Vedder Price

Anthony J. Ashley

Shareholder

Chair, Corporate Liability Group

222 North LaSalle Street Chicago, Illinois 60601

+1 (312) 609 7884

Anthony J. Ashley

Shareholder

Chair, Corporate Liability Group

Anthony J. Ashley is a Shareholder in the Litigation practice area based in Chicago.

Mr. Ashley has represented clients in pretrial, trial and appellate proceedings in state and federal courts across the United States and internationally in the areas of restrictive covenants and trade secrets, corporate espionage, unfair competition, complex commercial matters, intellectual property infringement and defamation. As a founding member of the Litigation practice area's subgroup on Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets, he also has extensive experience with emergency injunctive proceedings at both the state and federal levels.

In addition to his litigation experience, Mr. Ashley is frequently consulted on CEO and other senior executives mobility among competitors, and he has successfully developed and implemented hiring protocols to permit immediate transitions. He also has extensive experience negotiating executive employment contracts, and he frequently represents companies and senior executives in connection with employment arrangements. Mr. Ashley regularly counsels corporations and individuals on how to safeguard corporate assets, including retaining senior executives and protecting customer relationships and confidential information.

Representative clients include Acme Electric Motor, Inc.; CLARCOR Inc.; Coyote Logistics, LLC; Hoover, Inc.; Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation; Mueller Industries; Ryobi Technologies (UK) Ltd and Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., among others.

Mr. Ashley was selected for inclusion in 2005 and from 2009 to 2016 in Illinois Super Lawyers. In 2011, 2014 and 2015, Mr. Ashley was recognized by his peers as one of the Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a rigorous, multiphase rating process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Mr. Ashley has also received an "AV Preeminent" Peer Rating in Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, he has been selected by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation from 2013 to 2016, and in Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition Law from 2014 to  2016.

