Articles Posted in Best Business And Class Action Lawyers Near Chicago

Although non-compete agreements were originally invented to keep executives from running off to competitors with trade secrets and/or client relationships, many businesses have started taking advantage of noncompete agreements by including them in employment contracts with all their workers – even those at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder.

Workers earning minimum wage (or close to it) doing things like making sandwiches and entering data into a computer system are being made to sign employment agreements that prohibit them from working in any capacity for a similar company. Despite the fact that these are unskilled jobs (often held by people who don’t even have a high school diploma), and certainly don’t include access to any important trade secrets, workers are being made to sign such agreements as a condition of employment. And when agreeing to all the terms of the contract is the difference between getting the job and going without a paycheck, most workers don’t consider it much of a choice.

Although signing the employment contract might get them the job, it makes it much harder for them to move up the corporate ladder because the non-compete agreement often means they can’t leverage their experience to get a better paying position with another company. Their options are to try to move up the ladder in their own company or stay in their position where they’ll continue to earn the same low wage.

If employees try to take a new job in violation of the non-compete agreement, they can be prevented from doing so or even made to leave their new job after they’ve settled into it. In many cases, the clause prevents workers from even looking for new employment or asking for a raise for fear of retaliation from their employer. And when they’re not allowed to seek out a similar position with another company that pays better, they have no leverage to ask for a raise. Continue reading ›

When a water main was damaged by work performed by a telecommunications company, causing a pharmacy to flood and sustain damage, the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment to the insurance company. The Illinois appellate court found that the policy’s exclusion of coverage for damages relating to water from under the surface of the ground applied to water that originated underground, even if the damage caused by that water occurred above ground.

In December 2015, Prekshot Professional Pharmacy was operating in leased space in Peoria, Illinois. Preckshot had a contract of insurance with its insurer, Pharmacists Mutual. AT&T and its subcontractor were performing directional boring behind Preckshot’s premises. The boring damaged a water service line near the Preckshot premises, causing a discharge of water that flooded the Preckshot pharmacy above the ground.

Preckshot subsequently filed a claim with Pharmacists Mutual pursuant to its insurance policy. Pharmacists dispatched an investigator to determine the precise cause of the damages. The inspector concluded that the water from the ruptured line flowed through under a concrete slab and came up through the ground to infiltrate the interior of the pharmacy. Pharmacists then denied Preckshot’s claim, stating that coverage was excluded by a provision in the policy which excluded perils caused by water below the surface of the ground. Continue reading ›

When a shipment of sand was tainted by excess moisture, the contract between the two companies involved in the transaction required that any suit be filed within four months of the delivery. As the plaintiff corporation’s suit was filed over two years later, it was untimely.

In 2014, Vesuvius Corporation and American Commercial Lines, LLC (“ACBL”), entered into a shipping contract to transport olivine sand from New Orleans, Louisiana to Vesuvius’ facility in Wurtland, Kentucky, by way of a river barge. The shipment arrived in January 2015, at which time Vesuvius’ employees inspected the cargo and found it damaged by excess moisture. The employees notified ACBL, and ACBL arranged for a surveyor to perform an inspection that same day. The surveyor found no structural defect in the barge, and instead concluded that the sand was wet when it was loaded and that some of that moisture had evaporated during transit, condensed on the overhead portion of the cargo space, and dripped back onto the sand. The surveyor filed his report with ACBL on Feb. 23, and ACBL promptly contacted Vesuvius to disclaim liability. Continue reading ›

Best-Chicago-Commercial-Litigation-Lawyers-200x300Knowing where to bring a lawsuit and what state’s laws to apply can have a huge impact on the success of business litigation. Courts have developed extensive and complicated rules and procedures for determining where a lawsuit should be brought and which jurisdiction’s laws to apply, but that procedure is rarely simple or straightforward. Conflicts between the laws of two or more states can complicate the matter further. Agreeing in advance to jurisdiction and venue can provide certainty and save a great deal of time and money in the unfortunate event litigation does ensue. For this reason, companies often address in the contract itself how any disputes or litigation will be handled. A common example includes “forum selection” or “choice of venue” provisions, which identify a specific state (or even a specific county within a state) as the proper jurisdiction and venue for litigation.

Forum selection is a particularly important part of a contract when the parties are from different jurisdictions, especially when the laws of those jurisdictions differ significantly from one another. A forum selection provision gives a business the security of knowing that any litigation will take place in a familiar location applying a familiar set of substantive laws. However, a poorly worded forum selection provision may not provide the security hoped for as a recent opinion from Delaware’s Chancery Court in a partnership dispute case demonstrates. The case, In re Bay Hills Emerging Partners I, L.P., et al, involved the issue of whether a forum selection provision in a limited partnership agreement required all lawsuits to be filed exclusively in Kentucky. Continue reading ›

download-300x150download-1-300x150Super 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. Patrick Austermuehle of the Firm was named a Rising Star again.  Peter Lubin and Patrick Austermuehle have consistently won this honor which is only given to 5% of Illinois’ attorneys each year.

Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook and Chicago business trial lawyers have over thirty years experience in litigating complex class action, consumer rights and business and commercial litigation disputes. We handle libel and defamation cases, First Amendment issues 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, Naperville, and Aurora litigation attorneys 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 Glen Ellyn, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.

The 7th Circuit Opinion Affirming $50,000 Sanction of Attorney Joel Brodsky.  In upholding the $50,000 sanction against attorney Joel Brodsky, the 7th Circuit concluded:

“Brodsky’s egregious behavior, obvious on the face of the record and emphasized at length by the court, more than justified the court’s choice of sanction. Brodsky’s rhetoric was inappropriate and outlandish, and his attempt to implicate the court in his fraud—and to use legal process as a tool to intimidate a witness—was beyond the pale.”

