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Reported/Unreported Litigation, Arbitration and Administrative Agency Actions

Franchise Law and Seller Representative Act Cases

As co-counsel, represented plaintiff franchisee in a 1991 case in Illinois Federal District Court, alleging violation of Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act for encroachment by issuing new franchise for same product. Settled favorably after second day of trial.


As co-counsel, represented plaintiff franchisees in a 1993 case in Illinois Federal District Court, alleging violation of Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act (IFDA). Rulings in case established law in IFDA statute of limitations area.


Testified in 1997, as expert witness in Will County, IL Circuit Court, for franchisor that alleged it received improper legal advice related to franchise laws which resulted in $1.4M verdict.


In December 1998, represented convenience store franchise owner claimant in 12-day arbitration who was awarded damages for wrongful termination claim.


Testified as expert witness in December 2002, in Toronto, Canada in an arbitration concerning the application of Illinois franchise law to a clothing store chain.


Filed, litigated, briefed and argued 2003 case on plaintiff’s behalf, and prevailed through the Appellate Court level. In one of the first franchise cases to go to the Illinois Supreme Court, which reversed the Appellate Court and the Circuit Court, in deciding that the issue of rescission must be submitted to arbitration, by finding that even if the franchisor was not registered to sell franchises in Illinois, that was not a condition precedent based on its interpretation of the IFDA. This rejected settled First District law.


In 2003 Federal Court, Western District of Michigan, breach of the franchise agreement case, represented Michigan franchisor as co-counsel, who was awarded royalties and attorneys’ fees.


In July 2004, acted as plaintiff’s co-counsel in nine-day trial, after which Cook County chancery judge decided that a large motorcycle franchisor acted arbitrarily and capriciously, violating two sections of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act, as to allocation and delivery, and awarded monetary damages.


In 2006 Illinois Seller’s Representative Act and contract interpretation case, acted as co-counsel for plaintiff after summary judgment was entered against it. Illinois Appellate Court, First Division affirmed because plaintiff did not raise issues it appealed until its motion for reconsideration, and plaintiff had drafted the contract it asked the Court to construe.


As co-counsel, represented plaintiff, a Nevada automobile dealer, that brought suit against large automobile manufacturer, for phasing out car division, and unilaterally modifying the franchise agreement. After intensive discovery nationally conducted, defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted. After oral argument, the 9th Circuit affirmed in 2009. Manufacturer’s bankruptcy filing prevented petition for certiorari.


As co-counsel represented plaintiff in a 2009 case in Illinois Federal District Court for BIFDA, breach of contract, tortious interference with contract and Lanham Act claims, in which two reported opinions resulted. Plaintiff defeated a motion to dismiss and subsequent summary judgment motion. After week-long trial in 2012, one of the first BIFDA cases to be tried by jury, verdict for over $500,000, combined compensatory and punitive damages. The judge then awarded attorneys’ fees and costs in a significant amount.


Represented an off-road vehicle dealer in 2009 case, in which defendant, after its motion to dismiss was defeated in large part, prevailed in a summary judgment on all but the contract related counts in its counterclaim. After two-day bench trial, plaintiff prevailed on its breach of contract count; defendant prevailed on unjust enrichment count, and awarded damages, and interest. The case settled in 2013, after plaintiff appealed to the 7th Circuit. Plaintiff also filed an administrative action under the Motor Vehicle Franchise Act, and pursued it through appeal in the Circuit and Appellate Court; but was denied certiorari by the Illinois Supreme Court.


Acted as co-counsel in an Illinois Federal District Court lawsuit in 2008-2009, involving the termination of a network of donut stores, which was heavily litigated and acceptably settled.


In October 2008, as lead counsel, after filing letter of protest under the Nevada Motor Vehicle Franchise Act, convinced Administrative Law Judge to dismiss a proceeding filed by automobile manufacturer, with intention to place a dealership into client’s market.


Acted as co-counsel to five defendant clients, who, in 2012 received a very favorable ruling in New Jersey Federal District Court that resulted in dismissal of the lawsuit alleging statutory and contract violations, tort and fraud, deciding that a forum selection clause was enforceable. Re-filed in Illinois by plaintiff, motion to dismiss all counts was also re-filed. The Court agreed that no franchise sale had occurred; dismissed the two statutory-based counts with prejudice and the other five counts with leave to re-plead, which were not.


In 2012-2013, represented restaurant franchisee plaintiff against franchisor; received favorable ruling, based on contract’s interpretation, after oral argument in Cook County Circuit Court, which enabled client to remain in State Court to seek equitable relief and damages, instead of being forced to arbitrate. For same client, settled protracted litigation involving trademark and franchise disclosure issues being litigated in state court and federal court.


Represented beer distributor in Illinois Federal District Court action that alleged BIFDA wrongful termination claims, which was favorably settled in 2015.


Intellectual Property and Statutory Rights Cases

As co-counsel, represented plaintiff trademark holder in a 1994 Illinois Federal District Court case, that alleged trademark licensing and breach of contract issues.


As co-counsel, represented plaintiff in a 2003 Illinois Federal District Court case that involved one of the first cases to be litigated under the Illinois right of publicity statute, which was settled after appeal to the 7th Circuit.


As co-counsel, represented plaintiffs in 2009 case of first impression, filed as a class action, alleging claims based on unauthorized dissemination of social security numbers, under theories including the Personal Information Protection Act; the Consumer Fraud Act, Common Law Right of Privacy, Negligence, HIPPA and Breach of Fiduciary Duty. Appealed and argued in September 2010, to overturn the Circuit Court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. Split decision rendered in 2010. Petition for leave to appeal to Illinois Supreme Court was filed and denied.


In 2011 acted as co-counsel in a lawsuit in New York Federal District Court between two large alcoholic beverage producers with claims that involved trademark, trade dress infringement, and the shape of the tequila bottle. In May 2012, with New York based-co-counsel submitted a significant Motion to Dismiss all claims, that moved parties to favorable settlement.


General Business Cases

Represented defendant/appellee in a promissory note/altered document case, that was decided by the Second District Court in 2013, which unanimously affirmed the DuPage County Circuit Court decision including awarded sanction (attorney’s fees under Rule 137).


Represented plaintiff in an extensively litigated case in Illinois Federal District Court, in 2005 that involved issues related to contract, negligent misrepresentation, conspiracy and trade secrets. The matter was settled.


 

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