John C. Sciaccotta has nearly 35 years of trial and litigation experience advocating for clients in complex civil litigation, arbitration, mediation and business counseling matters with a special emphasis on complex civil trial and appellate cases brought in federal and state courts and tribunals throughout the United States.
John represents publicly and privately held domestic and foreign business entities, lenders, employers, municipalities, government bodies and individuals in transactional matters and disputes, which include:
Counseling and advocating for business entities and their owners in disputes involving Business Divorce issues, including corporate control, valuation, corporate squeeze-outs, minority oppression, dissolution actions and breaches of fiduciary duty and business tort claims.
Interpretation of and litigation involving complex commercial contracts in construction negligence, commercial real estate, title insurance and mechanic's lien matters.
Advocating for various business entities and individuals in trade secret misappropriation and other unfair competition disputes.
Pursuing creditor claims in bankruptcy proceedings, including prosecuting and defending adversary claims.
Counseling and representing municipalities and property owners in zoning and land use controversies, as well as construction defect related disputes.
Prosecuting and defending insurance brokers, real estate brokers, engineers, architects and accountants involving professional negligence, breach of fiduciary and fraud claims.
Investigating business frauds perpetrated by employees and third parties with the ultimate recovery of substantial sums of money.
Litigating probate related matters involving guardianships, breach of probate fiduciary duties, will and trust construction and contests.
Defending Fortune 100 company employees in employment related discrimination claims.
John has substantial experience representing real estate owners/developers, business owners in a wide array of industries, professional service organizations, partnerships, limited liability companies, manufacturing, construction, technology, professional sales companies, municipalities, hedge funds and broker/dealers, governmental bodies, banks and lending institutions. He has significant experience working with professional sports leagues, owners and players, including representing the Arena Football League, its individual teams and owners for many years.
In addition, John has been appointed as a Neutral Arbitrator and Mediator for many years to resolve and arbitrate business related disputes. He serves on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association's National Roster of Arbitrators and Mediators.
Successfully represented an heir of an Estate to block the sale of the Estate’s interest in a closely held business that was to be sold for a devalued purchase price. John obtained an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”), stopping the sale. The TRO was affirmed by the Appellate Court. John’s legal theories that stopped the sale resulted in the heir becoming the majority and controlling owner of the business.
Successfully prosecuted and negotiated a favorable buyout of a founder of a technology company in a bitter and acrimonious business divorce
Successfully defended a professional services firm in a substantial post judgment collection proceeding
Successfully represented and obtained a favorable settlement in arbitration on behalf of a publically traded business entity in a dispute involving the contractual obligations for the sale and purchase of heavy duty construction equipment.
Represented and counseled business owners in the asset sale of a closely held business entity to a publically traded business entity. As part of the business sale, John was able to thwart and defend a significant threat of litigation involving the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets by the sellers that would have prevented the sale of the business.
Represented the largest Japanese Hotel owner/operator, with 242 hotels under its marquee, in negotiating and securing City of Chicago approvals and property re-zoning necessary for the construction of a 23-story, 615 room hotel in Chicago. The client intends to develop numerous hotels in the United States.
Secured a favorable outcome on behalf of a lender under a title insurance policy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court pursuant to fraud and equitable subordination and subrogation theories.
Represented and obtained a significant settlement on behalf of a professional sports league in a lawsuit involving insurance broker fraud and negligence in the procurement of worker’s compensation insurance.
Represented and secured a favorable settlement for three entrepreneur-inventors in a lawsuit involving alleged trade secret misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duty related to a patented device.
Obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment in a fraud investigation involving the embezzlement of a closely held business and reported the investigation results to federal authorities, resulting in the ultimate filing of a federal indictment.
Successfully defended a business entity and its owner in a breach of contract and shareholder control/dispute litigation.
Successfully defended various business entities and their owners against fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and conspiracy allegations involving the alleged fraudulent inducement of an investment transaction and the recovery of the investment funds.
Represented and secured a favorable defense and settlement of a trustee and co-guardian of a trust and a disabled person in an action to remove said trustee and co-guardian based upon allegations of fraud and breaches of fiduciary duties.
Successfully represented high level senior technology employees and their new employer against covenant not to compete, unfair competition, non-solicitation and trade secret misappropriation claims.
Defended corporate business clients against the City of Chicago for municipal code violation and demolition claims.
Represented a client, favorably, in a fee petition (fee-shifting) dispute and controversy.
Negotiated favorable operating agreement terms and conditions in a new start up technology company.
