U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois News

Appeals court lets pilots’ suit take off again, says fliers’ union may have breached representation duty

By Dan Churney | Aug 21, 2018

A dismissed suit by United Airlines pilot instructors, which alleged their union unfairly divided retroactive pay among different pilot categories, is flying again, courtesy of a Chicago federal appeals panel that ruled a lower court should not have grounded the suit, because the instructors plausibly argued the union gave them the short end of the stick.

Democratic donor Hull asks to limit deposition to thwart political fishing expedition by Madigan lawyers

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 21, 2018

A former Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat ultimately captured by Barack Obama has asked a federal judge to block lawyers for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan from using a forthcoming deposition as a fishing expedition to dig up political intelligence on potential political opponents of the powerful chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Judge says employee handbook provision enough to send female truck driver's suit vs Progistics to arbitration

By Mary Ann Magnell | Aug 18, 2018

A federal judge has sent to arbitration a dispute between a truck driver and her employer over alleged sex discrimination and failure to pay overtime, saying a provision in the company's employee handbook should stand as a binding agreement, requiring arbitration of disputes.

Judge pulls plug on Viamedia antitrust suit vs Comcast over cable TV spot ads

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 18, 2018

Saying she saw the legal action as little more than an attempt by a competitor to “force” Comcast to do business with them, a Chicago federal judge has pulled the plug on an antitrust legal fight over whether Comcast had used its position to improperly squelch competition in the market for local spot cable TV advertising.

Court decertifies class in junk fax lawsuit vs Cirque du Soleil, dismisses 'sprawling' 9-year case

By Mary Ann Magnell | Aug 16, 2018

A Chicago federal judge has allowed Cirque Du Soleil to turn out the lights on a class action lawsuit accusing the entertainment brand brought against it for allegedly sending junk fax ads, allegedly in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Home energy use info gleaned from 'smart meters' is 4th Amend 'search,' but not 'unreasonable': Appeals panel

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 16, 2018

Noting their conclusions could change based on what other cities and utilities may choose to do with information gleaned from homeowners’ energy use, a panel of federal appeals court judges has found Naperville can continue collecting and storing electricity usage data transmitted directly by so-called “smart meters,” even though the data harvest essentially amounts to a governmental search under the Fourth Amendment.

Ex-Chicago firefighter-medic: Firefighter retirement rules don't apply to him; Judge: Lawsuit filed too late

By Dan Churney | Aug 15, 2018

A Chicago federal judge has doused an age discrimination lawsuit brought by an ex-Chicago firefighter-paramedic, who alleged the city made him retire against his will at 63, allegedly improperly applying mandatory firefighter retirement rules to him, even though he was a paramedic.

Lawsuit: Landlord Jones Lang LaSalle forces tenants to use union labor, pay more for 'kickbacks'

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 15, 2018

Saying the landlord’s acquiescence to the labor unions’ demands amounts to an illegal conspiracy to generate kickbacks for union contractors, a former tenant of an office high-rise owned by Jones Lang LaSalle in Chicago’s Loop has delivered a class action lawsuit against its ex-landlord, demanding the company be made to pay back potentially thousands of current and former tenants throughout the city for forcing them to use more expensive union labor when renovating their offices or moving in or out of office space in the JLL-managed buildings.

Judge: Chicago's altered rules for peddlers outside Wrigley strike out lawsuit by Cubs-related magazine seller

By Scott Holland | Aug 15, 2018

A federal judge has again sent to the showers a lawsuit alleging the city of Chicago violated the rights of the publisher of a Cubs-related magazine when it barred the company from selling its publication outside Wrigley Field, noting changes to the city's ordinance effectively strike out the publishers' legal arguments to this point.

Suburban pain doctor sues other doctor he says illegally used his name to boost opioid 'pill mill'

By Dan Churney | Aug 13, 2018

A suburban Chicago doctor, who in one legal action is facing accusations he improperly sued pharmacies for faxing prescription requests to him, is alleging in a different unconnected lawsuit that a different doctor, who now faces sentencing after pleading guilty to improperly prescribing opioids, capitalized on the coincidence of having the same name as the first doctor to abet an illegal drug dispensing operation.

