Business relationships are often just as complicated as personal relationships, and the longer the relationship, the messier the breakup can be. In a perfect world, people would be able to accept that things change and allow both their loved ones and their coworkers to move on when the time comes. Unfortunately, the pain and sense of betrayal felt by those left behind often makes them do inadvisable things.
One person who allegedly couldn’t let it go was Garrett Patten, the owner of Patten Industries, a Caterpillar heavy equipment dealer located in DuPage County of Illinois. According to a recent defamation lawsuit filed against both Patten Industries and its owner, Garrett Patten allegedly retaliated by seeking to destroy a former employee’s reputation after he left the company to work for a competitor.
Michael Jaworski started working for Patten Industries in 2001 and worked his way up to sales manager. In 2013 he allegedly notified his superiors that he had received a job offer from a competitor, but had turned it down, even though he was not entirely happy working for Patten Industries. According to Jaworski’s lawsuit Garrett Patten allegedly threatened Jaworski, comparing it to an ugly divorce if Jaworski ever did quit.
In 2015, after 14 years of working for Patten Industries and building his professional reputation in the Caterpillar industry, Jaworski turned in his notice at Patten and went to work for Beverly Lawn Maintenance, a former customer of Patten Industries.
Patten allegedly fulfilled his threat by setting out to smear Jaworski’s professional reputation throughout the Caterpillar industry. Patten even went so far as to sue Jaworski for $9 million for alleged misconduct while working for Patten Industries. According to the lawsuit Patten filed, Jaworski allegedly embezzled money from the company and allowed customers to bribe him for more favorable sales contracts.
According to the defamation lawsuit filed by Jaworski, Patten, in addition to filing this allegedly baseless misconduct lawsuit, has also allegedly been spreading rumors about Jaworski throughout the Caterpillar industry. The lawsuit alleges Patten has been telling people Jaworski left Patten Industries to work elsewhere because Jaworski was allegedly aware Patten would find out about the bribes Jaworski was allegedly taking from customers.
What’s more, Jaworski alleges Patten’s scheme seems to be working. Jaworski claims he now routinely gets questions from those in the Caterpillar industry about the harmful rumors Patten has allegedly spread. Jaworski’s complaint further points out that, by attacking his professional integrity within the Caterpillar community, Patten has allegedly set out to destroy a career Jaworski has spent 14 years cultivating, and which comprises the vast majority of his ability to earn a living.
Jaworski’s defamation lawsuit, which he filed in Cook County Circuit Court, is asking for both compensatory and punitive damages, although he has not yet specified an amount.
It seems unlikely that both Patten and Jaworski can win their lawsuits, since it is impossible for both of their claims to be valid at the same time. Although filing a lawsuit as a form of retaliation is extreme, it has been known to happen.
Our Chicago libel and slander lawyers concentrate in this area of the law. We have defended or prosecuted a number of defamation and libel cases, including cases representing a consumer sued by a large luxury used car dealer in federal court for hundreds of negative internet reviews and videos which resulted in substantial media coverage of the suit; one of Loyola University’s largest contributors when the head basketball coach sued him for libel after he was fired; and a lawyer who was falsely accused of committing fraud with the false allegation published to the Dean of the University of Illinois School of Law, where the lawyer attended law school and the President of the University of Illinois. One of our partners also participated in representing a high profile athlete against a well-known radio shock jock.
Our Chicago defamation attorneys defend individuals’ First Amendment and free speech rights to post on Facebook, Yelp and other websites information that criticizes businesses and addresses matters of public concern. Our Chicago Cybersquatting attorneys also represent and prosecute claims on behalf of businesses throughout the Chicago area including in Evanston and Wheaton who have been unfairly and falsely criticized by consumers and competitors in defamatory publications in the online and offline media. We have successfully represented businesses who have been the victim of competitors setting up false rating sites and pretend consumer rating sites that are simply forums to falsely bash or business clients. We have also represented and defended consumers First Amendment and free speech rights to criticize businesses who are guilty of consumer fraud and false advertising.
Super Lawyers named Chicago and Oak Brook business trial attorney Peter Lubin a Super Lawyer in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook and Chicago business trial lawyers have over a quarter of a century of experience in litigating complex class action, consumer rights, and business and commercial litigation disputes. We handle emergency business lawsuits involving injunctions, and TROS, defamation, libel, and 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 or defamatory attacks on their business and reputations.
Lubin Austermuehle’s DuPage County defamation and slander lawyers near Waukegan and Glen Ellyn 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 Naperville, and Schaumburg, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.
If you are the victim of a defamatory attack on your business or a consumer who has been sued to stop you from posting criticism of a business online at Yelp or anywhere else, contact one of our Oak Brook and Chicago defamation lawyers for a free consultation at 630-333-0333 or online by filling out our contact us form.