Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

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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
Continue Reading Do You Need to Know Someone’s Full Name Before You Can Sue Them?

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
Continue Reading Does the Art World Need to Be Regulated Like the World of Drugs?

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
Continue Reading Multiple Courts Consider whether Juries Should Decide Disgorgement of Profits in Copyright Infringement Cases but Reach Different Conclusions

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
Continue Reading Supreme Court Narrows Scope of Anti-Hacking Law

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
Continue Reading Unanimous Supreme Court Curbs Consumer Relief by Blocking FTC from Obtaining Monetary Remedies in Most Consumer Protection Cases

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
Continue Reading Illinois Set to Impose New Restrictions on Use of Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements

The Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision in a foreclosure action could have far-reaching implications for litigations within the state. In a 5-2 decision, the Court ruled that anyone seeking to serve a defendant in Cook County via special process server must first secure a Cook County judge’s authorization for the summons to be valid.

The case arose from a foreclosure action in Kankakee County. In the underlying case, the plaintiff Municipal Trust and Savings Bank filed a complaint for mortgage foreclosure against defendant Dennis J. Moriarty in December 2016 and issued summons from Kankakee County, where the mortgaged commercial properties
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Rules that Cook County Judges Must Approve all Process Service in Cook County, Even if Suit is Filed in Another County

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives consumers crucial protections against predatory debt collection practices, such as calling late at night, using harassing language, pursuing individuals for debts they don’t owe, and using misleading communications in debt collection attempts. The FDCPA governs the practices of third-party debt collectors, those who buy a delinquent debt from original creditors, like medical providers or credit card companies.
A common practice of these third-party debt collectors is to outsource parts of its debt-collection operations to various vendors. In an apparent issue of first impression, the Eleventh Circuit considered whether the FDCPA applies to
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Upends Debt Collection Industry Likely Leading to Wave of Class Action Litigation

An Illinois Appellate Court recently considered a putative class action lawsuit alleging that a senior housing community operator violated several consumer protection statutes in connection with its contracts with residents. The First District affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the claims finding that the trial court properly concluded that the contracts did not violate the statutes and granted summary judgment to senior housing community operator.

The defendant is an Illinois not for profit corporation that operates an independent living senior housing community for persons 55 years and older in Glenview, Illinois. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit as the executor of
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Consumer Fraud and Violations of Illinois Security Deposit Statutes

 The vast majority of breach of contract lawsuits in commercial litigation involve one party to a contract suing the other party to the contract for failing to perform. Recently, an Illinois Appellate Court was forced to address a less common scenario where the plaintiff alleging a breach of contract was not a party to the original contract. The court ultimately ruled that a non-party property owner could not assert breach of contract or negligence claims against parties to various construction contracts between the tenants of the property and the contractors and architects. The Court based its conclusion on the determination
Continue Reading Appellate Court Rules that Plaintiff Cannot Sue for Breach of Contracts which It is Neither a Party to nor an Intended Beneficiary

The restaurant industry has long been famous for chefs who yell, insult, and throw things at their staff. Various reality TV shows, such as Hell’s Kitchen, have even glorified celebrity chefs throwing temper tantrums when something comes out of the kitchen with minor imperfections, and even targets of such abuse often say it’s just part of the job: you put up with the abuse, you get better, and you move up the ladder until you’re head chef at your own restaurant … if you’re a man.
Recent movements, including #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, have called for society to stop
Continue Reading Dream Job or Toxic Work Environment?

As we previously covered here, an Illinois appellate court revived a lawsuit filed by Chicago Bears legend Richard Dent which seeks to learn the identity and addresses of unidentified individuals who published allegedly defamatory statements about Dent which allegedly cost him several lucrative marketing contracts. Following the ruling in Dent’s favor, the respondents in the case sought to challenge the First District’s ruling and requested a review of the case by the Illinois Supreme Court. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court granted the petition for leave to appeal and will hear arguments in the case later this year.

For background,
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Grants Petition for Leave to Appeal in Lawsuit Filed by Hall of Fame Chicago Bear Richard Dent

On April 5, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in the long-running case of Google v. Oracle, a case that we have been following for nearly five years. In its long awaited decision, the Court held that Google’s copying of the “declaring code” from the application program interface (API) of Oracle’s Java SE platform when creating Google’s Android operating system constituted fair use under copyright law. By deciding the case on these grounds, the Court managed to sidestep the issue of whether the software code at issue was copyrightable in the first place. Instead, the
Continue Reading Supreme Court Sides With Google in Copyright Infringement Case Filed by Oracle

On March 18, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a much awaited opinion finding that private investigator Paul Ciolino’s defamation lawsuit against Chicago attorney Terry Ekl among others was not filed too late. In their briefs before the Court, the parties framed the question in terms of whether or not the discovery rule delayed the beginning of the one-year statute of limitations. The Court held that Ciolino’s action was timely but based its decision not on the arguments proffered by the parties either side or on the reasoning of the appellate court.

The case centers on a book titled Justice Perverted:
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Clarifies Statute of Limitations in Defamation Actions

While the government was quick to hand out Business Interruption Grants to businesses across the country struggling from the effects of the pandemic-induced shutdown, company’s applying for the grant did have to meet certain criteria. The companies needed to be able to prove they had been financially impacted by COVID-19, and that they would use the money from the grants for necessary business expenses, such as payroll. What was less widely discussed was the fact that recipients of grants also needed to abide by all city, state, and federal labor laws applicable to their business, something Tank Noodle allegedly failed
Continue Reading Government Inadequacy Reveals How Restaurants Get Away With Not Paying Workers

A former teacher at a high school who was fired later sued the school, alleging he was fired because he was an atheist. After the teacher was dismissed, the school published a press release on its website stating that the teacher had been terminated. The teacher and the school entered into a settlement agreement that included a nondisparagement clause. The teacher later sued the school a second time, arguing that it violated the nondisparagement clause by keeping the press release active on its website. The district court granted summary judgment for the school, and the teacher appealed. The appellate panel
Continue Reading School Did Not Breach Settlement Agreement by Failing to Remove Press Release from Website