Brian E. Cohen

Associate

Overview

Brian E. Cohen focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, including cases involving contract disputes, restrictive covenants, misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition, consumer class action defense, and business torts.  Brian has represented a wide range of clients, including some of the world’s largest companies to private business owners, closely held companies and startups.  He has represented and counseled clients through all phases and forms of litigation, including alternative dispute resolution, emergency injunctions, jury and bench trials, and appeals in a variety of jurisdictions in the United States.  In addition, Brian is experienced in pre-litigation counseling, helping clients navigate disputes before they end up in court.

He is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Litigation Practice Group. For the past four years, Super Lawyers has selected Brian as an Illinois Rising Star, an honor given to fewer than 2.5 percent of all Illinois lawyers. 

Brian graduated cum laude in 2010 from Northwestern University Law School where he served as Note and Comment Editor of the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy. He also completed a judicial externship with Illinois Northern District Judge Wayne Andersen and served as a law clerk in the Illinois Attorney General’s Civil Appeals Division. Brian was certified as a mediator by the Center for Conflict Resolution and mediated cases in the court system.

Brian currently serves as a member of the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation, and has been a visiting guest lecturer for the school’s Professional Organization, Team Advancement and Leadership program, an orientation program designed to teach incoming law students about the core professionalism values integral to the legal profession.

Brian holds a master’s degree in American History from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in American history from Northwestern University.

Brian was previously an associate with Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP. Before attending law school, he was a high school teacher at Highland Park High School and Ida Crown Jewish Academy. He volunteers as the Director of Grants for the Board of the Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association. Brian resides in Evanston with his wife Lindsay and three sons.

EDUCATION

  • Northwestern University, B.A. American History, 1999
  • DePaul University, M.A. American History, 2006
  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 2010

Speeches & Publications

  • Using Confidentiality Agreements In Real Estate Deals, JD Supra, March 12, 2019

  • “Are Handshake Deals Still Good,” REJournals.com, The Midwest’s Leading Source for Commercial Real Estate News, January 27, 2015. 

  • “An Order to Compel Arbitration Is Not Appealable,” Case Note on Johnson v. Consumerinfo.com, No. 11-57184, 2014 WL 1085078 (9th Cir. Mar. 20, 2014), American Bar Association Section of Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Website, May 6, 2014. View PDF.

  • “Arbitration vs. mediation: How alternative dispute resolution can take the place of litigation,” Smart Business Chicago, January 2014. View PDF.

Representative Cases

Corporate Disputes

  • Earned multi-million dollar judgment for a hotel management group in a breach of contract action.
  • Represented the world’s largest independent cost maintenance program for private business jets in various business disputes.
  • Defended buyer in "earn-out" dispute under a stock purchase agreement to acquire a technology company.
  • Represented multi-billion dollar U.S. regional banking corporation in contract and tort claims arising out of loans to a life insurance premium finance business and related entities, including private equity backers. 
  • Defended New York-based broker-dealer against claims of breach of contract and promissory estoppel against investment advisor.
  • Regularly provides pre-litigation counseling to start-ups and young companies, helping clients navigate disputes before they end up in court. 

Arbitrations and Scope of Agreements

  • Litigated a variety of cases with respect to the scope and enforceability of arbitration agreements.
  • Earned summary judgment on behalf of Chicago music club, concert and festival promotion company to limit the scope of matters that could be pursued against it in arbitration.

Class Action Defense

  • Earned dismissal for Citadel LLC in a national class action captioned,  In re Biozoom, Inc. Securities Litigation.
  • Defeated class certification on behalf of international technology company in case alleging company had wrongfully misappropriated the class plaintiffs’ identity in violation of the Illinois Right of Publicity Act.
  • Defended national poultry producer in consolidated putative antitrust class actions brought by direct and indirect poultry purchasers alleging a conspiracy to reduce output and raise the prices of broiler chickens.
  • Defended international hotel chain in an antitrust class action which alleged that that the defendant hotel companies conspired to eliminate competition for branded keyword search advertising against each other, illegally raising consumers’ costs to find and book hotel rooms and seeks damages and injunctive relief under the Sherman Act.

Real Estate and Construction

  • Second-chaired a 9-day trial victory on behalf of construction company against a Texas company and its multi-national German parent. Brian examined expert and fact witnesses from both sides.
  • Represented the owner of a hotel in downtown Chicago in connection with a dispute over payment for the construction of a multi-million dollar parking garage.   
  • Defended national furniture company against claims it owed a real estate broker a commission for locating a new store location
  • Pursued and defendant claims on behalf of condominium association in Streeterville neighborhood against the owner and operator of the building’s commercial portion.
  • Filed claims on behalf of buyer of residential property in Chicago suburbs against sellers and their real estate agents for making misrepresentations with respect to the property.
  • Defended claims asserted against prominent real estate developer for alleged breach of oral contract to share millions in profits.
  • Pursued environmental claims on behalf of gas station buyer against seller.
  • Defended construction company against restaurant owner’s breach of contract claim.
  • Helped owner of commercial real estate development navigate foreclosure and sale proceedings. 

Restrictive Covenants/Trade Secrets

  • Regularly counsels employers, regarding their potential rights and liabilities arising from restrictive covenants signed by their employees, former employees, and prospective employees
  • Secured preliminary and permanent injunction on behalf of technology and manufacturing companies to enforce restrictive covenants against former employee. 
  • Defended technology company accused of raiding employees of a competitor.
  • Represented individual who started a company that competed against his former employer, and convinced former employer to abandon its plans to file suit.
  • Successfully defended a New York-based private equity firm against claims arising from the sale of one of the firm’s portfolio companies.  The plaintiff alleged that the sale price of the company had been wrongfully inflated through the use of allegedly misappropriated trade secrets.  All such claims were dismissed. 
  • Helped nationally distributed consumer products company resolve alleged trademark infringement suit without having to appear in court.