Goldberg Segalla Chicago partner Justin D. Kaplan secured a victory on behalf of a national transportation and logistics company in an arbitration filed by a former independent contractor.
In this matter, the claimant operated as an independent contractor for our client for less than nine months when he was terminated. The claimant alleged he was improperly terminated and sought a multimillion-dollar sum in damages. His arbitration demand included six causes of action, including common law fraud, breach of contract, conversion, tortious interference with potential contract, negligence, and tortious interference with potential economic advantage.
The defense of this case was not easy. Complicating the matter was the wrongdoing allegedly occurred in 2014, yet the arbitration was not filed until 2020. Due to the gap, important documents and witnesses were no longer available, hindering the defense. In fact, the claimant claimed that our client had “missing” documentation and surreptitiously recorded an employee of our client making statements consistent with his position. Additionally, while the tape recording was deemed inadmissible, the witness was still forced to testify and admit to making damaging statements following oral arguments.
Despite these challenges, Justin, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Commercial Litigation and Arbitration group, used the documents that were still available and investigated the claims to piece together a timeline and a narrative of the events. Based on the investigation, during the three-and-a-half-day arbitration, a vigorous defense was mounted as to both liability and damages, illustrating the problems and inconsistencies in claimant’s position.
Following the arbitration, Justin’s aggressive defense paid off and our client prevailed on five of the six claims. On the sole claim that the claimant prevailed, the award was less than a third of a percent of the amount sought and was less than one percent of the claimant’s final demand.
Following the decision, the claimant moved to modify the award seeking additional damages, plus all attorneys and all arbitration costs. After briefing the matter, the arbitrator denied those requests.
Mindful of the costs and interruption to business that litigation brings, Goldberg Segalla aims to avoid it whenever possible by employing creative and results-oriented pre-suit negotiations and pre-answer motions to resolve disputes before they become full-fledged litigations. However, when litigation becomes necessary, our seasoned litigators and trial attorneys utilize business-minded strategies designed to achieve our client’s desired outcome in the most effective and expeditious way possible. We draw on our decades of collective experience handling commercial disputes of all sizes for businesses, senior executives, investors, financial institutions, and nonprofits in complex matters that often span a multitude of jurisdictions.