Chief Judge Ruben Castillo (Retired)
Chief Judge U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Arbitrator, Mediator, Mock Trials, Special Discovery Master, Corporate Investigation
Hon. Rubén Castillo was appointed by President Clinton as a Federal Judge for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) and served for twenty-five years between 1994 and 2019, including six years (2013 to 2019) as Chief Judge. Judge Castillo was also appointed by President Clinton as the Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission in 1999 and then reappointed by President George W. Bush to a second term as Vice Chair in 2004.
He presided over numerous noteworthy cases in all areas of the law during his twenty-five year tenure and several of his decisions were ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court. He also was assigned various complex litigation matters by the Multi-District Judicial Panel.
Judge Castillo was designated by his fellow judges as a Member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making committee of the federal courts, which is headed by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Judge Castillo served in the Special Prosecution Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois where he received numerous law enforcement awards. In private practice, Judge Castillo was an associate with the law firm of Jenner & Block and left a partnership at Kirkland & Ellis to take his position on the federal bench. He has represented a diverse range of clients in complex, commercial litigation matters. He has taught trial advocacy at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law for thirty years and is the recipient of five teaching awards.
Judge Castillo developed a well-known reputation for being able to settle cases during his twenty-five years on the federal bench. He often was able to resolve seemingly intractable conflicts, such as the Oprah Winfrey copyright matter, after trials had already commenced. His breadth of litigation and teaching experiences makes him eminently qualified to assist parties and counsel in resolving disputes through arbitration or mediation, in conducting moot courts, and in serving as an expert witness as Special Master.
- In re Potash Antitrust Litigation, 667 F. Supp. 2d 907 (N.D. Ill. 2009) Direct and indirect purchasers partially survive motion to dismiss their antitrust class actions, which were consolidated in multi-district litigations. Case subsequently settled.
- Nichols Motorcycle Supply Inc. v. Dunlap Tire Corp., 913 F. Supp. 1088 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Partially grants motion to dismiss motorcycle tire distributor’s antitrust action against tire manufacturer alleging illegal horizontal agreement. Case subsequently settled.
Consumer Fraud Cases:
- Gomez v. Midland Funding, LLC, 77 F. Supp. 3d 750 (N.D. Ill. 2014) Debt collector’s offer of judgment did not justify dismissal of consumer’s lawsuit, which was subsequently settled.
- Reid v. Unilever U.S. Inc., 964 F. Supp. 2d 803 (N.D. Ill. 2015) Granting summary judgment in favor of excess insurer and finding that the insured’s failure to give notice of a claim for more than five years after the claim occurred was “untimely and unreasonable as a matter of law.”
- Van Tassell v. United Marketing Group, LLC, 795 F. Supp. 2d 770 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Partially rejects states consumer fraud and Electronic Funds Transfer Act claims brought by putative class of online purchases of products from merchant’s websites. Case settled.
- Winiecki v. Creditors Interchange Receivable Management, LLC and ECAST, 14 F. Supp. 3d 1086 (N.D. Ill. 2014) Putative class validly stated action against debt collector under Fair Debt Collection Act. Case settled.
- Jamison v. Summer Infant Inc., 778 F. Supp. 2d 900 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Granting partial motion to dismiss consumer fraud class action brought by parents against video baby monitor manufacturer. Case subsequently settled.
- Murray v. New Cingular Wireless Services, Inc., 432 F. Supp. 2d 788 (N.D. Ill. 2006) Summary judgment granted for telephone company against putative consumer class action under Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- Kaczmarek v. Microsoft Comp., 39 F. Supp. 2d 974 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Rejected consumer’s breach of warranty action for alleged defective software.
- Withers v. Equifax Risk Management Services, 40 F. Supp. 2d 978 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Sustained consumer Fair Debt Collective Practices Act violation for bad check collection practices. Case settled.
