Kenedy, Jennifer A.

Jennifer A. Kenedy


Partner

 

Overview

Jennifer Kenedy is a Vice Chair of Locke Lord's Executive Committee. She was Managing Partner of the Chicago Office from 2010-2018. She concentrates her practice on commercial litigation, including trade secret misappropriation and other intellectual property litigation, contractual disputes, employer restrictive covenant counseling and litigation, catastrophic product liability, and real estate litigation. Jennifer mediates, arbitrates and tries cases on behalf of clients nationwide. Her focus is on counseling clients to avoid the courtroom but, when court cannot be avoided, she brings substantial courtroom experience to significant matters for clients in the financial services, insurance, consumer product/retail, manufacturing, transportation, governmental/quasi-governmental and food/beverage industries.

Representative Experience

Financial Services and Insurance Litigation

National Counsel - Financial Services Litigation. Jennifer currently acts as lead trial counsel for an internationally known financial services and mutual fund company in action in which a plaintiff publishing company asserts claims of breach of contract, tortious interference with contract/prospective relations, intentional misrepresentation, strict responsibility and copyright infringement arising from the alleged unauthorized use of the company’s bank ratings. Plaintiff seeks over $80 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees. This case is set for trial in federal court in Milwaukee in March, 2020.

Jennifer has acted as national counsel on trade secret and noncompete issues for this client for over 15 years. She leads a team which obtains injunctions in federal and state courts nationwide against former brokers who leave, join competitors and misappropriate the Company's proprietary trade secret customer data. She also handles arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) seeking damages caused by the former employee and new employer's misappropriation of trade secret client data. In this role, she has litigated and/or arbitrated cases in over 30 states.

Default Judgement in Mississippi Trade Secret Case. In 2018, Jennifer acted as lead trial counsel for a tax consulting company which brought suit in federal court in Jackson, Mississippi for breach of contract, tortious interference, Lanham Act violations and misappropriation of trade secrets against a former independent contractor and his company who misappropriated the company’s proprietary tax methods and customers to start a competing company. Three years into the case, after a forensic expert discovered defendants had engaged in widespread intentional destruction of electronic files during the litigation, Jennifer obtained a default judgment as a sanction for the conduct by Judge Carlton Reeves in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. After an unsuccessful mandamus petition by defendants, Jennifer and her team tried the case on damages, leading to a multi-million dollar judgment representing 100% of the compensatory damages sought in the case. Our client settled the matter pending appeal on their terms.

Noncompete Victory in Bellweather Case in Connecticut. When 100 brokers left Aon and our client for competitor RT-Specialty on the same day and filed 100 simultaneous declaratory judgment actions in multiple states seeking to void their noncompetition agreements, Jennifer was lead counsel for an insurance wholesale brokerage company which sued one of those departed brokers in federal court in Connecticut. The case was “first in time” and therefore the bellweather case for the other 100 cases. After very contentious discovery with the other side, Jennifer and her team tried the case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on the request for permanent injunctive relief. The client settled the matter for a damages award and an agreed permanent injunction during Jennifer’s cross examination of the defendant.

Preferred Outside Counsel, Procter & Gamble. Since 2005, Jennifer has led a team of Locke Lord attorneys as P&G's Preferred Outside Counsel in Illinois, handling product liability, class action (both product liability and FCRA) as well as other commercial litigation for P&G companies.

Trial Bar-Assigned Federal Employment Litigation Leads To Very Favorable Settlement On Eve of Trial. As a member of the Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois Jennifer was appointed to act pro bono as lead counsel in an employment discrimination case against a large Chicago-based company. After litigating the case for two years and obtaining a ruling barring defendant’s company witnesses a few days before trial, Jennifer and her team secured a very favorable settlement for the plaintiff employee.

Catastrophic Product Liability Litigation

Lac Mégantic Train Derailment Litigation. Jennifer was lead trial counsel for the largest tank car manufacturer in the U.S. litigation arising from the July 6, 2013 train derailment in Lac Mégantic, Quebec in which a 72-car Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway ("MM&A") freight train carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale formation derailed at a high rate of speed and exploded allegedly killing 47 people, destroying approximately 40 buildings, 53 vehicles and environmentally contaminating the downtown area, adjacent river and lake. She was lead counsel for Trinity Industries and Trinity Tank Car Inc. ("Trinity") in the wrongful death lawsuits arising from this derailment, the MM&A bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine and supervised Canadian counsel in the Canadian class action filed as a result of the derailment. The wrongful death litigation (which also included claims against the railway, oil companies, shippers and other manufacturers and lessors) was originally filed in Cook County, Illinois and subsequently transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine and stayed, or constructively stayed as to Trinity concurrent with which a settlement was reached in the context of the railroad’s bankruptcy proceedings in both the U.S. and Canada.

