Articles Posted in Best Business And Class Action Lawyers Near Chicago

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Although most board members of publicly traded companies are paid an annual salary, plus a bonus based on performance (usually in the form of company stock), being on the board of a company or organization tends to be a part-time job and most members have day jobs in addition to their position on the board.

But because board members bear a fiduciary responsibility to look after the financial interests of the company’s investors, they have to be very careful where they get the rest of their income. Accept some money or do a favor for someone from the wrong company, and you raise suspicions that you might have a conflict of interests.

Alan Kahn, an investor in United Flexible, Inc., an aerospace parts manufacturer and an affiliate of Arlington Capital Partners, filed a lawsuit in Delaware against two of Kreisler Manufacturing Corp.’s board members for allegedly conducting a merger in bad faith. According to the lawsuit, the two board members, Edward Stern and his brother Michael, received side deals from Arlington just before the board decided to drop its asking price for the company.

The lawsuit further alleges board members deliberately failed to disclose important information from shareholders regarding the merger. As evidence, Kahn’s complaint points to the fact that the board members refused to make copies of the merger agreement, requiring instead that all shareholders who wanted any information about the details about the agreement needed to be willing to fly to Philadelphia to see a physical copy of the contract. Continue reading

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Summer Zervos, who was a contestant on The Apprentice back in 2007 is attempting to sue President Trump for defamation claims which he denies yet claims her suit cannot proceed until his Presidency ends. Zervos alleges that, while she was in meetings with Trump that were supposed to be about business, Trump allegedly kissed her on the mouth multiple times and touched her breasts without her consent.

Trump denied the accusations, publicly calling them “lies” and “nonsense,” but Zervos is not letting this go. She and 18 other women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct and Zervos is currently suing Trump for defamation. The lawsuit asks Trump to take back the statements he made about her, apologize to her, and provide financial compensation.

Trump’s attorneys have filed a motion to have the case dismissed, but if Justice Jennifer Schecter refuses, Trump’s presidential campaign might be required to release any and all documents they have relating to all the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct – not just Zervos.

Trump’s attorneys argued that a state court does not have jurisdiction over a sitting president. They have also asked to delay the case with a stay if the judge does decide to allow the case to proceed. That would put off the trial until after Trump is no longer president.

Zervos’s attorney cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Clinton v. Jones to allow a sexual harassment case against President Clinton to continue in the federal courts while Clinton was still president. Trump’s attorneys argued that decision does not apply to the current case because that lawsuit was filed in federal court, rather than state court. Continue reading

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Although the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) gives consumers the right to claim thousands of dollars in punitive damages for each illegal phone call made to their cell phones, there are valid reasons for plaintiffs to seek a settlement that pays only a fraction of their eligible damages.

In a recent proposed class action consumer lawsuit against Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, the parties have agreed to a financial settlement of $17.5 million to cover the claims of more than 1.6 million customers. Attorneys representing the class of plaintiffs have said they will request reimbursement for up to $100,000 of their actual expenses, fees of no more than one third of the total settlement fund ($5.8 million), and an incentive award of $25,000 for each of the three named plaintiffs who came forward to file the TCPA lawsuit.

After all that, each plaintiff will receive anywhere from $55 to $90, depending on their individual claims. Any funds that are left over after all payments have been made will go to the National Consumer Law Center and the Public Justice Foundation. None of the funds will revert back to Ocwen, as is sometimes the case in class action settlements. Continue reading

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The New York Times is reporting that consumers need to beware that flood vehicles will be dumped on the market due to the Hurricanes in Florida and Texas.  The article provides the following guidance on how to avoid purchasing a flood vehicle:

Consumer Reports has suggested tips for identifying cars that may have spent time underwater. A buyer or mechanic should look for these telltale signs:

■ Caked-on mud and a musty odor from the carpets. New carpets in an older vehicle may be another red flag.

■ A visible water line on the lens or reflector of the headlights.

