For more than 25 years, George has helped his clients successfully resolve complex litigation critical to their long-term success. George brings creative and thoughtful solutions to his clients’ legal challenges. They appreciate the efforts George makes to understand their litigation goals and to drive the litigation toward those desired results.
George’s practice encompasses a variety of industries and substantive areas. He is currently representing the former management of the Tribune Company in multidistrict proceedings in New York arising out of the Tribune’s 2007 leveraged buyout. The case involves cutting-edge issues under the Bankruptcy Code and relating to officer and director liability. He has worked on a number of matters for a well-known Chicago company involving post-closing disputes following the purchases of various businesses. These matters often involve issues relating to environmental contamination and cleanup responsibility. He has extensive experience in class action litigation, having defended scores of such cases for companies such as American Express, Wells Fargo, SIRIUS XM, RealNetworks and Household International (now HSBC). He has recently litigated to successful conclusion a number of copyright disputes for a well-known Chicago company. George has been repeatedly selected by his peers as a Business Litigation Super Lawyer and a Leading Lawyer.
George mentors young attorneys by lecturing on matters such as trial techniques, deposition practice, privilege issues and ethics. He participates in trial and appellate practice seminars, including programs run by his alma mater, Northwestern University School of Law. George believes that lawyers should undertake pro bono work and is proud of his representation of more than 100 former City of Chicago employees. Three trials and numerous contested proceedings resulted in these employees obtaining judgments valued in excess of $3 million and a city job for each claimant who wanted one.
George currently serves on the Board of Lyons Township High School, District 204, as its Vice President and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Legacy Guild, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to students who have lost a parent.
Matters Of Note
Breach of Fiduciary Duty. George currently represents Tribune Company’s former CEO, CFO and more than 15 other former senior officers or management members in breach of fiduciary duty litigation arising out of the leveraged buyout of the company and its subsequent bankruptcy. More than 50 cases are now pending as part of a multidistrict proceeding in New York. Claimed damages exceed $5 billion.
Intellectual Property. George recently represented a Chicago manufacturer of architectural glass in copyright infringement actions involving glass manufactured by an Italian company distributed in the United States. He previously represented a major Chicago-area DVD company in a series of antitrust actions against major motion picture studios (e.g., Universal, Fox, etc.). After defeating a motion to dismiss, negotiations successfully resolved the actions.
Post-Closing Disputes. George currently represents a major Chicago company in post-closing disputes arising out of the acquisitions of competing businesses. This litigation work is ongoing with, most recently, a successful arbitration in Delaware after which the other side lowered its settlement demand by more than 50 percent and dropped its claims for fees. The matter promptly settled.
Trade Secrets. George successfully represented the CFO and general counsel of a well-known trading company in a dispute with his company involving an alleged trade secret. George obtained dismissal of the company’s breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret and related claims as a Rule 37 sanction. The district court found that the company had lied, fabricated evidence and engaged in other forms of misconduct.
Breach of Contract. George obtained summary judgment in favor of a hedge fund that wanted to frequently trade within variable annuity products. George obtained the striking of the company’s privilege log as a sanction (later overturned on appeal, but not before our receipt of each of the documents) and an order that the company pay a six-figure sanction. This result was achieved despite the SEC actively challenging alleged market timing.
Consumer Protection. George represented a company accused of violations of various California consumer protection statutes for charging an insurance fee as part of its product delivery practices. After trial in San Francisco state court, the California appellate court held that our client was entitled to a judgment in its favor and that its practices did not violate California law. Two other similar class actions were resolved in our client’s favor with written opinions.
Restrictive Covenant. George has represented companies in more than 50 restrictive covenant cases, often arising out of the alleged misuse of trade secret information or involving breaches of noncompete or nonsolicitation provisions. Representative clients include American Express, Chicago Magazine, CNA Insurance, IDS Life Insurance Co. and Tribune Company.
Class Action Defense. George has defended numerous class actions for many companies, including American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Household International (now part of HSBC), Loews Corporation, Norwest Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. These cases involved issues relating to mortgage financing, subprime lending, privacy, financial disclosure and consumer protection issues.
Data Privacy. George helped to defeat alleged privacy claims (asserted in Illinois, Texas and New Jersey) against American Express claiming that it used electronically stored information to create customer profiles. Two of the alleged class actions were dismissed before certification and by motion. In the third case (in Texas), the plaintiff was ordered to pay the cost of notice for an alleged 40 million-member class. The case was then resolved. These cases have been cited close to 100 times by other courts. After our American Express success, RealNetworks hired the firm in an alleged privacy class action which we defeated based on an arbitration clause found in RealNetworks’ Licensing Agreement.
Presentations and Publications
Author, "Proposed Amendments to Federal Class Action Rule 23 Place Premium on Providing Meaningful Information to Courts," Bloomberg BNA (December 9, 2016).
Moderator, The First 48 Hours: A Simulated Data Breach, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's 55th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, September 29, 2016.