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Callicoat Wins MSJ In Defamation Case

Shareholder Jason Callicoat recently won summary judgment in a defamation lawsuit filed against a business owner and his company. A competing business owner and his company filed the lawsuit, alleging that they were defamed by untrue statements that the Defendants posted about them on the business networking platform LinkedIn.

Plaintiffs sought damages after alleging the statements conveyed that they had an inability to perform their employment or a lack of integrity in the operation of their business. They claimed the statements communicated that they lied in their own LinkedIn posts regarding their company’s profitability, revenue, number of employees, and whether they had had to lay off any employees. Plaintiffs claimed the Defendants’ false statements lowered them in the eyes of the community and deterred others in the business community from associating with them.

Querrey & Harrow conducted discovery and assembled the evidence necessary to demonstrate the Defendants’ statements were substantially true, which is a complete defense to defamation claims. The evidence showed Plaintiffs had made false statements about their revenue and profitability, and that Plaintiffs had published conflicting statements about the number of employees they had. The Defendants’ evidence also established that Plaintiffs had terminated several hundred employees, and Plaintiffs provided no competing evidence to establish these terminations were anything but layoffs. The Court agreed with Mr. Callicoat’s arguments in the summary judgment motion that the statements at issue were substantially true. The Court ruled that none of the statements at issue were actionable as defamation and entered judgment in favor of Querrey & Harrow’s clients and against the Plaintiffs.

Guolee and Callicoat Prevail in Appellate Court. $11+ Million Flooring Claim Dismissed

Guolee and Callicoat Prevail in Appellate Court. $11+ Million Flooring Claim Dismissed

Querrey & Harrow Shareholders Terrence Guolee and Jason Callicoat are celebrating a ruling from The Illinois First District Appellate Court, upholding a Motion for Summary Judgment that prevented a food company's claims that a flooring failure caused over $11 Million dollars of lost food production sales.

 Of note, while the plaintiff's claims were also directed at the general contractor that installed the flooring, the general contractor was uninsured, defunct, and without any real assets to pay any potential damages. As such, all damage claims were primarily directed against Q&H's client, which consulted on the flooring product selections.

In the Trial Court, and following dozens of depositions and many contested motions, Mr. Guolee convinced the court that summary judgment in favor of Q&H's client on plaintiff’s negligent misrepresentation and breach of implied warranty counts was proper, with the Trial Judge finding that Plaintiff's negligent misrepresentation count was precluded under the Moorman doctrine and that the warranty count was precluded under section 2-607(3)(a) of the Unified Comercial Code (UCC) 810 ILCS 5/2-607(3)(a)(West 2016). 

Following the dismissal of the case in the trial court, Mr. Guolee was assisted by Mr. Callicoat in the briefing on the plaintiff's appeal to the First District Appellate Court, with the Appellate Court agreeing with the rulings in the Trial Court and, in addition, striking over $11 million dollars in damages that Plaintiff would have demanded from Q&H's client.










Callicoat Prevails in 3rd District Appellate Court Wrongful Death Claim

Callicoat Prevails in 3rd District Appellate Court Wrongful Death Claim


Shareholder Jason Callicoat recently obtained a favorable decision from the Illinois Third District Appellate Court upholding summary judgment for two property owners in a wrongful death case. The case arose from a motor vehicle accident that occurred as the Co-Defendant driver was leaving the property. Just before the collision, the driver and some oJason Callicoatf his friends had visited the property owners. During the visit, they helped unload some grain, and they drank some beer. Plaintiff alleged that the property owners were liable for the driver’s negligence based on a theory of respondeat superior and in-concert liability. Plaintiff alleged the driver was an agent of the property owners based on the work he performed for them, and that the property owners acted in concert with the driver by providing him with alcohol and encouraging him to drive after he became impaired.

Querrey & Harrow argued that the driver voluntarily helped unload the grain, and he then stayed at the property for another hour or two drinking beer and socializing. He chose when to leave, and the property owners did not control his actions in any way. Querrey & Harrow also argued that the property owners did nothing to encourage or assist the driver in becoming intoxicated or deciding to drive home in that state. The property owners had a cooler of beer available, and the driver helped himself to as much as he wanted, without being monitored by the property owners, who did not know he was intoxicated when he decided to leave. Querrey & Harrow argued these circumstances provided no basis to impose any liability on the property owners for the negligent actions of the driver. The Illinois Appellate Court agreed and upheld summary judgment in favor of the property owners.  

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Q&H Responds to Tragic COVID-19 Death

Querrey & Harrow sincerely hopes that all of our clients, friends and those reading this article are safe and healthy.  Given the court closures and "social distancing" edicts, our attorneys and support staff are working "remote" from home via our cloud-based document systems. That said, our firm remains open and ready to assist our clients.

Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 pandemic is causing truly tragic losses throughout the world. In this uncertain time, businesses continue to require sound legal advice and strategies regarding responding to the most unfortunate situations.

One of our clients, an essential business in the transportation industry, had one of its drivers who had no symptoms on the job, develop symptoms associated with COVID-19, be hospitalized and suddenly pass away. While grieving the loss of their employee and attending to the families' needs, our client's management also needed immediate legal advice - particularly in the area of communications to be made to their main customers, as well as internally with their drivers and employees.  

Within minutes of the call from our client, Q&H Shareholders Larry Kowalczyk and David Neumeister immediately jumped into the project and supplied our client templates for responding to inquiries, and additional privileged communications needed by the client in order to respond to this tragic loss.   

If your business requires any proactive counseling on issues during this ongoing health crisis, please know that Querrey & Harrow is available to assist.

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