peter s. lubin

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Although many financial planning companies rely on the relationship between the financial planner and the customer, E-Trade’s customers primarily conduct business online – usually without communicating directly with any of the company’s financial planners. Even so, the company includes a non-solicitation agreement as part of their employment contract with their financial consultants and brokers. According to a recent employment lawsuit, Heather Pospisil, a former financial consultant for E-Trade, allegedly violated that agreement by taking E-Trade clients with her when she moved to Morgan Stanley. According to the lawsuit, Pospisil allegedly accessed a considerable amount of client information late one night,…
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela that an ambiguous arbitration agreement does not provide a sufficient basis to conclude that parties agreed to class arbitration. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision that the arbitration agreement between Lamps Plus and one of its employees permitted pursuing class claims in arbitration despite the fact that the arbitration agreement did not expressly address the issue of class arbitration. This is a follow-up to an earlier post where we discussed the District Court’s ruling in this case. By way of…
It has become increasingly common over the past few years for employers to include non-compete agreements in their employment contracts. In most cases, they are required to have geographic and time limits, meaning they can only be enforced in a certain geographical area for a certain period of time (usually six months to a year after termination of employment). The restrictions on non-compete agreements vary from state to state, with a few states, such as California, refusing to recognize any non-compete agreements, even those signed in states that do recognize such contracts. In one recent case against a realtor in…
When two founders of a company sued the company that had come into possession of the founders’ patents and intellectual property rights, the district court dismissed their suit for lack of personal jurisdiction. The appellate court affirmed on appeal, finding that the plaintiffs’ lawyer contrived to create personal jurisdiction by ordering a single item from the defendant company be shipped into the state of Illinois, even though the defendant company did not do business in or specifically target the Illinois market. The appellate panel also noted that the conduct that allegedly created personal jurisdiction had happened after the plaintiffs filed…
When non-compete agreements first started to be used, they needed to establish a geographic perimeter in order to be enforceable. Non-compete agreements were intended to prevent workers from going to work for the competitor across the street and taking clients, vendors, and/or proprietary secrets with them. In order to stay fair to workers while still protecting the employer, most non-compete agreements were restricted to a certain geographical range – for example, the employee could not go to work for a competitor less than 20 miles away from the employer. Over the past few years, employers have started expanding the geographical…
Reversing the dismissal of the plaintiff’s Title IX complaint against Purdue University by a magistrate judge, the Seventh Circuit breathed new life into a claim against the university by a former student. The student, referred to only as John Doe in the opinion as is common in Title IX suits, alleged that Purdue University’s improper handling of a Title IX investigation ruined his ability to pursue a career in the Navy. John Doe was a student at Purdue University on an ROTC scholarship when he was accused of sexual assault by a former girlfriend, who also was a member of…
As reported by the Cook County Record, Lubin Austermuehle achieved an immediate settlement for its client one of the largest diamond wholesalers in the world in a libel defamation and slander lawsuit filed in Chicago’s federal court. The Defendant agreed to provide a public full retraction and apology as part of the otherwise confidential settlement admitting that it had made baseless claims against Lubin Austermuehle’s client. The headline to the article states: The article starts out: A legal dispute, in which one diamond wholesaler allegedly falsely accused another of fraud, has ended in a settlement to resolve a potential multi-million…
After a surgery went horribly awry at a private surgical center, and the center was sued by the patient, it could not recover the full amount of judgment against it from its insurer an appellate court found. The court found that the surgery center had urged its insurer, who was defending it in the patient’s lawsuit, not to settle, as it believed its case to be highly defensible. Because of this, the panel found that the insurer had behaved appropriately even though it eventually lost and the jury awarded damages that were more than quintuple the surgical center’s policy limit.…
An Illinois Federal District court recently handed Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim defendants a win of sorts by slashing the size of a putative class, striking all out-of-state residents from the putative class on personal jurisdiction grounds. The case, Garvey v. American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida, is just one of an increasing number of cases limiting the scope of potential class actions filed in states other than the defendant’s home state. On May 10, District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois struck all non-Illinois residents from a putative class…
The line between security and privacy has always been a bit blurry and it continues to get blurrier every day as technology advances. One of the latest developments in surveillance technology has been facial recognition software, which is allegedly capable of identifying you with just a quick scan of your face. While this could have far-reaching effects in the crime-solving world, it also eliminates much of our personal privacy in the process. Brian Hofer is a paralegal in California who has been fighting to ban facial recognition software for the past five years. As soon as he became aware of…
Our Chicago car fraud lawyers have been litigating for many years claims against car and truck manufacturers who decline to stand behind certified pre-owned (CPO”) vehicles that turn out to be rebuilt wrecks or flood vehicles. We recently beat back a motion to dismiss by General Motors in such a case. General Motors claimed that the Texas GMC dealer who sold our client the truck at issue was a necessary party to the case and that since General Motors hadn’t sold our client the truck it should be suing General Motors.  You can read the court decision here which rejected…
After a forensic document examiner wrote an article on the evaluation of qualifications and credentials in his profession for a trade publication, the nonprofit credentialing organization that was mentioned in the article sued the author and the publisher of the publication for defamation. The nonprofit argued that the article was defamatory and also singled out one of its members for special criticism. The district court dismissed the case, finding that the article was not defamatory, as it contained only opinions. An appellate court ruled in favor of the author and publisher, finding that the article represented the opinions of the…
Buying cars that are “certified pre-owned” (CPO) has long been a way for consumers to get a car they know they can rely upon without having to pay the high prices associated with cars that come right off the lot. Because CPO models tend to go for a lower price than brand new cars, Volkswagen Group of America and Audi of America allegedly decided to sell pre-production models of some of their cars and label them “CPO,” according to a new consumer lawsuit. The proposed class action alleges the cars that were sold to American buyers did not meet U.S.…
A jury has ordered Oberlin College to pay more than $44 million in actual and punitive damages after finding that the college defamed a local bakery, an Oberlin Ohio institution in business since 1885, and its owners and inflicted emotional distress on them. The jury’s award followed a six-week trial that detailed each minute of a bitter saga that began in November 2016 with the arrests of three black Oberlin students at Gibson’s Bakery near the college’s campus in Oberlin, Ohio. The plaintiffs in the libel suit were Gibson’s Bakery and its owners. According to court records, a black Oberlin…
The Illinois Supreme Court entered an interim suspension order against attorney Joel Brodsky prohibiting him for practicing law in Illinois until further order of the Court.  You can view the order here. You can view the brief of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed in support of the order here. In opposing his possible suspension in a brief to the Supreme Court, Brodsky continued to attempt to advance his “blame his victims defense”. Those victims are the Plaintiff’s counsel and Plaintiff’s expert witness in the Twyman case. Brodsky claimed he was justified in his attack on…
In most cases, when an insurance company has a duty to defend an insured, the insurance company gets to pick the attorney that defends the business or individual being sued. Insurance companies often use what is known as “panel counsel,” an attorney or law firm that an insurance company regularly uses to represent its insureds.  Many times, the interests of the insurance company and the insured are aligned: resolve the case for the least amount of money possible. But sometimes a conflict of interest exists that causes their interests to diverge. In such instances, the insured is generally entitled to…