Client and Firm Victories
Arthur Holtzman of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group won summary judgment on liability for a family-run qualified retirement plan consulting company on its claims against a 19-year employee for intentional interference with existing business relationship and breach of fiduciary duty as a result of his pre-resignation solicitation of clients to appoint him their new broker of record and his misrepresentations during the solicitations as to the effect of the broker of record change. It was alleged that as a result the defendant-employee's pre-resignation solicitations, when he resigned, 13 clients left to do business with him. Although the defendant-employee raised a question of whether he was an officer of the company, the court found that he still owed fiduciary duties as an employee and that he breached those duties by soliciting existing clients months before he resigned. The court found further that the lost clients and the misrepresentation to clients established damage to plaintiff. The plaintiff was allowed to establish the amount of lost profits and other damages at trial.
Donald Moran of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group obtained a victory on behalf of his client, a multinational environmental solutions provider, whereby the Illinois Pollution Control Board ("PCB") struck a condition from DeKalb County's siting approval of the client's landfill expansion. In 2010, DeKalb County approved the client's siting application to expand the DeKalb County Landfill, located at the intersection of Somonauk and Girler Roads in DeKalb County. As a condition of approval, however, the County required that the client expand the width of a portion of Somonauk Road leading the landfill entrance and flatten the pitch of the off-shoulder embankments. This condition would have imposed significant and undue cost on the client. An appeal followed which involved argument that it was not necessary to satisfy the relevant criterion in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, which requires that "traffic patterns to or from the facility are so designed as to minimize the impact on traffic flows." After briefing and oral argument, the PCB agreed with the client, finding no evidence in the record to that the alterations to Somonauk Road were necessary to minimize the effect of the traffic patterns to and from the landfill expansion on existing traffic flows. In particular, the PCB (1) credited the thorough traffic analysis by P&H attorneys, which showed that the impact of expansion traffic would be virtually nonexistent, and (2) noted that "throughout the record, agricultural equipment, not the Expansion, is cited as justification" for the road alterations.
Chuck Gering of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group recently scored a victory for a pro bono client seeking asylum in the United States. Chuck's client is a citizen of Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa which Human Rights Watch describes as “one of the most closed and repressive states in the world.” Dissidence is not tolerated in Eritrea, and human rights violations are considered routine. When Chuck's client expressed opinions critical of the ruling administration, he was imprisoned for 26 months with no trial. He was subjected to inhumane conditions and repeated beatings that left him permanently injured. He escaped with the help of a prison guard who was a deserter, and a family friend in the Sudan helped him make his way to the United States. He entered the country illegally, but Chuck assisted him with an application for asylum and he was allowed to stay in the country while his application was pending. It took more than four years after he filed his application for asylum, but the Immigration Court recently granted him asylum. He can now legally remain in the United States indefinitely. He intends to pursue citizenship, and is in the process of applying to have his children join him here.