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Practice Areas Employment Law
Cary E. Donham is a commercial and business litigator, with an emphasis on employment law. Cary assists clients with the development and review of employee handbooks and policies and the drafting of employment and severance agreements. He advises clients concerning matters such as discrimination, harassment, non-competition and confidentiality agreements as well as hiring and termination issues. Cary has also served as outside counsel in investigations of alleged sexual harassment.
Cary handles all phases of employment and civil rights-related litigation in state and federal courts, including jury trials and labor arbitrations, as well as Chancery Court actions involving trade secrets and restrictive covenants. He has appeared before various administrative agencies, such as the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and the Illinois Department of Labor, concerning employment, fair housing, and public accommodation issues.
In addition, Mr. Donham has successfully represented local government agencies in major civil rights cases. Most recently, he was a key part of the trial team that, on behalf of the Chicago Board of Education, vacated a 29-year-old desegregation consent decree.
Mr. Donham also is involved in complex commercial litigation involving insurance policies, injunctions, contracts, and shareholder disputes.
JD, 1988, Chicago Kent College of Law, with high honors
- Order of the Coif
- Chicago Kent Law Review, Notes and Comments Editor, 1987–1988
BA, 1974, Western Illinois University
Following graduation, Cary worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Elaine F. Bucklo, then Magistrate Judge, now Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
U.S. District Courts, Northern and Central Districts of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh and Federal Circuits
PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC AFFILIATIONS
Hermosa Community Organization
- Vice Chair, 1993-1996
Fourth Presbyterian Church
Cary has been awarded an AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethical standards and legal ability. He is a member of the Leading Lawyers Network. Additionally, Cary was named to the Illinois Super Lawyers list for 2010, 2011 and 2012.
SPEECHES AND PUBLICATIONS
"Copyright, Compilations and Public Policy: Lingering Issues after the West Publishing-Mead Data Central Settlement," Chicago Kent Law Review, 1988.
REPRESENTATIVE PUBLISHED OPINIONS
United States v. Chicago Board of Education, 669 F. Supp 2d 649 (N.D. Ill. 2009) (Represented Chicago Board of Education in 12 day trial resulting in an order vacating a 29-year-old desegregation consent decree.)
American River Transportation Co. v. Ryan, 579 F. 3d 820 (7th Circuit 2009) (Obtained order from Seventh Circuit vacating contempt order entered against client in admiralty case. As a result, the client was able to re-file state court tort action against barge company.)
Vermilion Coal Co. V. Black Beauty Coal Co., 4-09-0657 (Ill. App. 4th District, December 21, 2009) (Part of trial team and appellate team that obtained a preliminary injunction to halt shut down of coal mine, which was affirmed by the appellate court.)
Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Clean Harbors, Inc., 2010 WL 438372 (February 4, 2010) (Representing insured, obtained partial summary judgment ruling that pollution exclusion in excess insurer’s policy is ambiguous.)
Deceuninck North America LLC v. Bavarian Polymers, Inc. et al., No. 06 CV 951 JMM (U.S.D.C. E.D. Ark) (Successfully represented a manufacturer and designer of lineals used in the manufacture of vinyl window, obtaining a permanent consent judgment entered on March 2, 2007, against the defendants in a trade secret and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit.)
Builders Association of Greater Chicago v. City of Chicago, 298 F. Supp. 2d 725 (N.D. Ill. 2003) (Represented the City in a six week trial. The court found that City had shown pervasive discrimination in the Chicago construction market, and thus has a compelling interest for a race- and gender-conscious affirmative action program in construction contracting, but held that current ordinance was not narrowly tailored. Thereafter worked with the City to enact new ordinance.)
Somerville v. City of Chicago, 291 F.Supp.2d 737 (N.D. Ill. 2003) (Represented the City, the court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff’s sexual harassment, race discrimination claims, and due process.)
Eichmann v. National Hospital and Health Care Services, Inc., 308 Ill. App 3d 337 (1st District 1999) (Representing plaintiff, obtained summary judgment that restrictive covenant in plaintiff’s independent contractor agreement was unenforceable as a matter of law. The ruling was affirmed by the 1st District Appellate Court.)
Wilson v. Ryan Companies, 09 CV 5935 (N.D. Ill.) (Currently representing terminated executive in breach of contract case.)
Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Clean Harbors, Inc., 08 CV 2180 (N.D. Ill.) (Currently representing insured environmental company in declaratory judgment case involving application of pollution exclusion.)
Landis v. Alvarez, No. 09, CH 41275 (Cook County, Ill.) (Currently representing the plaintiffs in a shareholder oppression/restrictive covenant case.)
Godbold v. New Process Steel, L.P., No. 08, L 4544 (Cook County, Ill.) (Currently representing defendant employer in case alleging retaliatory discharge.)
United States v. Board of Education of City of Chicago, 80 C 5124 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ill.) (Represented the Chicago Board of Education in litigation involving a school desegregation consent decree.)
Hollinger International, Inc., v. Hollinger Inc., 04 C 0648 (N.D. Ill.) (Represented the Ravelston Corporation Limited in lawsuit brought by owner of the Chicago Sun Times against Conrad Black and others.)
Geneva Flavors, Inc. v. Fontana Flavors, Inc., 04CV0361 (Dane County, WI) (Represented the defendants in seven-day hearing on plaintiff’s motion for temporary injunction. The court denied the motion.)