENTIALS
Education
  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 2009
    Managing Editor, Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property
  • B.S., Finance, highest honors, University of Illinois, 2006
    Dean's List
    Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honors Society
Bar Admissions
  • Illinois, 2009
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
Professional Affiliations
    • Member, Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys
    • Member, Coalition of Women's Initiatives
    • Member, American Bar Association
    • Member, Chicago Bar Association
Awards & Recognitions
    • Named, Notable Rising Stars in Law, Crain's Chicago Business (2021)
    • Recognized, Notable Woman in Law, Crain’s Chicago Business (2020)
    • Named, Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Star, Business Litigation (2018-2021)
    • Named, Emerging Lawyer, Leading LawyersSM, Commercial Litigation and Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law (2015-2020) and Emerging Women Lawyer for Commercial Litigation and Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law (2020)
    • Named, Lawyer of Distinction, Health Care (2020)
    • Inaugural Recipient, Locke Lord Chicago’s Mike Ditka Award
Professional History
    • Partner, Locke Lord LLP (2018-Present)
    • Associate, Locke Lord LLP (2010-2017)
    • Law Student Clerk, Hon. Matthew F. Kennelly, Northern District of Illinois (January-May 2008)
    • Extern, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois (September-December 2007)