Donald J. Trump is already facing dozens of criminal charges for allegedly falsifying business records and misusing campaign funds in an alleged attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. Yet Trump is back in court suing his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for $500 million.

The lawsuit accuses Cohen of talking publicly about things that should have remained confidential between him and his former client. The lawsuit also accuses Cohen of telling lies about Mr. Trump in the media and in Cohen’s two books, Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, and Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the U.S. Department of Justice Against His Critics.

The first book was published prior to the 2020 presidential election, whereas the second was released in 2022. Among other things, the books accuse Trump of being a racist and of lying about just about everything. Continue reading ›

We all know attorneys are not allowed to represent both sides in a lawsuit, but what if the law firm currently representing one side used to represent the other side? Wouldn’t that be considered a conflict of interest? It’s especially likely to pose a problem if the issue involved in the lawsuit is the same issue the law firm previously handled for the other side.

If the law firm had recently represented the company they’re currently suing, it’s obvious how that could cause problems. But what if the prior legal work in question was performed more than a decade ago? Would that be long enough to erase the conflict of interest?

All that is in question as Walgreens seeks to disqualify a law firm currently filing a lawsuit against it on behalf of major health insurance providers.

Walgreens claims the law firm, Crowell & Moring, has breached its fiduciary duty to the giant retail company by representing major health insurers suing Walgreens over drug prices. The law firm sought to have the claims dismissed, but U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall said Walgreens had provided enough evidence to keep their claim alive, at least for now. Continue reading ›

A Call from a Friend Led Him to a Multi-Million-Dollar Case

A lot of people tend to assume lawyers have enormous salaries, but a lot of lawyers, especially those working at small firms, make only a modest income. So, the millions of dollars that might be on their way to attorney David Wasinger as part of a settlement agreement he negotiated and a case he won is anything but business as usual for him.

Wasinger is the only partner of a small law firm in St. Louis, Missouri. He works with just four other lawyers and his firm handles mostly business disputes. He had never represented a whistleblower until he got a call from an old business acquaintance in early 2012.

A whistleblower is someone who works in an organization that is allegedly committing fraud against the government, and they decide to alert the authorities. Because whistleblowers are risking their jobs and their reputation, they usually receive 15-25% of the settlement or court-ordered award that comes out of the lawsuit as an incentive to alert the government to fraud.

A share of that money goes to the lawyers representing the whistleblower, which is why whistleblower cases are highly competitive. Wasinger’s position is unique in that he didn’t compete to represent this client – the client reached out to him because they already had a relationship. When you’re blowing the whistle on fraud worth billions of dollars, you need someone you can trust.

The first lawsuit Wasinger brought to court accused Bank of America’s Countrywide unit of engaging in widespread fraud. In January of 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan announced it would be asking for as much as $2.1 billion in penalties from the bank after a jury found it to be guilty of fraud. Continue reading ›

When someone files a lawsuit alleging physical or emotional abuse, they can often find the legal process to be retraumatizing. They are forced to relive the incident(s) that hurt them over and over again, first when hiring a lawyer, then in deposition, then again in court. It’s not an easy process, and it’s a big reason that many victims never pursue legal action. It’s also a big reason many of those who do file never pursue it all the way to court.

Moss Gropen is one such victim who alleges he was abused and neglected by Palomar Medical Center. According to the lawsuit, Gropen went to the hospital for a scheduled procedure to remove fluid from the area surrounding his lungs. Instead, he claims he was admitted to the emergency room where doctors inserted a chest tube, then put him in a windowless room and left him alone with substandard nutrition. Gropen alleges he suffered from uncontrollable sobbing and anxiety, which resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), from which he says he continues to suffer.

Gropen is suing the hospital along with several of its doctors and employees for causing his PTSD. When he appeared at the offices of the hospital’s lawyers in July to provide his deposition, his wife came with him to provide emotional support during what was bound to be a challenging time for Gropen.

The lawyers immediately objected to the presence of Gropen’s wife at the deposition because she is a witness in the lawsuit. Having Gropen’s wife present while he provides his deposition could lead to the two of them colluding on their testimony. Gropen refused to provide testimony without his wife present and ended up leaving the office without providing testimony. Continue reading ›

It’s commonly said that you have to spend money to make money, but taken too far, that philosophy can easily bankrupt a company. When that company has investors and shareholders whose money you’re spending so you can try to make money, you have to justify your expenses to those shareholders. You have a responsibility to spend their money wisely so they can expect a good return on their investment.

According to a series of lawsuits filed against Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., the company allegedly made a series of moves the shareholders considered to be in violation of the company’s fiduciary duty.

