Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Latest from Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Although e-cigarettes were first marketed as a way for smokers to quit smoking, not only has it been proven that they are not an effective way to quit smoking, but e-cigarette companies, like Juul, have actually gotten young people addicted to nicotine by targeting teens and young adults who had not previously been smokers. Despite the fact that vaping has been marketed as a safe alternative to smoking, the reality is that it has contributed to thousands of cases of lung cancer. In addition to nicotine, many e-cigarettes also contain THC, which is a psychoactive ingredient. Dr. Ngozi Ezik, the…
Hudson’s Bay (HBC), the Canadian retail company that owns Saks, among other high-end stores, has been sued by lenders who claim the reorganization of the company that happened earlier this year was conducted in an attempt to set up a secret corporate shell game that has robbed the credit that exists as insurance on the $850 million loan the plaintiffs have invested in the company. The lawsuit centers around the fact that, as the owner of stores like Saks and Lord & Taylor, HBC was responsible for guaranteeing payment on all loans for the stores, including making sure the rent…
If someone is accused of defrauding investors in one city, does that mean that person can’t do business with another company in another city? Especially before the allegations of fraud have been determined by a court of law? That’s the question James “Woody” Dillard’s attorneys and business partners are asking as investors who were allegedly defrauded by Dillard try to claim potential vendors for Dillard and his business partners should have all their facts in order before signing on the dotted line. Dillard has recently partnered with Streamline Boats of Hialeah, Florida, which makes semi-custom fishing boats. Although the company…
Last fall, Alden Shoe Co. realized its CFO had allegedly been embezzling millions of corporate funds and transferring them to his own, personal accounts. More than half of what he allegedly stole from the shoe company he is claimed to have used to pay for gifts he gave to Bianca de la Garza, including a car, diamond jewelry, designer clothes and handbags, and investing in her production company, Lucky Gal Productions. Unfortunately, Lucky Gal Productions according to news reports has never turned a profit in the six years since it was founded, making it unlikely the former CFO will ever…
E-commerce and tech behemoth, Amazon, has filed a lawsuit against the former vice president of marketing for its Amazon Web Services division, Brian Hall, alleging that his new role at Google Cloud violates the terms of his non-compete agreement. In its complaint, Amazon alleges that Hall’s employment with Google threatens to cause irreparable harm and risks exposing valuable competitive information to one of its biggest rivals. Amazon seeks both money damages and injunctive relief, requesting that the court enjoin Hall from working for Google for the remainder of the 18-month non-compete period set forth in the agreement. This lawsuit…
After a disgruntled client posted a review on Yelp page of his former attorney, and the attorney responded, the attorney sued the client for defamation. The client responded by filing counterclaims for defamation, breach of fiduciary duty, and legal malpractice. The district court dismissed the client’s counterclaims for breach of fiduciary duty and malpractice while denying the attorney’s motion to dismiss the defamation counterclaim. The court then denied cross-motions for summary judgment, finding that genuine disputes of fact remained. Alisa Levin is an attorney licensed in Illinois. Paul Abramson is a resident of California Abramson hired Levin to assist a…
After CEO and Chairman of closely held company was removed by board of directors, he sued, requesting specific performance of the removal of the other members of the board. The Chancery Court dismissed several claims in the complaint for want of personal jurisdiction, and also denied the CEO’s motion for summary judgment, finding that each side of the litigation alleged disputed facts and complex legal theories not appropriate for resolution on summary judgment. In 2016, Craig Bouchard founded Braidy Industries, Inc., a Delaware corporation with principal places of business in Kentucky and Massachusetts whose purpose is to manufacture efficient and…
Over the coming weeks and months, employees will begin returning to work in increasing numbers across the state. As they do, employers will find themselves facing unique challenges created by the risk of workplace exposure to COVID-19. Potential transmission of COVID-19 by employees can create liability concerns for employers. The primary concern for employers is whether they will be entitled to the tort immunity typically provided by workers’ compensation laws in light of the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Far from being just a hypothetical concern, the first workplace COVID-19 exposure case in Illinois was filed a few weeks…