■ Mud or debris trapped in difficult-to-clean places, such as gaps between panels in the trunk and under the hood.

■ Rusty exposed screws under the dashboard. Unpainted metal in flood cars will show signs of rust.

■ Rubber drain plugs under the car and on the bottom of doors that have been removed. That may have been done to drain floodwater.

The full New York Times article can be viewed here.

If you are the victim of purchasing a flooded vehicle, you can contact us and we will pursue litigation to return the vehicle or obtain money damages. Continue reading

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The bait and switch tactic of selling goods and services is a trick as old as time, but it’s not always legal. If a customer signs a contract agreeing to pay a particular price for something, it is expected that the price will not change for the duration of the contract, unless both parties agree to the change in writing. That change can happen, either as an amendment to the contract, or as part of a new contract.

According to a federal class action consumer lawsuit that was recently filed in California, Comcast allegedly lured new cable customers with promises of low rates, which they then jacked up without warning or gaining consent from their customers. The fees in question are: the “Broadcast TV Fee,” which allegedly went from $1.50/month in 2014 to $6.50/month in 2016; and the “Regional Sports Fee,” which allegedly went from $1/month in 2015 to $4.50 in 2016.

When customers complained to Comcast, they were allegedly told by company representatives that the fees were government-related taxes or fees over which the company said it had no control – an assertion the plaintiffs claim is a blatant lie.

Comcast asked the court to dismiss all the claims put forth by the plaintiffs, saying its online order submission process was not enough to constitute a legally-binding contract. On the other hand, the Subscriber Agreement and Minimum Term Agreement were binding contracts in which the customers had allegedly agreed to pay Comcast’s fees.

Judge Vince Chhabria, of the U.S. District Court of Northern California, rejected Comcast’s motion to dismiss, saying that, by submitting their order, Comcast customers were agreeing to pay Comcast’s advertised prices, in addition to government-related taxes and fees. Chhabria denied Comcast’s assertion that consumers agreed to its higher fees in the Subscriber Agreement. As far as the Minimum Term Agreement was concerned, the plaintiffs allege they never saw it when submitting their order, in which case they cannot be bound by its terms. Chhabria said the plaintiffs had plausibly asserted that they never saw the agreement, although determining it in fact will have to be left to the more in-depth analysis of a summary judgment. Continue reading

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The world of big-money executive bonuses is one that most of us can only dream of, but it was the subject of a recent opinion by the Illinois Appellate Court. The First District held that under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, ABN Amro Inc. could not deny a former executive a $2-million bonus simply because he had no written compensation agreement. (Robert D. Schultze v. ABN Amro, Inc., 2017 IL App (1st) 162140)

Robert S. had held various executive positions with ABN subsidiary LaSalle Bank since 1983. He earned his salary and bonuses under an oral employment agreement. If Robert and his team met certain performance goals, he could expect to receive a multiple of his salary as a bonus.

In 2007, ABN promoted Robert to managing director and chief operating officer of Global Markets North America Division. He was then asked to manage the $21-billion sale of LaSalle to Bank of America and the $93-billion sale of ABN to Royal Bank of Scotland and two other banks, as executive lead of the ABN North America Transition Leadership Team.

Based on the bonuses paid to his predecessors in the COO job combined with his significant added responsibilities, he expected a bonus of $2-$5 million for 2008. When he learned in March 2009 that his 2008 bonus was only $200,000, he objected as the amount was not in proportion to the responsibilities he had assumed, and was much lower than his recent annual bonuses. Continue reading

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The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not protect defamation, but the requirements that speech must meet in order to qualify as defamation are very specific, and even more so for public figures. The primary objective of the First Amendment is to allow citizens (and especially the press) to speak freely about public figures in order to keep the public informed on what their elected officials and candidates are doing.

In June of this year, a gunman opened fire at a baseball stadium where Republican Congressmen were practicing for a charity baseball game. In an effort to write an editorial on the event and get it published quickly enough so as to still be relevant, the New York Times made some factual errors, but it quickly corrected them and apologized afterwards.