- Klinger v. Conon Doyle Estate, Ltd., 988 F. Supp. 2d 879 (N.D. Ill. 2013) Rejected copyright action by author of Sherlock Holmes stories because they were found to be in public domain. Affirmed on appeal by Judge Posner.
- Natkin v. Oprah Winfrey, 111 F. Supp. 2d 1003 (N.D. Ill. 2000) Copyright action by professional photographers against famous book author partially survives motion to dismiss. Case subsequently settled after trial commenced.
- FASA Corporation v. Playmates Toys, Inc., 892 F. Supp. 1061 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Designer of futuristic, role-playing games proceeded to trial in four phases against toy manufacturer for alleged copyright and trade dress violations. Case settled after extensive pretrial, including four phased trial proceeding segments.
- Theoto Katas v. Sara Lee Personal Products, 971 F. Supp. 332 (N.D. Ill. 1997) Copyright owner’s action for infringement of designs related to Olympic games leads to successful third-party action by alleged infringer against licenser for indemnity. Lawsuit ultimately settled.
- Hoopla Sports & Entertainment v. Nike, 947 F. Supp. 347 (N.D. Ill. 1996) Organizer’s attempted copyright action for infringement of international high school age all-star basketball game not protected by Copyright Act.
- Kirsch v. Brightstar Corporation, 78 F. Supp. 3d 676 (N.D. Ill. 2015) Shareholders of small technology startup filed suit against acquiring corporation alleging breach of stock purchase agreement. Settled after summary judgment denied to defendant.
- Ching M.D. v. Paramount Consulting Services, 560 F. Supp. 2d 675 (N.D. Ill. 2008) Dismissed shareholder action for alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
- Judson Atkinson Candies, Inc. v. Latini-Hohberger Dhimantec, et. al., 476 F. Supp. 2d 913 (N.D. Ill. 2007) Fraudulent transfer of assets; Reject attempt to pierce corporate veil.
- Molex Inc. v. Wyler, 365 F. Supp. 2d 901 (N.D. Ill. 2005) Stock purchase fraud claim survives summary judgment; Suit subsequently settled.
- Sterigenics U.S., LLC v. Kim, 385 F. Supp. 3d 600 (N.D. Ill. 2019) Federal jurisdiction not adequately established for affirmative relief action filed by commercial sterilization company against Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
- Liberty Disposal, Inc. v. Scott, 648 F. Supp. 2d 1047 (N.D. Ill. 2009) Partially sustained lawsuit by generators and transporters of waste against director of state environmental protection agency. Case subsequently settled.
- Stone v. Naperville Park District, 38 F. Supp. 2d 651 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Clean Water Act claim against defendants’ operation of a trap shooting facility in park partially sustained. Case subsequently settled.
- Dydio v. Hesston Corporation, 887 F. Supp. 1037 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Partially sustained landowner suit against prior owner of property under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). Case subsequently settled.
- Levy v. Versar, Inc., 882 F. Supp. 2d 736 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Sustained action by purchasers against environmental engineering and consulting firm under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Corporation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). Case subsequently settled.
- Hotel 71 Mezz Lender LLC v. The National Retirement Fund, 9 F. Supp. 3d 863 (N.D. Ill. 2014) Foreclosure sale purchasers brought action against multi-employer pension plan. Case settled after summary judgment for pension plan.
- Mugnai v. Kirk Corporation, 843 F. Supp. 2d 1858 (N.D. Ill. 2012) Action by participants in a qualified employee stock ownership plan settled after pretrial dismissal.
- George v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., 814 F. Supp. 2d 832 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Class action lawsuit against employee benefits committee settled after partial dismissal.
- Schultz v. Aviall, Inc. Long Term Disability Plan, 790 F. Supp. 2d 697 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Dismissed putative class actions challenging financial adjustments to long term disability benefits.
- Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v George W. Burnett, Inc., 451 F. Supp. 2d 969 (N.D. Ill. 2006) Union pension fund suit established single employer liability against various trucking companies. Case subsequently settled.
