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.

A federal District Court recently dismissed the defamation claims filed by embattled attorney Michael Avenatti against Fox News and several of its anchors. In its decision, the District Court found that Avenatti’s claims failed to overcome the high hurdle to sustaining defamation claims against a media defendant. In the Court’s opinion, it ruled that the case fell squarely into the longstanding rule that “news outlets are not liable for minor mistakes, especially when reporting on public figures and matters of public concern.”
Avenatti garnered the national spotlight in early 2018 when he represented the adult film actress, Stormy Daniels,
Continue Reading Federal Court Dismisses Michael Avenatti’s Defamation Suit against Fox News

In a class-action filed against Champion Petfoods alleging that the pet food company misrepresented the quality of its dog food and ingredients, the Seventh Circuit recently affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of Champion. In doing so, the Court reiterated to future litigants that “summary judgment is the proverbial put up or shut up moment in a lawsuit.” The lesson of the case for class-action plaintiffs is that evidence concerning the merits of the plaintiff’s case is just as important as evidence concerning class certification.
According to the plaintiff in the case, Champion advertised on its packaging that
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Class-Action Suit Finding Plaintiff’s Own Testimony Insufficient Evidence to Support Claims

The federal government has increased its efforts to curtail the abuse of restrictive covenants such as non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and no-poaching agreements. In July of this year, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which encourages the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make use of its statutory rulemaking authority “to curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility.”
Federal agencies have already been utilizing antitrust and unfair competition laws to combat the abusive use of restrictive covenants. The Department of
Continue Reading President Biden’s Executive Order Encourages Federal Agencies to Increase Crackdown on Use of Non-compete Agreements

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently affirmed the imposition of a preliminary injunction obtained by Illinois-based medical device maker, Life Spine Inc., against a former business partner who allegedly misappropriated Life Spine’s trade secrets and gave them to its parent company, a competitor of Life Spine. The outcome affirms that injunctive relief is available to plaintiffs when irreparable harm is plausibly alleged, but also highlights that a company need not personally use the trade secrets to be found liable under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), 18 U.S.C. §1836 et seq., and the Illinois Trade
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Upholds Preliminary Injunction in Trade Secret Misappropriation Suit

It is not at all uncommon for a company to require individuals to agree to its Terms of Use when they sign up for an online service or when creating an account on a website or mobile app. It is also not uncommon for that service, website, or app to incorporate technology from multiple different providers. Such was the case in a case recently decided by the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In its opinion, the Seventh Circuit rebuffed arguments by a technology company that it should be entitled to enforce certain arbitration provisions in a user agreement between
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rebuffs Software Company’s Attempt to Enforce Arbitration Agreement in Third Party User Agreement

As we previously wrote about, this May the Illinois legislature passed a major bill that significantly alters how and when employers can use restrictive covenants, such as non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, with Illinois employees. As expected, Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill into law. It will go into effect January 1, 2022, and will only apply to agreements entered into after that date.
The new law amends the Illinois Freedom to Work Act and serves both to codify existing requirements under Illinois case law but also to impose new restrictions on Illinois employers as to when, with whom,
Continue Reading Governor Pritzker Signs New Law Changing the Game on Non-Compete Agreements

Amazon is facing a class-action lawsuit filed in the Madison County Circuit Court alleging that Amazon’s Alexa violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). In setting out its case against Amazon, the Complaint quotes an interview with former Amazon senior editor James Marcus in which he said that “It was made clear from the beginning that data collection was also one of Amazon’s businesses. All customer behavior that flowed through the site was recorded and tracked. And that itself was a valuable commodity.”
The Complaint details the near ubiquity of Amazon’s voice-based virtual assistant Alexa by alleging that Alexa
Continue Reading Class-Action Lawsuit Alleges that Amazon’s Alexa Violates the Illinois BIPA

When you’re a politician, your career is made or broken on your reputation. Donald Trump has been sued for defamation several times, with varying rates of success. Now his son, Donald Trump, Jr., is also being sued for defamation over allegations he made concerning another Republican candidate.
Don Blankenship was a Republican candidate for Senate in West Virginia in 2018, trying to unseat the incumbent, Joe Manchin III, who’s a Democrat. Trump and his allies opposed Blankenship in the primary, and their smear campaign included allegations that he’s a felon.
The allegations refer to an explosion at a mine run
Continue Reading Defamation Lawsuit Against Trump Jr. Allowed to Proceed

