When two founders of a company sued the company that had come into possession of the founders’ patents and intellectual property rights, the district court dismissed their suit for lack of personal jurisdiction. The appellate court affirmed on appeal, finding that the plaintiffs’ lawyer contrived to create personal jurisdiction by ordering a single item from the defendant company be shipped into the state of Illinois, even though the defendant company did not do business in or specifically target the Illinois market. The appellate panel also noted that the conduct that allegedly created personal jurisdiction had happened after the plaintiffs filed suit and was therefore clearly contrived.

Tai Matlin and James Waring, and other business partners co-founded a company called Gray Matter Holdings, LLC in 1997. Matlin and Waring developed certain products for Gray Matter, including an inflatable beach mat known as the “Snap-2-It” and a radio-controlled hang glider called the “Aggressor.” In 1999, facing failure of the company, Matlin and Waring entered into a Withdrawal Agreement with Gray Matter wherein they sold their partnership shares and forfeited their salaries. The agreement also assigned Matlin and Waring’s intellectual property to Gray Matter but entitled them to royalty payments. In the following years, Matlin and Waring frequently brought Gray Matter to arbitration to enforce royalty payments.

In 2002, Gray Matter filed an assignment of the products’ intellectual property rights with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Matlin and Waring allege that Gray Matter filed the assignment without their knowledge and that the company forged Waring’s signature on the paperwork. The following year, Gray Matter sold assets to Swimways, including the patent rights to Matlin and Waring’s products. A 2014 arbitration between Gray Matter and Matlin and Waring determined that Gray Matter did not assign the Withdrawal Agreement to Swimways upon the sale of the products and that the plaintiffs were owed no further royalties. In 2016, Spin Master acquired Swimways and intellectual property rights. Continue reading ›

When non-compete agreements first started to be used, they needed to establish a geographic perimeter in order to be enforceable. Non-compete agreements were intended to prevent workers from going to work for the competitor across the street and taking clients, vendors, and/or proprietary secrets with them. In order to stay fair to workers while still protecting the employer, most non-compete agreements were restricted to a certain geographical range – for example, the employee could not go to work for a competitor less than 20 miles away from the employer.

Over the past few years, employers have started expanding the geographical limits in their non-compete agreements until they didn’t bother putting them in at all – in a few cases, they actually specified that the non-compete agreement was effective worldwide.

With the dawn of the Digital Age, businesses started expanding their reach across the globe, making it increasingly difficult to specify a geographical area in which they conduct business. For this reason, some U.S. courts have ruled that it’s OK for companies to leave out the geographical restrictions on a non-compete agreement, but the Nevada Supreme Court recently stated otherwise. Continue reading ›

Reversing the dismissal of the plaintiff’s Title IX complaint against Purdue University by a magistrate judge, the Seventh Circuit breathed new life into a claim against the university by a former student. The student, referred to only as John Doe in the opinion as is common in Title IX suits, alleged that Purdue University’s improper handling of a Title IX investigation ruined his ability to pursue a career in the Navy.

John Doe was a student at Purdue University on an ROTC scholarship when he was accused of sexual assault by a former girlfriend, who also was a member of Purdue’s ROTC program. After the university’s investigation, it held a hearing where, according to John’s complaint, the university prohibited him from presenting evidence and witnesses. Further, the university did not require John’s accuser to testify but instead chose to consider a letter written by one of the university’s Title IX coordinators containing a summary of the accusations against John. The university ultimately found John guilty of sexual assault and suspended him for one academic year. In addition, John lost his scholarship, was involuntarily discharged from the ROTC program, and banned from re-enlistment in the program. Purdue also shared the findings of its investigation with the Navy.

The university moved to dismiss John Doe’s complaint. A magistrate granted the motion to dismiss finding that John had failed to state a claim under Title IX. The Seventh Circuit began its analysis by reiterating that the protections of Title IX are enforceable through an implied cause of action. The court then proceeded to review the doctrinal tests developed by other circuits for establishing bias based on one’s sex. The Seventh Circuit declined to adopt any particular test opting instead to simply review the totality of the allegations to determine if it creates an inference that sex was a motivating factor in the university’s decision. Continue reading ›

As reported by the Cook County Record, Lubin Austermuehle achieved an immediate settlement for its client one of the largest diamond wholesalers in the world in a libel defamation and slander lawsuit filed in Chicago’s federal court. The Defendant agreed to provide a public full retraction and apology as part of the otherwise confidential settlement admitting that it had made baseless claims against Lubin Austermuehle’s client. The headline to the article states:

Settlements end diamond wholesalers’ fraud, defamation disputes; lawyer accused of ‘extortion ring’

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The article starts out:

A legal dispute, in which one diamond wholesaler allegedly falsely accused another of fraud, has ended in a settlement to resolve a potential multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit, amid accusations the plaintiff in the original fraud suit was acting in coordination with an attorney facing a racketeering action over claims he has participated in an alleged scheme to use alleged fraud lawsuits to allegedly pressure jewelers into settlements.