In trying to make a point about the level of hostility between the two political parties, James Bennet, the author of the editorial, mentioned the 2011 mass shooting conducted by Jared Loughner, which left Representative Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded. Bennet also mentioned a map of targeted electoral districts that Sarah Palin’s political action committee had previously circulated.

Palin promptly sued Bennet and the New York Times in New York federal court for defamation, claiming the editorial incorrectly connected her with the mass shooting, even though the publication she had no connection to the gunman, as the newspaper had previously said so in other articles it had published. Continue reading

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Our credit rating is too important to take any chances on it. All it takes is one bad report to lower your rating, which can then inhibit your ability to obtain a loan and make any large purchases you might need, such as a home or automobile. Unfortunately, such a situation can open opportunities for companies to practically hold consumers’ credit ratings hostage until they pay their bill – even an undated bill to which the customer was never alerted.

That’s what Mandi H. alleges happened after she canceled her account with CenturyLink at the end of 2015 as a result of poor service. At the time, her account showed Century Link owed her $26 and she did not receive any other bills or communication from CenturyLink.

It wasn’t until a few months later that Mandi H.’s credit-reporting services alerted her to the fact that there was a negative report on her credit history from a company called “CenturyTel.” Hanifen did not recognize the name, but she investigated and found it was an older name for CenturyLink. When she confronted CenturyLink, Hanifen alleges they showed her a bill for $127 – the bill contained no date and Mandi H. alleges she had never seen the bill before that time. Nevertheless, CenturyLink allegedly refused remove their negative credit report on her history and continues to demand she pay a bill she insists she never received.

Rather than pay the bill, Mandi H. has opted to sue CenturyLink. She is the lead representative for a proposed class action consumer lawsuit that was recently filed against CenturyLink in Boise, Idaho. The complaint alleges there could be as many as 5 million potential class members, with damages totaling between $600 million and $12 billion. Continue reading

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In a case of “idea theft,” film industry defendants who argued the right to free speech protected them against a claim of stealing a screenplay that was later made into “The Purge” films were recently slapped down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Jordan-Benel v. Universal City Studios Inc., et al., No. 15-56045 (9th Cir., 2017).

In 2011, screenwriter Douglas J. penned a screenplay entitled “Settler’s Day,” depicting a futuristic landscape of lawlessness and chaos, which he registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Douglas’s agent submitted the screenplay to persons at United Talent Agency (UTA). After saying it would pass on the screenplay, UTA forwarded it to other clients of UTA, who allegedly adapted it into “The Purge.” The film and its sequel were released in 2013 and 2014, produced by Universal City Studios and four other production companies.

In 2015, Douglas filed a complaint for copyright infringement against UTA and the production company defendants, claiming breach of an implied-in-fact contract based on defendants’ implied agreement to compensate and credit him as a writer/creator should his idea be used. He alleged that defendants breached this agreement by using and profiting from his ideas without compensation or credit, seeking declaratory relief. Continue reading

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Although most he said/she said cases can be difficult, if not impossible, to prove which side is in the right, when hearing a case against a person for allegedly acting inappropriately, consideration can be given to how strongly the accuser appears to believe what they’re saying, rather than what actually happened.

In the case of the charges David Mueller filed against Taylor Swift, her mother, and one of her managers, Judge William J. Martinez, of the United States District Court in Denver, dismissed the pop star from the complaint.

The allegations involve a meet and greet Swift gave before a concert at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Mueller and his girlfriend at the time, Shannon Melcher, posed for a photo with the pop star, at which point Swift claims Mueller put his hand up her dress and onto her bare buttock.

Out of shock and surprise and an unwillingness not to ruin the whole evening for the rest of her fans, Swift did not immediately react. But after her meet and greet was over, she allegedly informed security she had been groped, at which point they escorted Mueller and Melcher out of the building. Continue reading