Representation of Defendants

Chicago Lawyers Representing Clients in Lawsuit Defense

Zimmerman Law Offices, P.C. has substantial experience representing companies and individuals accused of professional misconduct, personal injury and fraud, as well as commercial real estate and business law clients in lawsuit defense throughout Illinois.

Contact us by e-mail or call 1-877-440-0020 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Recognized as one of the “Top 40 Illinois Lawyers Under the Age of 40,” attorney Thomas Zimmerman has extensive experience defending individuals, corporations and licensed professionals throughout Illinois, including:


BREACH OF CONTRACT

Automobile Dealer Sued for Selling Defective Car – An out-of-state automobile wholesaler and retailer was sued in Illinois for selling an inoperable car that needed major repairs. We moved to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction over the car dealer on the basis that the car dealer did not transact any business in Illinois, no part of the sale occurred in Illinois, the car was not located in or shipped to Illinois, and the car dealer’s internet advertisements were not directed to the people of Illinois. The judge agreed that Illinois courts did not have personal jurisdiction over the car dealer, and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Home Buyer Sued for Backing Out of the Purchase – A homeowner entered into a contract with a man for the purchase of a home. However, the man could not obtain financing and he backed out of the purchase. The homeowner sued the man to recover $60,000 in earnest money and fees, pursuant to the liquidated damages provisions in the purchase agreement. We successfully defended the man on the basis that the mortgage contingency clause in the purchase agreement was a condition precedent such that the purchase agreement was not enforceable until the man obtained financing. Because the man could not obtain financing, the contract became null and void and the homeowner was required to return the earnest money, with interest, to the man.

BUSINESS LITIGATION

Dentist Sued by Laboratory for Nonpayment – A dentist was sued for not paying a laboratory for porcelain crowns he ordered for a patient. We defended the dentist on the basis that the laboratory failed to provide crowns that conformed to the dentist’s specifications in the final impression and shading and color map. We also counter-sued for damages, such as lost chair time and fees from another laboratory to make new crowns. The laboratory eventually dropped its lawsuit.

Doctor Sued in Unsuccessful Medical Practice Partnership – A medical practice began having financial difficulties, so one of the partners (Partner 1) took the practice’s medical equipment, furniture, telephones, supplies, inventory, and patients’ medical records and sued the other doctor (Partner 2) alleging that she was to blame for the practice’s demise. Representing Partner 2, we counter-sued Partner 1 seeking the immediate return of the stolen items, and rescission of the partnership agreement. We presented affidavits from patients stating that their medical conditions were deteriorating without ongoing treatment, and we argued that Partner 1’s actions threatened the health of the patients. The court agreed, and entered an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) compelling Partner 1 to immediately return the stolen items. Thereafter, we were able to rescind the partnership, and Partner 2 continued to operate the medical practice by herself.

Jewelry Store Sued for Lost Jewelry Shipment – A supplier of jewelry threatened to sue a jewelry store for the value of the jewelry that the store shipped back to the supplier, but which was lost in transit. Before the supplier was able to file a lawsuit in another state, we filed a declaratory judgment action for the court to declare that the jewelry store properly packed all of the jewelry and shipped it back to the supplier.

Trader Sued for Abandoning Partnership and Taking Black Box Futures Trading Software – A futures trader developed a black box electronic trading software program, and formed a partnership with other traders to obtain clients to trade S&P 500 futures using the software. However, the trader withdrew from the partnership and took the trading software with him, and the partnership’s clients closed their accounts. The partners sued the trader seeking lost profits from the commissions that the partnership would have continued to make from its clients’ trades. We successfully defended the trader on the basis that the partners were planning to steal the software and kick the trader out of the partnership, and the partners had further violated their fiduciary duty to the trader by misappropriating partnership profits to their benefit. The trader was allowed to leave the partnership with his trading software, and the lawsuit was dismissed.

CHILD CUSTODY

Mother Loses Child Custody and Visitation – Following a lengthy trial to determine the best interests of the children, a mother going through a divorce lost custody of her children to her husband and she was also denied any visitation with her minor children. We were retained after the trial to appeal the decision. We successfully appealed the trial court’s decision denying visitation by demonstrating that visitation would not endanger the children’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health, and the appellate court ordered the trial court to fashion appropriate visitation. In this matter, we also filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of whether a state court rule violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment where the rule precludes the court from exercising its discretion, in the interest of fundamental fairness, to allow an untimely appeal from a court order terminating a parent’s liberty interest to the care and custody of her children.

CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS

Company Sued in Class Action for Printing Expiration Dates on Receipts – A comedy club was sued in a class action lawsuit for printing the expiration date of the credit card on its customers’ receipts, in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A customer may recover statutory damages under FACTA if the merchant knowingly or recklessly printed the expiration date on the receipt. We successfully defended on the basis that the club owner, at most, negligently violated FACTA. One of the club’s credit card processing machines was in full compliance with FACTA, while the other machine was in partial compliance with FACTA, as it truncated the credit card number but not the expiration date. Due to the club’s inadvertent keystroke error that occurred during the programming, one of the credit card processing machines did not fully come into compliance. Thus, the club did not knowingly or recklessly violate the law.

