Navigating the Waters of Commercial Contracts: Jury Finds Client Not Guilty after Complex Breach of Contract Trial

Business acquisition contracts typically have multiple contracts covering the different elements of the purchase:  the assets, the liabilities, employment, and incentives, among others.  Sometimes the purchaser gets buyer's remorse after the acquisition.  Sometimes employees or top management retained after the acquisition feel unfairly treated or are let go either immediately or later.  Bruised feelings are common.

Jury trials in commercial litigation--even on simple contracts--can be complex because of the evidentiary rules and the need for jury instructions.  Thus in the trial that just concluded with victory, our opponent filed 39 motions in limine (designed to keep certain evidence away from the jury) and the jury instruction conference lasted four times as long as the court and parties originally estimated. 

Nevertheless, the trial held in Cook County Circuit Court resulted in a not guilty verdict in favor of our client, who defended against allegations of breach of contract and other related theories.  Wrongful termination, denial of bonus, and elimination of partnership opportunities were all part of the case as originally filed. 

"Our huge collection of jury instructions from other cases helped us efficiently prepare the case," said Tom Patterson, who, along with Kathryn Walker, tried the case to verdict.   

"The length of the trial kept our client away from his work for many days, but a few days after the favorable verdict, he called up and said he was bored, and asked us if we needed his help on any of our other cases.  We both had quite a chuckle about that." 

 

 
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