867 F.3d 743 (7th Cir. 2017), 16-1075, In re Emerald Casino, Inc.

Docket Nº:16-1075, 16-1132, 16-1133, 16-1143, 16-1148, 16-1160, 16-1161, 16-1164, 16-1165, 16-1235
Citation:867 F.3d 743
Opinion Judge:Kanne, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:IN RE: EMERALD CASINO, Inc., Plaintiff-Debtor, FRANCES GECKER, as Trustee of Emerald Casino, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, v. ESTATE OF KEVIN FLYNN, JOHN MCMAHON, KEVIN LARSON, JOSEPH MCQUAID, Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees, and ESTATE OF PEER PEDERSEN, Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant
Attorney:For ESTATE OF PEER PEDERSEN, deceased, by John Muehlstein, not individually, but as Executor of the Estate, Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Theodore J. Low ATTORNEY, Charles Barry Montgomery ATTORNEY, Alyssa Mara Reiter ATTORNEY, WILLIAMS MONTGOMERY & JOHN LTD, Chicago, IL. For FRANCES GECKER, not ind...
Judge Panel:Before KANNE, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 11, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 743

867 F.3d 743 (7th Cir. 2017)

IN RE: EMERALD CASINO, Inc., Plaintiff-Debtor,

FRANCES GECKER, as Trustee of Emerald Casino, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,

v.

ESTATE OF KEVIN FLYNN, JOHN MCMAHON, KEVIN LARSON, JOSEPH MCQUAID, Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees,

and

ESTATE OF PEER PEDERSEN, Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant

Nos. 16-1075, 16-1132, 16-1133, 16-1143, 16-1148, 16-1160, 16-1161, 16-1164, 16-1165, 16-1235

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 11, 2017

Argued May 31, 2017.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11 C 4714 -- Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, Judge.

For ESTATE OF PEER PEDERSEN, deceased, by John Muehlstein, not individually, but as Executor of the Estate, Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Theodore J. Low, Attorney, Charles Barry Montgomery, Attorney, Alyssa Mara Reiter, Attorney, WILLIAMS MONTGOMERY & JOHN LTD, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For JOSEPH P. MCQUAID, Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): William J. Factor, Attorney, LAW OFFICE OF WILLIAM J. FACTOR, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, Angela M. Allen, Attorney, Robert L. Graham, Attorney, Keri L. Hotaling, Attorney, Barry Levenstam, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, Angela M. Allen, Attorney, Robert L. Graham, Attorney, Keri L. Hotaling, Attorney, Barry Levenstam, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For JOSEPH P. MCQUAID, Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): William J. Factor, Attorney, LAW OFFICE OF WILLIAM J. FACTOR, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, Angela M. Allen, Attorney, Robert L. Graham, Attorney, Keri L. Hotaling, Attorney, Barry Levenstam, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For KEVIN D. LARSON, Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Neil Lloyd, Attorney, Daniel Schufreider, Attorney, SCHIFF HARDIN LLP, Chicago, IL; Ronald S. Safer, Attorney, RILEY SAFER HOLMES & CANCILA LLP, Chicago, IL.

For KEVIN D. LARSON, Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Neil Lloyd, Attorney, Daniel Schufreider, Attorney, SCHIFF HARDIN LLP, Chicago, IL; Ronald S. Safer, Attorney, RILEY SAFER HOLMES & CANCILA LLP, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, Angela M. Allen, Attorney, Robert L. Graham, Attorney, Keri L. Hotaling, Attorney, Barry Levenstam, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For JOHN P. MCMAHON, Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Michael Brett Kind, Attorney, Jonathan William Young, Attorney, LOCKE LORD LLP, Chicago, IL.

For JOHN P. MCMAHON, Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Michael Brett Kind, Attorney, Jonathan William Young, Attorney, LOCKE LORD LLP, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For ESTATE OF KEVIN F. FLYNN, Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Constantine L. Trela, Jr., Attorney, Joseph Ryan Dosch, Attorney, Tacy Fletcher Flint, Attorney, John N. Gallo, Attorney, SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Trustee - Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For ESTATE OF PEER PEDERSEN, Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Theodore J. Low, Attorney, Charles Barry Montgomery, Attorney, WILLIAMS MONTGOMERY & JOHN LTD, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Trustee - Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

For ESTATE OF KEVIN F. FLYNN, Appellant (1:11-cv-04714): Constantine L. Trela, Jr., Attorney, Joseph Ryan Dosch, Attorney, Tacy Fletcher Flint, Attorney, John N. Gallo, Attorney, SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP, Chicago, IL.

For FRANCES GECKER, not individually but solely as chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy Estate of Emerald Casino, Inc., Appellee (1:11-cv-04714): Catherine L. Steege, Attorney, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Chicago, IL; Chirag Gopal Badlani, Attorney, Joshua Karsh, Attorney, Matthew J. Piers, Attorney, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD., Chicago, IL.

Before KANNE, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Kanne, Circuit Judge.

This case arises out of the Illinois Gaming Board's decision to revoke Emerald Casino, Inc.'s1 gaming license. In an attempt to recover the value of the license, the bankruptcy trustee sued the defendants--former Emerald officers, directors, and shareholders--for breach of contract and breach of their fiduciary duties.

This set of consolidated appeals concerns the district court's decision on those claims.

Defendants Kevin Flynn, John McMahon, Kevin Larson, and Joseph McQuaid contest the court's decision that their conduct caused the Board to revoke Emerald's license. The defendants thus argue that the court could not have held them severally liable for the value of Emerald's license.

The trustee contests the court's decision that (1) defendant Peer Pedersen's conduct did not cause the Board to revoke Emerald's license, (2) the statute of limitations barred her breach-of-fiduciary-duty claim, and (3) the defendants were severally liable instead of jointly and severally liable.

We reverse and remand the court's decision to hold the defendants severally liable instead of jointly and severally liable. But otherwise, we affirm.

I.

Background2

Emerald had an Illinois gaming license to operate in East Dubuque, Illinois. Emerald operated profitably in 1993 but then began to struggle to compete with a new Dubuque, Iowa casino. Iowa's more lenient gaming laws made continued success for Emerald in East Dubuque unlikely, so Emerald applied to the Illinois Gaming Board for permission to relocate. The Board denied the application, claiming that it lacked the statutory authority to allow a licensee to relocate.

By early 1996, Emerald had stopped operating a casino and began devoting its time to lobbying the Illinois legislature to pass an act that would allow it to relocate. In the meantime, it had to renew its gaming license. The Board voted unanimously to deny Emerald's renewal application, citing Emerald's " non-responsive application," " inadequate gaming operation," financial inviability, " significant compliance short-comings," failure to " provide for positive economic development and impact," and general noncompliance with the Riverboat Gambling Act. In re Emerald...

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