No company should ever overlook the value of trade secrets. Those that do rarely achieve or maintain market dominance. One company that has undoubtedly achieved market dominance is Apple, which in late 2020 achieved a market capitalization that eclipsed $2 trillion. One reason for Apple’s dominance is its legendary protection of its intellectual property, including its trade secrets. One former veteran product designer found out just how serious Apple is about protecting its trade secrets when Apple recently filed a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against the designer and his new employer alleging that the former product designer stole the company’s
Continue Reading Apple Sues Former MacBook Designer for Alleged Trade Secrets Theft

In one of its final decisions of the term, the United States Supreme Court issued one of the most significant class-action decisions in recent years. The decision tightened the requirements for showing standing in class action lawsuits and has the potential to significantly affect class action litigation. Building on its 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Supreme Court held that, to recover damages in a class action, every class member must satisfy the standing requirement of Article III, at least when the requested relief involves recovery of money damages.
The plaintiff in the case, Sergio Ramirez, obtained
Continue Reading “No Concrete Harm, No Standing” – United States Supreme Court Tightens Standing Requirements in Class Action Lawsuits

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled recently that an energy company could not sustain a claim for stolen corporate opportunities against two of its former business developers. In doing so the Court overturned a ruling by the appellate court which had revived the stolen corporate opportunity claim. The ruling, which many consider to be a bombshell in stolen corporate opportunity jurisprudence, was not without its detractors with three justices dissenting from the majority’s decision.
The plaintiff, Indeck Energy Services, is a privately held Buffalo Grove company that develops, owns, and operates independent power plants. Indeck’s lawsuit targets two former Indeck employees,
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Puts the Kibosh on Energy Company’s Stolen Corporate Opportunity Claims against Two Former Employees

In 1964 the case of New York Times v. Sullivan reached the Supreme Court, which interpreted the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to mean public figures have a higher bar to clear when suing for libel.
The intention of the First Amendment is to give citizens the freedom to voice their opinion and publicly discuss public figures. At first, this just meant political officials, since the founding fathers saw the value in people being able to publicly debate and gain access to information on the people they would be voting into office. But subsequent rulings have expanded the actual
Continue Reading Should the Supreme Court Reconsider the Standards for Libel?

An Illinois Appellate Court recently revived a breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder oppression lawsuit filed by minority shareholders against the president, director, and majority shareholder of a lumber company. The suit accused the majority shareholder of diverting nearly a million dollars from the lumber company to a separate company owned by the majority shareholder’s son. The trial court dismissed several of the minority shareholders’ claims and ruled in favor of the majority shareholder following a trial on the breach of fiduciary duty claims. In a blow to the majority shareholder, the Second District appeals court reversed the trial court
Continue Reading Court Revives Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Shareholder Oppression Claims against Lumber Executive Accused of Diverting Profits to Son’s Company

You may or may not have heard of Shein, the fast-fashion company out of China providing its customers with the highest fashions for the lowest prices, but if you haven’t heard of it yet, chances are good you’ll be hearing about it very soon. While Shein might not exactly be a household name (yet), it’s very quickly working its way up the ladder, having just replaced Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app.
The fast-growing fashion company has no intention of slowing its growth any time soon, and going up against Amazon is one of its key strategies. While many
Continue Reading Selling Top Fashion at Low Prices Comes with Its Own Price to Pay … in the Courts

A manufacturing plant may have closed four years ago, but according to multiple lawsuits, the effects of the alleged mismanagement of dangerous chemicals used at the plant are still affecting residents of the area surrounding the now-defunct plant.
The plant in Tioga, LA opened in 1961 and made pressure relief valves for the oil and gas industry. The plant was sold to and absorbed by various companies over the years, and the plant was finally shut down for good in 2017 after the company that owned and ran it was absorbed by General Electric Oil & Gas in 2010, and
Continue Reading Owner of Manufacturing Plant Sued for Chemical Contamination

Paying college tuition has long been a struggle for many aspiring students and their families, but when it comes to paying for college, tuition is just the beginning. The cost of textbooks and other school supplies is another financial hurdle, and according to an antitrust lawsuit, some of the biggest on-campus bookstore chains and publishers of college textbooks have deliberately created and taken advantage of the Inclusive Access program to monopolize the market on college textbooks and raise prices.
The Inclusive Access program requires students to buy one-time access codes to access textbooks and course materials online. Because the access
Continue Reading Judge Rules Inclusive Access Program Is Not a Monopoly