40 Under Forty 2022

KINDNESS, RESPECT, AND MENTORSHIP My 40 under Forty nominations included cherished letters written by two of my heroes—both legends of Chicago’s legal community—The Honorable James F. Henry, Ret., and Richard A. Devine. These two legal lions taught me about friendship, mentorship, and made me a better human. They taught me to disagree without being disagreeable, to relentlessly learn, and to pay forward the gifts I received from those who came before me, by passing their lessons to those coming up in the ranks. Hopefully, this piece does just that. I hope it resonates. Seth Darmstadter is a trusted legal advi- sor and sought-after commercial litigator for top-shelf clients nationwide. He is also a crisis management specialist, having guid- ed companies, large and small, through tu- multuous and business-threatening events. Seth can be contacted at 312-638-5671 or sdarmstadter@mrllp.com.

We get to choose our partners, team members, clients, cases, and causes. I love practicing, teaching, and mentoring in the law—perhaps as much as I do because of the autonomy allowed by consistent busi- ness development. WORK SMART AND GROW Practicing law is hard, fiercely competitive, and all too often, a grind. But grinding isn’t growing. A legal career is not about billing the most time. It’s about relationships, skill-building, decision making, and em- bracing mistakes. It’s also about counseling clients, being counseled by mentors (and often by junior lawyers working on our teams), pitching, selling, and problem-solv- ing. Growing M&R nationally, and especially building M&R Chicago, we constantly seek to add lateral partners and associates who want to grow within a structure that en- courages individuality, diversity of thought, and these shared values.

and who repeatedly has bet on me. He has taught me, by example, the true execution of client service excellence. I draw further inspiration from visionary founders— some I’m lucky enough to call clients and friends—who’ve developed industry dis- ruptive ideas and surrounded themselves with professionals like me to help scale them. And I’m also moved by people who use their platforms to fight for social jus- tice—those who’ve dedicate themselves to doing well by doing good—and by resil- ient, yet kind, men and women in the legal profession who are inclusive and win the right way. RAINMAKING = FREEDOM I don’t know about “balance,” but business developers can successfully achieve work/ life integration. We have the freedom to incorporate our family life, our non-work- hobbies, our loved ones, our non-law firm priorities, and lots of joy into our everyday.

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VOLUME 165, NO. 189

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Judge bars DOJ from conditions on funding Case involves local cooperation with immigration agents

TRIAL NOTEBOOK STEVEN P. GARMISA Hoey & Farina sgarmisa@hoeyfarina.com

PATRICIA MANSON pmanson@lawbulletinmedia.com

Pay earned despite void school pact Quantum meruit Because the contracts that school officials signed with Re- store Construction and Restore Restoration after fire damaged Proviso East High School in 2014 were void ab initio — based on the school board’s failure to com- ply with the Illinois School Code’s voting and bidding requirements — a Cook County judge ruled that the contractors were not entitled to the alternative remedy of quan- tum meruit. But the Illinois Appellate Court reversed, because precedent on contracts implied by law support- ed the plaintiffs’ claim for more than $1.4 million. The defendant relied on prece- dent “from the early 1900s,” but “more recent case law than that cited by the Proviso board es- tablishes that a municipal entity may be sued under the equitable theory of a contract implied in law even when the proper proce- dures for incurring contractual debt were not followed,” the 1st District explained. “The parties have not cited, and we have not found, any case that holds that recovery under quan- tum meruit is barred where the intended contract with a munic- ipal unit has been determined to be void ab initio. We decline to make such a holding for the first time here.” Restore Construction Co. v. Board of Education of Proviso Township High Schools District 209 , 2019 IL App (1st) 181580 (June 28, 2019). Here are highlights of Justice Maureen E. Connors’ opinion (with light editing and omissions not noted): Although the terms “contract implied in law” and “contract

A federal judge on Thursday permanently enjoined the U.S. Justice Department from with- holding public safety money from the city of Evanston and about 350 other municipalities if they refuse to help enforce immigration law. In a written opinion, U.S. Dis- trict Judge Harry D. Leinenweber held the Trump administration violated federal law and the U.S. Constitution by placing condi- tions on the receipt of funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Jus- tice Assistance Grant. The conditions are aimed at so-called sanctuary cities, juris- dictions that limit their coop- eration with the federal govern- ment’s enforcement of civil im- migration law. Sanctuary cities refuse to turn over for deportation undocu- mented immigrants not suspect- ed of serious crimes. The conditions enjoined by Leinenweber would require po- lice to give Immigration and Cus- toms Enforcement agents ad- vance notice before a noncitizen is released from custody and to allow those agents unrestricted access to police stations and lock- ups. Other conditions would require

