Joel Bertocchi Discusses New Legal Effort to Block Lawsuit Seeking to Stop Construction of Lucas Museum on Chicago Lakefront

May 5, 2016

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP partner Joel Bertocchi was quoted in the article "Chicago Resorts to Rare Legal Maneuver in Attempt to Keep Lucas Museum in City" published by the Chicago Tribune on May 5, 2016.

As explained in the article, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has employed "a seldom-used legal maneuver" to dismiss a lawsuit by Chicago parks group Friends of the Parks seeking to prevent construction of a museum on city lakefront property by movie industry legend George Lucas. The city filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit "to circumvent the normal appeals process" and toss the lawsuit "on emergency grounds, arguing the case has no federal jurisdiction and the city will lose the project if the normal legal process plays out." Friends of the Parks argues in its suit that the proposed site legally cannot be developed.

Mr. Bertocchi, who is referred to in the article as "a former federal prosecutor and expert in appellate law," told the Tribune that "such petitions are an 'extraordinary' step that's supposed to be reserved for 'very unusual situations.'" He added that, "[t]he standard is very high. It has to be about something that can't be fixed later." Mr. Bertocchi further explains that the district court judge must be found to have not just been wrong, "but wildly wrong" and that the error "was not only egregious but also will cause irreparable damage to the losing party." He concludes that "[t]he fact that Lucas has threatened to take the project elsewhere does not seem to meet that high standard."

Read the full article, "Chicago Resorts to Rare Legal Maneuver in Attempt to Keep Lucas Museum in City" on the Chicago Tribune website.

Mr. Bertocchi — leader of Hinshaw's Appellate Practice, which achieved a Tier 1 national ranking in the 2015 and 2016 editions of U.S. News – Best Lawyers' "Best Law Firms" — is an experienced civil, criminal and appellate litigator. He has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney investigating and prosecuting federal criminal cases, and also as Illinois Solicitor General. Mr. Bertocchi has litigated in courts ranging from the trial level to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a U.S. based law firm with offices nationwide. The firm's national reputation spans the insurance industry, the financial services sector, and other highly regulated industries. Hinshaw also serves as counsel to the professional services sector, and provides business advisory and transactional services to clients of all sizes.