Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Latest from Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

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…
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…
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…
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…
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,…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
After a police officer pressured a woman for oral sex in a suburb of Chicago, including harassing her at her place of work, the woman filed a lawsuit against the police officer and Cook County. For obvious reasons, she asked the court to allow her to remain anonymous, filing the lawsuit under the name Jane Doe v. Cook County. Unfortunately, Doe only knows the first name of the officer who sexually harassed her: Kevin. The sheriff’s office is also named as a defendant. While the federal courts used to require every plaintiff to provide their full name in order…
How do we know how much a piece of art is worth? For most of us, a professional art appraiser or auction house gives us a number or price range, but that number is based partly on how much the artwork sold for the last time it changed hands, and it turns out determining that number is more tricky than it might initially appear to be. To start with, who’s really buying the artwork? An auction house or dealer might say that sold a piece to a particular collector, but they rarely meet the collector in person. Instead, they deal…
A recent decision in the case of Huffman v. Activision, a case we previously covered here, has created a split among federal courts on the issue of who gets to decide the issue of disgorgement of profits in copyright infringement cases. The court in Huffman ruled that a jury is entitled to decide the issue. Other courts to recently consider the issue have come to the opposite conclusion finding that the court should decide the issue, not a jury. These differing answers to the same question may be teeing up the issue for the Supreme Court to settle the question…
The Supreme Court recently issued its first ever opinion interpreting the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. §1030. In issuing its opinion, the Court limited the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and resolved a circuit split on the meaning of “exceeds authorized access” found in the statute. In a 6-3 opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in her first signed majority opinion, said the Court would not turn “millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens” into criminals if they violated their employer’s computer-use policies at work by using their computers to send personal e-mails, do online shopping, or…
In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court recently came down hard on the Federal Trade Commission by eliminating its ability to seek monetary relief in court under Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act). The ruling comes as quite a blow to the FTC which has been recovering monetary penalties from defendants under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act for nearly half a century. The full impact of this ruling remains to be seen and may not become clear for several years. Section 13(b) monetary relief is among the FTC’s primary tools for obtaining recovery in the…
Illinois recently joined a growing list of states that have passed laws constraining the use of restrictive covenants by employers. The Illinois legislature passed Senate Bill 672 which imposes significant limitations on the use by Illinois employers of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. The bill achieves this by amending the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to establish new requirements for agreements containing restrictive covenants and to codify standards for the use of non-solicitation agreements. Governor Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law. Once signed by the governor the bill would take effect on January 1, 2022, though significantly the…