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Vedder Thinking | News Vedder Price Litigation Team Secures Significant Court Victory With Fraud Jury Trial Verdict

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A Vedder Price litigation team secured a significant victory in court today when an Illinois jury found in favor of its client in connection with a fraud case involving the misallocation of funds on a high-profile Chicago construction project.

Vedder Price represents NHC LLC, the hotel developer that owns the Nobu Hotel Chicago located in the West Loop area of Chicago, with the hotel well known as being one of the city’s newest landmark real estate properties. 

In court today a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois jury, after a five-day trial, found that the design-builder responsible for the construction of the hotel, along with its CEO and president, committed fraud when they diverted millions of dollars owed to subcontractors on the project to non-project related purposes. The jury awarded $22.8 million in damages to NHC LLC, including $2.5 million in punitive damages for the defendants’ egregious conduct.

“The jury’s ruling with this outcome was the result of an overall team effort, and through close collaboration with our clients as well, who are obviously very pleased with this result,” said Vedder Price Shareholder Nicole Wing, who led the team.  

NHC LLC originally filed suit in 2019 and had contended in court proceedings that an Illinois contractor, Centaur Construction Co., had breached its contract for the design and construction of the Nobu Hotel and had, together with its CEO Spiro Tsaparas and President Peter Alexopoulos, committed fraud in misusing project funds. 

Prior to the trial, the court ruled in favor of NHC LLC on dueling summary judgment motions, finding Centaur had breached the subject contract and that the “corporate veil” would be pierced such that CEO Tsaparas was also personally liable for that breach. The court left the question of damages resulting from the breach as well as the merits of the fraud claim to the jury to decide, resolved today by the winning verdict.

In addition to Wing, the Vedder Price team also included attorneys Cody D. Libman and Joshua J. Orewiler.

NHC LLC v. Centaur Construction Co. Inc. et al., is case number 1:19-cv-06332, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.



Professionals



Nicole J. Wing

Shareholder



Cody D. Libman

Associate



Joshua J. Orewiler

Associate