Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

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Recently, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District issued a significant decision on the question of which statute of limitations govern claims for violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). In its opinion, the Court ruled that claims for unlawful profiting from or disclosure of biometric data, those brought under sections section 15(c) and (d) of the BIPA, are subject to a one year limitations period while claims involving violations of the notice, consent and retention requirements, those brought under sections 15(a), (b), and (e) of the BIPA, are subject to a limitations period of five years.
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Affirms 5-Year Statute of Limitations Period for Certain BIPA Claims

In a putative class-action lawsuit filed against Apple concerning alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), the parties disputed the scope of discovery to which the plaintiffs were entitled. The plaintiffs sought to compel Apple to produce certain identifying information for Illinois residents with Apple devices containing the Photos App. The plaintiffs also issued document subpoenas to major resellers of Apple products for the personal data of individual customers. The district court ultimately denied the request to compel and quashed the subpoenas, citing concerns about how personal information would be protected given the increase in cyber attacks
Continue Reading Federal Judge Denies Motion to Compel Apple to Provide Personal Information in Facial Recognition Suit

A federal appeals court has revived a portion of Representative Devin Nunes’s defamation lawsuit that was dismissed last year finding that the defendant’s tweeting a link to the allegedly defamatory article after the lawsuit was filed could satisfy the actual malice requirement.
In September 2018, Esquire magazine published an article about Representative Nunes and a dairy farm in Iowa owned by Nunes’s family. Political journalist, Ryan Lizza, authored the article titled “Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret” (online version) and “Milking the System” (print version). The print version included a caption with two questions about Nunes:
Continue Reading Federal Appeals Court Revives Nunes’s Defamation Lawsuit Finding Reporter’s Retweet of Article Could Constitute Actual Malice

At the request of Congress, the Copyright Office recently agreed to undertake a public study to evaluate the effectiveness of current copyright protections for publishers in the United States, with a particular focus on press publishers. The Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking public comment on a variety of issues that could extend new protections to press publishers and other content creators beyond those afforded under existing copyright law.
In its letter requesting the study, Congress cited a recent directive by the European Union establishing “ancillary copyright” protections for press publishers. The Copyright Office has stated that its
Continue Reading Copyright Office to Study Whether New Copyright Protections for Press Content Publishers are Needed

In a recent decision, the Seventh Circuit clarified the proper standard for deciding a motion for summary judgment. Many litigants and lawyers alike believe that the existence of a factual dispute is sufficient to stave off summary judgment and proceed to trial. However, the Seventh Circuit took the opportunity to reaffirm once again that the existence of factual disputes alone will not preclude summary judgment. Instead, the facts in dispute must be material in nature to prevent entry of summary, often referred to by courts as “genuine issues of material fact.” While acknowledging the existence of factual disputes aplenty in
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Finds Factual Disputes not Material Affirms Summary Judgment in First Amendment Suit

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