Trial Victory for Business Owner Accused of Breach of Contract

Mar 2020

Roeser Tanner & Graham secured a complete trial victory for a business owner in which Peter Roeser, Darrell Graham and Matthew Tanner flipped the script of the narrative portrayed by the plaintiff.

The case centered on two former business partners who owned and operated commercial real estate projects throughout Illinois. In 2015, the two entered a “business divorce” settlement agreement under which each partner would maintain ownership and control over certain projects, and relinquish ownership and control over others.

In a multi-count complaint filed in Cook County Court, the plaintiff attempted to take over the entirety of the defendant’s interest in one of the projects by alleging the defendant had failed to comply with the settlement agreement and was in breach of fiduciary duty.

RTG successfully dismissed many claims early in the case, and after an intense cross examination in which Peter Roeser elicited testimony from the plaintiff that it was he, not the defendant, who breached the agreement, the judge rejected the final claim.

In his order, the judge stated that not only did RTG establish that the plaintiff breached the settlement agreement, but that the plaintiff had filed a financing statement “with the intent to defraud.”

With this judgment, RTG’s client retains possession of the real estate project, and the plaintiff was ordered to pay statutory damages and attorney fees.