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111 East Wacker, Suite 2800
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Tel (312) 527.4000
Fax (312) 527.4011
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John F. Kennedy
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Tel: 312.836.4122
Fax: 312.527.4011

Practice Areas

  Employment Law
  Construction Industry
  Real Estate
  Private Client Group
  Educational Institutions
  Trusts and Estates

Recent Press:
- Chicago Tribune, "Creditors Win Right to See Bank Accounts of Millionaire's Sons," January 15, 2011. Quoted again in his capacity serving as counsel to Plymouth Consultantsarguing for the recovery of money loaned to bankrupt North Shore businessman.

- Chicago Tribune, "Estate of North Shore Businessman under Judge’s Control," October 7, 2010. Quoted in his capacity serving as counsel to Plymouth Consultants of the British Virgin Islandsarguing for the recovery of money loaned to bankrupt North Shore businessman whose debts amounted to $20 million before his death in December 2009.
John  F. Kennedy


John F. Kennedy is a trial lawyer. He concentrates his practice in litigation involving commercial disputes, corporate and partnership disputes, fiduciary duties, land use, government authority, construction litigation, real estate litigation, and employment law, including restrictive covenants and trade secrets. John’s practice also focuses on special remedies such as emergency and permanent injunctive relief.

John is co-chairperson of the firm's approximately 30 attorney litigation department. As co-chair, John is responsible for the management and administration of the litigation department and is dedicated to fulfilling the department's mission to develop the best trial lawyers.

John is a member of the Federal Trial Bar, has first-chair trial experience, and has tried numerous cases to judgment. He has also successfully prosecuted and defended class-action suits including commercial disputes, fair trade practices, and civil rights claims.

John's litigation experience also includes prosecuting and defending appeals in both state and federal appellate court.


John completed a week long trial in federal court on behalf of Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc. (one of the largest publicly traded waste management companies in the United States) in a dispute over excess insurance coverage. On February 24, 2011, the Court entered judgment in favor of John's client,  Clean Harbors, for $9.4 million. Additional proceedings are pending.

John also recently completed a two week arbitration.  This case involved the rights of our client, a mineral estate owner, under a lease with a coal mine operator. The arbitrators entered an award in favor of the mineral estate owner for $4.7 million.


JD, 1987, DePaul University College of Law, with honors
BA, 1980, Niles College of Loyola University of Chicago, with honors


United States Supreme Court
United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois
Illinois State Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, and Circuit Courts


American Bar Association
- Section of Litigation
   - Member, 2009 ABA Annual Meeting Host Committee
Illinois Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association

Appellate Lawyers Association 

International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy (alumnus)
The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Adjunct Professor (Accelerated Trial Advocacy for Intellectual Property, including misappropriation of trade secrets, trademarks and patents), John Marshall Law School, 1997 to present
Instructor, Illinois Professional Responsibility Institute, 2000 to present

John has been awarded an AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethical standards and legal ability. He is also a member of the Leading Lawyers Network, which consists of the top 5% of Illinois Lawyers, as selected by his peers.


Representing the Village of Matteson in a lawsuit against the owner of Lincoln Mall seeking permission from the court to close the property due to a multitude of building and fire code violations. More information on the case can be found at the Chicago Sun Times. Past coverage of this case can be found at Chicago TribuneSouthtown Star NBC Chicago, CBS Chicago, ABC Chicago, Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV, WBEZ, Chicago Real Estate Daily, Northwest Indiana Times, Southtown Star and Chicago Sun Times Voices.

Successfully secured a $10.4 million judgment in a coverage dispute against National Union, an affiliate of AIG, following a bench trial before Judge John W. Darrah of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. See Pacific Employers Insurance Company v. Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, P.A., No. 08 CV 2180.

Successfully secured an arbitration award in the amount of $4.7 million in a dispute involving the rights and obligations of a coal mine operator under a coal mine lease.

Successfully obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, both of which were affirmed on appeal, to prevent the premature closing of a coal mine on behalf of the coal mining client.

Successfully represented the insured in obtaining partial summary judgment that the pollution exclusion contained in the excess insurer’s policy was ambiguous and, therefore, did not exclude coverage for the insured.