One such move was the decision made by MSG Network’s board of directors and controlling stockholders to merge with MSG Entertainment. The reason given for the move was to save costs, but the minority shareholders allege the move was not made with their best interests in mind. Continue reading ›

As an employee, you may have come across the term “non-compete agreement” during your job search or employment. Non-compete agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, are contractual clauses that restrict an employee’s ability to work for a competing business for a certain period after leaving their current job.

In Illinois, non-compete agreements are governed by the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. This law, which went into effect in 2017, makes it clear that employers cannot restrict low-wage employees from taking other jobs or working for competitors.

However, for other employees, non-compete agreements may be enforceable under certain conditions. According to the Illinois law, for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable, it must be:

  1. Ancillary to a valid employment agreement: The non-compete agreement must be part of an employment contract, and the employee must receive consideration (such as a job offer, a promotion, or a bonus) in exchange for agreeing to the restriction.
  2. Reasonable: The non-compete agreement must be reasonable in scope, geographic area, and duration. This means that the restrictions must be necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests and must not impose an undue burden on the employee.
  3. Not against public policy: The non-compete agreement cannot be contrary to the public interest or public policy. For example, it cannot restrict an employee’s right to work in their chosen profession or industry.
  4. The employer has not breached the employment agreement first. This can include engaging in illegal behavior which forces the employee to resign.

If a non-compete agreement meets these criteria, it may be enforceable in Illinois. However, even if an agreement is enforceable, it does not mean that it will be enforced by a court. Illinois courts will only enforce a non-compete agreement if it is necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests and if the restrictions are reasonable.

It is important for employees to understand their rights and obligations under non-compete agreements. Before signing an employment contract that includes a non-compete clause, employees should carefully review the terms and seek legal advice if necessary. Employees should also be aware of their obligations under the agreement, including any restrictions on their ability to work for competitors after leaving their current job.

In summary, non-compete agreements can be a complex issue for employees in Illinois. While they may be enforceable under certain conditions, employees should be aware of their rights and obligations under these agreements and seek legal advice if necessary. By understanding the law and their rights, employees can make informed decisions about their employment and protect their career opportunities. Continue reading ›

Car fraud can lead to criminal charges in addition to civil suits for consumer fraud as a recent criminal prosecution in Georgia demonstrates.

Police apprehended two employees of Newman, Georgia Nissan franchised dealer. The charges are that they fraudulently altered car purchase documents and forged customers signatures in order to overcharge customers.

A customer of the dealership, Iryna Alfieri claimed that she did not purchase any add-ons or extended warranties when she acquired her Nissan in September. However, these items were still included as part of the deal. Police discovered that the electronic signatures on that portion of the paperwork differed from those on the rest of the documents.

Newnan police wrote in its report that “Ms. Alfeiri [sic] stated that she has tried to get this matter reversed with the dealership[,] however they have not been inclined to address the issue.”

In December, Lindsay Collins, another customer, asserted that the dealership refused to accept the return of her vehicle, which she was attempting to return under the lemon law. She also alleged that her paperwork included forged signatures, and police identified an “apparent difference” in the signatures she pointed out.

On the same day, Justin Steele, another customer, claimed that he had purchased a 2018 Ford F-150 XLT from the same dealership. The dealership, however, listed the vehicle as a Ford F-150 Platinum on the loan application. This could be a part of a practice known as “power-booking,” in which dealers misrepresent the trim level of a vehicle, inflating its value to obtain higher rates from financial institutions. In this case, the difference between the two vehicles was more than $14,000.

The two men accused of this fraud appeared in court for their arraignment hearing where they pleaded not guilty. Continue reading ›

According to state law enforcement officials, a used car dealer’s business had to close down because it was accused of deceitfully earning more than $70,000 from sales.

Police claim that Ilham Driouich, aged 23 from Enola, and Anas Soubai, aged 28 from Harrisburg, dishonestly obtained $74,750 from 18 distinct clients by defrauding customers into purchasing unsafe cars or keeping down payments even though the consumers never received the cars they had wanted to purchase.

The couple, who were married, were the proprietors of Power Auto Sales, LLC, situated at 7841 Paxton Street in Swatara Township.

Driouich was accused of engaging in illegal activities, fraudulent business practices, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, and violating the board of vehicles act.

Soubai was accused of impersonating a notary public or holder of a professional or occupational license.

As per police, the two used fake inspection stickers, publicized inaccurate model years, and rolled back odometer readings to make the used cars appear to be worth a lot more than they really were.

The police also asserted that they offered warranties that were nonexistent and initiated the sale of cars via Facebook Marketplace prior to receiving a permit to carry out their business.

Police added that the dealership allegedly failed to offer consumers mandatory vehicle documentation and sold cars that were not fit for the road to unsuspecting car buyers who were under the impression that they were purchasing roadworthy cars.

“Not only did these activities compromise the safety of these clients and other drivers on the highways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but they also caused monetary losses on cars that either needed further repairs or could not be established as roadworthy,” stated the police report.

