Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • Courts across the United States on particular cases, pursuant to local rules.

Education

  • Brandeis University (B.A., cum laude, Economics)
  • Marquette University Law School (J.D., 1986)
  • The John Marshall Law School (LL.M. in Taxation, 1992)

Profile

Fred Mendelsohn's practice focuses on several interrelated areas: complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution; litigation involving fiduciaries, wills, and trusts; labor and employment law; market channel matters involving dealers, distributors, and sales representatives; and the general representation of middle market businesses. Mr. Mendelsohn is the co-chair of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella's Business Partner and Shareholder Dispute group, which represents individuals and businesses in disputes arising out of their relationships as shareholders, partners, members, and/or venture partners. He appears before state and federal courts and other forums across the country. 

Mr. Mendelsohn represents clients in a wide range of complex, commercial litigation matters, from shareholder and other ownership and governance disputes, to complex patent and international customs litigation, antitrust cases, and matters arising from financial transactions and intellectual property concerns (including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, covenants-not-to-compete, licensing, and other protective agreements). 

Mr. Mendelsohn has handled a significant number of complex professional negligence cases and has represented attorneys in malpractice suits and ARDC proceedings. This aspect of his practice also extends to representing individual attorneys and law firms regarding separation of attorneys from their firms and the winding down of law practices. 

Mr. Mendelsohn also has extensive experience in litigation involving wills and trusts, focusing primarily on the representation of individual and corporate fiduciaries. These matters arise from issues including the construction and validity of wills and trusts, undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, and seeking instructions and accountings and can involve the interpleader of assets subject to interest, rights, and ownership disputes. Mr. Mendelsohn’s work in this area intersects with his regular representation of life insurance companies with regard to death claims, beneficiary questions, contested payments, and contract rights.  

A significant portion of Mr. Mendelsohn's practice involves labor and employment matters before administrative, state, federal, and appellate courts. He has represented clients before the National Labor Relations Board. In the course of handling all legal aspects of union organization efforts, Mr. Mendelsohn has negotiated collective bargaining agreements, conducted arbitration, and participated in litigation relating to union organizational and decertification elections.  

Prior to joining Burke, Warren, Mr. Mendelsohn was a partner in a mid-sized commercial law firm, where he practiced for fifteen years, and prior to private practice he served as an assistant state's attorney in the Financial and Government Fraud Task Force of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Experience

