Drew G.A. Peel
Drew Peel is an experienced commercial litigator. He has appeared before federal and state courts throughout the country, as well as before domestic and international arbitration tribunals. He has successfully tried civil and criminal cases to verdict, arbitrated domestic and international disputes to award, briefed and argued civil and criminal appeals, and mediated and settled cases. The matters he has handled have involved many different industries and practice areas, and some of this experience is summarized below.
- General Commercial and Contractual Disputes
- ERISA and MPPAA Disputes
- Class-Action And/Or Consumer Disputes
- Intellectual Property Disputes
- Employment Disputes
- Franchise and Distribution Disputes
- Criminal Defense, Internal Investigations, And Related Civil Proceedings
Mr. Peel has represented businesses, trade associations, and individuals in a wide variety of complex commercial and contractual disputes, including, for example, disputes arising out of the purchase and/or sale of businesses, the termination of distributors, equipment purchasing agreements, leases, and real estate development and purchase agreements. Representative examples of commercial and contractual disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Lake Erie Land Co. v. Chesterton Development Partners, LLC, (Sup. Ct. Porter Co., Ind.) – Case involving contract and tort claims asserted against client (Chesterton Development Partners, LLC), and counterclaims client asserted against plaintiff, relating to real estate development agreements. After lawsuit filed and receiver appointed, claims and counterclaims were successfully resolved, along with related foreclosure proceedings.
• BP Amoco Chemical Co. v. Flint Hills Resources LLC (N.D. Ill.) – Case involving contractual indemnity and fraud claims asserted against client (BP Amoco Chemical Company) by purchaser of chemicals business relating to condition of assets, production capacity of plant, and environmental issues. After a ten-week jury trial, the jury denied the opposing party’s claims for fraud and rejected opposing party’s claims for approximately 60% of the contractual indemnity damages they were seeking.
• Nat’l Accident Ins. Underwriters, Inc. v. Citibank, N.A., 533 F. Supp. 2d 784 (N.D. Ill. 2007), aff’d, 543 F.3d 907 (7th Cir. 2008), pet. for reh’g & reh’g en banc denied (2008), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 1679 (2009) – Case involving $17 million in check conversion claims asserted against client (Citibank). Trial court awarded summary judgment to Citibank on all claims, and appellate court affirmed trial court’s summary judgment ruling.
• Heartland Rail Corp. v. Railroad Dev. Corp., 2003 WL 21145635 (N.D. Ill. May 15, 2003) – Case involving dispute over sale of railroad to client (Railroad Development Corp.) pursuant to appraised value. Trial court awarded partial summary judgment to client for claims brought by other shareholder, ultimately prompting favorable settlement of remaining claims.
Mr. Peel has represented businesses in several complex arbitration matters, as well as in litigation relating to attempts to enjoin or compel arbitration. Representative examples of arbitration disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Lefkowitz v. HWF Holdings, LLC, 2009 WL 3806299 (Del. Ch. Nov. 13, 2009) – Case involving contractual indemnity claims being brought by client (HWF Holdings) arising out of purchase of business from former owners, who filed suit in Delaware Chancery court in attempt to enjoin filing of arbitration by client. Court granted client’s motion to dismiss, which subsequently prompted favorable confidential settlement.
• KIK Int’l LLC v. Satish Shah et al., Case No. 3:06-CV-712 RM (N.D. Ind.) & AAA Case No. 51-180-Y-01570-06 – Cases involving indemnity claims by client (KIK International) for breach of representations and warranties regarding GAAP accounting, financial statements, and condition of assets arising out of purchase of business from former owners. Following a three-week arbitration hearing, a panel of arbitrators returned a unanimous award in favor of client for an eight-figure sum (the maximum amount of contractual indemnity the client could recover from former owners in arbitration), finding evidence of deliberate misrepresentations relating to financial condition of acquired company, which subsequently prompted favorable settlement of non-arbitrable fraud and statutory claims of client – all of which was in addition to a seven-figure working capital award to client by Ernst & Young LLP. See also Shah v. KIK Int’l LLC, 2007 WL 2746879 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 18, 2007) (denying request by former owners to enjoin arbitration regarding indemnity claims).
Mr. Peel has represented a number of businesses and pension funds in several complex ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) and MPPAA (Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980) disputes. Representative examples of ERISA and MPPAA disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Prairie Capital II, L.P. v. The Hollow Metal Pension Fund, (S.D.N.Y.) & AAA Arbitration – Case involving seven-figure withdrawal liability claim asserted against client (Prairie Capital) arising under ERISA and MPPAA. After briefing and winning summary judgment respecting the non-arbitrability of client’s claims for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, matter was favorably settled and related arbitration dismissed.
• Sun Capital Partners III, L.P. v. New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension Fund, (D. Mass.) & AAA Arbitration – Case involving seven-figure withdrawal liability claim arising under ERISA and MPPAA and asserted against client (Sun Capital) relating to failure of portfolio company in which each partnership had an ownership interest and involving novel theories of de facto partnership/joint venture and evade-or-avoid withdrawal liability. Trial court granted motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the non-arbitrability of client plaintiffs’ claims before defendant filed written response to motion, resulting in stay of related AAA arbitration.
