Kanaris, Stubenvoll & Heiss, P.C.

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Topical and timely, In re Hitz, 2020 WL 2924523 [Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2020] presents as a useful quarantine-era case that interprets the scope of a force majeure clause in a restaurant lease. The debtor filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-March 2020 after failing to pay rent for that month.  The creditor moved to modify the automatic stay and sought post-petition rent under 11 U.S.C. 362 and 365, respectively.  In response, the restaurant debtor argued that…
Shortly after their business relationship imploded, the parties in Levin v. Abramson, 2020 WL 249649, brought dueling defamation claims in Federal court premised on March 2017 Yelp posts by the parties. The former client defendant (the “Client”) skewered the plaintiffs lawyer and her law firm (“Lawyer”) on Yelp.com in which he braded the Lawyer, among other things, an incompetent predator who defrauded Client. The Lawyer responded with a post of her own the same day. …
Nixing an $8M Federal jury verdict, the Seventh Circuit recently held, among other things, that a discovery rule violation cannot undergird a negligent misrepresentation claim. The plaintiffs in Turubchuk v. Southern Illinois Asphalt Company, 958 F.3d 541 (7thCir. 2020), twice sued a joint venture consisting of two paving contractors for personal injuries sustained in a 2005 traffic accident.  The first lawsuit, sounding in negligence, settled for $1MM, the amount plaintiff believed was the maximum available…
Andersen Law LLC v. 3 Build Construction, LLC, 2019 IL App (1st) 181575-U, the subject of my most recent post, here , examines the nature and reach of Illinois’s Fraudulent Transfer Act, 740 ILCS 160/1 et seq. [“IFTA”] and the ‘continuation’ exception to the successor liability rule. The Plaintiffs’ IFTA claims were based on allegations that former members of the LLC debtors’ systematically raided company bank accounts and formed a new business entity to evade…
The First District recently considered when the discovery rule can mitigate the harshness of a statute of limitations [the SOL] in a fraudulent transfer case. The plaintiffs in Andersen Law LLC v. 3 Build Construction, LLC, 2019 IL App (1st) 181575-U, a judgment creditor’s former counsel and her new law firm who secured a $200K judgment against two limited liability companies, sued under the Illinois Fraudulent Transfer Act, 740 ILCS 160/1 et seq. [the “IFTA”]…
In Dixon v. GAA Classic Cars, LLC, 2019 IL App (1st) 182416, the trial court dismissed the Illinois plaintiff’s suit against a North Carolina car seller on the basis that Illinois lacked jurisdiction over the defendant. Reversing, the First District answered some important questions concerning the nature and reach of specific jurisdiction under the Illinois long-arm statute as informed by constitutional due process factors. Since the defendant had no physical presence or office in Illinois,…
In Estate of Gerulis, 2020 IL App (3d) 180734, two siblings [Petitioners] sued their brother [Respondent] for allegedly looting their father’s [Decedent] estate to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars. Underlying Facts Shortly after moving to Illinois from Florida to live with Respondent [his eldest son], Decedent and Respondent opened multiple bank accounts and purchased certificates of deposit from an Illinois bank, [a bank where Respondent’s wife happened to work] and transferred over $60K from…
The Northern District of Illinois considers a plethora of signature complex litigation issues in FW Associates, LLC v. WM Associates, LLC, 2019 WL 354953 (N.D.Ill. 2019), the culmination of a years’ long dispute between LLC members over ownership and management of Smart Bar –  a company that made an automatic cocktail dispenser [the Smartender]. After a flurry of lawsuits and an arbitration hearing that resulted in a nearly half-million dollar money judgment, the judgment creditor…
Hayward v. Scorte, 2020 IL App (1st) 190476, reads like a creditors’ rights practice manual for its detailed discussion of the nature and scope of various creditor remedies under the Illinois supplementary proceedings and garnishment statutes.  (735 ILCS 5/2-1402 and 735 ILCS 5/12-701 et seq., respectively.) The plaintiffs confirmed a half-million dollar arbitration award against a corporate defendant in a construction dispute and sought to collect. In post-judgment discovery, the post-judgment court (the Law Division’s…
The First District appeals court recently examined the collateral attack doctrine – which immunizes a court’s judgment from challenge in a separate judicial proceeding – in a case flowing from failed settlement talks. The defendants in Tielke v. Auto Owners Insurance Company, 2019 IL App(1st) 181756, four years after a 2013 personal injury suit was filed, made an eve-of-trial verbal offer to settle for $700,000. The plaintiff’s counsel verbally accepted the offer the next day before trial started. …