Arbitrated several matters, including a high stakes law firm partnership dispute
John joined Aronberg Goldgehn in April 2015 from Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. He practiced at its Chicago office predecessor firm, Shefsky & Froelich, for 15 years.
He has been awarded an AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethical standards and legal ability. Also among his accolades, since 2007 John has been recognized annually as a Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation by Illinois Leading Lawyers. He has also been named a Super Lawyer in Business Litigation by Illinois Super Lawyers.
SPEECHES AND PUBLICATIONS
John has co-authored four chapters in “Disputes Involving Closely Held Companies 2020 Edition.” Published in Feb. 2020 by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, it is the essential guide for Illinois attorneys who represent closely held corporations, partnerships or LLCs. John's chapters are:
- “Governance Issues” (Chapter 1)
- “Personal Liability in Closely Held Entities” (Chapter 2)
- “Minority Stakeholder Rights” (Chapter 4)
- “Valuation” (Chapter 6)
He also recently co-authored “Easing the Path Toward an Involuntary Law Firm Break-Up” published by The Chicago Bar Association Record in September 2020 as well as "Easing the Path Toward an Involuntary Law Firm Break-Up" published in the CBA Record in the September/October 2020 edition.
Some of his recent presentations have included:
- Co-Moderator & Speaker, “Debunking the Myth that Arbitration is More Expen$ive than Litigation,” The Chicago Bar Association, December 2020.
- Co-Presenter, “Covid-19: Force Majeure & Employer Liability,” Rossdale Group CLE, December 2020.
- Co-Organizer & Co-Presenter, “Advanced Workshop For Improved Negotiation & Mediation Skills,” The Chicago Bar Association, November 2020.
- Co-Organizer & Moderator, “A Live Interactive Workshop on The Effective Use of Remote Expert Testimony,” The Chicago Bar Association, November 2020.
- Co-Moderator: “Best Practices for Remote Mediation,” Chicago Bar Association, ADR Committee, October 2020.
- Co-Presenter: “The Compelling Use of Business Valuation Appraisals in Litigation, ”American Society of Appraisers International Conference, October 2020.
- Co-Presenter: “Utilizing Best Practices in ADR, ODR, & Court Litigation in the Era of COVID-19,” American Bar Association-Business Law Section, DIspute Resolution Committee, September 23, 2020.
- “Religious Sincerity in Corporations & Businesses,” a Catholic Lawyers Guild’s virtual CLE program, June 16, 2020.
- “Attorneys in Transition: Ethical Considerations for Joining a New Firm, Merging Firms, Leaving a Firm or Succession Planning,” a panel at Law Bulletin Media’s “Ethics 2020” virtual event, June 11, 2020.
- “New Paths to Affordability” at the Chicago Bar Association's “New Dimensions in Affordable Housing” meeting, June 3, 2020.
- "The Role of the Expert in ADR-Mediation and Arbitration,” a Forensic Expert Witness Association webinar, May 27, 2020.
- "The Virtual Delivery of Expert Testimony in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond,” a Forensic Expert Witness Association webinar, April 9, 2020.
- “Video Conferencing for Lawyers: A Practical Session & Discussion of Using Zoom in Mediations & Arbitrations," an ABA Business Law Section webinar, April 2, 2020.
- "Force Majeure Clauses and the COVID-19 Outbreak: What Are the Pressing Legal Issues?” a Chicago Bar Association webcast, March 25, 2020.
- “Advanced Workshop for Improved Negotiation, Mediation and Advocacy Skills – Sophisticated Strategies to Become a Better Advocate and Mediator,” a Chicago Bar Association program, March 2-3, 2020.
- “Law Firm Breakups - Hard To Do?” a Chicago Bar Association webinar, Feb. 24, 2020.
- "The Process of Arbitration: Making an Effective Presentation of the Case,” at the Chicago Bar Association’s 2019 Arbitration Institute, Oct. 29, 2019.
- "Making Difficult & Distressed Corporate Divorce & Complex Ownership Disputes Resolvable Through Mediation and Arbitration, Inside and Outside of Court Litigation," at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section, Sept. 14, 2019.
- "Delaware Business Divorce Update," at the Business Divorce Subcommittee of the ABA's Business Law Section meeting, Sept. 13, 2019.
- “Book & Records Requests Under Delaware & Illinois Law: The Dos & The Do Nots” at the Chicago Bar Association’s Business Divorce and Complex Ownership Disputes Committee meeting, Sept. 21, 2019.