Anthony J. Ashley

Shareholder

Chair, Corporate Liability Group

Experience

  • Mr. Ashley obtained a seven-year injunction against a former senior executive of firm client GLJ, LLC, a leading designer, producer and marketer of a variety of consumer products. In July 2008, GLJ’s Senior and Executive Vice President of International Operations abruptly resigned and began working with a Chinese manufacturing company to develop competing products. GLJ filed suit shortly thereafter, alleging claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and civil conspiracy. Mr. Ashley was successful in obtaining a sweeping permanent injunction that prohibited GLJ’s former executive from competing with GLJ for seven years, even though the non-compete covenant in his employment contract had only a three-year term. Mr. Ashley was also able to secure a five-year worldwide injunction to prevent the co-defendant Chinese manufacturing company from competing with GLJ.
  • Mr. Ashley secured a substantial victory for firm client Leor Energy, L.P. Leor Energy, based in Houston, Texas, which engages in the acquisition, development, exploitation and marketing of oil and gas properties, and had recently sold all of its Deep Bossier natural gas and land interests to EnCana for $2.55 billion. After the breakdown of employment contract negotiations that led to his termination, former Leor Energy President William Sullivan filed suit against the Leor entities alleging breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, equitable estoppel and quantum meruit. Based on the equity-incentive-laden contract, the plaintiff was seeking in excess of $75 million in damages. After removing the case from Texas state court to U.S. federal court in Dallas, Mr. Ashley obtained a complete dismissal with prejudice of all claims brought by the plaintiff at the trial court level. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice and awarded costs associated with the appeal to the Leor entities. The plaintiff subsequently sought reconsideration, and his petition for panel rehearing was denied. Mr. Ashley' experience includes:
  • Mr. Ashley obtained a seven-year injunction against a former senior executive of firm client GLJ, LLC, a leading designer, producer and marketer of a variety of consumer products. In July 2008, GLJ’s Senior and Executive Vice President of International Operations abruptly resigned and began working with a Chinese manufacturing company to develop competing products. GLJ filed suit shortly thereafter, alleging claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and civil conspiracy. Mr. Ashley was successful in obtaining a sweeping permanent injunction that prohibited GLJ’s former executive from competing with GLJ for seven years, even though the non-compete covenant in his employment contract had only a three-year term. Mr. Ashley was also able to secure a five-year worldwide injunction to prevent the co-defendant Chinese manufacturing company from competing with GLJ.
  • Mr. Ashley secured a substantial victory for firm client Leor Energy, L.P. Leor Energy, based in Houston, Texas, which engages in the acquisition, development, exploitation and marketing of oil and gas properties, and had recently sold all of its Deep Bossier natural gas and land interests to EnCana for $2.55 billion. After the breakdown of employment contract negotiations that led to his termination, former Leor Energy President William Sullivan filed suit against the Leor entities alleging breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, equitable estoppel and quantum meruit. Based on the equity-incentive-laden contract, the plaintiff was seeking in excess of $75 million in damages. After removing the case from Texas state court to U.S. federal court in Dallas, Mr. Ashley obtained a complete dismissal with prejudice of all claims brought by the plaintiff at the trial court level. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice and awarded costs associated with the appeal to the Leor entities. The plaintiff subsequently sought reconsideration, and his petition for panel rehearing was denied.
  • Mr. Ashley served as lead counsel for the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and obtained the dismissal of 440 individual lawsuits pending before the U.S. federal Multi-District Litigation Panel alleging damages resulting from exposure to hormone replacement therapy medications.
  • Mr. Ashley successfully prosecuted claims for breach of fiduciary duty, misappropiation of trade secrets and civil conspiracy against three departing employees of a large U.S.-based corporation arising from the theft of technology under development. After obtaining a preliminary injunction in federal court in Ohio, the matter was settled shortly thereafter.
  • Mr. Ashley served as lead U.S. trial counsel prosecuting a declaratory judgment action in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, England. In this case, Mr. Ashley sought a declaratory judgment in the British high court to invalidate certain restrictive covenants that would otherwise have prevented a former senior European executive of Black & Decker Europe from accepting the position as President of Ryobi Technologies (UK) Ltd. After a three-week trial, Justice Field invalidated the restrictive covenants in all respects, and awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Mr. Ashley obtained the dismissal of a $110 million defamation suit brought by a former Illinois Appellate Court judge and candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court against a political action committee and one of its members. This trial court decision was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Mr. Ashley served as trial counsel to the former Chairman of Foley’s Department Stores, a division of May Department Stores Company. Along with counsel for Victoria’s Secret Stores, Mr. Ashley successfully prosecuted a declaratory judgment action to allow Foley’s former Chairman to accept the position of Chief Operating Officer at Victoria’s Secret Stores.
  • Mr. Ashley also served as lead counsel for the former President, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of an $80 million hair care conglomerate following these executives’ sudden termination. After pursuing claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, Mr. Ashley was successful in obtaining a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of this senior management team.
  • Mr. Ashley served as lead counsel for the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and obtained the dismissal of 440 individual lawsuits pending before the U.S. federal Multi-District Litigation Panel alleging damages resulting from exposure to hormone replacement therapy medications.
  • Mr. Ashley successfully prosecuted claims for breach of fiduciary duty, misappropiation of trade secrets and civil conspiracy against three departing employees of a large U.S.-based corporation arising from the theft of technology under development. After obtaining a preliminary injunction in federal court in Ohio, the matter was settled shortly thereafter.
  • Mr. Ashley served as lead U.S. trial counsel prosecuting a declaratory judgment action in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, England. In this case, Mr. Ashley sought a declaratory judgment in the British high court to invalidate certain restrictive covenants that would otherwise have prevented a former senior European executive of Black & Decker Europe from accepting the position as President of Ryobi Technologies (UK) Ltd. After a three-week trial, Justice Field invalidated the restrictive covenants in all respects, and awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Mr. Ashley obtained the dismissal of a $110 million defamation suit brought by a former Illinois Appellate Court judge and candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court against a political action committee and one of its members. This trial court decision was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Mr. Ashley served as trial counsel to the former Chairman of Foley’s Department Stores, a division of May Department Stores Company. Along with counsel for Victoria’s Secret Stores, Mr. Ashley successfully prosecuted a declaratory judgment action to allow Foley’s former Chairman to accept the position of Chief Operating Officer at Victoria’s Secret Stores.
  • Mr. Ashley also served as lead counsel for the former President, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of an $80 million hair care conglomerate following these executives’ sudden termination. After pursuing claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, Mr. Ashley was successful in obtaining a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of this senior management team.

Anthony J. Ashley

Shareholder

Chair, Corporate Liability Group

Education

  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 1992
  • Miami University, B.S., 1988

Anthony J. Ashley

Shareholder

Chair, Corporate Liability Group

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1992

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1992
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2003

Affiliations

  • Master of the Bench, Chicago Inn of Court
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, Seventh Circuit Bar Association