Successfully represented family-owned real estate development company in remediating design and construction defects in a multi-million dollar mixed use, Class A property.

Successfully defended a small closely held company accused by a multinational conglomerate of misappropriating alleged trade secrets. At trial, the conglomerate unsuccessfully sought to shut down the client's business operations.
Successfully prosecuted to judgment a claim against a 50% shareholder of a close corporation alleged to have breached numerous fiduciary duties to the corporation and fellow shareholders.

Successfully defended designers accused of breaches of fiduciary duties and unfair competition by a former employer.
Successfully tried to judgment a contract claim against the State of Indiana for an amount in excess of $3 million.
Successfully challenged to judgment the constitutionality of the City of Chicago’s liquid waste tax, which had imposed an annual financial burden in excess of $500,000 on the client, a publicly traded company. Thereafter, John worked with the City of Chicago and his client to draft and enact a new liquid waste ordinance that was not confiscatory.
Successfully enjoined certain members of an art museum from assuming control of the museum and transferring its assets and artwork out of state. By virtue of a multi-party mediated settlement approved by the Court, the museum reconstituted its Board of Directors and its art will remain in Illinois well into the 21st Century.
Successfully defended an employer corporation against multiple suits involving restrictive covenants.
Successfully prosecuted a claim of cyber-squatting, resulting in the cyber-squatter removing the disputed Internet name.
Successfully prosecuted a claim by a real estate developer alleging substantial construction and design defects in a new-construction multistory condominium building.
Successfully defended a prominent bank involving flawed real estate surveys and development of real estate.
Successfully represented a large law enforcement agency in a suit alleging a violation of civil rights for an inmate’s health care.
Represents constitutional officers and law enforcement agencies relating to various civil right matters.
Provides advice and counsel to employers regarding the efficacy of restrictive covenants, including nondisclosure provisions, nonsolicitation provisions, and covenants not to compete.
Successfully defended and prosecuted employment cases including claims to enforce covenants not to compete, confidentiality agreements, and non-solicitation agreements.


On March 15, 2012, John will be a featured speaker for the CBA Trust Law Seminar entitled, "Estate and Succession Planning for Private Business Owners and Ethical Considerations." 

On June 16, 2011, John presented a lecture entitled “Conflicts of Interest: Identifying and Resolving Conflicts” at an ARDC Professionalism Seminar:  The Essentials of Ethical Practice.

On April 28, 2011, John presented a lecture entitled “Appeals of Injunctive Relief” to an appellate lawyers seminar sponsored by the Appellate Lawyers Association.
On February 18, 2011, John presented a lecture entitled “Direct Examination of an Expert Witness” at a seminar on expert witnesses sponsored by  Pincus Professional Education.

Chancery and Special Remedies, 2011 supplement (IICLE, 2011), Certificate of Publication

2011 Edition Illinois Business Law: Mergers and Acquisitions
(IICLE, 2011), Certificate of Publication

Chancery and Special Remedies
, 2004 edition, Updated 2009 (IICLE, 2009), Certificate of Publication

“Employment Contracts Including Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets,” in Business Law Series Vol. III: Miscellaneous Operating Issues, 2005 Edition, Updated 2008 (IICLE, 2008) (with co-author Suzanne Sias).

“Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secret Misappropriation and Fiduciary Duties,” in Chancery and Special Remedies, 2004 Edition, Updated 2006 (IICLE, 2006) (with co-author Suzanne Sias).
Defending Against the Takings Claim: A Practical Guide for Municipalities, Stetson Law Review (2000).
The Rights and Remedies of Shareholders in Closely Held Corporations Under Illinois Law, Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal (1998).

IICLE Presentation Speaker on the IICLE course entitled, “Business Succession Planning for the Family Business.” (January 8, 2010)
Presentation on Conflicts of Law under the New Rules of Professional Conduct and Coordination with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. (October 2009)

Presentatation on “Responding to the Business Emergency: Special Remedies Including: Injunctions, Preliminary Injunctions, Temporary Restraining Orders and Permanent Injunctions under Illinois Law.” (October 1, 2009)
Frequent speaker at Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) seminars, including "Employment Contract with Restrictive Covenants and Confidentiality" and “Business and Corporate Governance Issues Relating to Estate Planning for the Family or Closely Held Business.”