Company Sued in Class Action for Sending Unsolicited Facsimile Advertisements – A roofing company was sued in a class action lawsuit for sending unsolicited facsimile advertisements, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The roofer’s insurance carrier denied insurance coverage for the lawsuit. We negotiated a settlement with the plaintiff whereby the roofer assigned its claim for coverage against its insurance carrier to the plaintiff, in exchange for dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the roofer. In order to recover any money, the plaintiff had to pursue a separate lawsuit against the insurance carrier and establish that there was, in fact, coverage for the TCPA claim under the roofer’s insurance policy. The roofer paid nothing, and the plaintiff was only allowed to seek recovery against the insurance carrier if the plaintiff established that the policy afforded coverage for the TCPA claim.

DEFAMATION

Home Builder Sues Husband and Wife for Defamation – A husband and wife contracted with a home builder to build a custom house. After moving in, the couple discovered that the house had numerous structural and other defects, which resulted in water damage and mold growth in the house. Because the builder would not make the repairs and remediate the mold, the couple created a webpage and posted their story about the defects in their house, how the builder would not correct the problems, and how the mold in the house was making them and their children sick. The builder sued the couple for defamation. We successfully defended the couple by showing that all of their statements were true, and the court dismissed the builder’s lawsuit.

FRAUD

Doctor Accused by Health Insurance Company of Fraudulent Billing – A dispute arose regarding payments made by a health insurance company to a doctor for the doctor’s billings as a provider of health care to persons covered by certain health insurance policies or health and welfare benefit plans. The company claimed that the doctor was incorrectly applying CPT codes to treatments for the purpose of fraudulently receiving $500,000 in insurance payments. In representing the doctor, we analyzed over 1,200 office visits and re-coded all of the treatment with different CPT codes, and we demonstrated that the company actually owed the doctor money using the revised CPT code analysis.

Television Company Sues for Misappropriation of Satellite TV Signals – An individual was sued by a satellite television company for allegedly intercepting satellite TV signals with a piracy device, without subscribing and paying for the service. We mounted a successful defense, as the company could not provide any evidence that the person actually installed the piracy device and intercepted satellite signals.

INSURANCE COVERAGE

Insurance Company Sued for Denying Insurance Coverage for Claims – An insurance company was sued for denying insurance coverage for various claims that were submitted to it for payment. The insurance company issued a “bankruptcy policy” of insurance for extended service contracts that were sold by a third party. The third party was primarily liable for the payment of covered claims losses under its extended service contracts. The insurance policy is only triggered if the third party went bankrupt or failed to pay a claim, which occurred in this case. We successfully defended the insurance company on the basis that the third party was using extended service contract forms that had not been previously approved by the insurance company, and these unapproved forms provided for payment of claims that were not covered in the insurance policy. Of note, we were able to get the judge to include these factual findings in the order dismissing the lawsuit, so that the insurance company could use the judicial findings of fact to defend against similar lawsuits.

Automobile Service Contract Provider Sued for Breach of Contract – An automobile service contract company was sued for an alleged violation of a service contract in denying a claim for payment for repairs to car. We successfully defended on the basis that the service contract does not cover any damages caused by a non-covered item, and, even if a covered item fails, the service contract does not cover the failure if the failure was caused by a non-covered item.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

Landscaper Sued for Failure to Pay Overtime Wages – A landscaping company was sued by a former employee for alleged failure to pay “time and a half” for overtime wages, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). We successfully defended the landscaper by showing that the employees were not engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce; thus, the FLSA did not apply to the employer.

Chinese Man Sued in the USA for Orchestrating a Labor Strife in China – A Chinese man was sued in the United States for allegedly orchestrating a violent “coup” at a factory in China wherein the factory was shut down for seven days, and the company’s managers were held hostage and forced to sign a compensation agreement providing millions of dollars in severance payments to the man. The man was also accused of causing the company to pay unauthorized bonuses through his alleged use of the company’s official seal. We filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit arguing that the company should not be allowed to bring its claims against the man in the United States, as the witnesses and documents are located in China and the citizens of the United States have no public interest in deciding this controversy. As a result, the court dismissed the lawsuit.

LANDLORD / TENANT

Landlord’s Refusal to Consent to the Assignment of a Tenant’s Lease – A tenant in a building sought to sell its business and the tenant requested that the landlord consent to the assignment of the lease to the proposed purchaser of the business. The landlord refused, claiming that the proposed purchaser would not be able to perform its obligations under the lease. Following a bench trial, the court ruled in our favor and ordered the landlord to consent to the lease assignment. The trial court denied our request for attorney’s fees and court costs, but we appealed and the appellate court reversed that ruling and ordered the landlord to pay our fees and costs.

