Craig M. White

Partner

Chicago
T +1.312.416.6207
F +1.312.416.6270

"Craig is one of the smartest lawyers I know, intellectually and strategically."

— Chambers USA 2014

Overview

Craig White has experience in the banking, real estate and private equity sectors, and has tried to verdict dozens of cases involving complex and high-stakes issues. His breadth and depth of knowledge spans a range of general business litigation issues, including securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and bad faith, as well as consumer fraud and unfair competition. With a national commercial litigation practice, Craig has tried cases in both state and federal courts throughout the country. A respected counselor to many industry leaders, Craig excels at balancing aggressive representation with meeting the business objectives of his clients. He brings to each case not only experience and business understanding, but also a unique ability to break down complex issues and connect with juries and witnesses. 

Select Experience

  • Successfully defended a publicly traded bank holding company and inside directors against a shareholder class action alleging securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duties arising from a merger with another multibank holding company. Preliminary injunction was denied and summary judgment granted to all clients. James Badger, et al. v. Boulevard Bancorp, Inc., et al.
  • Represented three outside directors in a statutory oppression and breach of fiduciary duty suit brought by a minority shareholder of a privately held manufacturer of navigational devices. Successfully defended clients against claims alleging excessive officer compensation payments in lieu of dividends and stock redemption. Summary judgment was granted to clients. Henry Reget v. Astronautics, Inc., et al.
  • Obtained a favorable defense verdict in a 12-month trial on behalf of trustees of a spendthrift trust. Defended against a beneficiary's claims of breach of fiduciary duty and waste arising from construction of a $4.5 million personal residence that was later converted to a church. Brooks McCormick, Jr. v. Brooks McCormick, et al.
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Experience

