Firm News and Recent Decisions
Supplement to Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer
October 6, 2015
TDR partner John Fitzgerald was named as one of the top 40 lawyers under forty years of age in Illinois. Clients and professional colleagues nominated Mr. Fitzgerald for the honor. More than 1,200 lawyers were nominated for the award. Mr. Fitzgerald was recognized for, among other things, his work in representing members of the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System in the state’s contentious pension reform litigation.
The article quotes Grace Liu, an attorney with the University of California, as saying, “John has all the skills that make a top litigator. He spots nuanced issues. He frames those issues in understandable and personal terms. He is a highly effective writer. He argues concisely and persuasively in court.”
Other attorneys call John “unstinting and unselfish” and note that “his legal acumen and abilities, the manner in which he navigates complex legal issues and situations, and the maturity with which he carries himself all suggest experience beyond his years.”
September 9, 2015
TDR Partner John Fitzgerald was interviewed by reporter Andrew Maloney of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for its article on September 8th (subscription required) about the Illinois Supreme Court’s upcoming term. Fitzgerald, whose practice is focused primarily on appeals and commercial litigation, commented on the implications of the Illinois Supreme Court’s eventual ruling in Price v. Philip Morris, case no. 117687.
Fitzgerald and other TDR attorneys are noted appellate practitioners. The firm’s appellate practice is headed by Gino DiVito.
May 29, 2015
On May 28, 2015, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas R. Mulroy granted a motion to dismiss that TDR filed on behalf of a Michigan-based signage company.
The motion was based on a broad forum selection clause contained in a license agreement between the parties. This clause mandated Michigan courts as the exclusive jurisdiction for a dispute between the parties.
The plaintiffs filed a one-count claim under the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. TDR successfully argued that the parties’ agreement was broad enough to encompass all claims between the parties, including the plaintiffs’ statutory claim.
TDR Partner Karina DeHayes and Associate Uri Abt represented the Firm’s client in these proceedings.
Unanimous Opinion Strikes Down Pension Law
May 8, 2015
In a unanimous opinion, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that a 2013 pension reform law is unconstitutional. TDR represented a group of retired teachers in successfully challenging the law.
TDR Founding Member Gino DiVito, who argued the case before the Court, said, “We are delighted that today’s Supreme Court opinion recognizes and ensures the pension rights of State employees, as required by our Constitution. We trust that the General Assembly will address the State’s fiscal difficulties, in a manner consistent with the constitution, and in a way that is fair to all the citizens of Illinois.”
TDR Partner John Fitzgerald also assisted in this matter.
April 26, 2015
Michael Rothstein recently commented on judicial vacancies in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in an article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
"Pension Legislation is Unconstitutional"
March 13, 2015
On March 11, 2015, TDR Founding Partner Gino DiVito argued before the Illinois Supreme Court in Heaton v. Quinn, a landmark case in which the Court will decide whether pension reduction legislation enacted in 2013 is unconstitutional. TDR, representing retired teachers and both active and retired school administrators in the pension litigation, argued that the 2013 law that cuts pension benefits violates the State’s constitution.
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin summarized DiVito’s arguments as “the pension clause is so clear and unambiguous that all the constitutional convention voter’s guide had to say was that it was ‘new and self-explanatory.’ Drafters of the constitution wanted to not only create a legally enforceable contractual relationship for every public employee who receives a pension but also to ensure that the pension rights were guaranteed, which created the very language at issue”.
Further, according to the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald, DiVito stated, "This is a case about a constitutional provision, one that is explicit, clear and unambiguous, and it is subject to no stated exception. The state has not cited a single case where the reserve sovereign powers, the police powers, have been held to override a constitutional provision, and that's because there is no such case."
DiVito, a retired justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, has been a noted authority on the Pension Protection Clause (Article XIII, section 5) of the Illinois Constitution for years, and he often argues cases of great significance before the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court. For more information about TDR’s appellate practice, please click here.
Karina DeHayes and Mark Horwitch Receive Special Recognition
January 14, 2015
SuperLawyers® Magazine has recognized nearly three-fourths of TDR partners and one associate for their high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
In addition, Karina DeHayes was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers and Mark Horwitch was named one of the Top 100 Illinois Lawyers.
- Karina Zabicki DeHayes
- Gino L. DiVito
- Mark H. Horwitch
- Timothy A. Hudson *
- Jeffrey Patton
- Michael I Rothstein
- Caesar A. Tabet
- John J. Barber
- Michael J. Grant
- Brian C. Haussmann
- Daniel I. Konieczny
- Brent Ryan (A) *
(A) - Associate
* - First time honoree in this category
The list of Illinois SuperLawyers includes no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state. Rising Star is a distinction reserved for the top 2.5% of Illinois lawyers who are under 40 or in practice for 10 years or fewer.
January 9, 2015
On January 8, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed in its entirety the district court’s Order dismissing with prejudice all copyright infringement and other federal claims in connection with a lawsuit filed against a U.S. recording company in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiff had alleged that the recording company and its artists improperly used the plaintiff’s purportedly protected materials. The plaintiff’s lawsuit asserted 14 counts alleging numerous copyright infringement claims, a claim under the Visual Artists Rights Act, and a host of state law claims. TDR attorney Timothy Hudson represented the recording company before the district and appellate courts.
December 11, 2014
TDR won an important appellate victory in the Illinois Appellate Court for its client BorgWarner Inc. The appellate court’s opinion affirms the circuit court’s decision that BorgWarner was entitled to receive certain documents from its indemnitees notwithstanding their claim that the attorney-client privilege blocked disclosure.
The December 9th edition of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin quoted TDR partner Caesar A. Tabet as saying: “It really is an important case that involves a cover-up of serious contamination that has resulted in contract indemnity liability in excess of $150 million. The appellate court’s decision is a critically important decision involving contract indemnity.”
December 2, 2014
On November 21, 2014, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz issued an order (linked) finding Public Act 98-0599, a pension reduction law that was enacted in December 2013, unconstitutional and void in its entirety. Working with attorneys representing various other plaintiff groups, TDR partners Gino L. DiVito, John M. Fitzgerald, Brian C. Haussmann, and John J. Barber, and TDR associate Uri B. Abt successfully represented retired Illinois teachers and retired and active Illinois school administrators in that litigation. “This is precisely the type of complex constitutional litigation in which our firm excels,” said TDR name partner Gino L. DiVito, “and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”
TDR partner John Fitzgerald was quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business on November 21, 2014 as observing that Judge Belz’s decision was “exactly the result that drafters of the Illinois constitution intended: that people could rely on their pensions without fear of them being reduced.”
Because the Attorney General has initiated an appeal of the trial court’s ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court, TDR will continue to represent its clients in this case before the Illinois Supreme Court.