On Aug. 17, a Chicago federal judge signed off on the settlement deal between diamond wholesalers David Cohen and Ofer Mizrahi. The case was terminated on Aug. 20.

You can view the entire article here.

You can view the public apology and retraction the Defendant gave as part of the settlement here.

The retraction and apology appears below::

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After a surgery went horribly awry at a private surgical center, and the center was sued by the patient, it could not recover the full amount of judgment against it from its insurer an appellate court found. The court found that the surgery center had urged its insurer, who was defending it in the patient’s lawsuit, not to settle, as it believed its case to be highly defensible. Because of this, the panel found that the insurer had behaved appropriately even though it eventually lost and the jury awarded damages that were more than quintuple the surgical center’s policy limit.

Surgery Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, LLC is an outpatient surgical center that permits outside physicians to perform day surgery at its facility. American Physicians Assurance Corporation, Inc. is a medical malpractice insurance company that insured Surgery Center. The insurance policy that Surgery Center purchased from APA limited APA’s liability to $1 million per claim and provided that APA would defend and indemnify Surgery Center for claims that fell within the policy’s coverage. Continue reading ›

An Illinois Federal District court recently handed Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim defendants a win of sorts by slashing the size of a putative class, striking all out-of-state residents from the putative class on personal jurisdiction grounds. The case, Garvey v. American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida, is just one of an increasing number of cases limiting the scope of potential class actions filed in states other than the defendant’s home state.

On May 10, District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois struck all non-Illinois residents from a putative class in a TCPA class action filed against two Florida corporations. The ruling relied heavily upon the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Bristol Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017), which limited California courts’ jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant in a mass tort action.

Although not a mass tort case, Garvey concerns alleged telemarketing calls using an automated telephone dialing system to individuals without their prior express consent in violation of the TCPA. The plaintiff, who is an Illinois resident, sought to certify a class consisting of “[a]ll persons in the United States and its Territories” who had received similar calls from the defendants. The two defendants, both incorporated in and having their principal places of business in Florida, moved to strike all non-Illinois plaintiffs from the putative class on grounds that the court lacked general or specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants with regard to the claims of those plaintiffs. The defendants, however, did not challenge the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims brought by Illinois residents. The Garvey court relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol Myers agreed with the defendants, finding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the companies to decide claims brought by nonresidents of Illinois.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol Myers, while not a class action, dealt with a concept ultimately fundamental to every case: personal jurisdiction. Courts may hear a case and decide a claim only if it has personal jurisdiction over the defendant or defendants. Personal jurisdiction can be either general or specific. General jurisdiction exists in the defendant’s “home state,” which for a corporation is the state in which the corporation is incorporated or where is headquarters. As its name implies, general jurisdiction provides the broadest basis for a court to decide claims filed against a defendant. When a court has general personal jurisdiction, it can decide any claims against that defendant, assuming the court has subject matter jurisdiction to decide such a claim. Specific jurisdiction, on the other hand, arises out a defendant’s particular actions in a state. Where a court only has specific jurisdiction over a defendant, it may only decide claims that arise out of or relate to that defendant’s particular actions in the state. Continue reading ›

download-300x150download-1-300x150Super Lawyers named Chicago and Oak Brook non-compete agreement attorney Peter Lubin a Super Lawyer in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Patrick Austermuehle of the Firm was named a Rising Star again and has a great deal of experience as a Chicago restrictive covenant and non-compete agreement Attorney.  Peter Lubin and Patrick Austermuehle have achieved this honor for many years which is only given to 5% of Illinois’ attorneys each year.  You can review their record of accomplishment here. You can look at reviews by the clients here.

Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook and Chicago employment and non-compete agreement trial lawyers have over thirty years experience in litigating employment, restrictive covenant and non-compete agreement lawsuits.  Our Chicago non-compete agreement and trade secret theft attorneys prosecute and defend many types of employment practice and emergency business lawsuits involving injunctions, and TROS, covenant not to compete, franchise, distributor and dealer wrongful termination and trade secret lawsuits and many different kinds of business disputes involving shareholders, partnerships, closely held businesses and employee breaches of fiduciary duty. We also assist businesses and business owners who are victims of fraud.



Lubin Austermuehle’s Wheaton and Waukegan non-compete agreement lawyers have more than two and half decades of experience helping business clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state business laws. Our Chicago business, commercial, class-action, and consumer litigation lawyers represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners and shareholders as well as lawsuits between businesses and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Oak Brook, near Schaumburg and Orland Park, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.

The line between security and privacy has always been a bit blurry and it continues to get blurrier every day as technology advances. One of the latest developments in surveillance technology has been facial recognition software, which is allegedly capable of identifying you with just a quick scan of your face. While this could have far-reaching effects in the crime-solving world, it also eliminates much of our personal privacy in the process.

Brian Hofer is a paralegal in California who has been fighting to ban facial recognition software for the past five years. As soon as he became aware of the technology in 2014, he joined activist groups to try to get the technology banned from his hometown of Oakland. Once that was accomplished, he started working with other local government bodies across California to ban the technology from their streets. Since then, Hofer has drafted 26 different privacy laws for cities and counties all over the state of California, and all 26 have been approved.

While facial recognition technology may have been the catalyst for Hofer to start fighting for each citizen’s right to privacy, it has extended beyond that to include demands that companies and governing bodies be transparent about the kind of technology they’re using for their surveillance efforts. He has also convinced some cities, including Richmond and Berkeley, to cancel their contracts with tech companies like Vigilant Solutions and Amazon – both Richmond and Berkeley have sanctuary policies and both Vigilant Solutions and Amazon share information with ICE, so Hofer successfully argued that maintaining both the sanctuary policies and contracts with those companies constituted a conflict. Continue reading ›

Our Chicago car fraud lawyers have been litigating for many years claims against car and truck manufacturers who decline to stand behind certified pre-owned (CPO”) vehicles that turn out to be rebuilt wrecks or flood vehicles. We recently beat back a motion to dismiss by General Motors in such a case. General Motors claimed that the Texas GMC dealer who sold our client the truck at issue was a necessary party to the case and that since General Motors hadn’t sold our client the truck it should be suing General Motors.  You can read the court decision here which rejected General Motors argument.

Super Lawyers named Chicago business dispute lawyers Peter Lubin a Super Lawyer and Patrick Austermuehle a Rising Star in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Lubin Austermuehle’s Chicago auto fraud lawyers near Oak Brook and Naperville have over thirty years of experience in litigating auto fraud, franchise and dealer termination, breach of contract, complex class action, copyright, partnership, and shareholder oppression suits, non-compete agreement, trademark and libel suits, consumer rights and many different types of business and commercial litigation disputes.  Our Vernon Hills and Wheaton car fraud attorneys near Chicago litigate CPO fraud cases and rebuilt wreck and flood vehicle cases against used car dealers and automobile manufacturers. We also assist Chicago, Evanston and Oak Brook area used car consumers who are victims of fraud and consumer fraud. You can contact us by calling (630) 333-0333 or our toll-free number (833) 306-4933.  You can also contact us online here.

Chicgo-non-compete-agreement-and-Chicago-trade-secret-lawyers-300x115After a forensic document examiner wrote an article on the evaluation of qualifications and credentials in his profession for a trade publication, the nonprofit credentialing organization that was mentioned in the article sued the author and the publisher of the publication for defamation. The nonprofit argued that the article was defamatory and also singled out one of its members for special criticism. The district court dismissed the case, finding that the article was not defamatory, as it contained only opinions. An appellate court ruled in favor of the author and publisher, finding that the article represented the opinions of the author and that it was not possible to read the article as containing assertions of fact subject to verification. The appellate court determined that the district court did not err in finding that the article was not defamatory, even though it found that the author of the article should have disclosed his relationship to the credentialing organization that he promoted in his article.

The Board of Forensic Document Examiners is a nonprofit organization that administers a certification program for forensic document examiners. Certified examiners analyze and compare handwriting and provide expert testimony in judicial proceedings. The Board has certified about a dozen examiners. Continue reading ›