patrick austermuehle

Latest Articles

After two companies got into a dispute about the timeframe for payment of invoices, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the district court had erred in not considering the parties’ course of dealings to determine what a fair time to pay would have been. In 1999, Valley Drive Systems, Inc. began manufacturing parts for Arctic Cat, Inc. In 2002, Driveline assumed control of Valley Drive Systems, Inc.’s assets. In June of that year, Driveline and Arctic Cat entered into a contract where Driveline would provide specifically-manufactured hubs, axels/half-shafts, outer and inner tie rods, shift shafts, and steering stops.…
Online review sites such as Yelp have been the bane of companies’ existence ever since they first started popping up on the internet. While businesses work hard to provide each of their customers with the best experience possible, one can never please everyone, and the displeased will inevitably turn to the internet to vent their frustration for all potential clients to see. As problematic as that is for any business (especially small businesses), is suing customers who leave a bad review really the answer? Lisa Agostino, of Macomb County, Michigan, is being sued by North Wind Heating and Cooling for…
After two companies got into dispute over fallout from jointly hosted party during Indianapolis 500, the appellate court affirmed the district court’s view that the plaintiff had no non-speculative evidence of damages, and that the plaintiff had committed a breach of contract by not promoting the event across the social media channels that it agreed to use. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC sponsors the annual Indianapolis 500 race and associated race-weekend events, which include musical acts and other festivities. In 2015, Karma International became a licensee of Maxim, a men’s magazine. Karma has hosted Maxim-branded entertainment at large sporting events,…
In a series of partial summary judgment opinions, the Delaware Chancery Court threw out all non-competition and non-solicitation claims against Alphatec Holdings, Inc., a medical device company, and its chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Miles in a lawsuit filed by Miles’s former employer, NuVasive, Inc. The suit claimed that Miles violated the non-compete and non-solicitation provisions of his employment agreement when he left to work for rival Alphatec in October 2017. Miles had worked at NuVasive since 2001 and entered an employment contract in September 2016 which included post-employment restrictions against working for a competitor or soliciting NuVasive employees…
Some of the top publishing companies recently filed a copyright infringement suit against Audible, an Amazon subsidiary, seeking to enjoin to the audiobook company’s rollout of a new feature called “Audible Captions” which shows the text on-screen as a book is narrated. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seven members of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), including the “Big Five” of publishing: Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, and Macmillan Publishers. Audible announced the new caption feature back in July and set an official rollout date close to the time when students would be…
In what is expected to shake up the entire “gig” industry in California, Governor Gavin Newson recently signed into law a bill that rewrote the rules of employment law as it relates to using independent contractors in California. The new law, known as Assembly Bill (AB) 5, is expected to grant hundreds of thousands of workers new job benefits and pay guarantees across numerous industries including ride-hailing companies, trucking, janitorial services, nail salons, adult entertainment, construction, media, and healthcare. Assembly Bill 5, which curbs businesses’ use of “independent contractors,” gained final approval in the state Senate and state Assembly,…
The Illinois Appellate Court found that a marketing company adequately pleaded a claim for breach of fiduciary duty against one of the former founders of the company who left to work for a competitor. James P. Keane Sr. was one of the founders of Advantage Marketing Group Inc. and owned 35% of the company. When he left his company to purchase and operate a competing business, Advantage sued. The trial court dismissed Advantage’s breach of fiduciary duty claim finding that because Keane was not an officer or director at the time of the alleged conduct, Advantage failed to establish that…
A U.S. District Court judge in Rhode Island recently granted CVS Pharmacy, Inc. a  preliminary injunction to block an executive who ran its Caremark Retail Network from working for Amazon’s online pharmacy PillPack, finding that the move would likely violate the executive’s non-compete agreement. John Lavin worked as a senior executive for CVS for 27 years, most recently as senior vice president for provider network services at CVS Caremark, a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM). In this role, Lavin negotiated with retail pharmacies on behalf of CVS Caremark. In May 2017, Lavin entered an agreement which contained a covenant not to…
Restrictive covenants such as covenants not to compete and non-solicitation agreements are key provisions of many employment agreements and are meant to protect the company’s proprietary information and long-term relationships. Beginning January 1, 2020, business owners in Oregon using non-compete agreements must take into account the notice requirements imposed by a recently passed law or their non-compete agreements will not be enforceable. Earlier this year, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill (HB) 2992, which imposes a new burden on employers who utilize noncompetition agreements with their Oregon employees. Under the new law, an employer must provide the former employee…
A purchaser of a classic 1973 Ford Bronco sued the car’s auctioneer in Illinois court. The purchaser alleged that the vendor committed fraud by misrepresenting the condition of the vehicle in its advertisements and during the auction. The circuit court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Illinois Appellate Court reversed, finding that the vendor had sufficient contacts with Illinois when it solicited the business of the purchaser via advertisements, its website, and its communications over email and the phone. In January 2018, John Dixon saw an advertisement posted by GAA Classic Cars, LLC on a car-related website.…
As the call for political activism has grown louder and wider in the past few years, most of us have seen or heard people urging us to call our political representatives to let them know how we feel about certain issues. But what if doing so could land you in court for defamation? That’s what happened to Maggy Hurchalla, a long-time environmental activist who served as Martin County’s first female commissioner from 1974 to 1994 when she lost to a candidate who was heavily backed by developers. Hurchalla has spent most of her life fighting to protect the Florida environment…
A condo association held an insurance policy on its condo buildings. In 2014, a hail and wind storm damaged the siding on several of the buildings. The storm, however, damaged only the south and west-facing sides of the buildings. The association’s insurer initially paid the association several million to repair the damage, which covered the replacement cost of siding for the south and west sides of the buildings. The association found, however, that matching siding was no longer produced. The insurer refused to pay the cost of replacing the siding on all sides of the building, so the association sued.…
A couple purchased an RV from a retailer in 2014. The RV came with a warranty from the manufacturer that limited the warranties to one year from the date of purchase. The warranty required that the purchasers notify the manufacturer or an authorized dealer within five days of discovering any defect. The purchasers experienced continual problems with the RV over the time that they owned it. The RV was repaired multiple times, but the service technicians were never able to fully resolve the defects. The purchasers asked the manufacturer to repurchase the RV from them. When the manufacturer refused, the…
Our Chicago auto fraud firm filed an amicus brief in the Illinois Supreme Court on the side of an RV purchaser who wanted to revoke acceptance due to a leaky roof and the inability to use the RV all summer even though it is a summer product. The lower court had ruled against the RV purchasers holding that had to provide an opportunity to cure before revoking acceptance. The Illinois Supreme Court disagreed and held there was no right to cure for a defective product and the seller should have permitted revocation of acceptance. You can read the entire opinion…
A sports nutrition and wellness consulting firm sued a major manufacturer of sports drinks, arguing that the manufacturer had violated the consulting firm’s trademark when it referred to itself as “The Sports Fuel Company.” The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer. The appellate panel affirmed, finding that the manufacturer used the phrase in question as a descriptor and not a source indicator. The panel found that this was an example of fair use. SportFuel is a Chicago-based sports nutrition and wellness consulting firm whose clients include several of Chicago’s professional sports teams and their athletes. The…
A foreign currency trading firm was implicated in misconduct when a separate company it had traded with was investigated by a regulatory authority. The second company settled the investigation with the regulator, and the regulator published documents relating to the investigation and settlement on its website. The documents named the trading firm and implied that the firm had engaged in illegal practices. The trading firm sued the regulator, arguing that the regulator had violated its due process rights and defamed it in the documents on its website. The district court dismissed the action, finding that the trading firm had not…