It may be surprising to realize how many cases in Chicago have been kept silent over the last few years. Many of the legal battles involving well-known Chicago businesses and families have been reserved from public view as judges have given them the highest level of secrecy. Here are four such cases.
Head of Wrigley Chewing Gum Company
Wrigley is a common name throughout Chicago households. William Wrigley, the head of the multibillion-dollar chewing gum company was involved in a legal dispute which was sealed on the day it was filed and then disposed of just nine months later. The case which involved Wrigley and his sister was sealed by Judge Bernetta Bush. The reason for the case being sealed and the details remain a secret. Bush later indicated in an interview that the case might have been a dispute involving a trust, but she offered no details. The sealing of a case involving the businessman is not the only one sealed. In 2010, a cousin of William Wrigley Jr., William Hagenah III requested the court seal a case in which he was requesting to resign as a trustee of numerous trust funds belonging to the Wrigley family.
Family-Owned Follett Higher Education Group
The Follet Higher Education Group based in suburban Chicago was founded in 1873. In 2008, BookRenter.com contracted with Follet’s Chicago based business to rent and sell textbooks to college students. When the deal went south, Follet sued but asked that the case be sealed since it contained proprietary and confidential information. BookRenter.com requested the dispute remain public as they stated the market needed to be aware of the dispute and details pertaining to it. Judge Hall ordered the case sealed.
Chicago Doctor Vs Chicago Judge – Case Sealed
When a Cook County judge and a Chicago doctor engaged in a legal dispute, the case was sealed in 2011. Judge Eileen Brewer was sewed as part of a domestic dispute over properties she and Dr. Jane Blumenthal shared. Blumenthal alleged Brewer wouldn’t grant her access to the home and wouldn’t negotiate a buy-out or sell. Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. ordered the file sealed. Brewer had become a judge in 2002 and had requested the case sealed for safety reasons as the files contained her children’s names and their home address.
Business Cases Sealed by Chicago Courts
Cook County judges have sealed many cases since 2000. Some of these legal disputes involved a famous chef, millionaire businessmen, and other judges. Suits filed included allegations of defective consumer products, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Sometimes judges included a reason for sealing a file in their written orders. These instances typically involved hiding files because of sensitive information like physical addresses or Social Security numbers. Some business lawyers think it is an undue burden on the public to have to hire a lawyer just to have access to them and that adding secrecy often fosters mistrust toward the court system.