Ben Jacobi is a partner at OKGC and has been with the firm since 2010, after completing a two year federal clerkship. Ben's experience is wide-ranging, and includes successful outcomes in arbitration, administrative agencies, and trial and appellate courts. Ben has argued in the appellate court four times, winning each time. He also recently defended a federal jury trial in Urbana, Illinois and obtained a zero dollar verdict after the plaintiff asked the jury for $2.3 million. While Ben enjoys the thrill of victory in court, he also is a practical counselor and appreciates the emotional toll and financial risk of litigation for his clients. He weighs the costs and benefits of each case individually, and applies a sensible approach to resolve each case according to his client's wishes, whether at trial or in settlement before trial.
Ben focuses his practice on municipal liability defense including § 1983 civil rights litigation, employment law, commercial litigation, copyright litigation, and insurance coverage.
- Municipal Law - Ben represents municipalities and public officials in a variety of actions, including regulation of video gaming and gambling, business license disputes, claims of excessive force against police officers, claims of unequal treatment by public officials, and other claims of misconduct against public officials. He routinely handles publicized and high-risk cases, often where political careers hang in the balance.
- Employment Law - Ben represents employers in claims of employment discrimination and counsels employers on compliance with various employment laws and regulations, including but not limited to Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, FMLA, and FLSA. His clients include both public and private sector employers. Employment disputes are often very emotionally challenging for the involved parties, and Ben's balanced approach resonates with clients, judges, and juries, aiding in successful outcomes.
- Commercial Law - Ben represents clients in commercial disputes, including disagreements arising from contracts (recently achieving a favorable outcome in an eight-figure contract dispute), license agreements, breaches of fiduciary duty, and restrictive covenants. He has considerable experience representing franchisees of restaurants in disputes over management agreements, vendor contracts, real estate transactions, and franchise agreements. Ben has a talent for distilling the most complex commercial dispute into something a judge and jury can understand.
- Copyright and Trademark - Ben counsels clients regarding copyright and intellectual property registration and infringement. Ben regularly represents photographers and businesses in litigation protecting their copyrighted and trademark material. Ben understands that copyrights are the foundation to an artist's livelihood and a business's reputation, and he excels at protecting his client's work product and portfolio from infringement and unauthorized use.
- Insurance Coverage - Ben counsels insurance carriers on coverage disputes, renders coverage opinions, and represents insurers in coverage litigation. His clients include insurers, re-insurers, captive managers, third party administrators, and other leaders in the insurance industry. Given his litigation background, he is particularly adept at analyzing coverage risk under unique circumstances and advising insurers on litigation risk.
Ben has presented on a number of issues, including reservation of rights letters, freedom of speech, defamation, tort immunity, violence in the workplace, local records in the electronic age, and the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.
Ben is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel. He is also an active volunteer at disability advocacy centers, and is a member of the Young Professionals Council at Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, which is a Center for Independent Living advocating for people with disabilities.
Ben was named an Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine for 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Ben grew up in a small town just outside Champaign-Urbana. When not at work, Ben is a demolition derby enthusiast and chili cook-off winner.
Areas of Focus
- Municipal Liability Defense
- Employment Law
- Commercial Litigation
- Insurance Coverage
Honorable P. Michael Mahoney, Northern District of Illinois. 2008 to 2010.
- University of Iowa, J.D., 2008 (with Distinction; Managing Editor of Journal of Corporation Law; Outstanding Student Writer Award.)
- University of Illinois, B.S., 2005 (Dean’s List)
- Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC v. Village of Elmwood Park, 2015 IL App (1st) 143822 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist.)—Represented Elmwood Park and obtained complete victory when appellate court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s case against Elmwood Park challenging the video gaming regulations and fees implemented by Elmwood Park.
- Cromwell v. Momence, 713 F.3d 361 (7th Cir. 2013)—Obtained complete victory in the appellate court for employer when the Seventh Circuit held that the employer’s handbook did not create a property interest or rebut the at-will presumption of employment.
- Hopson v. Macon County, 2012 IL App (4th) 110665-U (Ill. App. Ct. 4th Dist.)—Persuaded appellate court in class action to limit the class to only “nominal damages."
- Epkins v. Lambie, 2012 IL App (4th) 110494-U (Ill. App. Ct. 4th Dist.)—Obtained complete victory for County Board Member when appellate court held that County Board Member was immune from liability in suit for defamation and emotional distress.
- City of Chicago v. City of Harvey, 12 CH 44855 (Cook County Cir. Ct.)—Negotiated favorable settlement for City of Harvey where City of Chicago claimed that the City of Harvey owed over $26,000,000 for breaching a water contract.
- Doe v. City of Harvey, 12-CV-1094 (Northern Dist. of Illinois)—Negotiated favorable settlement after defeating plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and obtaining summary judgment, where plaintiffs claimed the City of Harvey discriminated by failing to submit rape kits for testing.
- Burdi v. Village of Bellwood, 10 L 8815 (Cook County Cir. Ct.)—Represented employer and achieved complete dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims, who sued after they were not hired (appeal pending).
- DeGroot v. Matteson, 13 C 8530 (Northern Dist. of Illinois)—Represented employer and obtained complete dismissal of plaintiff’s claims alleging discrimination and violation of due process when he was not hired.
- Harvey Park District v. City of Harvey, 14 CH 9357 (Cook County Cir. Ct.)—Represented the City of Harvey and defeated the Park District’s motion for temporary restraining order after the City of Harvey shut down the Park District’s gun range.
- Club Assets v. City of Harvey, 14 CH 10530 (Cook County Cir. Ct.)—Represented the City of Harvey and defeated Club Asset’s motion for temporary restraining order after the City of Harvey shut down the business for being an illegal strip club.
- Midwest Family Mutual Ins. Co. v. Pekin Ins. Co., 14 CH 3427 (Cook County Cir. Ct.)—Obtained complete victory for Midwest Family Mutual Ins. Co. in coverage dispute.
- Hopey v. Spear et al., 13-CV-2220-CSB-DGB (Central District of Illinois) - Obtained complete victory in a defense verdict where the plaintiff sought $2.3 million in damages for concussion, post-concussion syndrome and aggravation of pre-existing spinal disc conditions allegedly caused by a rear end motor vehicle accident. The trial included testimony from multiple physicians and biochemical engineers, including a neurosurgeon on behalf of the defense, who was recently depicted in the Hollywood movie "Concussion."
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (General Bar and Trial bar)
- United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois