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Restaurant.com case back in District Court

24-Oct-15 – Not that the case has been going on for a long time, but the judge has retired.

The first pre-trial conference was held last week in the resumed federal lawsuit against an Arlington Heights company owned by a River North resident, filed five years ago by two residents of New Jersey. Gregory Bohus and Larissa Shelton claim the fine print on gift cards they purchased from Restaurant.com violated laws in their state.

The case was dismissed on July 10, 2014, but quickly appealed. On April 30, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the dismissal and, on August 26, 2015, sent the case back to United States District Court. It was the second time a federal judge’s decision in the case had been reversed.

Specifically, Bohus and Shelton say the expiration dates and a disclaimer on their gift cards was in violation of New Jersey law. At one point the New Jersey Supreme Court weighed in on the suit.

The Court of Appeals ruled that previous rulings against Restaurant.com can be applied retroactively, a decision that exposes RDC to $1 million in penalties.

Kent Jordan One of the three appellate judges, Kent A. Jordan (left), wrote of the lengthy case, “The end, one may hope, is finally near.”

RDC has denied violating any state law and argued the rulings against them should be applied to future cases only.

Restaurant.com is owned by Dr. Kenneth Chessick, a lawyer who lives at Marina City and is the company’s CEO. His wife, Ellen Chessick, is president of Marina Towers Condominium Association and said in a 2013 letter to unit owners she was “among the founders” of Restaurant.com but more recently has denied being an owner of the company.

After 20 years on the federal bench, United States District Judge Joel A. Pisano retired on February 16. The case was reassigned on August 25 to Judge Michael A. Shipp (right). Michael Shipp