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Eric Dorkin

Senior Attorney
Office

Chicago

130 E. Randolph St.
Suite 3900
Chicago, IL 60601
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Fax: 312.985.5983
Education
J.D., with high distinction, University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, Iowa, 1998, Order of the Coif
B.A., State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, 1988
State Bar Licenses
Illinois
Massachusetts
Court Admissions
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of Illinois 1998
U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit 1999
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of Indiana 2000
U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit 2006
U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit 2009
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Wisconsin 2011
U.S. District Ct., W.D. of Michigan 2012

Eric Dorkin

Senior Attorney

Eric Dorkin is an experienced trial attorney, having recently tried numerous cases successfully to verdict.  Eric develops discovery and trial strategies for his own cases and is brought in to serve as lead trial counsel in other firm matters.  Eric has been the lead trial counsel for numerous bench and jury trials in multiple state and federal courts. 

Eric leads the firm’s appellate practice in Chicago and has been the principal draftsperson for more than 20 state and federal appeals.  Eric has argued before the Illinois Appellate Courts and three separate United States Courts of Appeal. 

Eric received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany in 1988, and his law degree, with high distinction, from the University of Iowa School of Law in 1998. Eric was also Order of the Coif.  Eric served as Articles Editor of the Iowa Law Review. 

Eric handles a wide variety of complex litigation with four primary focuses in his practice: 

  1. Estates, Fiduciaries, and Trusts:  Eric represents corporate and individual fiduciaries in matters involving claims of undue influence, lack of capacity, fraud, and duress. Eric represents banks and other institutional fiduciaries, individual fiduciaries, and trustees and personal representatives, in fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty cases.  Eric prosecutes and defends actions to recover assets for trusts and estates, as well as claims directed at fiduciaries for mismanaging or wasting assets. In addition, Eric prosecutes and defends will contests and other post-death estate challenges.
     
  2. Guardianships:  Eric prosecutes and defends actions involving petitions for guardianship over minors and adults. Eric defends guardians against claims of mismanagement or waste of assets. Eric also litigates matters involving the enforceability of powers of attorney, as well as actions alleging wrongdoing by an agent under power of attorney in connection with guardianship proceedings.
     
  3. Intellectual Property:  Eric handles litigation involving various aspects of intellectual property under state and federal law. Eric litigates state law claims for misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets, and federal law claims for copyright and trademark infringement, as well as patent infringement actions in federal court and before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
     
  4. Environmentally Impacted Property:  Eric litigates actions arising out of state and federal environmental law, including actions brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”).  Eric has litigated matters involving a variety of environmental contaminants, including asbestos, PCBs, uranium, and volatile organic compounds.

SIGNIFICANT CASES

Trial and Evidentiary Hearings

  • First chair state bench trial for guardianship of parent with potential for financial exploitation
  • First chair state bench trial for guardianship over permanently disabled child
  • First chair state bench trial involving 20 claims and counterclaims over actions of fiduciaries and capacity of trustee to take actions on behalf of trusts controlling numerous LLC interests
  • First chair state bench trial seeking guardianship of parent wasting significant assets
  • First chair state bench trial defending guardianship
  • First chair state injunction hearing for breach of non-compete agreement
  • First chair state bench trial prosecuting claim for undue influence in execution of will
  • First chair federal jury trial for civil rights violation based on racial animus
  • First chair federal bench trial for recovery of damages from parent corporation for subsidiary’s breach of commercial lease
  • First chair state bench trial for breach of consulting contract
  • First chair state bench trial seeking recovery of promissory notes owing to trust
  • First chair state bench trial on enforceability of end-of-life documents
  • First chair federal bench trial on civil rights violation after appointment by federal judge
  • First chair federal bench trial on asylum claim based upon homophobic persecution of lesbian in Uganda
  • First chair state TRO hearing for breach of non-compete agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets
  • First chair federal evidentiary hearing on prisoner claim for ineffective assistance of counsel
  • Second chair federal jury trial defending manufacturer of heavy machinery in dispute with customer over performance warranties
  • Second chair federal jury trial for breach of repair contract for leased aircraft
  • Second chair state injunction hearing for breach of non-compete agreement

Lead Litigator

  • Lead litigator defending claim by competitor for alleged violations of consulting agreement and alleged infringement of patent rights
  • Lead litigator prosecuting claim against competitor for violating client’s trade dress rights in product configuration and color combination
  • Lead litigator defending trustee in high-profile action involving application of “slayer statute” in state court based upon beneficiary’s conviction in Indonesia for killing her mother
  • Lead litigator representing corporate fiduciary for potential direct and derivative claims on behalf of trust as preferred shareholder of closely held corporation
  • Lead litigator defending corporate fiduciary against claim for misuse of estate assets in guardianship
  • Lead litigator in complex guardianship involving issues of capacity and proper succession of ownership and control of closely held corporation
  • Lead litigator prosecuting trademark infringement claim in federal court
  • Lead litigator prosecuting trade dress infringement claim in federal court
  • Lead litigator defending copyright infringement action in federal court
  • Lead litigator prosecuting claim for recovery of damages caused by improperly disclosed PCB and asbestos in connection with decommissioning of auto plant in federal court
  • Lead litigator defending iron foundry in environmental trespass case in federal court
  • Lead litigator defending class action lawsuit regarding Superfund site in federal court
  • Lead litigator in allocation dispute with members of Superfund site’s settlement task group in federal court

