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Chapman Spingola Defends Premier Research Labs Against Abuse of Process, Tortious Interference

Douglas McMeyer successfully defended Austin, Texas-based Premier Research Labs against abuse of process and tortious interference claims in the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Illinois Appellate Court.

Premier was sued in U.S. District Court by Forza Technologies on the basis of purported breaches of contract and fraud. Premier issued several subpoenas to third parties to collect evidence necessary to refute Forza’s claims.

When a Federal judge denied Forza’s motions to quash the third-party subpoenas, Forza filed a separate suit in Cook County Circuit Court accusing Premier and its counsel of abuse of process and tortious interference. Chapman Spingola successfully moved to dismiss the claims with prejudice before the trial court and then obtained the appellate court’s affirmance of that ruling.

Though Forza admitted that a legitimate purpose existed for the subpoenas, it alleged that these reasons were a pretext. Forza claimed that the real reason for the “avalanche” of subpoenas was Premier’s effort to “destroy” Forza.

The Illinois Appellate Court rejected Forza’s argument in a ruling issued in late 2015 in Forza Technologies LLC v. Premier Research Labs LP, et al. 2015 IL App (1st) 142640-U. The Court’s ruling has implications both for abuse of process claims and for discovery disputes.

The Court concluded that under Illinois law for an abuse of process claim to stand, the plaintiff must show there was no proper purpose for the process in question.

“The broader implication of this ruling is that if you have a discovery dispute in any court, the place to resolve it is in the court where the discovery was issued, as opposed to stepping outside the court and bringing an independent action,” Douglas said.