Areas of Practice
Mitchell H. Macknin, Partner
Mr. Macknin has been with the firm since 1980. Since beginning his practice, Mr. Macknin has focused on complex commercial disputes, which over the years have covered virtually every aspect of the commercial world: securities, directors and officers litigation, antitrust, television broadcasting and related FCC matters, statutory appraisal rights, corporate finance, intellectual property, commercial real estate, executive compensation, employment law, bankruptcy, class actions, insurance coverage, partnerships, zoning, tax increment financing (TIF), stock registration and conversion rights, tender offers, and professional sports related matters. Mr. Macknin has represented plaintiffs and defendants, in federal and state courts, regulatory agencies, arbitrations and mediations throughout the country, at the trial and appellate levels.
J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, Order of the Coif, cum laude, 1978
B.A. in Economics, with honors, Northwestern University, 1975
Securities Litigation and Investigations
Mr. Macknin represents both plaintiffs and defendants in complex securities litigation. Recent representative matters include Mr. Macknin's representation of WorldPort Communications, Inc., a publicly held corporation, and its directors and officers in two different sets of shareholder class actions, concerning alleged non-disclosures (In re WorldPort Communications Securities Litigation) (Georgia) and self-dealing (Joseph v. Heisley, et al.) (Delaware, Illinois); and his representation of Robertson-Ceco Corporation, another publicly held corporation, and its directors and officers, in a series of shareholder class actions that alleged inadequate price in a tender offer (In re Robertson-Ceco Securities Litigation) (Delaware, California). Each of these cases settled on terms extremely favorable to his clients (funded by insurance), one after the case had been tried. In another recent securities case, Mr. Macknin represented pop singer Enrique Iglesias in claims against a national money management and investment firm (Florida).
Mr. Macknin presently represents various constituencies in SEC investigations. These include representation of the former Vice-President and Sales Manager of a publicly held semiconductor company, and representation of a company being investigated in connection with alleged insider trading.
Mr. Macknin recently represented retailers CVS Corporation and Meijer, Inc. in an antitrust case challenging the interchange fees charged by Visa and MasterCard. The decision to opt out from the class action and assert these claims individually allowed settlements tailor-made for his clients and at substantial multiples of what they would have received had they remained class members (CVS Corporation v. Visa and MasterCard; Meijer, Inc. v. Visa and MasterCard) (New York).
Arbitration and Mediation
Mr. Macknin has successfully tried several matters in arbitration. Recent matters include a D&O insurance coverage claim, tried with Mr. Sperling and Mr. Brooks, against one of the nation's largest insurers, resulting in an $8 million award for his client, which was twice the amount initially sought by the client (Robertson-Ceco Corp. v. Natíl Union Fire Ins. Co.) (Illinois); an award of the stock conversion and registration rights demanded by his client (EP Opportunity Fund v. Entertainment Universe) (California, Illinois); and the outright dismissal of all employment-related claims brought by a securities firm against his client (Wayne Hummer Investments v. Warsaw) (Illinois). Mr. Macknin also recently mediated tens of millions of dollars in settlements on behalf of his client in an antitrust case.
Mr. Macknin has successfully tried statutory appraisal (shareholder dissenter's rights) cases, including one on behalf of dissenting minority shareholders resulting in a judgment more than ten times the corporation's statutory offer (SPSS, Inc. v. Walsh, et al., 682 N.E.2d 745) (Illinois) and one on behalf of a corporation, which established Illinois law that a court can consider a minority discount in appraising the shares formerly held by squeezed-out minority shareholders (Weigel Broadcasting Co. v. Smith, 641 N.E.2d 984) (Illinois).
Television Broadcasting Litigation
Mr. Macknin regularly represents a television broadcaster in a myriad of commercial and regulatory disputes throughout the country. These have included disputes over programming rights, cable access, interference with its broadcast transmissions and productions, network duopolies, and rate court proceedings concerning the license fees of music performing rights organizations.
Mr. Macknin has prosecuted and defended numerous class actions. Representative matters include representation of a class of purchasers of service contracts on General Electric appliances, resulting in a settlement whereby GE agreed to pay every purchaser of a duplicate service contract a full cash refund (Rosenberg v. GE) (Illinois). Mr. Macknin has defended many shareholder class actions, including the defense of a publicly held corporation against claims of self-dealing by its Board, which was dismissed with prejudice on the pleadings and affirmed throughout several subsequent appeals. (Brown v. Pettibone) (Illinois).
Mr. Macknin was retained to bring an appeal in a matter of particular public interest, which involved First Amendment issues and the question of whether an adverse litigant should be allowed to litigate a case anonymously. In a ground-breaking case, involving a well-known politician, Mr. Macknin secured the reversal of an ex parte trial court order that had prohibited his client from using the politician's name in the litigation. (Doe v. Doe, 668 N.E.2d 1160) (Illinois).
Mitchell H. Macknin
Sperling & Slater
55 West Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois 60603