• Chicago Truck Drivers, Helpers & Warehouse Workers Union (Indep.) Pension Fund v. Con-way Inc., (N.D. Ill.) & AAA Case No. 11-621-000724-09 – Case involving seven-figure withdrawal liability claims asserted against client (Con-way Inc.) relating to failure of former corporate subsidiary several years after it was spun-off by client. After briefing of client’s motion to dismiss and motion to stay related arbitration, matter was successfully settled and lawsuit and related arbitration dismissed.
• Stratton v. GKN North Am. Servs., Inc., (E.D. Ky.) – Case involving claims asserted against client (GKN North America) by putative class of retirees for alleged ERISA and Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) breaches associated with client’s changes to certain retiree medical and life insurance benefits for certain legacy hourly employees. Matter was successfully settled before class was certified.
• NW Indiana Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Trust Fund v. Nannenga, (N.D. Ind.) – Case involving ERISA fiduciary duty and other claims asserted by client (a multiemployer pension plan) against former trustee, co-conspirators, and seller of real estate investment to plan induced by means of kick-back paid to trustee. After completing discovery, settling with some defendants, and defeating summary judgment motion brought by seller, remaining claims against seller were successfully settled, along with related Department of Labor lawsuit, ultimately recovering for pension plan from all defendants an amount that in the aggregate exceeded the principal amount of the real estate investment.
Mr. Peel has represented businesses and pension funds in putative class-action cases and cases involving consumer fraud claims. Representative examples of class-action and consumer disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Romero v. Allstate Ins. Co., (E.D. Pa.) – Cases involving ADEA, ERISA and other claims relating to client (Allstate Insurance Company) reorganization of agency sales force. Trial court awarded summary judgment to client after class certified, although summary judgment was subsequently vacated on appeal and case remanded for further proceedings due to failure of trial court judge to issue memorandum opinion specifying bases for original summary judgment decision.
• Winarski v. Board of Trustees of NW Indiana Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Trust Fund, 2005 WL 1221594 (N.D. Ind. May 19, 2005) – Case involving ERISA fiduciary duty claims brought by putative class of participants in multiemployer pension plan. Court granted client (board of trustees of pension plan) motion to stay duplicative participant claims in favor of similar claims brought by client before class certified, ultimately prompting favorable settlement of duplicative putative class-action lawsuit.
• Bober v. Glaxo Wellcome PLC, 246 F.3d 934 (7th Cir. 2001) – Case involving consumer fraud claims by putative class representative with respect to sale and marketing of OTC and prescription Zantac®. Trial court dismissed claims before class was certified, and dismissal was upheld on appeal, on grounds that statements at issue were not misleading as a matter of law and statutory exception for regulated activities applied.
Insurance and Reinsurance Disputes
Mr. Peel has represented insurers, insureds, and brokers in connection with a number of different kinds of insurance and reinsurance disputes. Representative examples of insurance and reinsurance disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• TIG Ins. Co. v. Aon Re, Inc., 2005 WL 3742818 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 7, 2005), aff’d, 521 F.3d 351 (5th Cir. 2008) – Case involving claims that client (Aon Re Inc.) was negligent in serving as reinsurance broker, breached alleged fiduciary duties owed plaintiff, and was liable for common-law contribution. Trial court awarded client summary judgment on all claims, which ruling was then affirmed on appeal.
• Clark V. Natali Ins. Agency v. Pa. Ins. Dep’t ex rel. Allstate Ins. Co., (Pa. Comw. Ct.) – Case involving statutory challenge to client (Allstate Insurance Company) termination of insurance agency for poor performance. Administrative law judge affirmed dismissal of claims asserted against client, holding Pennsylvania statute restricting termination of certain types of agencies did not apply to termination of independent contractor insurance agency, which ruling was subsequently affirmed by court, prompting subsequent favorable settlement of related lawsuit.
• Virginia Surety Company v. Employers Reinsurance Corporation (Ad Hoc Arbitration) – Case involving disputes by reinsurer as to client (Virginia Surety) claims for covered loss adjustment expenses and related issues. Following mediation, case successfully settled on behalf of client, resulting in dismissal of arbitration.
Mr. Peel has represented businesses in connection with various intellectual property disputes involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, and/or trade secrets. Representative examples of intellectual property disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Bally Technology, Inc. v. International Game Technology (IGT), (D. Nev.) – Case involved patent infringement and antitrust claims against client (IGT) relating to patent pool for cashless gaming technologies. After arguing motion to dismiss antitrust claims and brief period of discovery, matter was favorably settled for client.
• Research Corporation Technologies, Inc. v. Lexmark Int’l Inc., (D. Ariz.) – Case involving alleged patent infringement by client (Lexmark) of imaging technology used for computer printers. After arguing summary judgment motions respecting invalidity and non-infringement, and after presenting arguments at Markman hearing, case was favorably settled for client.