- “Reducing Unconscious Bias in the Courts and the Legal Profession," a Chicago Bar Association seminar, May 16, 2019.
- "Books & Records Request Strategies Under Sect 7.75 of the Illinois Business Corporation Act & Illinois LLC Act and Litigation Issues," at the Chicago Bar Association's Business Divorce & Complex Ownership Disputes Committee meeting, Nov. 12, 2018.
- “Delaware Law Update: Recent Valuation Issues in Business Divorces,” at the Business Divorce Subcommittee of the ABA's Business Law Section meeting, Sept. 14, 2018.
- Facilitator, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism Law School Orientation Program at DePaul University College of Law, 2012-2013.
LEADERSHIP ROLES/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
- The Chicago Bar Association, Sustaining Member, 2021 - 2022
- The Chicago Bar Association’s Business Divorce and Complex Ownership Disputes Committee, Co-Founder and Vice Chair, 2018; Chair, 2019-2020
- The Chicago Bar Association, Treasurer, 2020-2021; CBA Mediation Program, Co-Founder, 2020; Board of Managers, 2017-2019; CLE Committee, Vice-Chair, 2019-2020; Bench and Bar Committee, Chairman; Golf Outing Chairman
- The Chicago Bar Foundation's Investing in Justice Campaign, Leadership Representative, 1997-present
- The Chicago Bar Foundation's Board of Trustees, past Member, 2007-2013
- WINGS Board of Directors, Member, 2018-present; General Counsel to the Board, 2018-present
- The DePaul University College of Law Dean's Advisory Council, Member, 2018-2021; past Public Interest Law Board Member
- The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago Board of Directors, Member, 2005-present; Audit Committee Chair
- Lawyers' Committee for The Retention of Cook County Judges, Co-Chair, 2003-present
- Fenwick High School Board of Trustees, Life Trustee, 2013-present; past Member, 2007-2014
- DuSable Museum of African American History, Director, 2019-present
- Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest Advisory Council, Member, 2018-present
- City Club of Chicago, Member, 2001-present
- 100 Club of Chicago Board of Directors, past Member, 2010-2014
- The Civic Federation of Chicago Board of Directors, past Member, 2004- 2012
- Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, past Director
- Chicago Legal Clinic Board of Directors, past Member, 2005-2011
- Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Board of Directors, past Member, 2006-2010
- Fenwick High School Bar Association, Founder, 1989; past President, 2010- 2016
- The Justinian Society of Lawyers, past President, 2004-2005; Officer, 1999-2005
- Museum of Broadcast Communications, past Vice President and Board Member, 2006-2010
- Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago Board of Directors, past Member, 2016-2018
- Barrington 220 Educational Foundation Board of Trustees, Member, 2018-present
- Barrington Youth Baseball & Softball, Inc. Board of Directors, past Member, 1999-2009
- Barrington High School Baseball Booster Club, past President, 2013
- Barrington High School Horseshoe Club, President, 2016-present
- Illinois Fatherhood Initiative Board of Directors, Member, 2010-2019; past President, 2009-2010
- Jesse White Tumbling Team, Inc. Board of Directors, Member, 2008-present
DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 1987
Creighton University, BSBA Finance, 1984
BAR AND COURT ADMISSIONS
- United States Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States Tax Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including Trial Bar
- American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Business Torts Committee, Business Law Section, Business Divorce Subcommittee
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association, Treasurer, 2020-2021; Mediation Program, Co-Founder, 2020; Board of Managers, 2017-2019; Business Divorce & Complex Ownership Committee, Chair, 2019-2020, Vice-Chair, 2018-2019, Co-Founder, 2018; CLE Committee, Vice-Chair, 2019-2020; Bench and Bar Committee, Chairman; Golf Outing Chairman
- Justinian Society of Lawyers
- National Italian American Foundation
- The Lawyers Club of Chicago
- The City Club of Chicago
- Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity
- 40 Under Forty Hall of Fame (2014)
- AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
- Illinois Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation and Closely & Privately Held Business Law (2007-2020)
- Illinois Super Lawyer in Business Litigation (2005-2011, 2019-2020)
- Accipiter Award from Fenwick High School, his alma mater (2018)
- Aquisition International's Best Illinois Lawyer for Complex Civil Trials (2014 )
John, his wife Esther, and four children reside in Barrington, Ill.
What is the best vacation you’ve ever been on? To Italy, Paris, Venice and London.
What is your favorite restaurant? Bella Notte, Chicago.
What is something most people don’t know about you? Someday, I would enjoy teaching high school Business Law and coaching high school baseball.