SFBBG Scores Victory in Seventh Circuit Appeal

by | Sep 24, 2020

SFBBG attorneys Richard M. Goldwasser and Matthew P. Tyrrell scored a decisive victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit when the Court affirmed a six-figure judgment entered in the Northern District of Illinois in favor of firm client, Beauty Enterprises, Inc., a leading distributor of beauty products.

Beauty Enterprises sued Sara Gregory, a longtime professional in the beauty products industry, for fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment based on her misrepresentations that a beauty product line she was hired to market had a common ownership with a similarly named manufacturer in the industry, and that Gregory’s product line was authorized to use the other manufacturer’s trade dress. In reliance on her statements, Beauty Enterprises purchased and resold goods from Gregory’s line to a national retail outlet.

Unbeknownst to Beauty Enterprises, the product line that Gregory represented did not have a common ownership with the other beauty product manufacturer, and Gregory’s line was not authorized to use the other manufacturer’s trade dress.

Despite having received a notice of trademark infringement from the other manufacturer, Gregory kept the information to herself and allowed Beauty Enterprises – who was unaware of the infringement claim – to proceed with the purchase of the infringing products. By the time that Beauty Enterprises uncovered the scheme, it had already purchased and re-sold the infringing products to the retail outlet. Once it learned of the infringement claim Beauty Enterprises promptly collected the products and made a full refund to the retail purchaser.  After hearing two days of testimony and considering the parties’ post-trial briefs, the District Court entered judgment in favor of Beauty Enterprises on both of its fraud claims.

Gregory appealed the judgment to the Seventh Circuit, arguing that the District Court improperly concluded that she had waived her right to a jury trial based on her counsel’s actions and statements consenting to a bench trial.  Gregory also sought reversal of the judgment, arguing that the District Court erred in allowing testimony regarding notes of a phone call she had with a Beauty Enterprises representative regarding the ownership of the product line and challenged the District Court’s findings that Beauty Enterprises reasonably relied on Gregory’s representations.

Before the Seventh Circuit, Goldwasser and Tyrrell argued that the judgment be affirmed because the District Court’s findings and conclusions had overwhelming support in the record and applicable law.  The Seventh Circuit panel, consisting of Circuit Judges Michael Kanne, Ilana Rovner and Amy Coney Barrett, agreed with SFBBG’s arguments and issued a unanimous written ruling affirming the judgment in its entirety.  The citation to the Seventh Circuit’s decision is Beauty Enterprises, Inc. v. Gregory, No. 19-3491, — Fed.Appx. —-, 2020 WL 5089558 (7th Cir. Aug. 28, 2020).

During a time when many law firms fled downtown, switching entirely to remote operations, and otherwise socially distancing from their former Loop practices, one Chicago law firm kept its foot on the gas and reached certain pre-pandemic goals set in late 2019.  Not only did the venerable Schoenberg Finkel firm accomplish a complete relocation into brand new space in the hot southwest Loop, but it also incorporated a new look and new name.

Effective August 17, 2020, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer, LLC (SFBBG) succeeded longtime Chicago firm Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC (SFNR).  The new SFBBG also moved into the entire 15th floor of 300 S. Wacker Drive, a recently renovated office tower known as “The 300.”  The Firm built out brand-new, highly efficient space to provide a more productive and innovative work environment for its lawyers and professional staff.  Taking advantage of the latest technologies, the modern office enables SFBBG to provide a greater number of offices with fewer rentable square feet.

SFBBG, a full-service business law firm founded in 1946, represents local and national companies and entrepreneurs.  The Firm provides services in myriad practice areas, including corporate, real estate, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, estate planning, tax, condo, employment, property tax reduction, and independent sales representatives.