Landlord Tries to Force Health Club Tenant Out of Business – A company purchased a high-rise building from a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding, and the company sought to terminate all of the tenants’ leases as a condition of the sale under the Bankruptcy Code. After the sale, the bankruptcy judge did not allow the company to terminate the lease of a single tenant in the building, a health club, due to the company’s failure to provide the required notice to that tenant. Thereafter, the building owner sued the health club in the circuit court seeking a declaratory judgment that the owner had no duty to provide water, heat, elevators or other building services to the tenant. Representing the health club, we successfully persuaded the court to enter an injunction ordering the owner to continue to provide all necessary building services. The interplay between the Bankruptcy Code and landlord-tenant law was a novel legal issue that had not previously been decided by any court in the nation. We also counter-sued the building owner for its intentional misconduct, fraud and breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, as the owner was attempting to force the health club to go out of business without compensating the health club for the value of its leasehold. The tenant agreed to vacate the premises, after we convinced the building owner to essentially purchase the health club.

Landlord Sues Successor Tenant for Unpaid Rent for the Remainder of the Term of the Lease – A tenant vacated the premises prior to the expiration of a commercial lease, and a new company occupied the premises and began paying rent. Thereafter, the successor tenant vacated the premises and the landlord sued the successor tenant for the unpaid rent for the remainder of the term of the lease. The landlord argued that the original tenant assigned its rights and obligations under the lease to the successor tenant. We successfully defended the successor tenant on the basis that the purported lease assignment was not signed by the successor tenant in violation of the statute of frauds, and the language in the purported lease assignment did not clearly state that the successor tenant intended to assume all of the obligations in the lease. The court agreed that there was no valid lease assignment and the doctrine of part performance did not apply, and the court ruled that the successor tenant was in privity of estate with the landlord, but not privity of contract, such that the successor tenant’s duty to pay rent ended when it vacated the premises.

PREMISES LIABILITY

Tenant Sued Because a Man Fell Off a Wooden Porch – A woman was sued by her former landlord after a man fell off the second floor porch of her former apartment during a party. The landlord alleged that the woman, as a “tenant,” owed various duties to him as landlord, including the duty to maintain the premises, to not over serve the guests at the party, to require other persons at the party to conduct themselves in a reasonably safe manner, and to refrain from inviting or encouraging guests from gathering on the rear porch. We successfully got the woman dismissed from the lawsuit, by demonstrating that she had assigned all of her rights and liabilities under the lease to someone else prior to the accident, she did not host the party, and she in no way managed or was responsible for the party or its guests.

PRODUCT LIABILITY

Company Sued for Failing to Pay its Manufacturer for Completed Products – A lighting company contracted with a company in China to manufacture light fixtures based on written specifications, wiring diagrams, and product specimens. The manufacturer made a sample product that conformed to all of the specifications. Thereafter, the manufacturer made 8,000 of the light fixtures, and shipped them directly to a retailer who sold all of them to its customers. But, these light fixtures did not conform to the specifications because the manner in which they were wired did not comply with Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) wiring standards. The retailer paid the company for the light fixtures, but the company did not pay the manufacturer and the manufacturer sued the company for payment. Representing the company, we counter-sued the manufacturer on the basis that the manufacturer knew the light fixtures had to be UL-complaint and the wiring alteration created a fire hazard. We alleged that the manufacturer breached its contract and warranties under various provisions of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The manufacturer accepted one-third of the amount it was owed, and the company retained all of its profits plus two-thirds of the amount it owed to the manufacturer. The manufacturer also consented to personal jurisdiction in the United States and agreed to defend and indemnify the company in any future claims that might arise for personal injuries or property damage resulting from the nonconforming light fixtures, and to pay all costs if there was a recall of the light fixtures.

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

Insurance Broker Sued for Negligence and Breach of Fiduciary Duty – An insurance broker was sued for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of an alleged failure to procure appropriate worker’s compensation insurance coverage. We successfully defended the broker in the action, based on the insured’s error in failing to provide accurate employee classification and wage information.

Real Estate Broker Files Lawsuit Over Disputed Earnest Money – After a real estate transaction was canceled, the buyer and seller both claimed that they were entitled to the full amount of earnest money being held in escrow by a real estate broker. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of the broker, and convinced the court that the broker should not have to make a determination as to the rights of the buyer and seller to the earnest money. The court allowed the broker to deposit the earnest money with the clerk of the court, dismissed the broker from the lawsuit (leaving the buyer and seller as the remaining parties in the case), precluded the buyer and seller from bringing any legal action against the broker arising out of the disputed earnest money, and awarded the broker its costs incurred in bringing the lawsuit.

UNFAIR COMPETITION

Trade Magazine Publisher Sued for Infringement and Unfair Competition – A publisher of a trade magazine was sued for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and consumer fraud for publishing a magazine with a similar name as another magazine, and distributing the magazine at trade shows. We moved to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction over the publisher on the basis that the publisher was an out-of-state company with no employees or property in Illinois, its website was used for informational purposes only, and it only participated at a few trade shows in Illinois. The judge agreed that Illinois courts did not have personal jurisdiction over the publisher, and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Insurance Company Sued for Failing to Pay a Claim – An insurance company was sued for failing to pay a claim for benefits. We successfully got the lawsuit dismissed by demonstrating that the claimant failed to satisfy a condition precedent that he was required to perform in order to trigger the insurance company’s obligation to pay the claim.

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