Robert J. Trizna

Shareholder

My clients call on me to protect their rights and interests under some of the most stressful and challenging circumstances they face. That demands a thorough understanding of those clients – their personalities, characters, needs, wants and concerns.

My Background

As a general litigator and trial lawyer, my clients call on me to protect their rights and interests under some of the most stressful and challenging circumstances they face. While decades of litigation experience is essential to that task, so is a thorough understanding of those clients – their personalities, characters, needs, wants and concerns.

I start by asking my clients two questions that were suggested to me by my first and finest mentor, the late U.S. District Judge George Leighton: “Can you afford to lose?” and “Can you afford to win?” Based on the client’s answers to those two threshold questions, we cooperatively craft a strategy and develop a cost-benefit analysis for the case that enables the client to make well-informed decisions about the most effective course of litigating or settling the matter.

I have employed that process in representing a wide range of clients – including individuals, small to mid-size businesses and the people who own and run them, and those in specialized and highly-regulated industries such as commodities and securities brokers – on an equally wide range of matters. I’ve helped them resolve complex commercial disputes at both the trial and appeal levels involving:

  • trade secrets
  • unfair competition
  • insurance fraud
  • fiduciary duty breaches
  • restrictive employment covenants
  • product defects
  • landlord/tenant issues
  • ERISA rights and obligations
  • and closely-held corporate disputes

In addition to serving as lead counsel in litigation around the country, I also play that same role in arbitrations and mediations. And for those clients not large enough to have an in-house legal staff or general counsel, I serve in that capacity as well.

My life outside the office is a series of failed attempts to kick a lifelong government and politics habit that first manifested itself in door-to-door campaigning for JFK. More recently it took the form of service on the Park Ridge Park District Board (1997-2005) and on the Park Ridge Library Board (2011-2017). And from 1991 through 2006 I also coached youth sports with varying degrees of success.

Representative Cases

Trials:
  • Holden Metal & Aluminum Works v. Wismarq Corp., et al., Case No. 2000 C 191 (U.S. Dist. Court, N.D.Ill.), obtaining jury verdict for full amount of claim by Irish gutter manufacturer against American aluminum coil coater
  • Northern Illinois Hospital Services, Inc. v. Marriott Mgmt. Services, Inc., Case No. 94 C 50085 (U.S. Dist. Court, N.D.Ill.), obtaining a judgment for $200,000 less than plaintiff's final settlement demand
  • Navarro v. Casolari, Case No. 92 L 10128 (Cir. Ct. Cook County, Ill.), obtaining jury verdict for defendant insurance broker related to insurance funding of buy-sell agreement
  • Creyts Complex, Inc. v. Marriott Corporation, Case No. 92 C 364 (U.S. Dist. Court, E.D. Wis.), obtaining judgment for defendant on breach of real estate purchase contract
  • Guiffra v. Engel, Case No. 91 L 9272 (Cir. Ct. Cook County, Ill.), obtaining jury verdict for defendant truck driver on personal injury claim of Chicago police officer
Appeals:
  • Carter v. Carter, 2012 IL App (1st) 110855, involving fiduciary duty of trustee of marital trust
  • Trustees of AFTRA Health Fund v. Biondi, 303 F.3d 765 (7th Cir. 2002), testing the ERISA preemption of state law claims
  • International Union, UAW v. BVR Liquidating, Inc., 190 F.3d 768 (6th Cir. 1999), challenging vested retiree health care benefits
  • Creyts Complex, Inc. v. Marriott Corp., 98 F.3d 321 (7th Cir. 1996), involving real state and conditional contract issues
  • In re Baxco Corp., 148 B.R. 855 (Bkrtcy. N.D.Ill. 1992), obtaining a constructive trust on proceeds of fraudulent transfers
  • Bartsch v. Gordon N. Plumb, Inc., 138 Ill.App.3d 188 (1st Dist. 1985), involving complex real estate contract and procedural issues
Bob's Civic and Community ActivitiesView More
 Commissioner, Park Ridge Park District Board (1997-2005; president 2004-05)
Trustee, Park Ridge Library Board (2011-present)
Member, Park Ridge School District 64 Foreign Language Advisory Committee (1996-97)
Park Ridge youth sports coach (1991-2005)

My Education

The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1978

University of Notre Dame, B.A., English, 1974

Admissions

Illinois, 1979U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1980U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1992U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 1997U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, 2017U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (1985) and Sixth Circuit (1997)U.S. Supreme Court, 1999

Memberships

American Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association (Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, 1993) Illinois Super Lawyer in Business Litigation Illinois Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation
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