Appeals

  • Principal draftsperson for more than 20 state and federal appeals, presenting oral argument twice before the Illinois Appellate Courts and three times before the United States Court of Appeals
  • Drafted successful emergency appeal on case of first impression in Illinois regarding necessity of state court findings to be used by juvenile abandoned by her parents in her application for United States citizenship
  • Drafted and argued successful appeal on case of first impression in Illinois regarding guardian’s ability to prepare an estate plan deviating from intestacy for an adult disabled since birth
  • Drafted and argued successful appeal in federal court reversing denial of asylum of Ugandan lesbian for fear of harm and reprisals if repatriated
  • Drafted and argued successful appeal in federal court reversing 21-year old murder conviction based upon ineffective assistance of counsel 

REPORTED CASES

  • In re Estate of Nina L., 2015 IL App (1st) 152223 (Sept. 16, 2015) (reversing trial court and directly entering order to allow juvenile to file for Special Immigrant Juvenile status with the United States Government)
  • In re Estate of Donald Howell, 2015 Ill.App. LEXIS 466 (June 19, 2015) (reversing to allow client guardian to prepare estate plan deviating from intestacy in case of first impression)
  • Pontarelli v. Pontarelli, 2015 Ill.App. LEXIS 191 (March 18, 2015) (affirming multiple interlocutory orders in favor of client)
  • Muslim Community Center v. Village of Morton Grove, 392 Ill.App.3d 355 (2009) (affirming successful defense of title claim)
  • Nabulwala v. Gonzales, 481 F.3d 1115 (8th Cir. 2007) (reversing improper denial of asylum claim)
  • Hernandez v. Cowan, 200 F.3d 995 (7th Cir. 2000) (reversing 21-year old murder conviction)
  • Filippo v. Lee Publications, Inc., 485 F.Supp.2d 969 (N.D. Ind. 2007) (summary judgment in favor of client newspaper for defamation claim) 

OTHER DECISIONS

  • In re Estate of Leonard Koenen, 2014 IL App. (1st) 140080-U (Nov. 10, 2014)
  • In re Guardianship of Florence Pontarelli, 2014 IL App. (1st) 122782-U (Mar. 13, 2014)
  • Filippo v. Lee Publications, Inc., 2007 WL 2713236 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 12, 2007)
  • Menard, Inc. v. Wells Mfg. Co., 2007 WL 2688445 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 11, 2007)
  • Voss v. Waste Management of Illinois, Inc., 2006 WL 1235789 (N.D. Ill. May 4, 2006)

PUBLICATIONS

  • “Northern District of Indiana Rejects Anti-Drug Activist’s Libel Claim for Reports, Cartoon on DUI Arrest and Acquittal,” Media and Communications, Newsletter - June/July 2007
  • “California Reporters Face Jail for Breaking Story on Steroid Use,” Media and Communications, Newsletter - October 2006
  • “Development, The IMF, and Institutional Investors: The Mexican Financial Crisis,” Transactional Law and Contemporary Problems; and Federal Court Prison Litigation Project Revised Handbook, 8th ed., 1999
  • "Debunking Integrity’s ‘Equality Advantage’: The Absence of Coordination in Ronald Dworkin’s Law’s Empire,” Iowa Law Review, 1998
  • James P. Chapman & Eric Dorkin, FEDERAL COURT PRISON LIT. PROJECT REV. HANDBOOK (8th ed. 1999)

SPEECHES

  • November 2016, Presented “Guardianship Update” at the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Seminar
  • June 2015, Co-presented “Powers of Attorney and Guardianship Litigation” at the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Seminar, Don’t Let Your POA be DOA: The Latest on Powers of Attorney and Guardianship
  • May 2015, Co-presented Dealing with ‘Behavioral Disorders’ Exhibited by Clients and Beneficiaries at the 58th Annual Estate Planning Short Course presented by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education

HONORS

  • Attendee, International Association of Defense Counsel’s 2014 Trial Academy
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Federal Bar Association’s 2011 Award for Excellence Pro Bono Service
  • Federal Bar Association’s 2000 Walter J. Cummings Award for Pro Bono Service
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Civil Rights Litigation Pattern Jury Instruction Committee, appointed by Chief Judge Marvin E. Aspen
  • Member of the Trial Bar for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

JURISDICTIONS

  • Supreme Court of Illinois (1998)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1999)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2006)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2009)
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (1998)
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana (2000)
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2011)
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (2012)
Memberships
Chicago Bar Association
American Bar Association
Experiences

Eric Dorkin, MacKenzie Hyde and Ray Koenig obtained a significant victory in the 1st District Appellate Court. In a case of first impression, the Illinois Appellate Court granted Clark Hill’s emergency appeal in favor of Nina L., a minor seeking to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to stay in the United States following her 18th birthday.  The trial court had denied Nina L.’s request for the judicial findings necessary for her to apply to remain in the United States after being abandoned by her natural parents.  The trial court held that it was not proper for it to enter findings pursuant to federal statute.  The Appellate Court reversed and entered the required findings itself on an emergency basis so that Nina L. could timely file the required documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as her 18th birthday was just days away.  

As reported in the local legal press, “This is a case that really mattered,” said Dorkin, who represented Nina L. “If the case was decided the other way, she was going back to Taiwan with no known family or connections and just a high school degree, and I think that’s a recipe for lifelong disaster.”

Estate of Donald Howell v. Donald Brenard Howell, 2015 IL App (1st) 133247 and 1140810 (cons.)

The Raymond W. Pontarelli Trust, et al. v. Michael Pontarelli, et al., 2015 IL App (1st) 133138

In re Estate of Leonard Koenen, 2014 IL App (1st) 140080-U

In re Guardianship of Florence Pontarelli, 2014 IL App (1st) 122782-U