Litigation

The attorneys in Gould & Ratner’s Litigation Practice serve clients across the country, handling complex commercial matters for public companies, including those in the Fortune 500, as well as complicated business matters for the firm’s traditional client base of middle-market, closely held and family businesses.

Litigators for Business

Our litigators are highly skilled and experienced trial lawyers, practical and bottom-line oriented, yet as tough as a client wants or needs them to be, whether in state or federal court or before an administrative agency. For clients seeking other dispute resolution alternatives, our attorneys routinely appear before court-appointed and privately selected arbitrators and mediators.

Clients ask us to appear in the boardroom as well as in the courtroom because our trial lawyers are also business lawyers – professionals who understand that litigation can be an important tool for achieving a client’s business goals, but is not an end that is always desired. The firm’s litigation team does not just find a solution for a particular problem and then disappear once the matter has been resolved.

Clients seek out our litigation group attorneys to represent their ongoing business legal needs, such as adjusting certain business practices after a dispute has been settled or advising on preventative measures that can avoid litigation. Our clients also look to us to provide recommendations on how various dispute resolution alternatives can be used effectively and economically.

Diverse Experience

Our commercial litigation experience includes representing clients in a wide variety of matters, with significant focus on:

  • Corporate, partnership, closely held business and securities litigation
  • Products liability and mass tort
  • Real estate litigation
  • Construction litigation
  • Employment litigation
  • Intellectual property
  • Environmental litigation
  • Technology and e-commerce itigation
  • Creditors’ rights and bankruptcy litigation
  • Product distribution litigation
  • Class actions
  • Tax litigation

Appeals

Our experience also extends beyond the trial level, as is evidenced by the group’s extensive record of appellate advocacy. The firm’s litigation partners are sought out to handle difficult appeals and have argued cases before a number of appellate forums, including the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts.

Representative Matters

  • Represented video display manufacturer in dispute concerning development of 3-D technology for use in the gaming industry.
  • Obtained affirmance of trial court’s refusal to pierce the veil of general partner in connection with dispute over multimillion-dollar real estate development, strengthening Illinois protection for corporate entities.
  • Represented newspaper during federal jury trial against defamation claim stemming from investigation of pyramid scheme.
  • Represented investment bank against securities fraud and ERISA claims stemming from the collapse of Global Crossing.
  • Represented regional bank in dispute concerning a restrictive covenant affecting the development of an outparcel property. Successfully obtained release of restrictive covenant for nominal consideration pre-trial.
  • Represented national chain of retail optical stores in a dispute with Chicago-based developer seeking to alter client’s premises to facilitate substantial renovation/redevelopment of downtown Chicago office building. Successfully obtained both preliminary and permanent injunctive relief enjoining developer from infringing on tenant’s leasehold interest and significant rent concessions from developer to obtain future cooperation with redevelopment efforts.
  • Represented mining concern in dispute over disbursement of $5 million held under the terms of an escrow agreement executed in connection with a settlement of a condemnation action
  • Represented numerous condominium developers in disputes with independent condominium boards concerning allegations of construction defects, underfunded capital reserve accounts and underpayment of assessments before turnover to association. Also represented numerous condominium developers in partnership disputes concerning construction cost overruns and breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Represented numerous sellers and buyers in lawsuits seeking specific performance.
  • Represented several downtown office building owners in numerous lawsuits filed by current and former tenants disputing the allocation and calculation of expenses and real estate taxes.
  • Represented landowners from neighboring landowner’s lawsuit alleging the existence of a prescriptive easement.
  • Obtained defense summary judgment for tractor-trailer manufacturer in vehicle accident product liability claim.
  • Trial counsel in federal court suit obtaining permanent injunction in ADA and zoning case against municipality.
  • Trial counsel in Minneapolis jury trial in dispute between partners in real estate investment venture.
  • Obtained multimillion-dollar settlement for a family trust in breach of fiduciary duty suit against institutional trustee.
  • Obtained defense summary judgment in favor of tractor-trailer manufacturer in product liability and wrongful death claim arising from a rear-end highway collision.
  • Trial counsel in federal court action defending newspaper in multimillion-dollar defamation action.
  • Trial counsel in Cook County Circuit Court action for contractual indemnity for losses arising from construction site accident.
  • Trial counsel obtaining defense judgment in federal court business fraud lawsuit arising from $14-million sale of diesel utility-grade generators.
  • Trial counsel in a Cook County Circuit Court jury case representing a steel manufacturer, involving alleged defects in steel beams sold for use in a nuclear power plant.
  • Lead counsel in numerous arbitrations, including defending an Illinois coal producer in several arbitrations brought by a public utility under a long-term supply agreement.
  • Represented a municipality in a suit against its former insurance claims administrator and its auditing firm for failing to detect a multimillion-dollar fraud regarding the management of its self-insurance program. Obtained a favorable settlement for the municipality.
  • Represented a manufacturer in a trade secrets action against a competitor who obtained the client’s designs through a common supplier. Obtained a favorable judgment at trial.
  • Won a multimillion-dollar arbitration victory for a pharmaceutical company. The arbitration, conducted in New York City, concerned a license and development agreement for a drug to be administered to feedlot cattle using a microsphere and time-release technology. The arbitration involved substantial technical expert testimony concerning pharmaceutical bioequivalence and drug formulation issues, and whether all commercially reasonable steps to obtain FDA approval were taken.
  • Represented a leading private label food manufacturer enforcing non-compete agreement with former employees.
  • Represented an international commercial real estate service firm defending breach of contract, professional malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and negligent misrepresentation claims in arbitration.
  • Represented a local business prosecuting discriminatory zoning claims against municipality in five-day federal trial.
  • Represented a national manufacturer of transportation equipment in products liability and personal injury lawsuit in which plaintiff sought millions of dollars.
  • Represented an international motor sports entity in putative class action alleging variety of contract and tort claims in connection with racing event.
  • Represented a large real estate developer in an action against an auditing firm for failing to detect a multimillion-dollar embezzlement by the developer’s bookkeeper. Despite the fact that no audit or attestation level services were performed, obtained a seven-figure recovery at trial based upon the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Management Advisory Standards (which had seldom been used to impute liability in litigation matters prior to that time).
  • Lead counsel representing a general contractor in negotiating and reviewing the contract documents in connection with a $118-million, 1-million-square-foot convention center project in Seattle. At the conclusion of the construction contracts, prepared claim that was developed as a result of design deficiencies and schedule impacts, resulting in numerous change orders. The settlement structure for the claim totaled $60 million and was agreed to at a mediation hearing before litigation.
  • Lead trial counsel for owner in litigation involving, among other things, responsibility for construction defects at a multimillion-dollar senior development. Successful in developing a litigation strategy that lead to the settlement of all of the litigation claims on terms acceptable to the owner during the trial.
  • Lead trial counsel for a contractor in successful litigation with a public utility responsible for the contamination of a coal gasification site; obtained a multimillion-dollar award.
  • Represented a large real estate developer who entered into a store lease with one of the largest clothing designers in the world for that designer to develop a Chicago flagship store. After incurring substantial construction and other expenses to ready the premises, the client was notified by the designer that it would no longer rent the space. A declaratory action was initiated in federal court and a substantial verdict was rendered in favor of our client. That verdict on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was preserved and the matter settled for a multimillion-dollar amount.
  • Lead counsel representing a financial institution in an investigation of the conduct of a board member; developed a plan for the institution that would both resolve the problem with the existing board member and prevent the conduct from occurring in the future with other board members.
  • Lead trial counsel in representation of a California corporation in a trademark dispute over the use of certain paintings that were silk-screened and sold in large numbers by a national discount chain. Achieved injunctive relief and eventually reached a settlement that provided for a disgorgement of the profits wrongfully made by the defendant’s misuse of the client’s product.
  • Represented a municipality in a suit against its former auditing firm for failing to detect a multimillion-dollar fraud regarding the management of its self-insurance program. Obtained a favorable settlement for the municipality.
  • Successfully argued before the Illinois Supreme Court the issue of how to treat Illinois Consumer Fraud Act claims, when such claims are asserted as part of a class action complaint involving a nationwide class.
  • Represented purchaser/homeowner in dispute involving a developer/vendor’s fraudulent sale of property.
  • Represented former beneficiaries of a trust in action against an institutional trustee for breach of trust.
  • Successfully represented a minority owner of an emerging technology business in a partner dispute leading to settlement through mediation.
  • Successfully represented a Chinese tool-and-die manufacturer in a multimillion-dollar dispute with the U.S. division of a global equipment company.

Publications

Litigation Team