• U.S. Office Prods. v. DeMarco, (Ill. App. 4th Dist.) – Case involving trade secret and non-compete claims brought by client (U.S. Office Products) against current and former employees. After trial court denied requested preliminary injunction, appellate court reversed and remanded for entry of preliminary injunction in favor of client.
Mr. Peel has represented a number of businesses and individuals in connection with various disputes relating to termination of employment and related matters. Representative examples of employment disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Hieshetter v. Ubiquity Brands, LLC, (Cir. Ct. Cook Co. Ill.) – Case involving claims against client (Ubiquity Brands) by terminated employees for severance, bonus payments, statutory wages and attorneys’ fees. Trial court granted motion to dismiss claims prior to any discovery.
• McManaman v. Ubiquity Brands, LLC, (Cir. Ct. Cook Co. Ill.) – Case involving claims brought by terminated chief financial officer against client and former executives for severance allegedly owed pursuant to employment agreement, statutory wages, and attorneys’ fees. Following filing of motion to dismiss, case favorably settled.
• Chrome Data Corp. v. Boyd, (D. Or.) – Case involving employment claims against client (Chrome Data) brought by terminated employee. Trial court granted motion to dismiss and/or stay in favor of arbitration, subsequently resulting in favorable settlement of claims.
Mr. Peel has represented a number of businesses in connection with disputes regarding franchise agreements, termination of distributorship and distribution agreements, and related matters. Representative examples of franchise and distribution disputes that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Technical Casino Supplies, Ltd. v. ShuffleMaster Inc. (AAA Arbitration) – Case involving claims by distributor relating to client (ShuffleMaster) termination of distribution agreement. After early ruling by arbitrator for client on termination of distribution agreement, case was favorably settled.
• American Top English, Inc. v. Lexicon Marketing (USA), Inc., 2004 WL 1403695 (N.D. Ill. June 21, 2004); American Top English, Inc. v. Lexicon Marketing (USA), Inc., 2004 WL 2271838 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 4, 2004) – Case involving consumer fraud, distributor termination, franchise, and breach of contract claims asserted against client (Lexicon Marketing). Court initially granted motion to dismiss as to statutory consumer fraud and franchise claims, and several of plaintiff’s contract and distributor termination claims. Court’s subsequent rulings with respect to summary judgment motions essentially gutted plaintiff’s claims, ultimately prompting favorable settlement for client.
Mr. Peel has represented organizations and individuals in connection with criminal investigations and prosecutions, internal investigations, and related civil proceedings. Representative examples of criminal investigations, internal investigations, and related civil proceedings that Mr. Peel has handled include:
• Defended Fortune 50 company in connection with non-public federal criminal price-fixing investigation, ultimately resulting in federal government’s decision not to indict the company or its former officers.
• Conducted non-public internal investigation for Fortune 100 company into allegations respecting asserted racketeering activities relating to claims processing activities.
• Asserted civil forfeiture restitution claims on behalf of pension fund whose former trustee took kick-back in connection with real estate investment undertaken by pension fund.
• Representation of employees of large international bank in connection with their testimony in jury trial brought by federal prosecutors against co-conspirator in scheme to convert checks by endorsing them without authority and depositing them with international bank in account of fictitious corporation.
• Second-chaired defense of pro bono client charged with first-degree murder in one-week jury trial, and led appeal relating to same.
• Lead court-appointed counsel for pro bono client in federal habeas case raising novel issues respecting mental competency of petitioner. See U.S. ex rel. Fernandez v. Pfister, Slip Copy, 2011 WL 2746328 (N.D. Ill. July 14, 2011).
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• University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1992; Editor-in-Chief, The University Of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 1992
• Davidson College, A.B. Political Science, 1989; Phi Beta Kappa & Departmental Honors in Political Science; 4-Year Army ROTC Scholarship
• University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 1987-88, Study Abroad Program; James Seth Award in Moral Philosophy
Prior Law Firm Experience
• 2002 - 2011; Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
• 2000 - 2002; Shareholder, Jenkens & Gilchrist, PC
• 1998 - 2000; Associate, Hedlund Hanley & John
Prior Government Experience
• 1997-98, Law Clerk to the Honorable Karen LeCraft Henderson (U.S.C.A .- D.C. Cir.)
• 1996-97, Law Clerk to the Honorable Edward R. Korman, (U.S.D.C. - E.D.N.Y.)
• 1992-96, Staff Lawyer in Army General Counsel’s Honors Program (Capt. USAR)
• 1994, Attorney Advisor To The President, White House Counsel’s Office (Detailed from Army)
• Named Illinois “Super Lawyer,” 2005 – Present
• Martindale “AV” Rating, 2001 - Present
• U.S. Courts of Appeals -- D.C. Cir.; Fed. Cir.; 5th Cir.; 7th Cir.; 9th Cir.
• U.S. District Courts -- D.D.C.; S.D. Ind.; N.D. Ind.; N.D. Ill. (General & Trial Bars); E.D. Wisc.
• Ill. Sup. Ct.
Rachlis Duff Adler & Peel LLC * 542 S. Dearborn Street, Suite 900 * Chicago, Illinois 60605 * (312) 733-3950