High court gets lawyer doubleheader One case on pensions credits in divorce, the other on a stray cow Paul A. Osborn (left) and Timothy B. Zollinger (right), each attorneys with Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson P.C. in Sterling, argued back-to-back cases before the Illinois Supreme Court on Sept. 19. The 16-person firm has operated in northwest Illinois since 1862. Video screenshots from illinoiscourts.gov

ADRIANNA PITRELLI apitrelli@lawbulletinmedia.com

her share of the $9,626 used to purchase the credit. The 3rd District Appellate Court, in a split decision issued Feb. 20, reversed Hauptman’s r uling. Writing for the 3rd District ma- jority, Justice William E. Holdridge wrote that “to the extent that a pension benefit is a marital asset, any enhancement in value ob- tained during the marriage is also a marital asset subject to appor- tionment on an equitable basis.” That Ochoa became eligible for the enhanced annuity during the marriage was a key factor, the majority held.

factored into marital property during a divorce. Ochoa was on active military duty from 1974 to 1980 and start- ed work for the Illinois State Po- lice in 1989. He got married in 2000. His wife, Louise Zamudio, filed for divorce in 2014. Ochoa purchased 48 months of military service credit in 2004 and 2008 to enhance his State Re- tirement Systems pension. He and Zamudio disagreed on how much of Ochoa’s pension was marital. In April 2016, then 14th Judicial Circuit Judge John L. Hauptman determined the service credit was nonmarital property, but required Ochoa to reimburse Zamudio for

SPRINGFIELD — It had been decades since attorneys from Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson P.C. in Sterling argued a case before the Illinois Supreme Court. But last week, the firm went back-to-back in Springfield. Timothy B. Zollinger and Paul A. Osborn each argued separate cas- es in front of the top court Sept. 19. Osborn handled the appeal for client Frank Ochoa Jr. in In re Marriage of Louise Zamudio , a case originally from Whiteside County that questions how pur- chased service credits on a state employee’s pension should be

LAWYERS • Page 6


On further review, lawyer appeals NFL no-call ruling


wouldn’t take it farther. Now he’s asked the court to reverse itself. His motion, filed Sept. 16, contends that the ruling isn’t based in state or federal law but in English common law from three-quarters of a cen- tury ago. He said in an email Thursday that he changed his mind after the Catholic Church cited the NFL de- cision in a request to dismiss a suit against church officials over al- leged sexual abuse by a defrocked deacon. “The ink was barely dry on that NFL dismissal when the [c]hurch’s attorneys grabbed that ruling and asked the Louisiana Supreme

Court to dismiss the molestation case of John Doe,” he said in the email. “It troubles our group enough to ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to ask that it recon- sider its NOLA ‘No Call’ ruling granting the NFL such tort immu- nity.” Le Mon’s lawsuit alleged fraud and sought damages over game of- ficials’ failure to flag a blatant penal- ty: a Rams player’s helmet-to-hel- met hit on a Saints receiver while a pass was on the way. The lack of a penalty call for pass interference or roughness helped the Rams beat the Saints and advance to the Super Bowl.

A state district judge and a three- judge appeals panel had said the suit belonged in state court but the Supreme Court overruled them and threw out the lawsuit, finding that buying a ticket bought fans on- ly “the right of entry and a seat at the game.” Judges and juries shouldn’t be “second-guessing the decision tak- en by a professional sports league purportedly enforcing its own rules,” the opinion says. The Catholic Church cited that state- ment in a motion to end a lawsuit filed last year by a man who says

NEW ORLEANS — After the dis- missal of the “Nola No-call” lawsuit against the NFL was cited by attor- neys for the Roman Catholic Church in a sex abuse case, a New Orleans Saints fan said he has changed his mind and is not drop- ping his lawsuit after all. Antonio Le Mon, an attorney as well as a Saints fan, sued the NFL over game officials’ failure to call an obvious penalty at a crucial point in a January playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled against him and he said he

NFL • Page 8



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