Lubin Austermuehle, P.C.

The lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle, P.C. handle all types of internal disputes that may take shape during the course of a company’s formation, management, or dissolution. When it comes to managing a family business, for example, complications may arise that are perhaps unforeseeable. For instance, when spouses who co-own a company decide to divorce, the entity’s value as well as who retains ownership and managing responsibilities must be determined either through negotiations leading to an agreement or by a judge in court.

Lubin Austermuehle, P.C. Blogs

Latest from Lubin Austermuehle, P.C.

An Illinois appellate court recently held that a former employee could not maintain his defamation claims against his former employer concerning statements about him allegedly made by certain executives and high-ranking employees of his former employer. The court found that the allegedly defamatory statements were protected by qualified privilege which the plaintiff had not presented evidence sufficient to overcome.
Plaintiff Michael Briggs was employed by SMG Food & Beverage, a company that provided food and catering service at McCormick Place. Briggs was employed by SMG as a banquet captain, and his duties entailed access to various parts of McCormick Place.
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Defamation Claims against Beverage Company Brought by Former Employee

Every business owner knows the importance of online reviews. You might love them or hate them, but there’s no denying that they have a very real effect on your business. One of the first things people look at when investigating a business online is the number and rating of the reviews the business has received.
Managing online reviews can be tricky for any business owner, but navigating businesses that seem legitimate when they’re really posting their own positive reviews is an equally treacherous minefield for customers.
Researching the person or company providing your services is never more important than when
Continue Reading Plastic Surgeon Allegedly Used Deceptive Business Practices to Manipulate Reviews

When a vehicle is totaled in an accident, it doesn’t always go straight to the scrap heap. Some totaled vehicles, although worth less than their insurance coverage, are still reparable. As long as they can be repaired and pass safety inspections, they can be resold. When totaled vehicles are resold without meeting these requirements, that’s when the resellers run into trouble, as three car dealerships in Pennsylvania recently discovered.
According to a recent lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, three car dealerships, all located in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, conspired with each other to sell totaled vehicles while lying about the status
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Car Dealerships Allegedly Sold Totaled Cars without the Proper Repairs

Companies forcing their employees and buyers into arbitration to resolve any dispute has become an increasingly big problem for both consumers and employees. It prevents many complaints from ever getting resolved if the arbitration costs more than the complaint, and it prevents plaintiffs from combining many small complaints into one big action against a corporation to justify the costs of pursuing legal action. Arbitration also prevents many individuals from getting a fair hearing when going up against a big corporation hiring an arbitrator who wants to remain on good terms with a client who brings them a lot of business.
Continue Reading New Jersey Car Dealerships Settle Fraud Allegations for $400,000

Most people buy their cars from car dealerships, but Tesla sells its cars directly to consumers, claiming to cut out the middle person and allegedly save its customers money in the process. Tesla claims it uses this system to benefit consumers, but a closer look at the contract it requires its buyers to sign may tell a slightly different story.
Tesla’s buyer contract includes an arbitration clause. That means any buyer that wants to sue Tesla, for any reason, is required to go through arbitration, rather than the courts, to pursue their claim against the electric car company.
The contract
Continue Reading Tesla’s Arbitration Clauses Might Come Back to Haunt the Car Company

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published a proposed rule that, if implemented, would update the labeling standards that food products must meet in order to be labeled as “healthy.” The FDA first established a definition for “healthy” in 1994, and at that time nutrition science and federal dietary guidance focused more on the individual nutrients contained in food. According to the FDA, the proposed rule would “align the definition of ‘healthy’ with current nutrition science, the updated Nutrition Facts label and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” with the goal of assisting consumers to increase their consumption of
Continue Reading Deceptive Labeling Class-Action Alert: FDA Proposes Updated “Healthy” Food Label Standard

Sex trafficking requires more than one person to be involved in the process. So it should come as no surprise that the allegations against Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking didn’t stop with Epstein. His wife, Ghislaine Maxwell, was also found guilty of child sex trafficking and other crimes in connection with the abuse she and her husband committed on an ongoing basis.
Epstein and Maxwell were both very well-connected people, so it’s no wonder that people have speculated as to who knew about the sex trafficking before Epstein was arrested and the public became aware of his crimes. The horror
Continue Reading Banks Accused of Funding Epstein’s Sex Trafficking

When Stephen Easterbrook was first fired from his position as CEO of McDonald’s, the firing was listed as “without cause,” which allowed Easterbrook to keep his severance pay, including shares in the company. But that was before McDonald’s found out about the extent of Easterbrook’s alleged misconduct.
At the time he was fired, Easterbrook allegedly denied having any inappropriate relationships with any of his employees, except for one relationship, which he claimed had not been physical. Afterwards, an internal investigation found emails that allegedly revealed Easterbrook’s sexual relationships with multiple McDonald’s employees during his time as CEO. Once these emails
Continue Reading Former McDonald’s CEO Charged with Lying to Investors

