Airdo Werwas has successfully defended clients including attorneys and other professionals in lawsuits arising out of allegations of breach of fiduciary duties, non-compete agreements, violations of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The key to the defense of these lawsuits is a strong tenacious defense that attacks the allegations at the heart by establishing the innuendo and conjecture are not the same thing as evidence needed to prove the very serious allegations.
One such case filed in the Northern District of Illinois involved allegations by a Fortune 100 Company against one of its former Sales Managers who allegedly orchestrated a “corporate raid.” Allegedly the Sales Manager raided confidential information, employees, customers, and trade secrets. The employer also alleged that the former employee absconded with data storage and “SIM cards” from the Company-issued Blackberry phones. Although the allegations against the Sales Manager proved frivolous, a strong defense was necessary.
Another such case was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois. It involved a former law firm “partner” who allegedly breached his fiduciary duties when he allegedly interfered with the business opportunities of his former employer by enticing former clients to his new law firm. Once again the lawsuit proved frivolous after waging a strong defense to the allegations in the complaint.
On the other hand, an employer that wages a war against an employee to avoid paying severance and other benefits can be costly. One such case was prosecuted by Airdo Werwas that involved a breach of employment contract, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The result against the former employer who set up a pretext for termination Cook County Jury Verdict in excess of $3 million.
The 1st District Appellate Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of Defendant Temperance Beer Company. Jorge Tafoya-Cruz & Dulce James v. Temperance Beer Company, LLC, 2020 IL App (1st) No. 1-19-0606. The defendant was represented by Mollie N. Werwas, and Amanda Walsh of Airdo Werwas, LLC. The Appellate Court agreed that the trial court had properly granted Temperance’s Motion for Summary Judgment and denied Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration. At issue was whether Temperance had notice of liquid claimed to be on the taproom’s restroom floor, allegedly causing Plaintiff’s fall. The Appellate Court found the trial court properly decided there was no evidence presented about how long a liquid had been on the floor, or even what the liquid was, and so Plaintiff did not meet his evidentiary burden to prove constructive notice.
The Appellate Court also held the trial court properly denied Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration because Plaintiff presented a new legal theory in that motion. The new theory, that water allegedly dripping on the floor created a recurring dangerous condition, was waived because the plaintiff only raised this issue for the first time on a motion to reconsider. Additionally, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s proposition that an employee’s unofficial inspection policy imposes an obligation on a business, independent from common law. To view the Court’s opinion, click here.
Michael A. Airdo recently won summary judgment for its pharmacy client. Plaintiff, a 42 year old union electrician, alleged that he suffered tardive dyskinesia as a result of taking the medication Reglan for an extended period of time. Tardive dyskinesia causes uncontrollable stiff, jerky movements of various parts of the body. As a result, plaintiff claimed that he was permanently disabled and unable to continue to work as an electrician. His wife also filed suit for the loss of his consortium due to his claimed disabilities. On September 29, 2017, Judge William E. Gomolinski granted summary judgment on behalf of Airdo Werwas’s client, a major national retailer and pharmacy chain and recently denied plaintiffs’ motion for a rehearing.
Plaintiff was diagnosed with gastroparesis in 2008. He started taking Reglan (“Metoclopramide”) in 2008, until he was diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia in 2014. Plaintiff claimed that the FDA issued the following “black- box” warning in 2009:
“WARNING: TARDIVE DYSKINESIA”
Treatment with metoclopramide can cause tardive dyskinesia, a serious movement disorder that is often irreversible. The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia increases with duration of treatment and total cumulative dose.
Metoclopramide therapy should be discontinued in patients who develop signs or symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. There is no known treatment for tardive dyskinesia. In some patients, symptoms may lessen or resolve after metoclopramide treatment is stopped.
Treatment with metoclopramide for longer than 12 weeks should be avoided in all but rare cases where therapeutic benefit is thought to outweigh the risk of developing tardive dyskinesia.
Plaintiffs contended that the pharmacy should not have filled the script for metoclopramide for more than 12 weeks without verbally warning the customer about the duration warning for metoclopramide. Plaintiffs further argued that the pharmacy should not have filled the medication order for six years without first calling the customer’s physician to inquire about the extended duration of metoclopramide therapy. In granting the motion for summary judgment, the court stated, “[a]ccordingly, Plaintiff’s proposed extension of the pharmacist’s duty exceeds the limited scope of the contraindication exception defined in Happel. Moreover, dispensing a drug in excess has been consistently ruled by Illinois courts not to be a determination made by the pharmacist.”