Kathleen C. Chavez is a founding partner of Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC Ms. Chavez earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1998 from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University in 1995. Ms. Chavez has extensive nationwide litigation experience and is admitted to practice law in multiple jurisdictions, including: the Illinois Bar; California Bar; District of Columbia Bar; United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals; Federal Trial Bar; Federal Court of Claims and is also frequently admitted pro hac vice in cases nationwide.
Ms. Chavez is a nationally recognized civil litigator with a reputation for obtaining exceptional results in challenging cases. She has extensive litigation experience in multi-district litigation (“MDL”), federal and state civil litigation, class action litigation, arbitrations (including class and multi-plaintiff) and litigation before administrative tribunals, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Ms. Chavez is an accomplished trial attorney who has extensive experience in all aspects of complex civil litigation including such tasks as: case investigation, pleadings, discovery, e-discovery, document review, motion practice, trial (including class action), appeals and mediation/settlements. Her practice is focused on complex civil cases (including class, multi-plaintiff, mass tort and individual) involving competition, consumer fraud, unfair trade practices, environmental, technology, trademark, qui tam, civil rights, breach of contract, Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), employment, wage and hour, insurance and other state and federal statutory and common law claims. Ms. Chavez is a certified arbitrator, mediator and American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) Employment Panel Arbitrator. Ms. Chavez is involved in numerous professional organizations and is a speaker at conferences and seminars on topics such as alternative dispute resolution, mediation, class arbitration and employment law litigation. She has spent her career advocating for the rights of plaintiffs, including infants, children, individuals, employees and governmental entities, who have been injured or suffered loss due to fraud, deception, unfair competition, discrimination, harassment, illegal pay practices, environmental contamination, breach of contract, defective products, automobile accidents and a host of other injustices.
Ms. Chavez frequently serves in leadership roles, on committees and as a team member in some of the most challenging and transformative complex civil litigation nationwide. Ms. Chavez has utilized her diverse experience and unique background to consistently provide invaluable contributions in cases that require the cooperation and collaboration of multiple plaintiffs’ counsel. Whether as a leader or a team member, Ms. Chavez consistently offers an unparalleled level of advocacy, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to her clients. Recoveries from the cases in which she has been involved (including verdicts, judgments and settlements) exceed $7 billion dollars and involve a diverse range of complex civil claims, for example:
- In Tipsword v. I.F.D.A. Services, Inc., et al., served as lead counsel for the consumer class in resolving a $58 million dollar claim, before Judge G. Patrick Murphy of the Southern District of Illinois, for damages occasioned by the collapse of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association Pre-Need Trust.
- Havlish v. bin Laden, Docket No. 03-MDL- 1570 (S.D. NY): counsel for surviving families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers. Plaintiffs obtained a $6 billion dollar judgment. The Court found the Islamic Republic of Iran, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khameni, the former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and other Iran Agencies and instrumentalities all materially aided and supported al Qaeda before and after 9/11.
- In In Re Managed Care Litigation MDL 1344, before Judge Frederico Moreno of the Southern District of Florida, settlements were obtained consisting of monetary relief and significant changes in business practices valued in excess of $1 billion dollars. The class consisted of physicians and medical associations and the claims (civil conspiracy in violation of RICO were brought against nine of the largest managed care companies in the United States.
- Westgate Ford Truck Sales v. Ford Motor Company, Docket No. 02-CV-483526 (Ohio Cir. Ct.): served as a member of the trial team that resulted in a $2 billion dollar judgment on behalf of class of dealers who purchased medium duty of heavy duty trucks from the defendant. The case was tried as a breach of contract action alleging a systematic breach of the dealers Sales and Service Agreements which required Ford to sell products to every dealer using prices, charges and discounts that are published in advance. The class maintained Ford breached the agreement through the operation of a pricing program known as the Competitive Price Assistance Program. The Ohio Appellate Court reversed the $2 billion judgment and the case is currently awaiting a retrial.
- In Re Lupron Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL 1430: served as Class Settlement Counsel in a class action against the manufacturer and marketers of the drug Lupron. The Court approved a $150 million settlement for patients, insurance companies and health and welfare benefit plans that purchased the drug. Plaintiffs successfully claimed the defendants engaged in a scheme to artificially inflate the average wholesale price. Plaintiffs maintained such claims under RICO 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) and (d) as well as the consumer protection laws of 34 states.
- In Nash et al v. CVS Corporation, in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island served as Co-Lead Settlement Counsel on behalf of current and former assistant managers and assistant store managers claiming they were not properly paid overtime because they were misclassified by the company as “exempt” from federal and state overtime pay requirements. The case was brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and similar state wage and overtime laws. The case was settled and the defendant agreed to pay up to $34 million into a fund for class member claims.
- In Re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1663: served as counsel to a class of plaintiff policyholders who alleged the insurance brokerage firms and companies conspired with one another to allocate customers and markets resulting in artificially inflated premiums paid by policyholders. Plaintiffs brought claims under the RICO Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) and (d), Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and similar state laws. To date settlements have accumulated in excess of $400 million.
- Barnes v. Canadian National Railway Company, et al.: served as Lead Class Counsel in the Northern District of Illinois and recovered $3 million and important nonmonetary relief (i.e., training, monitoring, reporting, etc.) on behalf of a class of African American railroad workers subjected to racial discrimination in the workplace. The complaint maintained the defendants’ conduct was unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 & § 1981(A).