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Jim is a co-chair of the Firm’s Motor Vehicle Group. He also is a senior partner in the Firm’s Litigation and Intellectual Property Groups.

Jim has counseled dozens of motor vehicle and other franchisor clients, and has litigated disputes for them, on a broad range of legal issues throughout the U.S. His track record for motor vehicle franchisors includes, in addition to an unblemished record of success in close to 50 add-point and relocation cases, litigation involving dealer terminations, market encroachment, warranty reimbursement (audits, disputes, policies and fraud), national allocation systems, facility and site control regulation, minority dealer representation programs, advertising regulation, antitrust regulation, franchise transfers, Dealer-Day-in-Court Act claims, gray market trading, dealer and distributor licensing, company-owned dealerships, product marketing and consumer fraud regulation.

Jim has also litigated cases involving land use planning, tax increment financing, zoning, commercial class actions, copyright and trademark infringement, trade secrets, restrictive employment covenants, whistleblower employee termination, antitrust claims, lender liability, environmental regulation, condemnations, truth-in-lending claims, political asylum and claims under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Among his successful engagements have been a number of precedent-setting cases, including:

  • A decision by the Illinois Appellate Court enjoining the retroactive application of the Illinois dealer establishment statute to dealer agreements pre-dating the statute’s adoption;
  • A decision by the Illinois Supreme Court striking the Illinois dealer establishment statute as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative powers to the judicial branch;
  • A first-of-its-kind damage award under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against a dealer engaged in wire fraud involving the submission of false warranty claims, the investigation of which also led to a federal indictment and conviction of the dealer principal;
  • A decision by the Missouri Supreme Court that blocked an attempt to challenge an add-point under the franchise statute’s prohibition against “capricious, in bad faith, or unconscionable” conduct;
  • A decision by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the termination of a dealership for lack of facilities in the after-math of Hurricane Katrina;
  • A decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismissing common law claims advanced to challenge a dealership add-point in the absence of a state “relevant market area” statute; and
  • A decision by the Virginia Supreme Court finding that the Virginia vehicle allocation statute was unconstitutionally vague as applied.

In addition to practicing before dozens of administrative agencies around the country, Jim is admitted to practice in the State of Illinois, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth and Seventh U.S. Courts of Appeal, and numerous U.S. District Courts.

Throughout his career, Jim has served on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations, including: Rise International, which has now built over 160 schools in rural Africa; the Children’s Heart Foundation; the Williams Heart Foundation; and the Chicago Foundation.

Professional Activities & Honors

  • Selected, Illinois Super Lawyers (2010-2012, 2014-2016)
  • Selected, Leading Lawyers Network (2005-2016)

Charitable & Community Organizations

  • Board of Directors, RISE International
  • Board of Directors, Willam Heart Foundation
  • Board of Directors, The Chicago Foundation

Articles & Publications

  • Product Distribution Law Guide
    CCH Publishing
  • Quarterly Review of Automotive Franchise Cases

Education

Southern Illinois University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1977

Harvard College, B.A., magna cum laude, 1974

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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