National Product Liability Counsel For TRW, General Motors. Jennifer, with three other Firm attorneys, developed her trial skills while acting as national counsel for TRW and GM, acting as lead defense counsel for each in catastrophic injury product liability cases in over 30 states. Some notable cases include: Conkling v. Standard Steel (1995, Texas) (death; circus train derailment; metallurgical defect in train wheel); Endicott v. Fruehauf (2002, Illinois)(double leg amputee; trailer conspicuity claim; summary judgment after court concluded that plaintiff was more than 50% at fault as a matter of law); Ford v. TRW (2001, Massachusetts)(death of fetus, mother broke neck)(seat belt); Hoffman v TRW (New York)(2001, air bag; blindness; verdict against codefendant for $7 million; settled pre-trial for nuisance value); Hylsky v. Fruehauf (2000, brain injury)(trailer); Price v. Kelsey-Hayes (2001, South Carolina)(death; rear trailer underride); Hasty v. GM (1999, death); Freeburg v. GM (2001, death; fuel gauge); Saunders v. TRW (2000, Arkansas) (beheading of physician)(seat belt); Shannon v. TRW (Pennsylvania)(death)(seat belt); Longo v. GM (burns); Maraviglia v. Polaris (brain injury); Walker v. TRW (Tennessee; lead trial counsel; tried to defense judgment)(truck steering gear assembly); Alston v. National Car Rental (catastrophic leg/hip injuries; lead counsel at two –week jury trial resulting in verdict for defense).

Seventh Circuit Set New Bar For Compliance With Rule 26 After Affirming Summary Judgment For Inadequate Expert Reports In Brain-Injured Toddler Case. After securing summary judgment in a brain-injured minor case in federal court on behalf of General Motors after plaintiff’s experts were barred after they submitted untimely expert reports, Jennifer briefed and argued the appeal before the Seventh Circuit, which affirmed the trial court's strict adherence to Rule 26, its own scheduling orders and Rule 37. The oft-cited opinion, Salgado v. General Motors, 150 F.3d 735, set a new bar for compliance with the requirements of Rule 26 and its strict interpretation of the obligation to sanction under F.R.C.P. 37.

Real Estate Litigation

Jennifer has been lead counsel in cases for the City of Chicago, IHDA, banks, an energy ventures company, large development companies and others in high profile litigation over large real estate deals which have gone sour. She has been lead counsel in several complex real estate cases, including disputes over a $100 million energy plant development, a $17 million senior citizen condominium development and other large deals in dispute. These cases cover the range of commercial causes of action and equitable relief, from estoppel to breach of contract, specific performance, tortious interference, consumer fraud, quiet title, slander of title and apparent agency to pursuing and defending against requests for injunctive relief.

Maxwell Street Redevelopment By The University of Illinois. Jennifer was lead trial counsel for the University of Illinois, filing eminent domain actions to obtain property needed to complete the University of Illinois at Chicago's successful and well-publicized South Campus Development Project. In the only trial resulting from this politically-charged development, Jennifer obtained a directed verdict for the University after striking the testimony of the opposing expert after her cross-examination. The directed verdict was upheld on appeal.

Montana Easement Case Dismissed on Second Day of Trial. In 2012, Jennifer tried a contentious easement case involving a dispute between a radio station conglomerate and owners of a residential subdivision development in Great Falls, Montana. The owners sued our client to amend an existing easement to force them to move underground AM radio wires to accommodate the plaintiff’s subdivision. On the second day of the trial by jury, the opposing side’s expert was exposed as having likely mislead the commission which approved the residential subdivision development which gave rise to the easement dispute. The judge immediately ordered the plaintiff’s expert to testify as to the legitimacy of the approval of the development (and to bring separate counsel) and, as a result, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed all claims against Jennifer’s client who renegotiated the easement on their terms.

Professional History

  • Vice Chair, Locke Lord Executive Committee (2018-present)
  • Former Managing Partner, Chicago Office of Locke Lord LLP (2010-2018)
  • Member, Locke Lord Board of Directors (2007-2017)
    • Co-Chair (2007-2012)
  • Co-Chair and Co-Founder, Women's Initiative

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Named One of Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers by Crain’s Custom Media (2018)
  • Named One of Chicago’s Most Influential Women Lawyers by Crain’s Chicago Business (2017)
  • Recipient, Best Lawyers 2017 Woman of Influence Award
  • Recipient, Leadership Excellence in the Law Award, National Diversity Council (2014)
  • Recipient, Women's Bar Association of Illinois Esther Rothstein Award (2012)
  • Named, The Best Lawyers in America, 2011 (Commercial Litigation) and (2012-2020) (Commercial Litigation and Product Liability)
  • Named, Illinois Super Lawyer by Law & Politics magazine (2012-2020)
  • Named, "2011 Most Powerful and Influential Women in Illinois," National Diversity Council
  • Member, American Bar Association, Litigation Section

Community Leadership

  • Co-Chair, Legal Committee, Executives’ Club of Chicago (2014-2018)
  • Member, Advisory Board, former Executive Committee and Board Member, Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law
  • Member/Former Chair, Board of Directors, The Fairway Network
  • Co-Chair, Women in Transition Committee, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Member, Women's Bar Association of Illinois
  • Member, Board of Directors, Chicago Bears Allen Robinson’s Within Reach Foundation