Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Latest from Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Two consumers initiated a class action suit against Fannie May alleging that they were deceived by the size of the candy boxes that they purchased. The consumers argued that the boxes contained an acceptable level of empty space, amounting to over a third of the volume of the boxes. The appellate panel found that though the company’s boxes correctly indicated the included weight and portion size of the candy, the consumers had sufficiently pled the initial elements of a claim for deceptive practice. However, the panel found that the consumers could not show that they suffered actual damages, because they…
When a film production equipment rental company in Chicago began losing business to a new competitor, it sought to blame a state economic development agency. The company sued the state agency, alleging that the agency conspired to steer state incentives to the new business in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Sherman Antitrust Act. The appellate panel disagreed, finding that the actions of the state agency were not actionable, as the competitor had consistently reached out to the state agency for help, applied for grants and development programs that the plaintiff did not, and offered superior equipment and facilities…
As we have written about previously, one of the concerns with purchasing a minority stake in a closely held corporation is the potential for shareholder oppression. This concern is even more relevant when a non-family-member considers buying into a family-owned business. One minority shareholder found this out the hard way when he suffered a backlash after raising concerns about the conduct of the founder and majority shareholder of a closely held Illinois corporation. In 1962, Kenneth Packer founded Packer Engineering Inc. (“PEI”) and its parent company, The Packer Group, Inc. (“TPG”), in Du Page County. Packer soon grew…
After a tradeshow exhibit vendor was stiffed on the payment of a contract by a middleman, it sued the tool manufacturer to recover its debt. At the same time, it filed a claim in the bankruptcy proceeding of the middleman. The district court ruled that the plaintiff could not pursue a claim against the manufacturer because it had a claim pending in the middleman’s bankruptcy proceeding. The 7th Circuit panel reversed, finding that there was no concept of judicial estoppel where a pending claim in a bankruptcy proceeding barred seeking the collection of a debt from a third party. TRUMPF,…
The restaurant industry has long been a notorious boys’ club, full of misogyny and sexual harassment. With men maintaining most of the power in the industry, women didn’t feel like they had a choice other than to put up with the constant groping and harassment from both male staff and patrons, but a new settlement in a New York sexual harassment case might change all that – or at least move the needle in the right direction. At the end of 2017, the New York Times reported on multiple allegations made by 11 women working at the Spotted Pig in…
Arbitration and the enforceability of arbitration provisions have been hot topics in employment and consumer litigation for a number of years. Over the last decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued numerous opinions on the subject as well have a number of state supreme courts. In Shockley v. PrimeLending, 929 F.3d 1012 (8th Cir. 2019), the federal appellate court of the Eighth Circuit recently held that an arbitration provision in an employee handbook was not binding on the employee. The plaintiff, Jennifer Shockley, was employed by PrimeLending from June 2016 through July 2017. After leaving the company, Shockley filed a…
Alison Victoria, a Chicago native and one of the stars of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab” has said that she wants to take over Chicago and put her stamp on every neighborhood. Whether fellow Chicagoans want that is another matter, and one that is currently being handled (at least in part) in the courts since Victoria and her partner, Donovan Eckhardt, is being sued by the buyers of one of their home renovations. The house at 2308 W. Giddings Street sold for $1.36 million after Victoria and Eckhardt gave it a makeover. The end of the episode featuring the house showed…
CNN has agreed to settle a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit with Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann earlier this month. A CNN spokesperson has confirmed that a settlement was reached but the news outlet has declined to offer further details. In March of last year, Sandmann filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN seeking more than $275 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit alleged that the cable news networked engaged in a “vicious attack” against Sandmann in its coverage of him following his encounter with 64-year-old Native American Nathan Phillips in January of that year. According to the complaint,…
Democratic presidential candidate and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard filed a defamation lawsuit last week against Hillary Clinton over statements the former Secretary of State made during an interview characterizing Gabbard as a Russian asset. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks more than $50 million in damages as well as an award of punitive damages for alleged damage to Gabbard’s professional and personal reputation. Clinton’s allegedly defamatory comments are merely part of an ongoing feud between the politicians that dates back at least until 2016. According to the lawsuit, Clinton has…
All too often attorney misconduct in the course of litigation goes unreported and unpunished. Incivility in litigation delays the resolution of cases, taxes an already overburdened judiciary, and increases the cost of litigating a matter. Despite this, attorney incivility is regrettably on the rise in state and federal courts around the country. One federal magistrate judge recently decided that enough was enough and issued a benchslap to a pair of attorneys for misconduct at a deposition. In his recent opinion in Sokolova v. United Airlines, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole issued a scathing rebuke of the attorneys while offering a…
When an employee of a medical parts manufacturer was caught up in a foreign corrupt practices investigation of his employer and subsequently fired, the employee could not sue the employer for defamation. The employer included the former employee on a list of prohibited parties that the employer claimed posed an unacceptable compliance risk for the company. The appellate panel found that these statements were not defamatory because they were expressions of opinion or were the truth. Biomet is a global corporation that manufactures and sells medical devices. Biomet is headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana. Biomet subsidiary Biomet Argentina, SA employed Alejandro…
The owner of an upscale downtown Chicago hotel sued a competing hotel elsewhere in the city for trademark infringement. After more than a year, the plaintiff company eventually voluntarily dismissed its suit. The defendants then moved for attorney fees. The district court initially denied the motion, finding that the plaintiffs had not brought the type of exceptional case that warranted fee-shifting after dismissing the claims. The defendants appealed, and the appellate panel determined that the district court applied the wrong standard in evaluating the motion for fee-shifting. The panel reversed the decision of the district court and remanded the case…
When companies decide where to establish a headquarters or where to expand, they must weigh several factors such as access to qualified candidates and tax laws. One factor businesses are considering more and more is the litigation climate of a state or local jurisdiction. According to a recent study, that does not bode well for Illinois, which ranked last among states for the quality of its litigation climate among businesses. Additionally, the City of Chicago and Cook County ranked as the worst local jurisdiction in the nation according to the same study. Since 2002, the U.S. Chamber Institute for…
On December 4, 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1557. This new law contains various amendments to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“Cannabis Act”), 410 ILCS 705/1 et seq., and provides clarity regarding the interplay between the Cannabis Act and the Illinois’ Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (“Right to Privacy Act”), 820 ILCS 55/1 et seq. The Cannabis Act legalized (under state law) the adult-use of cannabis recreationally and goes into effect January 1, 2020. The Cannabis Act does not interfere with employers’ drug-free policies but instead expressly provides…
Settling most cases is a difficult process, particularly when the parties dispute what exactly happened or when the underlying claim turns out to be smaller than anticipated. In Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) cases, the process can be even more difficult depending on the court’s interpretation of the FLSA’s enforcement provision, section 16, which permits the Department of Labor to supervise settlements. Courts have reached differing interpretations regarding this statutory language and whether it requires DOL or judicial approval of all FLSA settlements. The parties to an FLSA case may wish to avoid having to submit a settlement agreement to…
An Illinois appellate court recently affirmed grant of summary judgment in favor of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) in a class-action lawsuit alleging that ComEd violated the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act (“Act”), 820 ILCS 70/1 et seq., by investigating the plaintiff’s credit history in connection with a conditional offer of employment and ultimately refusing to hire her as a result of that investigation. Many Illinois residents are familiar with ComEd, the public utility company that provides electrical services to nearly four million customers in Illinois. In 2017, ComEd offered the plaintiff a conditional offer for a part-time position. The offer…