The police also discovered that the pair had allegedly obtained a 2019 Maserati Ghibli that was stolen in Ohio, which they bought at a significantly lower price than its actual value without a title, and then allegedly informed potential buyers that they had misplaced the title.


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A defamation claim should be dismissed under the “substantial truth” defense where the “gist” or “sting” of the allegedly defamatory material is true.” Harrison v. Chicago Sun-Times, Inc., 341 Ill.App.3d 555, 563 (1st Dist. 2003) (reporter defendant’s use of the word “kidnapped” conveyed the gist or sting that would have been conveyed by the correct phrase “wrongful removal under federal and international child abduction law”). “Substantial truth” makes an allegedly defamatory statement non-actionable even when the statement is an inaccurate characterization of criminal behavior. That is so even when a statement is “not technically accurate in every detail.” Accord, Bertha v. Daily Herald Newspaper, 2022 IL App (2d) 210695, ¶ 20. See also Lemons v. Chronicle Pub. Co., 253 Ill.App.3d 888 (4th Dist. 1993) (reporter’s words were substantially true because the reporter’s and plaintiff’s characterizations of the conduct were similar).

The substantial truth of a statement is normally a jury question, but where no reasonable jury could find that substantial truth had not been established, the question is one of law.  Harrison, 341 Ill. App. 3d at 563.t Dist. 2003)

Harrison was a notable case in Illinois that involved a claim of defamation against a prominent newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times. The case was decided by the Illinois Appellate Court in 2003 and had significant implications for media law in the state including reiterating the substantial truth defense.

The plaintiff in the case was Michael Harrison, a former employee of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) who had been fired from his job. The Sun-Times published a series of articles about Harrison’s termination, which included allegations of misconduct and corruption. Harrison sued the newspaper for defamation, arguing that the articles had damaged his reputation and caused him to suffer financial harm.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Sun-Times, finding that the newspaper’s statements about Harrison were either true or protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press. Harrison appealed the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

The Sun-Times argued that its articles about the plaintiff’s termination from the CTA were substantially true. The newspaper had conducted an extensive investigation into the circumstances of the termination, and had based its reporting on official documents and interviews with CTA officials. The articles accurately reported the substance of those documents and interviews, the newspaper argued, and any minor inaccuracies or omissions were not material to the overall story.

The Illinois Appellate Court agreed with the Sun-Times, finding that the articles were substantially true and therefore not defamatory. The court noted that the newspaper’s reporting was based on official documents and interviews with CTA officials, and that the articles accurately conveyed the substance of those sources. The court also found that the plaintiff had not shown that any inaccuracies or omissions in the reporting were material to the overall story or had altered its meaning.

The defense of substantial truth can be a powerful tool for defendants in defamation cases, particularly in cases involving public figures or matters of public interest. By demonstrating that a statement is substantially true, defendants can often avoid liability for allegedly defamatory statements even if they contain some minor inaccuracies or omissions.

Another one of the key issues in the case was whether the Sun-Times had acted with actual malice in publishing the allegedly defamatory statements about Harrison. Under U.S. defamation law, public figures like Harrison must prove that the defendant acted with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that the statements were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity – in order to succeed in a defamation claim.

The Appellate Court in Harrison v. Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. found that there was no evidence that the newspaper had acted with actual malice. The court noted that the Sun-Times had conducted an extensive investigation into Harrison’s termination and had based its reporting on official documents and interviews with CTA officials. The court also found that the Sun-Times had accurately reported the content of those documents and interviews, and had not fabricated or distorted any facts.

The court’s decision in Harrison v. Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. reaffirmed the importance of the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of the press, particularly in cases involving public figures. It also highlighted the high standard of proof that public figures must meet in order to succeed in a defamation claim, emphasizing the need to prove actual malice on the part of the defendant and to defeat a substantial truth defense.

Harrison was a significant case in the evolution of media law in Illinois and the United States, underscoring the importance of a free and independent press in holding public officials accountable and informing the public.

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In the case of Pickering v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 265 Ill. App. 3d 806, the plaintiff sought punitive damages against the defendant for the defendant’s failure to warn consumers of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure. Punitive damages are damages awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and to deter similar conduct in the future.

In this case, the plaintiff sought to discover the net worth of the defendant as part of their efforts to establish punitive damages. The defendant objected to the request for net worth discovery, arguing that it was irrelevant to the issue of punitive damages and that it was overly burdensome and intrusive.

The court held that net worth discovery was relevant to the issue of punitive damages and that the defendant had a duty to disclose its net worth. The court noted that punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and that the amount of punitive damages awarded should be proportionate to the defendant’s ability to pay. The court also noted that net worth discovery is a common practice in cases involving punitive damages. Continue reading ›

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