Election Day 1928 was a loss for Floyd E. Thompson, who had resigned from the Illinois Supreme Court to run for governor of Illinois on the Democratic ticket. By the end of the day, “The Judge” carried 42.6 percent of the popular vote compared to Republican Louis Lincoln Emmerson’s 56.7 percent. He rebounded from that defeat by joining the Chicago law firm of Newman, Poppenhusen, Stern & Johnston. In 1929, the firm took Thompson’s name, becoming Poppenhusen, Johnston, Thompson & Cole. “The Judge” would take on many high-profile cases for the firm, such as successfully defending Chicago utility magnate Samuel Insull on mail fraud and antitrust charges and Floyd Cerf, the broker who handled stocks for revolutionary car manufacturer Preston Tucker. The firm would become Jenner & Block in 1969.
“Call Bob Byman,” Cindi Dowaliby, played by actress Shannen Doherty, tells her husband, David. In this scene from the 1996 TV movie Gone in the Night, Cindi talks to her husband in prison, where he’s being held after his conviction on charges of killing their young daughter. She urges him to get Bob to handle the appeal. The movie was based on the award-winning book about the high-profile Dowaliby case. In 1988, 7-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was kidnapped from her Chicago-area home in the middle of the night. Cindi and David were eventually charged with the girl’s murder. Cindi would be acquitted on grounds of insufficient evidence, but David was convicted. David did indeed “hire” Bob Byman, and on this day in 1991, Bob and his pro bono team won a reversal of David’s conviction. The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that no one else killed Jaclyn and that the evidence against him was not sufficient. "I'm ecstatic," Bob told the Chicago Tribune. "This shows the system works."
On this day in 2013, the firm continued its tradition of leadership of the nation’s premier professional trial organization in North America. Bob Byman was inaugurated as the 64th president of the American College of Trial Lawyers, following in the footsteps of name Partner Albert “Bert” Jenner (1958-59) and Partner and former U.S. Appeals Court Judge Philip Tone (1988-89). On the same day, Terri Mascherin was inaugurated as a fellow, the third woman partner at Jenner & Block to be invited to join the ACTL. “We are proud that Jenner & Block has enjoyed such a long history with the American College of Trial Lawyers,” said then-Managing Partner Susan C. Levy. “The recognition of Bob and Terri by the ACTL is so well deserved. They represent the very best in what this firm has been about for nearly a century: delivering excellence to our clients. They are leaders of this firm and stewards of the legal industry.” Bob has worked at the firm for 44 years, Terri for 30 years.
A four-year trek from the Fourth Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court, back to the Fourth Circuit and then back to the Immigration Court ended on this day in 2011 when Jenner & Block pro bono client Jean Marc Nken was granted asylum. A native of Cameroon, Mr. Nken fled in 2001 after having been jailed and tortured by the Cameroonian government for his participation in pro-democracy protests. He lost his initial asylum case and several unsuccessful appeals and was set to be deported when Jenner & Block Partner Lindsay C. Harrison took on his case. Lindsay identified a split among the circuits on the standard applied to obtain a stay in these matters, and the Jenner & Block team sought and obtained certiorari at the Supreme Court. An associate at the time, Lindsay argued the case in the Supreme Court in 2009. In a 7-2 decision, the Court held that the traditional standard for a stay motion should apply to immigration appeals rather than the more stringent standard that had been adopted by several circuit courts. The precedent helped thousands of asylum-seekers to remain in the United States while their appeals are pending as long as they have a likelihood of success and a risk of harm if deported. After the U.S. Supreme Court victory, the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Bureau of Immigration Appeals had erred and remanded the case to the BIA, giving Mr. Nken another chance to obtain asylum. The firm worked countless hours to put together the strongest possible case for Mr. Nken’s eligibility. Lindsay and her team presented Mr. Nken’s case in a contested hearing before an immigration judge. A decade after he fled Cameroon, the judge ruled that Mr. Nken was entitled to asylum, and the government agreed to waive its right to appeal. As a result, Mr. Nken was allowed remain in the United States with his wife and young son.
Bruce Ennis successfully appealed a judgment against client ABC, sued by a grocery store chain after the television network aired an unflattering exposé. The case centered around two reporters who posed as Food Lion employees after receiving a tip about unsanitary food practices. Using cameras hidden in wigs, the reporters videotaped the practices and featured the footage on Primetime Live in 1992. Food Lion sued ABC for fraud, trespassing and breach of loyalty. In 1997, a jury awarded Food Lion $5.5 million, although a district court judge later reduced that to $316,000. On appeal, Bruce argued that Food Lion sought to skirt daunting First Amendment standards to prove defamation by suing ABC not for libel but rather for violations of state law. On this day in 1999, the Fourth Circuit rejected Food Lion’s fraud claim (and the $316,000 in damages tied to it) and upheld the trespass and breach of loyalty claims, but reduced the damages to $3. Sadly, the Food Lion matter would be Bruce’s last major case before he succumbed to cancer.
The firm effectively shut down one of the world’s largest BitTorrent websites, protecting our movie and television clients from a popular, easy and anonymous form of digital piracy. Reached on this day in 2013, the settlement with Gary Fung, owner of isoHunt Web Technologies Inc., ended nearly eight years of litigation. IsoHunt had allowed users to search for and find “BitTorrent links" to movies, television shows and virtually every other form of copyrighted content. In January 2010, the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California granted summary judgment in favor of the studios, finding that isoHunt was liable for “inducement” of copyright infringement under the seminal Supreme Court standard (which was set in an earlier case litigated by the firm). The Court also rejected the defendant’s attempt to compare isoHunt to a conventional search engine such as Google. In May 2010, the Court granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from providing access to the studios’ content. In March 2013, the Ninth Circuit affirmed both the finding of liability and the injunction. When the settlement was announced in October, the Washington Post opined that isoHunt’s demise was “a well-deserved victory for the motion picture industry,” adding that the courts had found “clear evidence that isoHunt was trying to profit from infringement.” Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, was quoted saying that the settlement “sends a strong message that those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers and will be held accountable for their illegal actions.” In addition to closing down isoHunt, the consent judgment awarded $110 million in damages against the defendants. The team representing the movie studios included current Partners Gianni Servodidio, Ken Doroshow and Dave Handzo, as well as Paul Smith, who led efforts in the Ninth Circuit.