Gary L. Prior joined Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC in July 2002. Before then, Mr. Prior was a Capital Partner in the Trial Department of McDermott, Will & Emery’s Chicago office and a former member of that firm’s Management Committee. Mr. Prior’s practice is concentrated in securities and class action litigation; international and transnational law; professional liability; RICO, qui tam, and other fraud litigation; dissenting shareholder valuation cases; and general corporate and commercial advice and litigation, arbitration and mediation, including both trials and appeals. Mr. Prior has represented numerous accountants, auditors, attorneys, and other professionals, officers, directors, public corporations, privately held companies, fiduciaries, and beneficiaries. His clients have included Crowe Horwath LLC, a large international accounting firm; Lyon & Healy Harps; the Appraisal Institute; DSC Logistics, Inc., and the late Dr. Sakharam D. Mahurkar, a successful inventor.
Mr. Prior is a member of the bars of the Illinois Supreme Court (since 1968), the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial bar), the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Seventh and Federal Circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Mr. Prior acted as counsel for Harza Engineering Co. in the case of Farman-Farmaian v. Harza, 882 F.2d 281 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied (1990). He successfully raised an “act of state” defense to claims by the owners of a company expropriated by Iran. The Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari after seeking the views of the U.S. State Department and the Solicitor General, who agreed with Mr. Prior’s position. Mr. Prior successfully petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court for leave to appeal in Pinilla v. Harza, 324 Ill.App.3d 803 (2001), 197 Ill.2d 584 (2001) and the Illinois Appellate Court to grant an interlocutory appeal in InPhoto v. Crowe, Chizek and Co., LLP, which reversed the Circuit Court and ruled in favor of his client. Mr. Prior also tried and argued on appeal the cases of Teamsters et al. v. Ryerson, 176 F.3d 1004 (7th Cir. 1999), successfully defending the denial of two preliminary injunctions after evidentiary hearings by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Polsky v. BDO Seidman, 293 Ill.App.3d 414 (1997), affirming the dismissal of a $25 million professional liability claim. In 2006, Mr. Prior obtained certification from the Illinois Circuit Court of a novel issue relating to the validity of a tolling agreement allowing an indefinite extension of a statute of repose. When the Appellate Court refused to hear the appeal, Mr. Prior petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court, which issued a supervisory order directing the Appellate Court to decide the appeal. In 2007, Mr. Prior obtained summary judgment dismissing all counts in an Illinois lawsuit against a national accounting firm and won partial summary judgment (affirmed on appeal) in a $100,000,000 Kentucky professional liability case which had the effect of substantially reducing plaintiff’s damages claim. The case was tried to a jury in 2011 and resulted in a complete defense verdict, which was also affirmed on appeal.
In 2010, Mr. Prior obtained the voluntary dismissal of his accounting firm client in a multi-party fraud case after several years of litigation and an appeal. In 2011, Mr. Prior obtained the dismissal of an international accounting firm in a shareholder suit relating to a West Virginia bank freeze-out following an FDIC takeover. In 2013, Mr. Prior obtained a favorable settlement of a patent infringement case which resulted in the dismissal of over a dozen similar cases filed across the United States. In 2013, Mr. Prior also obtained the dismissal of a professional liability case against his clients, a large international law firm, for lack of federal jurisdiction. Subsequently in 2014, Mr. Prior obtained the dismissal of the re-filed state court case and an order barring all contribution claims.
After filing a motion for summary judgment, Mr. Prior also obtained a seven-figure recovery for a European investor, which represented more than the principal amount of the investment. Mr. Prior has also tried two dissenting shareholder valuation cases to judgment, in both cases achieving a valuation highly favorable to his clients.
In 2015, Mr. Prior obtained an award of fees and expenses to his client for plaintiffs’ discovery abuses. The award was affirmed on appeal in 2016. In 2017, Mr. Prior obtained the dismissal on motion of an accounting firm client in a bank failure case.
Mr. Prior received his B.S. degree from Tulane University in 1965 and his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1968. Mr. Prior represents, contributes to, and is on the board of the Prior Family Trust and formerly the Furry Friends Foundation. Mr. Prior is a member of the ISBA and the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and a speaker on subjects of interest to accountants and other professionals. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Nancy O’S. Prior.