Acquiring, repairing, and maintaining classic cars isn’t easy. And when something is not easy to do, it’s often expensive. As a result, people aren’t likely to buy classic cars unless they have the money to pay for rare materials and specialized services. Unfortunately, when a lot of money is involved, fraud is usually not too far away.
William Oesterle found this out the hard way in 2011 when they bought a 1955 Austin Healey Model 100S car for $630,000. The Healey Werks Corp allegedly agreed to restore the vehicle before delivering it to Oesterle.
In 2013, Oesterle bought another car
Continue Reading Car Dealer Fraud Lawyers in Chicago — Consumer Fraud Lawsuit Involving Classic Cars Settles for $7.1 Million

In a complicated trade secret misappropriation case involving an evolving cast of characters, United States First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of trade secret misappropriation claims between former drug development partners. However, the First Circuit found that the district court abused its discretion by denying the plaintiff’s motion to file an amended complaint and consequently vacated the dismissal of trade secret claims against one of the defendant’s U.S. affiliate. In doing so, the Court was forced to explore the often misunderstood “narrow exception” to Rule 54(b)’s finality rule.
The plaintiff, Amyndas, is a Greek biotechnology firm that researches
Continue Reading Federal Appellate Court Explores Narrow Exception to Rule 54(b)’s Finality Rule in Trade Secrets Misappropriation Case

The First District Illinois Appellate Court recently overturned a Cook County Circuit Court’s dismissal of a company’s defamation suit against a competitor. In its ruling, the Court held that a Chicago shipping company can claim it was defamed by emails sent to its management disparaging the company. Having cleared the hurdle of establishing a viable claim, the plaintiff company will now need to establish that it suffered reputational damage.
The allegations in this defamation suit stem from a series of anonymous emails sent in May 2019 to various board members and at least one executive of the plaintiff, project44, Inc.
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Revives Company’s Defamation suit against Competitor

Executors and trustees have a large amount of responsibility with respect to the assets they manage and to the beneficiaries for whose benefit they manage such assets. However, with a high degree of responsibility comes a high degree of accountability. That accountability comes in the form of the fiduciary duties that trustees and executors owe to the beneficiaries of an estate or trust. Chief among those fiduciary duties are the duties of loyalty, care, impartiality, and disclosure.
One way that executors and trustees can breach their fiduciary duties is by engaging in fraud. Executor or trustee fraud occurs when the
Continue Reading Spotting the Red Flags of Trusts and Estates Fraud

When starting a business, co-owners envision the best—working together productively and profitably. But it is all too common for business partners to encounter a serious impasse over how to operate the business. When partners are unable to work through a dispute, it may be time for one partner to exit the company via a buyout of their interest. It is not uncommon for this scenario to arise in conjunction with claims that the majority shareholder or shareholders are oppressing the minority shareholder or shareholders.
For Illinois corporations, the Illinois Business Corporation Act of 1983 (BCA) permits shareholders to pursue
Continue Reading Buyout Rights of Oppressed Minority Shareholders or LLC Members

Facing a recently filed putative class action lawsuit over the labeling and marketing of its toddler formula, baby formula manufacturer Gerber has asked a federal judge in Chicago to dismiss the suit arguing that reasonable parents buying its toddler formula couldn’t possibly be misled by the claims on its Good Start Grow products. The motion comes on the heels of the dismissal of a second class action lawsuit involving Gerber’s formula by a Virginia federal judge earlier in the month.
In her complaint, plaintiff Melissa Garza alleges that Gerber makes a toddler formula that is marketed as nutritional, but which
Continue Reading Gerber Asks Chicago Federal Judge to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit over Toddler Formula

In a recent decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that clients ordered to pay punitive damages can sue their attorneys to recover the money. In doing so the Court considered and rejected arguments that state law and public policy protect lawyers from being subject to punitive damages awards.
Midwest Sanitary Service Inc. retained St. Louis law firm Sandberg, Phoenix & Von Gontard to represent it in a whistleblower retaliation case filed against it by a former employee. Midwest lost the trial which resulted in a jury award of $160,000 in compensatory damages and, important to the case before the Court,
Continue Reading Court Rules that Client Can Sue Lawyers over Punitive Damages Award

An Illinois appeals court recently found a political candidate in Madison County could not be held liable for defamation for statements in a press release finding that the allegedly defamatory statements were privileged and thus immune from liability. Former Madison County IT director, Rob Dorman and former administrator Doug Hulme filed the lawsuit claiming that the press release statements were false and defamatory and ultimately cost them their jobs.
In April 2020, Robert Daiber, the Democrat candidate for county board chairman was identified as one of several local Democratic politicians calling for the dismissal of top officials in Madison county
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Finds Defamation Suit Barred as Statements Protected by Privilege