Judge denies class action status for insurer’s suit against AbbVie, others over testosterone drugs

By Dan Churney | Aug 9, 2018

A Chicago federal judge has barred an Ohio health insurer from pursuing a class action against several pharmaceutical companies, which are already embroiled in massive litigation over their testosterone drugs, saying the thousands of potential claims would be too individualized to be served well by a class action and the insurer’s drug review practices were “unconventional.”

Judge refuses try by St. Louis Billy Goat Chips maker to dismiss Chicago Billy Goat's trademark suit

By Scott Holland | Aug 9, 2018

In an ongoing battle of the Billy Goats, a federal judge this week gave a win to the iconic Chicago side, saying the Billy Goat Tavern can continue with its trademark infringement lawsuit against a St. Louis snack chip maker.

Appeals panel upholds $500K verdict for butcher vs South Side grocer for sexual, racial harassment

By DM Herra | Aug 8, 2018

A federal appeals panel has upheld a lower court’s order requiring a Chicago grocery store to pay more than $500,000 to an African American former butcher who claimed he suffered severe racial and sexual harassment at the hands of his Hispanic coworkers.

Jury deals $315M verdict to casino tech maker who said rival used patent litigation to stifle competition

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 7, 2018

A group of casino technology manufacturers have hit a legal jackpot, as a Chicago federal jury has dealt them a verdict potentially worth more than $300 million, amid their ongoing antitrust battle against a rival manufacturer accused of misusing patents to stifle competition.

Sears reaches deal to end class action over flammable Craftsman mowers; Lawyers could get $3.2M

By Scott Holland | Aug 7, 2018

A federal judge has signed off on a preliminary deal to settle a class action lawsuit against Sears, which had leveled accusations that some of its Craftsman riding lawnmowers caught fire as a result of faulty fuel systems.

Appeals panel: Objector earned $80K atty fees for getting Southwest passengers class two more free drinks each

By Scott Holland | Aug 6, 2018

A federal appeals panel has cleared an objector to claim attorney fees for his role in landing a class of eligible Southwest Airlines passengers two more free in-flight drinks, amid a long-running class action lawsuit over drink vouchers the airline formerly provided to passengers.

Lincolnshire: Taxes different from union dues; asks judge to toss union suit over 'anti-union' lobbying funds

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 3, 2018

Saying governments are different from labor unions and other private organizations, a north suburban village and an organization that lobbies on behalf of Illinois city and village governments has asked a federal judge to dismiss a union-backed lawsuit asserting the rights of union members are violated by local governments which use tax money to fund lobbyists to seek reforms opposed by unions.

Orland fire distict didn't violate alarm company's rights by inking exclusive deal with rival vendor: Judge

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 3, 2018

A federal judge has ruled a southwest suburban fire protection district didn’t violate the rights of a company that installs and monitors commercial fire alarms by first lobbying the villages of Orland Park and Orland Hills to require the installation of a certain kind of fire alarm system, and then inking a contract with a competing company to provide the equipment needed for those alarm systems, effectively closing off their district to competitors.

Ex-St. Stanislaus parish music director loses job discrimination case; ministerial exception applies

By Chandra Lye | Aug 1, 2018

A federal judge has closed the book on age and nationality discrimination allegations brought against the Catholic Bishop of Chicago by a Polish former parish music director, as the judge said the music director and organist should be considered a "ministerial" employee, and thus exempt from certain anti-discrimination employment rules.

Judge tosses disciplined officers' suit over Cook sheriff's Merit Board makeup; Lawyer: Proves 'circle of no relief'

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 1, 2018

Saying the lawsuit was premature, a Cook County judge has dismissed a legal action brought by Cook County sheriff’s officers, who contend disciplinary cases against them should be tossed because the disciplinary board’s members weren’t legally appointed at the time the disciplinary cases were filed. A lawyer for the disciplined officers says the decision actually bolsters a parallel case brought in federal court.

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