Commercial Disputes

Kathryn F. (Taylor) Abernethy has more than sixteen years of experience litigating complex commercial disputes for the Fortune 500 and major institutions.  In the area of Commercial Disputes, Ms. Abernethy has been hailed as an “Illinois Rising Star” by SuperLawyers and has played a major role in obtaining outstanding results for clients in State, Federal and Appellate Courts.  Some of the more significant published commercial disputes cases in which Ms. Abernethy has represented clients include:

  • Town of Belhaven v. Pantego Creek, LLC, 793 S.E.2d 711 (N.C. App. 2016) (breach of contract, fraud, unfair & deceptive trade practices and declaratory judgment).
  • Thompson’s Gas & Elec. Serv. v. BP Am., Inc., 691 F. Supp. 2d 860 (N.D. Ill. 2010) (antitrust, fraud, Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and Commodities Exchange Act)
  • TIG Ins. Co. v. Aon Re, Inc., 521 F.3d 321 (5th Cir. 2008) (negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and other claims).
  • In re BP Products N. Am., Inc. Antitrust Litig., 560 F. Supp. 2d 1377 (J.P.M.L. 2008) (presented oral argument before the JPML regarding consolidation of multiple class actions)
  • Morrison v. Madison Dearborn Capital Partners III, L.P., 463 F.3d 312 (3d Cir. 2006) (short-swing insider trading case).

Ms. Abernethy represents clients in all aspects of commercial disputes, including:

Breach of Contract

Abernethy Law regularly advises and represents clients in Breach of Contract matters, including disputes arising in connection with:

  • Supply Agreements
  • Service Contracts
  • Commercial Leases
  • Consulting Agreements
  • Non-compete Agreements
  • Licensing Agreements
  • Acquisition or Sale of private business entity
  • Partnerships or Joint Ventures

Abernethy Law can assist clients with better understanding their agreements, reviewing or advising on draft or proposed agreements, negotiating amendments or new agreements, and litigating or arbitrating disputes arising out of contracts.

Fraud/ Misrepresentation

Abernethy Law regularly represents clients in cases alleging intentional misrepresentation (fraud) and negligent misrepresentation.  Kathryn F. Abernethy has represented clients in a variety of different types of fraud and negligent misrepresentation cases, including:

  • Fraud or deception in a business transaction
  • Consumer fraud
  • Securities Fraud/ Fraud-On-The-Market
  • Failure to make necessary or legally required disclosures

Fraud and misrepresentation cases are often complex both legally and factually, and having an experienced advocate can be the difference between success and disaster in such cases.  In North Carolina State and Federal Courts, claims of fraud are subject to heightened pleading standards pursuant to Federal and State Rules of Procedure 9(b).  They are also subject to a number of judicial rules and doctrines that are often not easy to discover unless your attorney has prior experience litigating these kinds of cases.

Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices

Like most states, North Carolina has an Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices Act that protects both businesses and consumers from fraudulent and deceptive commercial practices.  Kathryn Abernethy has significant experience representing clients in Consumer Fraud and Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices cases in North Carolina, Illinois and a variety of other States.

In the hands of an experienced advocate, the Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices Act is a powerful tool to deter and seek compensation arising from conduct that may not be technically fraudulent, but is nevertheless coercive, unfair, or deceptive.

Breach Of Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary duties arise in cases where a special relationship exists between the parties – principal and agent, attorney and client, business partners, and in certain relationships with financial advisors.  Fiduciary relationships can give rise to special duties, such as a Duty of Care or Duty of Loyalty.

When one party to the fiduciary relationship fails to live up to his or her duties, the other party can bring an action for Breach of Fiduciary Duty.  Unlike simple Breach of Contract actions, a Breach of Fiduciary Duty can give rise to a claim for punitive or special damages.

Antitrust & Unfair Competition

Kathryn Abernethy has extensive experience litigating antitrust cases involving both indirect and direct purchasers of goods.  Antitrust cases are always complex and require mastery of both the facts and an often opaque body of law.

Antitrust cases also frequently require working with and cross-examining experts such as economists, market analysts, accountants, actuaries and statisticians.  In addition to her many years of experience litigating these complex cases, Ms. Abernethy has also written and published treatise and book chapters on the specific subject of working with financial and economic experts in discovery and at trial.