- Koenig v. Waste Management, Inc., 76 F. Supp. 2d 908 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Former employee adequately filed claim for “top hat” benefits. Case subsequently settled.
- Hupp v. Metromail Corp. Special Severance Plan, 133 F. Supp. 2d 681 (N.D. Ill. 2001) Claims committee denial of benefits upheld under arbitrary and capricious standard.
- Landmark Am. Ins. Co. v. Deerfield Constr., Inc., 933 F.3d 806 (7th Cir. 2019) Dispute over whether construction company gave timely notice to its excess insurer of a claim implicating the excess insurance policy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed ruling on summary judgment in favor of the excess insurer, reasoning that “five to seven years before telling an insurance company that its policy may be implicated in a suit is too long.”
- Landmark Am. Ins. Co. v. Deerfield Constr., Inc., No. 15 C 1785, 2018 WL 2072858 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 2018), aff’d, 933 F.3d 806 (7th Cir. 2019) Granting summary judgment in favor of excess insurer and finding that the insured’s failure to give notice of a claim for more than five years after the claim occurred was “untimely and unreasonable as a matter of law.”
- Knoll Pharmaceutical Co. v. Automobile Insurance Co. of Hartford, 167 F. Supp. 2d 1004 (N.D. Ill. 2001) No duty to defend found for successor corporation.
- Abrams v. Unity Mutual Life Inc., 70 F. Supp. 2d 846 (N.D. Ill. 1999) No commissions due for alleged oral agreement.
- Reliance Insurance Co. v. Shriver, Inc., 38 F. Supp. 2d 684 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Agent properly set off his premium debt for in-state insurer.
- Winkleross Consultants, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Co., 11 F. Supp. 2d 995 (N.D. Ill. 1998) Partial coverage for claims made by insured software maker.
- Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Taylor, 903 F. Supp. 2d 623 (N.D. Ill. 2012) Coverage duty found for liability arising from a corporate representative’s automobile accident.
- Sigma Chi Corporation v. Westchester Fire Ins. Co., 587 F. Supp. 2d 891 (N.D. Ill. 2008) Coverage duty found for purchase agreement dispute.
- Dresser, LLC v. VRG Controls, LLC, No. 18 C 1957, 2019 WL 3244503 (N.D. Ill. July 18, 2019) Infringement case involving a patent that discloses a type of valve capable of regulating the flow of natural gas and other fluids. Case settled after counterclaim of invalidity upheld.
- Lecat’s Ventriloscope v. MT Tool & Mfg., No. 16 C 5298, 2018 WL 3651592 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 1, 2018) Case dealing with patent infringement allegations related to a claimed invention of stethoscope-like devices used to train medical students and other medical professionals on diagnosis of medical conditions based on sounds arising from within the human body. Case settled after trial.
- Mantissa Corp. v. Old Second Bancorp, Inc., No. 17 C 9175, 2018 WL 3059604 (N.D. Ill. June 20, 2018) Patent infringement action involving system and method patent relating to identity protection software and technology. Case settled.
- BillingNetwork Patent, Inc. v. Modernizing Med., Inc., No. 17 C 5636, 2017 WL 5146008 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 6, 2017) Lawsuit alleging infringement of a patent relating to a cloud-based platform for billing clients and customers. Case settled.
- Legacy Seating, Inc. v. Commercial Plastics Co., 65 F. Supp. 3d 542 (N.D. Ill. 2014) Patent infringement suit alleging infringement of a patent relating to a particular design of plastic chairs. Case settled.
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Helferich Patent Licensing, LLC, 51 F. Supp. 3d 713 (N.D. Ill. 2014) Case involving dispute over patent licensing agreements covering inventions related to wireless content provisioning and messaging, wireless handsets, and other wireless technology. Case settled.
- Radiation Stabilization Sols. LLC v. Brainlab AG, No. 11 C 6462, 2012 WL 4830470 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 5, 2012) Patent infringement action involving a patent that disclosed a “stabilizing system” for use in radiation therapy. Case settled.
- Se-Kure Controls, Inc. v. Vanguard Prod. Grp., Inc., 873 F. Supp. 2d 939 (N.D. Ill. 2012) Infringement claim rejected for patent describing a retractable sensor assembly for use with an alarm system. Defendant awarded fees after unsuccessful appeal by plaintiff.
- Simonian v. MeadWestvaco Corp., 812 F. Supp. 2d 925 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Patent holder successfully dismissed action claiming violation of False Marketing Act for allegedly using expired patent markings.
- Chi. Mercantile Exch., Inc. v. Tech. Research Grp., LLC, 276 F.R.D. 237 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Infringement lawsuit involving a patent claiming a system and method for international currency trading. Case settled after claim construction ruling.
- Albecker v. Contour Prods., Inc., No. 09 C 0631, 2010 WL 1839803 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 2010), aff’d, 578 F. App’x 969 (Fed. Cir. 2014), andaff’d, 578 F. App’x 969 (Fed. Cir. 2014) Allegations of patent infringement related to a patent for a wedge-shaped backrest and legless leisure chair that oriented the user’s upper back at a higher angle than the user’s lower back. Case settled after claim construction ruling.
- Kenall Mfg. Co. v. Genlyte Thomas Group LLC, 413 F. Supp. 2d 937 (N.D. Ill. 2006) Claims construed in declaratory patent action for non-infringement brought by manufacturer of hospital bed lighting system. Case subsequently settled.
- Neopost Industrie B.V. v. PFE Int’l, Inc., 403 F. Supp. 2d 669 (N.D. Ill. 2005), dismissed, 190 F. App’x 965 (Fed. Cir. 2006) Bench verdict for defendant on infringement claims related to mail assembly and processing invention.
- Garvey Corp. v. Brady-Wehmiller Design Group, Inc., 365 F.Supp. 2d 893 (N.D. Ill. 2005) Preliminary injunction granted to enjoin alleged infringement related to patents for production line accumulation. Case subsequently settled.
- Techtronic Indus. Co. v. Chervon Holdings, Ltd., 395 F. Supp. 2d 720 (N.D. Ill. 2005) Preliminary injunction granted to enjoin alleged infringement of a patent relating to a suction-mounted levelling device after rejection of obviousness defense. Case subsequently settled.
- Lifetime Products, Inc. v. GSC Technology Corp., 938 F. Supp. 321 (N.D. Ill. 2004) Claim construction ruling made in suit by owner of patent for polyethylene folding tables leads to settlement of infringement claim against competitor company. Case settled.
- Jackson v. Vtech Telecomms. Ltd., No. 01 C 8001, 2003 WL 25815373 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 23, 2003) Suit for infringement of patent claiming a set of electronic circuits for remotely controlling appliances or devices through the use of tones produced by touch-tone telephones. Settled after invalidity defense rejected.
- Tech. Concepts, L.P. v. Zurn Indus., Inc., No. 02 C 2827, 2002 WL 31027962 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 10, 2002) Declaratory judgment lawsuit alleging infringement of a patent disclosing an automatic flush valve actuator. Case settled.
- Jackson v. Ill. Bell Tel. Co., No. 01 C 8001, 2002 WL 1466796 (N.D. Ill. July 8, 2002) Patent infringement dispute involving a patent for a device that detects a predetermined sequence of signals sent over a telephone line and responds with a control signal which can be used to remotely control another application.
- Leggett & Platt Inc. v. Hickory Springs Mfg. Co., No. 99 C 2614, 2000 WL 1269363 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 5, 2000) Alleged infringement of a patent claiming a stackable bedding foundation assembly. Summary judgment entered for defendant after finding of non-infringement.
- Schreiber Foods, Inc. v. Saputo Cheese USA, Inc., 83 F.Supp. 2d 942 (N.D. Ill. 2000) Claim construction ruling for patent claims for imitation cheese products leads to settlement of infringement lawsuit.
- Anchor Wall Sys., Inc. v. R & D Concrete Prods., Inc., 55 F. Supp. 2d 871 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Alleged infringement of patent directed toward a configuration for concrete block used to construct retaining walls. Case settled.
- Somfy, S.A. v. Springs Window Fashions Div., Inc., 41 F.Supp.2d 833 (N.D. Ill. 1999) Patent infringement action involving a patent for a window-blind winding mechanism. Case settled.
- Wyttenbach v. Atoma Int’l, Inc., 997 F. Supp. 1037 (N.D. Ill. 1998), aff’d, 185 F.3d 881 (Fed. Cir. 1999) Rejected allegations that the defendants manufactured and sold a child restraint seat that infringed the plaintiffs’ patent.
- In Re Aircrash Disaster Near Roselawn, Indiana, 909 F. Supp. 1083 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Following fatal airline crash, passengers’ estates brought actions against French and Italian airline manufacturers and other defendants which were consolidated by MDL Panel in Chicago. After numerous legal opinions involving complex choice of law and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act issues, which were affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 96 F.3d 932 (7th Cir. 1996), the case was settled after a jury had been selected.
- Walker v. Mag’s Merchandising Group, 288 F.Supp. 3d 840 (N.D. Ill. 2017) Breach of warranty action brought against store and manufacturer for sleepwear fire incident. Case settled after partial dismissal on the eve of trial.
- Woods and Johnson v. Amazon.com et al., 2019 WL 2323874 (N.D. Ill. May 30, 2019) Construction accident case against owner of warehouse and multiple defendants. Settled in the middle of trial after numerous pretrial rulings.
Real Estate/Fair Lending Act Cases:
- Hanley v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC, 934 F. Supp. 2d 977 (N.D. Ill. 2013) Mortgagor’s putative class action against mortgage servicer survives full dismissal. Case subsequently settled.
- Fernandez v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 818 F. Supp. 2d 1086 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Partially dismissing borrower’s motion seeking rescission of home equity line of credit for violations of the Truth in Lending Act. Case subsequently settled.
- Whitley v. Taylor Bean & Whitacker Mortgage Comp., 607 F. Supp. 2d 885 (N.D. Ill. 2009) Real estate purchaser’s lawsuit under Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act, Fair Housing Act, and Equal Credit Opportunity Act against real estate brokerage firm, mortgage broker, and lender partially sustained. Case subsequently settled.
- Proin S.A. v. LaSalle Bank, NA, 223 F. Supp. 2d 960 (N.D. Ill. 2002) Sustained action alleging breach of contract and violations of Uniform Commercial Code. Case subsequently settled.
- Beeson v American Store Properties, Inc., 174 F. Supp. 2d 808 (N.D. Ill. 2001) Sustained commercial breach of lease agreement lawsuit. Case subsequently settled.
- U.S. For Use of CTI Ltd. Inc. v. Mellon Stuart Co., 860 F. Supp. 556 (N.D. Ill. 1994) Sustained guarantee action on construction bond contract. Case subsequently settled.
- Wooley v. Jackson Hewitt, Inc., 540 F. Supp. 2d 964 (N.D. Ill. 2008) Taxpayer’s RICO claim against tax preparation company rejected. Breach of guarantee claim sustained. Case subsequently settled.
- Gavin v. AT&T Corp., 543 F. Supp. 2d 885 (N.D. Ill. 2008) RICO pattern requirement unestablished by shareholder class action alleging fraud following merger. Case subsequently settled.
- RWB Services, LLC v. Rally Capital Services, LLC, 502 F. Supp. 2d 787 (N.D. Ill. 2007) Alleged scheme failed to establish proximate cause for lender’s unsuccessful RICO claim. Case subsequently settled.
- Starfish Investment Corporation v. Hansen, 370 F. Supp. 2d 759 (N.D. Ill. 2005) Real estate investor failed to establish existence of RICO enterprise. Case dismissed.