  • Successfully defended a publicly traded bank holding company and inside directors against a shareholder class action alleging securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duties arising from a merger with another multibank holding company. Preliminary injunction was denied and summary judgment granted to all clients. James Badger, et al. v. Boulevard Bancorp, Inc., et al.
  • Represented three outside directors in a statutory oppression and breach of fiduciary duty suit brought by a minority shareholder of a privately held manufacturer of navigational devices. Successfully defended clients against claims alleging excessive officer compensation payments in lieu of dividends and stock redemption. Summary judgment was granted to clients. Henry Reget v. Astronautics, Inc., et al.
  • Obtained a favorable defense verdict in a 12-month trial on behalf of trustees of a spendthrift trust. Defended against a beneficiary's claims of breach of fiduciary duty and waste arising from construction of a $4.5 million personal residence that was later converted to a church. Brooks McCormick, Jr. v. Brooks McCormick, et al.
  • Achieved a favorable jury verdict on behalf of First Midwest Bank after a three-week trial on claims of bad faith violations of the Illinois Fiduciary Obligations Act arising from an embezzlement scheme of $5.2 million by the customer/title insurance agent who deposited funds in an account for real estate escrow closings. Lawyers Title Ins. Corp. v. First Midwest Bank, et al.
  • Won a verdict on behalf of directors in a public company, since taken private, in a shareholder derivative suit in Utah claiming waste and mismanagement for failure to maximize value from the company's real estate holdings through development. Jones v. Utah Resources International, Inc., et al.
  • Defended The Northern Trust Company in a $17.5 million suit alleging forgery by a bank officer. Loan documentation was allegedly forged by an American lawyer (who was later prosecuted in the U.K.) for a U.K. company. the case was settled after opening statements in trial. Frank Peters, Jr. v. The Northern Trust Company.
  • Obtained dismissal of a federal securities fraud suit against an Iowa grocery store chain, which was affirmed by Seventh Circuit. Denise McCann V. Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Successfully defended a Swedish equipment manufacturer in a suit brought by a plant developer alleging $40 million in losses due to fraud and breach of warranties regarding the production capacity and asepticity of one-of-a-kind use of equipment. Following a six-week arbitration, obtained a successful outcome, including fees and costs on behalf of the defendant. Britz, Inc. v. Alfa-Laval, Inc.
  • Obtained a reversal and judgment in a contract dispute in favor of the client, a shopping center owner, from the Eighth Circuit. The case was brought against the client by a former owner for interpretation of the 99-year ground lease's purchase option and pricing formula which the ex-owner claimed was incorrectly drafted because of a mutual mistake in the early 1970s. North Grand Mall Associates, L.P. v. Grand Center, Inc.
  • Successfully defeated a request for preliminary injunction to stop a bid for minority stake in Archstone, a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. Archstone v. Banc of America Strategic Ventures, et al.
  • Defended a licensee of news footage of Princess Diana's funeral in a multiparty case regarding breach of license claims. Settled the case, including the client's claims for unfair competition and interference with contract against BBC in a dispute over copyright for "news" footage by competing television networks. ABC News, Inc. v. MPI Media Group v. BBC.
  • Obtained a favorable defense verdict in a consumer fraud trial brought by a certified class of Florida tenants against the nation's largest apartment owner to invalidate early termination fees charged when apartment leases were prematurely terminated. Yates v. Equity Residential.
  • Lead counsel for the defense group in a $63 million common fund settlement with a nationwide class of cell phone users over allegedly unauthorized charges resulting in 15 lawsuits pending in California, Florida and Illinois. Paluzzi v. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, et al.
  • Resolved a shareholder oppression suit after a three-week trial wherein one brother sued his two older brothers for refusing to buy out his interest after his brothers bought out their sisters' and mother's interests in the family business. Marano v. Anthony Marano Company, et al.
  • Successfully resolved a consumer class action for UCC notice violations brought by defaulting borrowers on mobile home loans. Hall v. Triad Financial Co.
  • Successfully defended California private equity fund managers in a breach of fiduciary duty suit brought by SBA as receiver. Small Business Administration v. Altotech, et al.
  • Successfully defended the CFO and CAO of a public company in 22 shareholder class actions alleging violations of '33 and '34 Act arising from pooling-of-interest accounting and insider loans to purchase stock. Stearns v. Navigant Consulting, et al.
  • Part of a defense team that obtained a jury verdict for less than 10 percent of the amount sought by the plaintiff in a consumer fraud/alter ego suit brought by a Seattle condo association against a developer. Balaton Condominium Asso. v. Balaton Condominiums LLC, et al.
  • Obtained dismissal of RICO and antitrust conspiracy claims and successfully settled copyright and trade secret claims in a case between data synchronization competitors. Edgenet Inc. v. GS1 US., Inc., et al.
  • Resolved a FHA discrimination case brought against a Manhattan high-rise by the U.S. Attorney's Office via consent decree. U.S. v. 475 Ninth Ave. Associates, et al.
  • Procured a severance benefit ($15 million) for a chief investment officer's "good reason" resignation from the largest U.S. mortgage REIT in AAA arbitration. Konrad v. Annaly.
  • Won summary judgment for a developer in a dispute over calculation of additional amounts owed in lieu of taxes under N.J.'s Long Term Tax Exemption Law. EQR-LPC Urban Renewal North Pier v. City of Jersey City.
  • Limited a court's fee award to class counsel to 6.8 percent of the amount sought in an MA class action settlement over unlawful fees paid by prospective tenants. Heien v. Archstone, et al.
  • Obtained reversal of an adverse verdict by the Utah Supreme Court where trial court used an improper valuation technique in a statutory appraisal lawsuit arising out of reverse stock split by a real estate holding company. Utah Resources International v. Mark Technologies Corp.
  • Successfully resolved seven class actions filed on behalf of tenants in MA challenging various fees collected in advance of move-in after winning summary judgment on two of the five challenged fees. Perry v. Equity Residential Management.
  • Successfully defended bank-trustee in appeal taken from final dismissal by the trial court of breach of fiduciary duty claims brought by relatives of deceased beneficiary who died intestate. First Midwest Bank, as successor, v. Jane Zieman-Salmon, et al.
  • Limited total judgment in CAFA putative class action to $647.58. Phillips v. Equity Residential Management LLC.
  • Successfully confirmed arbitration award for buyer adjusting net working capital amount to true-up purchase price for 100% stock purchase of company. Patolia v. Nutramed Holdings, Inc.
  • Zero award result in a AAA arbitration for the defense of a tech firm accused of securities fraud by an ex-officer in connection his non-exercise of vested stock options which expired one day prior to the announcement of a merger with a public company.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Litigation: General Commercial in Illinois (2014 to 2015)
  • Illinois "Super Lawyer" (2005 to 2017)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent 
  • Top Rated Lawyers in Commercial Litigation (2013)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Business Law Section
  • The Lawyers Club of Chicago

Community

  • Real Estate Investment Association
  • Dartmouth Lawyers Association
  • The Executives' Club of Chicago
  • Midwest Bankers Study Council
  • Institute of Real Estate Management
  • The National Multi Housing Council

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • Illinois

Education

  • J.D., Indiana University School of Law, 1977, Order of the Coif, magna cum laude
  • B.A., Economics, Dartmouth College, 1974, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude