News & Events

RFBN Obtains Dismissal of Bank from Adversary Proceeding

RFBN partner Edward P. Freud and associate Michael B. Bregman recently prevailed on a motion to dismiss in a complex adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court on behalf of a Chicago area lender.  The trustee brought an action for equitable subordination against the bank, who was the successor to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver for a failed bank.  The complaint alleged misconduct on the part of the failed institution and sought to hold RFBN’s client responsible.  The bank’s motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) sought dismissal of the complaint for lack of jurisdiction under the FDIC Act.  RFBN’s win extricated the bank from the proceeding with no liability.

RFBN Prevails in another Medical Malpractice Defense Verdict

RFBN partner Scott Nelson successfully defended a pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist in a medical negligence trial alleging his failure to diagnose lung cancer. Plaintiffs alleged that five defendant physicians, including a family practitioner, three pulmonologists and a radiologist, were negligent in failing to properly interpret chest x-rays, to obtain a follow-up CT scan, to follow-up on an abnormal CT scan, and to order studies to rule out lung cancer, resulting in the patient’s death.  The physicians denied that their care was negligent and that any action or omission on their part caused the patient’s death.  The defense at trial established that the patient initially did not have any clinical or radiological evidence of lung cancer that warranted further follow-up, and later-recommended follow-up complied with the standard of care, but the patient did not return for the recommended studies.  The plaintiffs sought in excess of $4.7 million in damages, but the jury returned a verdict in favor of all of the defendants.

RFBN’s Summary Judgment for Bank Affirmed on Appeal

RFBN partner Edward P. Freud prevailed in an appeal to the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of a Chicago area banking client.  The plaintiff claimed that she had placed money in one of the bank’s safe deposit boxes, and that when she went to the bank to remove some of the money, it was missing.  Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the bank was liable under theories of breach of contract and negligence/res ipsa loquitur.  The evidence established that there had been no tampering with or damage to the safe deposit box, and in granting the bank’s motion for summary judgment, the circuit court agreed with the bank’s arguments, and concluded that the plaintiff had failed to establish sufficient evidence in support of either theory of alleged liability.  The Circuit Court’s ruling was appealed by the plaintiff to the First District, which affirmed the summary judgment decision in favor of the bank.

Scott Nelson Recognized by American Board of Trial Advocates

RFBN partner Scott Nelson was formally recognized by the American Board of Trial Advocates, which welcomed him as a member of its Illinois chapter. ABOTA membership is available by invitation only to “those trial lawyers of high personal character and honorable reputation” who have served as  lead counsel in the requisite number of jury trials which have gone to verdict.  ABOTA is a national association with members from all 50 states. Its members are experienced trial lawyers dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the fundamental right to a  jury trial in civil matters as provided by the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. The organization ‘s membership includes equal numbers of trial attorneys representing plaintiffs and defendants. ABOTA is also dedicated to the promotion of professionalism and civility among the trial bar. Because of ABOTA’s recognition of the importance of an independent judiciary, it vigorously defends judges who have been unfairly criticized.

RFBN Prevails in 7th Circuit on Behalf of Real Estate Purchaser

RFBN associate Michael B. Bregman recently prevailed in an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  The plaintiffs had sued RFBN’s client, a purchaser of real estate, in an adversary proceeding commenced in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeking to void the purchase as a fraudulent conveyance under the Bankruptcy Code.  Mr. Bregman proved the client’s bona fide purchaser defense in a three-day bench trial.  The ruling was appealed by the plaintiffs to the United States District Court, and ultimately to the Seventh Circuit.  The Seventh Circuit affirmed RFBN’s trial win.  In re Smith, 2016 WL 231769.

RFBN Wins in 7th Circuit on Behalf of Banking Client

RFBN partner Edward P. Freud represented a community bank that prevailed before the 7th Circuit, thereby facilitating a large recovery for his client in connection with the bankruptcy proceedings. The bank had filed a secured claim asserting a blanket lien in substantial equipment assets that were part of the corporate debtor’s estate. The plan administrator brought an adversary complaint against Mr. Freud’s client seeking to declare its blanket lien invalid, avoid a purported fraudulent transfer, and preclude the bank from prosecuting claims related to the debtor in other forums. After the bank brought a dispositive motion, the plan administrator abandoned the adversary proceedings and agreed to a favorable settlement. As a result, the largest secured creditor of the estate objected to the Rule 9019 motion to approve settlement, which the bankruptcy judge granted. That creditor appealed to the District Court, which affirmed the decision of bankruptcy judge. The creditor then appealed to the 7th Circuit, which affirmed both decisions below in favor of Mr. Freud’s client.

Award Named for Stephen L Ruff, Jr.

In recognition of his 40 years of service to Brother Rice High School, the board of directors of the School recently created the “Stephen L. Ruff, Jr. Award”. This Award is given yearly to an alumnus who, like Steve, has provided exceptional assistance and service to the School’s religious and educational mission. Steve has also been inducted into the School’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Brother Rice High School Hall of Fame. Steve is a 1964 graduate of the School. We congratulate Steve on this award.

RFBN Represents Bank that Prevails in First District

RFBN represented a Chicagoland area bank before the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court when it affirmed the trial court’s decision granting the bank’s section 2-615 motion to dismiss in a matter concerning the bank’s treatment of a small estate affidavit under the Probate Act. Plaintiff, the widow of a deceased customer, had alleged that the bank committed fraud, breach of contract and negligence and violated the Probate Act in distributing the assets of the decedent pursuant to a small estate affidavit presented to the bank by the decedent’s son.

Timothy S. Breems, Sr. Re-Elected Chairman of Hoyne Savings Bank

In October, 2016, Timothy S. Breems, Sr. was re-elected to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hoyne Savings Bank. Since 1887, Hoyne Savings Bank has been providing financial services in the Chicago metropolitan area. The focus of Hoyne Savings Bank’s business has always been on personal service, familiarity with its local communities, and on the Bank’s financial stability. The Bank provides homeowners with loans secured by residential real estate and depositors with a safe and sound institution in which to achieve their savings goals.

Another Defense Verdict for RFBN

RFBN partner Scott Nelson successfully defended two internal medicine physicians against claims of negligence in the treatment of neck pain that began when the patient thought he swallowed a chicken bone. After receiving emergency care, primary care and an ENT consultation for throat pain, the patient developed infection, a pseudoaneurysm, and suffered a stroke after surgery. Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to immediately admit the patient to the hospital; failing to order an emergent CT scan; failing to order an emergent surgical consult; and failing to prescribe IV antibiotics. As a result, the patient developed a pseudoaneurysm, which led to a stroke and need for rehabilitation. The physicians denied that their care and treatment was negligent and denied that any claimed act or omission on their part was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s claimed injuries, contending that nothing in the patient’s presentation required immediate hospitalization, an emergent CT scan, an emergent surgical consult or IV antibiotics. The plaintiff sought in excess of $2 million, but the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on all counts.

Scott Nelson Serves as Faculty Teacher in Law Program

Scott Nelson RFBN partner recently served as teaching faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy at the Midwest Regional “Building Trial Skills” Program at Loyola University School of Law in Chicago. Scott has served as a faculty member in this program since 1988. The program instructs licensed attorneys in trial advocacy, using a “learning by doing” methodology. Student-attorneys are trained in opening statements, direct and cross examination, examination of experts, witness preparation, closing argument, communication skills and professional ethics.

RFBN Wins Case for Medical Malpractice Defense

RFBN partner Scott Nelson recently obtained a verdict in favor of a physician client in a medical negligence trial. The patient alleged that our client’s failure to respond timely to a call from the emergency room resulted in a delayed surgery to restore circulation in his leg, resulting in amputation of his leg. We were able to effectively challenge testimony from the emergency physician and the plaintiff’s expert witnesses and persuade the jury that the attending physician had not been negligent. The jury found that the emergency room physician and the hospital had been negligent, causing a delay which did result in loss of the plaintiff’s leg. As a result, the jury awarded damages of $2,400,000 in the favor of the plaintiff, while exonerating our client.