Recent Victories

Litigation Successes

Zieske has successfully tried over fifty cases to judgment (before juries, judges and arbitrators), on behalf of clients ranging from the multi-national corporation to individual clients and small businesses. His major recent victories include:

Record jury verdict.  Obtaining the full award sought by his client – reportedly the downstate Illinois county’s largest award by a jury – after just a half-hour deliberation. The bailiff remarked that the jury only took so long because they ate the lunch supplied by the Court. Judgment was entered on the verdict at the end of the three-day trial. By cross-examinations of oil company employees and presenting technology demonstrations through engineering and geology experts, Zieske proved that an underground trespass by the oil company defendant caused a well explosion that injured an on-site worker.

Medical practice breakup trial.  Successfully leading a litigation team through nearly two years of heavy litigation and a nine-day jury trial for multiple plaintiffs in the breakup of a multi-million dollar medical practice and surgery center. Zieske’s cross examinations of the fact witnesses and his direct and cross examinations of the several expert witnesses resulted in victory on every major jury decision, vindicating his clients’ claims and defeating counterclaims against them for $4 million. Each favorable jury decision was upheld on appeal.

Land and mineral rights trial.  Handling a protracted seven-day trial, as the first phase of an ongoing complex dispute involving land and mineral rights worth over a billion dollars and involving multiple experts in engineering and mechanics.

Healthcare / Indemnification.  Successfully opposing a Texas corporation’s attempt to get a Chicago healthcare company to pick up its attorneys’ bill for over $200,000 following a wrongful death claim involving both companies. Despite the opposing array of Texas and Chicago lawyers and technical people presenting the claim with computerized video equipment, Zieske’s no-frills solo defense won the day.

Consignment fraud.  Recovered far above appraisal value of a collection of paintings by prominent American artists for a client who entrusted his works to be sold by a major Chicago gallery that never paid him the sale proceeds. Zieske pressed lawsuits against the gallery and the client’s insurer in federal court, while at the same time defending claims by purchasers from around the country seeking to declare their ownership of the paintings, and complying with subpoenas from the FBI and others investigating the gallery’s business dealings. Zieske obtained this favorable result despite the gallery’s lack of assets.

Adjoining property damage.  In response to a 6 p.m. emergency client call, Zieske succeeded in stopping the imminent use of explosives on adjoining property before 9 a.m. the next day. After drafting the necessary legal documents and drafting affidavits, preparing witnesses by telephone while driving five hours to the courthouse, consulting with technical experts, and arguing and obtaining the court order, Zieske traveled to the site with the county sheriff to stop blasting that would have caused irreparable harm to the client’s property.

Trade secrets and competition.  Protecting a small business from unfair competition by former employees, by obtaining injunctions against stealing trade secrets and soliciting customers.

Commercial lease disputes.  Obtaining emergency court relief to prevent evictions from commercial property throughout greater Chicagoland.

ATM competition.  Leading a three-attorney team in commercial tort cases for a small company operating a network of ATMs in Chicago. Zieske obtained strong covenants preventing the company’s former agent from unfairly competing, soliciting and disparaging the company in order to take its clients, while also obtaining a monetary recovery for past interference.

Plaintiff's litigation portfolio.  Turning a client company’s lagging litigation portfolio into a significant source of cost recovery, by analyzing litigation costs and returns, increasing case filings, streamlining documentation and training client’s employees to handle property damage incidents.

Complex trustee disputes.  Representing a trustee and executor through complex litigation against him that began as a dispute among beneficiaries of a multi-million dollar estate. Zieske advised the individual client on management of the trust and estate properties, including real estate leased to one beneficiary; handled the adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy of one family company; brought an eviction proceeding and took other steps to make the trust property profitable; defended against litigation over control of another family company; and following discovery was instrumental in the mediation and settlement between family members.

Appeals.  Briefing and arguing an appeal before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for a local manufacturing client, against a multi-national corporation seeking to collect a decades-old guaranty.

Internet domain disputes.  Successfully defending the office of a top elected Illinois State official (not Governors Ryan or Blagojevic) against an attempt to strip it of the right to use an Internet domain name for an important State-sanctioned program benefiting servicemen and women.

Wrongful death cases.  Investigating and defending newsworthy wrongful death lawsuits for a nationwide truck leasing company, against Corboy & Demetrio, Clifford Law Offices and other top plaintiffs firms, in cases involving major liability issues as well as insurance defense and indemnification matters.

Family fiduciary disputes.  Representing a highly-respected Chicago bank’s trust department in fiduciary litigation between family members vying over control of private foundation funds.

Consignment disputes.  Defending a violin dealer who serves top musicians worldwide, in federal and state lawsuits relating to high-end consignment sales.

Art authenticity. Defending a well-known fine art auction house against a European purchaser’s claim of fraud regarding the authenticity of a French artist’s work.

Successes Without Litigation

The best successes come without the escalation of a dispute into expensive litigation. Zieske Law's first priority is to explore all the possibilities of compromise with you.  Here are some recent successes in handling disputes, and preventing disputes, without resort to litigation.

FOIA.  Advising government agencies and contractors about striking a balance between transparency in government and protecting confidential and trade secret information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Zieske has had unfailing success in government agency’s adoption of letters drafted in response to FOIA requests and preventing FOIA appeals.

Employee poaching.  Successfully stopping a significant pattern of employee poaching by a company’s competitor without resort to litigation.

Libraries. Counseling numerous public and academic libraries nationwide in matters of the First Amendment, confidentiality, FOIA and law enforcement requests, drafting and implementing policies and providing staff training. Zieske has unique expertise in handling patron requests to remove or reclassify books and movies, and in the statutory application of USA PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Electronic Communication Privacy Act to libraries and other institutions.

Signs.  Negotiating resolution of a violation brought against business for a non-permitted sign.

Correcting tax sales.  Canceling tax sales of approximately thirty homes, some valued over $2,000,000, in unincorporated New Trier, that were sold for non-payment of supplemental tax bills that were never mailed to owners of record. Zieske successfully saved every parcel despite a year of bureaucratic and legal obstacles from several County departments.

Rights-of-way.  Negotiating rights-of-way and obtaining licensing and permissions from state, district and local agencies for an interstate natural gas pipeline’s construction through Illinois.





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Photo by Denise R. Halverson