Directors of a corporation owe fiduciary duties to the shareholders of the company. This means that when directors communicate with shareholders about the company, they have a fiduciary duty to exercise due care, good faith and loyalty. Directors can be held personally liable if they intentionally or recklessly mislead shareholders about the business or condition of the corporation. A Delaware Chancery Court recently dismissed a suit filed against the directors of GoPro, Inc. by a group of disgruntled shareholders who alleged that the directors misled them by issuing overly optimistic revenue guidance that the company was unable to live up…
Minority shareholders in closely held businesses generally lack the ability to control the actions of a company which makes them vulnerable to oppression from the controlling shareholder or shareholders. Minority shareholder oppression claims frequently include allegations that the controlling shareholders have funneled company money or resources to themselves and attempted to hide the misconduct by excluding minority shareholders from accessing books and records. Minority shareholders in Illinois are not without recourse, however, as they have a statutory right to examine the corporation’s books and records. As the First District appellate court recently reminded us, the right to examine corporate books…
Last year we witnessed the filing of a first of its kind putative class-action lawsuit claiming that gift cards that did not contain Braille violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) along with similar state and local laws. Within weeks, more than 240 nearly identical complaints had been filed against a multitude of retailers and restaurant chains in New York. Recently, a federal judge issued the first opinions in these gift card cases dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims. While the court granted the plaintiffs the ability to amend their complaints, it is unclear how they will be able to successfully retool…
A couple of weeks ago, President Donald Trump made history as the first sitting president to file a defamation lawsuit against a media outlet. President Trump’s reelection campaign filed a lawsuit in New York state court alleging that The New York Times published defamatory statements in a 2019 opinion editorial concerning claims of a quid pro quo between Russia and then-candidate Trump’s 2016 campaign. Suits like this involving protected political speech are nearly impossible to win. The article, entitled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo,” was written by a former New York Times executive editor. The article concluded that the…
ATTENTION BUSINESS OWNERS: we are investigating possible wrongful denials of business interruption insurance claims due to COVID-19. If you would like us to review your policy, feel free to send it along. With stories of COVID-19, the strain on global healthcare, and social distancing dominating headlines, the pandemic’s impact on the owners of small and medium sized businesses is sometimes lost in the shuffle. At the end of the day, business owners are people too. They deal with the same fears and concerns about Coronavirus as everyone else, plus the added anxiety that comes with being responsible for the…
President Trump’s reelection campaign has filed its third defamation lawsuit against a major media outlet in less than two weeks. The news organization named in the latest libel suit is CNN. As with the previous lawsuits that we have written about, the claims of defamation stem from statements contained in an opinion piece concerning alleged cooperation between Russia and Trump to assist the latter’s presidential bid. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, accuses CNN of publishing a libelous opinion piece on its website CNN.com in June 2019 the topic…
A building contractor in Minnesota ordered a specific brand of flameproof lumber from a Chicago distributor of commercial building materials. Unbeknownst to the contractor, the distributor substituted its in-house brand of lumber in the order. The in-house brand of lumber had not been certified to meet the safety standards required by the architect of the buildings and the contractor was later required to rip out the lumber and replace it with new material. The contractor sued the distributor. The distributor’s insurance company then sought a judgment that it was not required to defend the distributor. The district court and the…
A consulting company agreed to perform cost-reduction work for a hospital. The agreement it had with the hospital specified that the hospital could hire the consultancy to perform additional work outside of the scope of the agreement. The hospital did so, hiring the consultancy to prepare an RFP document and negotiate with a potential equipment supplier. After the process was completed, the hospital refused to pay the consultancy for the additional work. The consultancy sued, and the trial court determined that a contract implied in fact existed between the two companies and the hospital was required to pay for the…