- Peterson v. H & R Block Tax Services, Inc., 22 F. Supp. 2d 795 (N.D. Ill. 1998) RICO predicate acts and pattern of racketeering not established in taxpayer preparation suit. Case dismissed.
- Bermudez v. First of American Bank Champion, NA, 860 F. Supp. 580 (N.D. Ill. 1994) Sustained RICO claims by bank borrowers for unauthorized force-placed insurance coverage. Case subsequently settled.
Securities Law Cases:
- Wendte v. Handler, Thayer & Duggan, LLC, 613 F. Supp. 2d 1021 (N.D. Ill. 2009) Partially sustained action against investment consulting firms and trusts alleging violations of Section 10(b) and SEC Rule 10b-5 of Federal Securities Laws. Case subsequently settled.
- SEC v. Michel, 521 F.Supp. 2d 795 (N.D. Ill. 2007) Bench verdict entered against stock tippee for insider trading violation.
- Takara Trust v. Molex, Inc., 429 F.Supp. 3d 960 (N.D. Ill. 2006) Denied attempt to dismiss securities fraud class action brought against high-level officers and directors of a global manufacturer of electronic connectors. Case subsequently settled.
- Stavros v. Exelon Corporation, 266 F.Supp. 2d 833 (N.D. Ill. 2003) Dismissed misrepresentation securities fraud claim based on alleged violations of Generally Accepted Account Principles “GAAP”
- Stearns v. Navigant Consulting, Inc., 89 F.Supp. 2d 1014 (N.D. Ill. 2000) Addressing proper way to seek appointment as lead counsel in multiple consolidated securities fraud suits. Case subsequently settled.
- Cho v. Sabratek Corp., 100 F. Supp. 2d 827 (N.D. Ill. 2000) Partially sustained securities fraud action against healthcare produced manufacturer. Case subsequently settled.
- In re: Discovery Zone Securities Litigation, 943 F. Supp. 924 (N.D. Ill. 1996) Partially sustained securities fraud claim based on failure to disclose improper accounting method which led to overstatement of projects. Case subsequently settled.
- Kriendler v. Chemical Waste Mangement, 877 F.Supp. 1140 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Dismissed fraud class action. No misrepresentation found re: alleged income and assets misstatements.
- DRL Enterprises, Inc. v. North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc., 301 F. Supp. 3d 824 (N.D. Ill. 2018) Rejected effort to cancel trademark registrations allowed by Trademark Office’s Trademark and Trial Appeal Board “TTAB” on summary judgment. Case subsequently settled.
- Medline Industries, Inc. v. Strategic Commercial Solutions, Inc., 553 F. Supp. 2d 979 (N.D. Ill. 2008) Partially sustained action brought by distributor of medical products under Lanham Act against telemarking companies. Case subsequently settled.
- International Star Registry of Illinois, Ltd. v. SLJ Group, Inc., 325 F. Supp. 2d 879 (N.D. Ill. 2004) Star Registry established civil contempt finding against competitor for violating trademark infringement judgment.
- Chattanooga Manufacturing, Inc. v. Nike, Inc and Michael Jordan, 140 F. Supp. 2d 917 (N.D. Ill. 2001) Trademark action by owner of Jordan mark against athletic apparel manufacturer and famous basketball player barred by equitable doctrine of laches because of undue delay in pursuing suit.
- S Industries, Inc. v. Stone Age Equipment, Inc., 12 F. Supp. 2d 796 (N.D. Ill. 1998) Manufacturer of athletic shows failed to establish likelihood of confusion. Trademark Act claim dismissed.
Related Professional Experience:
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Chief Judge, 2013-2019
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge, 1994-2013
- Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, Regional Counsel, 1998-1991
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Assistant United States Attorney, 1984-1988
- Northwestern University School of Law, Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy
- J.D., Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, 1979
- B.A., Loyola University Chicago, 1976