Upcoming Presentation: Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Presentation on Rules of Professional Conduct, including Conflicts of Law. (April 15, 2010)   
Chicago Law Bulletin Litigation Skills Conference panelist for a presentation on the discovery of expert witnesses (2007).
ABA Business Torts Litigation Committee Regional Workshop panelist for “Successful Strategies When Pursuing Equitable Remedies or Extraordinary Writs in Chancery” (2006).

ARDC Professionalism Seminar: The Essentials of an Ethical Practice, presenter on "Conflicts of Interest: Identifying and Resolving Conflicts" (2010).


Pacific Employers’ Insurance Company v. Clean Harbors, Inc., 2010 WL438372 (February 4, 2010) (First Chair representing insured wherein the court awarded the insured partial summary judgment, ruling that the pollution exclusion in the excess insurance policy is ambiguous and, therefore, did not apply to exclude coverage for the benefit of the insured.)

Vermillion Coal Company v. Black Beauty Coal Company, 4009-0657 (Ill. App. 4th District, December 21, 2009) (First Chair Trial Counsel for Vermillion Coal Company, in which the court granted a temporary restraining order followed by a preliminary injunction to halt the premature shut-down of Vermillion’s coal mine. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s injunction orders.)

Davis v. Carter,
452 F. 3d 686 (7th Cir. 2006).
Schrager v. North Community Bank, 328 Ill. App. 3d 696, 767 N.E.2d 376, 262 Ill. Dec. 916 (1st Dist., Jan 14, 2002)(NO. 1-99-3727).
Stroger v. Regional Transp. Authority, 324 Ill. App. 3d 970, 756 N.E.2d 328, 258 Ill. Dec. 346 (Ill. App. 1st Dist., Aug 24, 2001)(NO. 1-00-2545).
Lake County Riverboat L.P. ex rel. FRGP, L.P. v. Illinois Gaming Bd., 313 Ill. App. 3d 943, 730 N.E.2d 524, 246 Ill. Dec. 499 (Ill. App., 2d Dist., May 19, 2000)(NO. 2-99-1434).
Hapag-Lloyd (America), Inc. v. Home Ins. Co., 312 Ill. App. 3d 1087, 729 N.E.2d 36, 246 Ill. Dec. 36 (Ill. App. 1st Dist., Mar 31, 2000)(NO. 1-99-2445).
Abbasi ex rel. Abbasi v. Paraskevoulakos, 187 Ill.2d 386, 718 N.E.2d 181, 240 Ill. Dec. 700(Ill., Jul 01, 1999) (NO. 85835).
Liquid Recovery Systems, Inc. v. Henderson, 1996 CH 10995 (Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division).

Land and Lakes Co. v. Henderson, 709 N.E.2d 1006 (1st Dist., 1995).
Illinois Republican Party v. State Bd. of Elections, 294 Ill. App. 3d 915, 691 N.E.2d 169, 229 Ill. Dec. 233 (Ill. App. 4th Dist., Feb 19, 1998)(NO. 4-97-0183, 4-97-0184).
Schons v. Monarch Ins. Co. of Ohio, 214 Ill. App. 3d 601, 574 N.E.2d 83, 158 Ill. Dec. 289 (Ill. App. 1st Dist., May 17, 1991)(NO. 1-90-2423).
Longview Aluminum, L.L.C. v. United Steel Workers of America, 213 F.Supp.2d 876, 170 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3078 (N.D.Ill., Jul 31, 2002)(NO. 02 C 00481).
Ozinga Chicago Ready Mix Concrete, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 209 F.Supp.2d 917 (N.D. Ill., Jun 20, 2002) (NO. 96 C 6859).
Napleton v. General Motors Corp., 138 F.3d 1209 (7th Cir., Mar 18, 1998, NO. 96-3355), (cert. denied).
Harold Washington Party v. Cook County, Illinois Democratic Party, 984 F.2d 875, 24 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 1116 (7th Cir.(Ill.), Jan 29, 1993)(NO. 91-2712).
Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. Express Freight Lines, Inc., 718 F.Supp. 716 (N.D. Ill., Jul 25, 1989)(NO. 89 C 0528).

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