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Representative Cases

Toxic Tort

  • Successfully represented a refinery owner at a two week trial against plaintiff’s claim that his lung cancer developed as a result of a “synergistic effect” between his alleged asbestos exposure and his cigarette smoking. The jury returned a verdict that found that the sole proximate cause of plaintiff’s lung cancer was cigarette smoking. In the months leading up to the trial, the parties had argued over which expert witnesses would be allowed to testify on plaintiff’s behalf. The judge accepted the defense arguments that plaintiff’s expert theories were scientifically unreliable, and that the Court should bar its use at trial. Using the Daubert factors, the Court disallowed the witnesses’ testimony concerning their alleged knowledge of asbestos exposure, and particularly the “any exposure” theory, under which any exposure to asbestos results in injury and is considered to potentially cause cancer. Krik v. ExxonMobil, et al, No. 1:10-cv-07435 - Document 299 (N.D. Ill. 2014).
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of premises owner for alleged exposure to asbestos that occurred during the initial construction of a grass roots refinery.  In a case of first impression, summary judgment was upheld by the First District Court of Appeals which articulated the duties owed by premises owners in Illinois to independent contractors in the context of alleged exposure to asbestos.  The court held that the refinery owner was not liable to the plaintiff for the alleged exposure to the asbestos-containing materials with which he and other construction workers were working. Gregory v. ExxonMobil, 892 N.E.2d 563 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2008).
  • Successfully represented the world's largest producer of chromium chemicals in a suit alleging conspiracy over a period of many years by the company and its trade association to suppress information about the cancer-causing potential of sodium dichromate, a hexavalent chromium VI compound.
  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of two coatings manufacturers in a case in which plaintiffs claimed that the 97 deaths and more than 200 injuries arising from a New Year's Eve hotel fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico, were attributable to hydrogen cyanide off-gassing from the products.

Commercial Litigation

  • Representation of trustee of an Internal Revenue Code §468B Qualified Settlement Funds (“QSF”) in a lawsuit involving the allocation of the settlement amounts between the various MDL plaintiffs and their attorneys.
  • Representation of a beneficiary of an estate in a lawsuit seeking to recover damages against former insiders and affiliates, asserting claims for, inter alia, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent transfer.
  • Representation of a corporation defending against the theory that it was  liable for the debtor's liabilities on fraudulent conveyance, mere continuation or de facto merger theories.
  • Representation in Delaware Chancery Court of a beneficiary of an IRS Sections 671-677 Creditors Liquidation Trust Agreement, seeking interpretation of the trustee’s obligations

Class Action

  • Busse v Motorola; Represented defendant in Nationwide Class Action on alleged breach of privacy ("intrusion upon seclusion”) for claimed release of customer information in national database of cell phone users used to study brain tumors. Summary judgment in favor of defendant affirmed by the First District (Illinois) appellate court. 813 N.E.2d 1013, 351 Ill. App. 3d 67, 286 Ill. Dec. 320.
  • Statewide class Complaint filed in the N.D. Ill alleged defendant violated the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act Regulation X and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, in connection with certain loan documentation.  Representing the defendant, we successfully opposed class certification, which resulted in an individual settlement with the class representative.
  • Statewide class Complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois alleged defendant violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and various state laws in connection with certain title insurance documentation.  Representing the defendant, we successfully opposed class certification on the numerosity requirement, which was granted, after which Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his claim.
  • Statewide class Complaint filed in Lake County, Illinois alleged defendant violated the  Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and various state laws in connection with certain title insurance documentation. Representing the defendant, we successfully opposed class certification and moved to dismiss on procedural grounds, which was granted.
  • Statewide class Complaint filed in Cook County, Illinois seeking injunctive relief and alleging defendant violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and various state laws in connection with certain business practices. Representing the defendant, we successfully opposed class certification and then moved to dismiss the remaining claims on substantive grounds, which was granted.
  • Statewide putative class action filed in Lake County by a class representative purporting to represent groups of the defendant’s past customers who allegedly were charged either excessive or duplicative fees for the recording of documents with county officials pursuant to real estate transactions. We successfully opposed class certification and then moved to dismiss the remaining claims on substantive grounds, which was granted.
  • Sturman v AABB was a class action filed against the American Association of Blood Banks (“AABB”) on behalf of a class of all individuals who received blood transfusions in Illinois. The lawsuit alleged negligence by AABB in failing to establish standards for its member hospitals, requiring them to notify the class of their increased risk for Hepatitis C virus (“HCV”) , breaching an alleged fiduciary duty owed to the class; and committing fraud by failing to inform class members about their increased risk for HCV. Working with National Counsel, John Parker Sweeney, we were successful in having the class claims dismissed on the basis that common questions of law and fact did not predominate. Affirmed, 343 Ill App 3d 1299.
  • A lender, sued in the Northern District of Illinois in a purported class action for consumer fraud and violations of various federal banking regulations, brought a third-party claim against the firm’s client, a mortgage servicer, for contribution and indemnity for alleged complicity in the creation of certain mortgage documentation. Representing the defendant, we successfully moved to dismiss the class claims on 23 (a) “ adequacy” and “typicality” grounds, which was granted
  • Illinois Statewide Class Settlement of dispute related to the allocation of recording fees charged in real estate closings. Class settlement negotiated after contentious litigation involving full class certification proceedings, discovery on the merits and petitions for attorneys’ fees.
  • Blesy v Kustom Signals. Plaintiffs purported to bring this action on behalf of a nationwide class of police officers who allegedly used traffic radar systems manufactured by four manufacturers.  The firm represented a radar gun manufacturer against a potential class of all police officers in the U.S. ever exposed to radar speed detection equipment.  The officers complained that their retinal, testicular, and other myelomas were a result of their exposure to the equipment.  We succeeded in having the class action dismissed prior to the certification stage, on the basis that the claim for medical monitoring for increased risk of future injuries to the police officers did not meet the "injury-in-fact" requirement under Illinois Law.  The plaintiffs appealed, but the appellate court affirmed the decision and refused to extend the standards for the manifestations of the injuries.
  • Board of Education v AC&S. Asbestos Property Damage Litigation-Chicago.  Represented a surface treatment defendant in the asbestos property damage litigation filed by the Chicago and Evanston Boards of Education here in Chicago and in one downstate jurisdiction.  We obtained a dismissal without any settlement payment of these suits since the plaintiffs could not provide product identification of the asbestos containing sprayed on ceiling coatings.
  • Insulation Material.  This class action filed in the mid-eighties purported to involve millions of nationwide homeowners and building owners.  Represented a chemical manufacturer who supplied components that were used in creating urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) which was installed in many homes built in the 1970’s and was retrofitted into many buildings to provide enhanced insulation during the energy crisis.  The plaintiffs complained of symptoms including headaches, runny noses and birth defects.  The court allowed discovery on the issues related to class certification.  The firm assembled extensive scientific affidavits in opposition to the certification and our motion to dismiss was granted, certification was refused, and only eleven individual cases were eventually filed.
  • David Dung Ngo, et al. vs. Amoco Corporation, et al. Better known as the Amoco Research Center cancer cluster cases, the claims ranged from eight to forty counts. Represented a chemical manufacturer charged with negligence and strict liability for failing to warn of the dangerous properties of its chemicals which resulted in brain cancer to lab workers in twelve cases. The class portion of the complaint sought damages for medical monitoring for all of the facility’s workers. J&B’s client was successful in having all actions against it dismissed.