  • Defended and resolved claims brought by billion-dollar conglomerate against smaller competitor, asserting copyright, trade secret, and contractual conspiracy and interference arising out of the hiring of the conglomerate’s former employees. Resolved with limited exposure to the smaller consulting firm and in time to minimize potentially disastrous costs.
  • Tried and won a case for corporate trustee resolving disputes among more than thirty beneficiaries, in order to terminate trust and distribute its assets, while vindicating trustee of any statutory violations.
  • Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a multinational, life insurance company regarding correct payment of death benefits and defeating claim that the owner had changed his beneficiary configuration.
  • Obtained favorable jury verdict for national health insurance company seeking an eight figure recovery, in claim brought by medical provider denied entrance to a medical network; jury granted further relief on amounts due our client by the owner of the medical provider.
  • Litigated and obtained substantial damages and permanent injunction against consulting employee who sold company assets including valuable trade secrets to a competitor in which he held an interest, as well as a first-ever injunction against the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to protect client’s patents.
  • Obtained permanent injunction and seven-figure judgment against a gray-market operator who was illegally importing goods intended for other destinations and diverting sales of those goods by authorized dealers. Ultimately put the gray-market importer out of business, maintaining the integrity of both the market channel for the initial dealer and the supplier-dealer relationship for all of the channel partners.
  • Obtained significant payment of commissions due a Canadian sales representative, for bad faith termination following significant sale. This case settled midway through a weeklong jury trial in federal court in Boston.
  • Successful defense and countersuit in patent and trade dress infringement case brought by international cosmetic supplier against private-label, middle market manufacturer/fulfillment house. Defeated supplier in its home state and successfully obtained declaratory relief so that the case resolved without any findings of liability for our client.
  • Successful representation at trial of a minority corporate shareholder, establishing and recovering his share interest at fair value.
  • Obtained expulsion of self-dealing LLC member/manager, recovering diverted funds as offset to the purchase of the rogue member’s interest.
  • Successful representation of playwright/partner in an intellectual property/copyright dispute with co-authors, obtaining recovery of substantial royalties and resulting in restructuring the partnership into a corporation with enhanced and enforceable governance provisions.
  • Obtained reinstatement by the Attorney Regulatory and Disciplinary Commission for a disbarred attorney where the underlying offense was criminal, with a significant burden to show rehabilitation. Client was unanimously reinstated by ARDC panel and reinstatement withstood challenge on appeal.
  • Successfully defended a significant legal malpractice claim arising out of the alleged improper preparation of trust instruments and wills, without any payment by client and avoiding a multimillion-dollar exposure.
  • Successfully mediated complex accounting claims alleging malpractice around sourcing and treatment of state revenue and improper reporting of related payments to insiders. Effected a voluntary disclosure agreement with applicable taxing authorities and averted seven-figure exposure for client.
  • Successfully represented a shareholder who had been frozen out by his fifty percent partner, forcing a fair split of assets and business between partners, and also obtained attorneys’ fees for client.\
  • Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against a medical practice partner caught clandestinely soliciting patients before departing for another practice; negotiated division of all practice assets favorably for client.
  • Successful arbitration of all claims of our client, a joint-venture partner, involving millions in damages. After a weeklong trial, arbitrators awarded our client all relief requested.
  • Represented an original shareholder marginalized by partners prior to their selling the business to a larger entity. Employing dissenter’s rights and obtaining an independent valuation of the client’s net worth, we re-engineered the transaction to result in a satisfactory buyout for client as well as waiver of non-competition covenants for his future operations.
  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment against and removal of a key man partner attempting to defraud his shareholder partner in a closely held business.
  • Successfully resolved an arbitration between former venture partners in multimillion-dollar vacation property ownership/management venture, resulting in a confidential settlement of disputes involving LLC, corporate and equitable accounting, and other legalities, while avoiding disclosure of client’s sensitive financial information.
  • Successfully mediated between various corporate partners in a complex structure of more than a dozen interrelated entities, arising out of claims of one partner’s breach of fiduciary duty. After proving no breach or any other wrongdoing, following significant discovery and depositions, mediation exonerated the accused partner and allowed recovery of significant costs incurred.
  • In a bitter, ongoing shareholder/partnership dispute between two siblings, successfully defeated a motion to appoint a receiver to take control of the key operating business and structured the litigation to effect a successful resolution of the entity.
  • Successfully restructured an LLC involving two corporate partners (one a subsidiary of a group of consolidated business corporations), arising from poor accounting advice. A successful suit against the accountants for professional negligence and a restructuring achieved the resolution of significant tax ramifications for both the restructured entity and the controlled group of related businesses.
  • Effected a complete “business divorce” between two shareholder/partners, officers, and directors in several interrelated financial recovery businesses. Our client was released from all obligations, including those tied to existing bank loans and non-competition restrictions.  Resolution included fair value payment     to the separating partner for his ownership interest in each of the     entities.
  • Successfully resolved several partnership disputes, partner separations, and conclusions of business ventures, in a variety of businesses, whether by litigation, negotiation, and/or alternate dispute resolution, including an electrical wiring business; cosmetic surgery day spa, temporary staffing business; health aid computer programming operation; medical practices involving anesthesia, urology, internal medicine, physical therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, and thoracic surgery; and a mortgage brokerage.
  • Crafted comprehensive agreement resolving disputes between two joint-venture partners, relative to complex, international customs documents governed by treaty—avoiding litigation and effecting a contract preserving value of client’s business in perpetuity, creating other long-term commitments between the parties, and establishing governance formerly lacking in the partnership.
  • Resolved litigation before the United States Tax Court arising out of disputes between a father and  on formerly in professional practice together. After demonstrating son’s innocence of conversion and unfair competition, the matter was positioned to be successfully resolved between the parties.
  • Resolved disputes between two family factions operating a myriad of entities to develop, own, and manage commercial real estate projects, arising from allegations that one faction had engaged in self-dealing, theft, and mismanagement. Through a series of derivative and direct lawsuits, all disputes were successfully resolved, including return of significant monies to the complaining faction and the reassignment of various operating partners relative to certain projects.

Professional/Community

For more than ten years, Mr. Mendelsohn has regularly served as a volunteer adjunct faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Attorneys (NITA), teaching younger attorneys the art and skill of trying cases. NITA is a leading and highly reputable provider of legal advocacy skills training, having pioneered the learning-by-doing methodology for legal skills in the 1970s. 

Mr. Mendelsohn has served on ad hoc committees for several not-for-profit ventures and has contributed to the programs sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Professionalism. 

Mr. Mendelsohn has presented at the National Business Institute, on topics such as “Business Partner and Shareholder Disputes.” He speaks and writes on legal topics related to his practice, and he authors a regular column, “Legal Watch,” for Industrial Distribution Today, a bimonthly business magazine serving the industrial distribution market.

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