Photo of Thadford A. Felton

Thadford A. Felton

Officer

“Since I’ve litigated many of the types of contracts corporate attorneys create, when acting as corporate counsel I bring a unique perspective that allows me to identify where there might be a dual meaning or a need to tighten language to better protect my client’s interests.” 

Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois - General & Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Education

J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1994

B.A., Denison University, 1989

Profile

With more than 20 years of experience seeing business conflicts through trial and mediation, Thad Felton brings a trained eye for potential risks and long-term strategy to his corporate clients.

In litigation and as outside corporate counsel for a variety of national clients, Thad has handled business and complex commercial matters including: 

  • Misappropriation of trade secrets and the enforceability of restrictive covenants
  • Fraud, misrepresentation, fraudulent transfer and consumer fraud act claims
  • Breach of contract claims, including issues related to interference with contract and prospective economic advantage
  • Breach of fiduciary duty matters
  • Products liability
  • Declaratory judgments
  • Section 1983 civil rights matters
  • Creditor's rights
  • Complex insurance coverage disputes, including the availability of coverage for environmental claims.

Thad has directed litigation in large commercial matters and reached favorable settlements for clients, including manufacturers and real estate brokers. As first or second chair, he has successfully tried a number of cases as well in federal and state courts. 

In his role as corporate counsel, he advises business owners and executives in areas that include corporate governance, employment and personnel matters, contracts, litigation, risk management and intellectual property. He has worked with businesses to draft shareholder and operating agreements, purchase and sale agreements, confidentiality agreements, non-compete and non-solicitation agreement, employment agreements, and licensing and distribution agreements. Recently, he has helped several clients with mergers and acquisitions.

As a frequent contributor to the firm’s blog, IMPACT | Understanding and Managing Business Risk, Thad writes about non-compete agreements, trade secrets and other topics related to the legal concerns of businesses. 

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2015-2017
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers, Closely & Privately Held Business Law, Commercial Litigation and Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition Law, 2016

Experience

Representative Matters

Dispute resolution

  • Directed litigation in a large commercial matter in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, that involved complex breach of contract, fraud, and deceptive practices issues and hundreds of thousands of documents. 
  • Successfully defended a claim brought by an employer against an employee salesperson to enforce non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in an employment agreement. The court ruled that both restrictive covenants were unenforceable.
  • Enforced non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in an employment agreement against a physician who was terminated from a practice group. The court upheld both restrictive covenants.
  • Defended a large international manufacturer's representative in a trade secret case in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. Although damaging evidence was uncovered during discovery, the case was settled on favorable terms for the client.
  • Obtained a $42.5 million settlement in an environmental insurance coverage matter on behalf of a bankruptcy trustee.
  • Defended a motor coach manufacturer in product liability litigation resulting from catastrophic accidents throughout the United States.
  • Successfully represented a regional multiple listing service as plaintiff in a breach of contract and false advertising action and defended it as a counter-defendant in an antitrust claim in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The defendant entered into an agreed injunction, paid monetary damages and dismissed the antitrust counterclaim.
  • Negotiated settlement terms favorable to a national real estate brokerage firm in a breach of non-solicitation agreement against a former office manager. 
  • Successfully represented real estate brokers in 50-plus matters concerning allegations of fraud, consumer fraud, negligence and violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act. Most matters were dismissed on motion practice or settled for under $10,000 (“cost of defense” settlements).
  • Successfully barred plaintiff's damages expert through motions in limine from testifying at trial in a mold/property damage case which led to plaintiff lowering its settlement demand from the high six-figure range to the mid five-figure range. Case was settled before trial for less than cost of defense.

 Trials

  • First-chaired a jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois representing three plaintiffs in a Section 1983 action. Jury awarded plaintiffs the full amount of damages sought, which was in the high six-figure range. 
  • First-chaired a bench trial in Cook County, Illinois, representing the plaintiff in a breach of a partnership agreement dispute. The judge awarded the full amount of relief sought, about $250,000.
  • Second-chaired jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois representing a minor plaintiff in a section 1981 and 1982 action. Jury awarded damages in a high six-figure range.
  • Second-chaired two-month jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa representing a commercial client in a Lanham Act case. The client was awarded the full amount of damages.

News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • "Great Expectations or Bleak House: Protecting Client Communications to Avoid Ending Up in a Dickens of a Situation"
    Association of Corporate Counsel, January 2015
  • Webinar, "Negotiating Letters of Intent"
    The Business Development Academy, 2012

Publications

Articles

Blog Posts