You can read the full opinion here.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which is an electronic form of cash. It is decentralized without the need for a central bank or administrator. The need for an intermediary is none, as it can be sent
from user-to-user. Since its technology is relatively new, litigation surrounding this type of exchange is being closely followed by those who have invested in it and those who are wanting
to know of the direction of the future in exchange. Of course, it would not be long until the way transactions took place would be tested in the courts on an international and local level.
Since its reach has no real boundaries, we will look to a decision held in Shenzhen, China. A ruling was made involving the dispute over an equity transfer case. The matter then went before
the International Court of Arbitration. The currencies that the case concerned included: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Diamond. There was so much of a buzz that the decision generated
that the Cryptocurrency news provider posted:

“Chinese court confirms Bitcoin protected by law. Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration ruled a case involving cryptos. Inside the verdict: CN law does not forbid owning & transferring bitcoin, which should be protected by law bc its property nature and economic value.”

The case, therefore, has reached to affect property and economic rights as viewed by the law. How it affects us here in the USA is yet to be seen. The decision applied followed a ruling held
in Moscow. The very classification of Bitcoin and other digital currencies as “property” could even lead to tax implications. Let’s remember this: Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not
considered currencies, and are not backed by the government or law. However, they are not illegal. That is the backdrop that is being worked within the dealing with the relatively new medium
of exchange. Basically, the ruling means that there is no prohibition against Bitcoin ownership and transfer in China. Continue reading ›

A suburban business in Chicago is under scrutiny for implementation of a system in which the way the business allegedly sterilized caused emissions of a cancer-causing substance. The operational facility provides sterilization services to the medical, pharmaceutical and food industries.  Ironically, the health damage by its emissions cause might make locals worse off.

Consequently, a change was made to equipment that was being used had been installed.  Governor Bruce Rauner then, eventually, requested closing the plant completely which was also co-owned by his former private equity firm.  It was not looking good on him and locals were very angry.  Whether or not, and the type of action that would have been taken in circumstances, but for, that situation are not known. Local politicians added pressure and since we are dealing with cancer, people are not taking this issue lightly at all.

Right now, as it stands, the Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, believed that further investigations of air quality with analysis by experts would be necessary in order to make a case.  Perhaps, the one-off situation is not enough to gauge that there has been negligence or any breach that is substantial.  This would constitute as information that only a state or federal Environmental Protection Agency would be able to give in such circumstances.

It was the likelihood of the emissions ranged from “probably carcinogenic” to “carcinogenic to humans,” that became grounds for tests to be expedited.  It is speculated that the new system is less harmful, but can the damage be reversed?  Even a reduction by 90 percent cannot do much to whatever is out there in the atmosphere.  These issues are problematic, affect multiple residents’ health and will require in-depth investigation.  A school is even within the vicinity of impact.  If a class action arises, this will be one not taken lightly. Continue reading ›

A plaintiff’s attorney in New York recently challenged a federal court’s authority to order him to pay a $10,000 fine as a sanction for misconduct under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in a copyright infringement case. Southern District of New York Judge Denise Cote imposed the monetary sanction on attorney Richard L. pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules and the court’s inherent authority to manage its own affairs (Paul Steeger v. JMS Cleaning Services, LLC).

The alleged conduct for which Richard was sanctioned included failure to serve notice to the defense of a pretrial hearing as required by court order, which the judge accused Richard of having done on three other occasions in the southern district, and also failing to respond to the defendant’s settlement offer.

Shortly after the defendant complained of Richard’s conduct to the court, the parties reached a voluntary settlement in the case. As a result of the complaint, the judge issued Richard an order to show cause why he should not be sanctioned.

At issue in Richard’s motion for consideration was what the court is allowed to do under its inherent power and under Rule 11, which requires that no monetary sanction or order may be imposed against a party or its counsel after the litigants have reached a voluntary settlement.

Judge Cote noted, however, that she received the defendant’s complaints about Richard’s misconduct and issued the order prior to the case’s formal dismissal or settlement. Instead, Richard had notified the court only that the parties had reached a settlement “in principle.” The case was not dismissed pursuant to the settlement until four weeks later.

The judge accused Richard of a pattern of omissions and misrepresentations in the case and failing to adhere to standards expected of officers of the court. Continue reading ›

The sports industry is one of inflated prices. From tickets to merchandise, rabid fans are often willing to pay outrageous prices for the illusion of a connection to their favorite player and this includes the selling of equipment that was allegedly worn by star players during games. The question of whether it can be proven that a specific piece of equipment was worn during a game or not was up for debate in a recent lawsuit against Eli Manning, the Giants, two equipment managers for the NFL team, and Steiner Sports, a company that sells helmets and jerseys worn by players during games.

The lawsuit was filed by Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab, and Sean Godown, who purchased two helmets that were supposed to have been worn by Manning during games, but the three men allege that is not actually the case. Inselberg, who filed the lawsuit in 2014, claimed photographic experts used a technique known as “photo matching” to determine if the helmets he, Jakab and Godown had bought had actually been used in NFL football games. According to the lawsuit, these experts allegedly failed to find any evidence that either helmet had, in fact, been worn during any game.

Manning and the Giants argued that photo matching isn’t reliable because helmets are routinely reconditioned after, and even during seasons. They claim photo matching fails to take this into consideration and the evidence that a particular helmet was worn during games is to be found on the inside of the helmet, rather than the outside. Continue reading ›