Appellate, Unfair Competition & Business Torts

Carmen has successfully represented clients on appeal in both state and federal appellate courts. He has won widely reported cases on appeal establishing new precedent in franchise law (good faith and fair dealing) and employment law (glass ceiling).

The firm’s appellate work includes cases that other lawyers handled in trial court in addition to handling our own appeals, as appellant or appellee. Some examples of those matters are:

  • In 2016, the Illinois Appellate Court (First District) affirmed Carmen’s earlier victory in trial court on behalf of most franchisees in the Giordano’s Pizza franchise system. They were sued by the former principal shareholder of that franchisor for allegedly conspiring to injure him personally by engaging in a “royalty strike.”
  • In Interim Health Care of Northern Illinois Inc. v. Interim Health Care, Inc., 225 F.3d 876 (7th Cir. 2000), Carmen was victorious on the questions of whether a franchisor had breached the implied covenant of good faith & fair dealing by withholding referrals of “national account” patients to the franchisee, and by deliberately encroaching the franchisee’s trade area, thereby reversing a summary judgment for the franchisor. This case attracted significant attention in the franchise law community, and it remains one of the more important franchisee victories at the federal appellate court level.
  • In Bellaver v. Quanex Corporation, 200 F.3d 485 (7th Cir. 2000), Carmen achieved a precedent setting Title VII victory against gender stereotyping, glass ceilings, and a phony reduction in force (RIF). The Court of Appeals accepted Carmen’s argument that where an alleged RIF is directed at a single employee, with a unique job category, the employer is not entitled to deference to its business judgment ordinarily due. Reversing a summary judgment for the defense, the Court of Appeals held that the terminated female manager was entitled to jury trial based on evidence that her male supervisor routinely criticized her for allegedly abrasive relations with her co-workers while tolerating far more abusive behavior by the male managers. The case was noted in the legal press as a striking a blow against unfair glass ceilings in the workplace.

Appellate Court Admissions

Carmen is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Tenth Circuit, and the United States Court of Military Appeals. All firm attorneys are admitted to the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Courts.