News & Insights

Dykema Legal Team Continues Winning Streak on Alarm Industry Litigation

Secures a $2.13 million attorneys’ fee award for client Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.

February 19, 2015

A team of attorneys at Dykema, a leading national law firm, secured a $2.13 million attorneys’ fee award for Alarm Detection Systems and three other private alarm companies on February 17 from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The award caps off ongoing litigation for the companies, which ultimately defeated the monopolization of the alarm industry by a local government entity.

ADT, ADS et al v. Lisle Woodridge Fire Protection District and Chicago Metropolitan Fire Protection Company, No. 10 C 4382 challenged an Illinois Fire Protection District’s right to enter the fire alarm monitoring business and, as a result, displace competition by requiring that all fire alarm monitoring and related services be performed by the district to the exclusion of other licensed private alarm companies. 

Led by Senior Counsel Bruce Goldsmith, the legal team consisted of Dave Bressler, Kara Murphy, Molly Thompson, Orly Henry, Howard Iwrey, Cale Johnson, Dan Zollner, Jill Wheaton, Cathy Perkowitz, Michelle Schindler and Lauren Quigley.

The fee award is the fifth-consecutive favorable decision issued for the alarm companies. Previously, Dykema succeeded in obtaining preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and in the process prevailed in two appeals to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the holding that an Illinois Fire Protection District does not have the legal authority to enter the alarm monitoring business. After the second appeal, the defendants, paid the full amount of damages to which the Alarm Company plaintiffs would have been entitled if they had prevailed under the civil rights and antitrust laws, thus mooting the case.

After negotiations for the attorneys’ fees portion of the case were originally unsuccessful, Dykema filed its fee petition with the argument that antitrust and civil rights laws do include a provision for an attorneys’ fee award. While Defendants argued the award was inappropriate since the court issued its injunctions under Illinois’ District Act, the District Court ultimately disagreed, noting that U.S. Supreme Court precedent holds that Congress intended fees to be awarded where a claim allowing fees is involved, even if the statutory claim on which the plaintiff prevailed is not one for which fees can be awarded as long as the claims are closely factually related. The court also noted that a defendant cannot defeat a plaintiff’s right to attorneys’ fees by taking steps to moot a case it has lost, as mootness does not change the fact that plaintiffs were prevailing parties. 

“Put simply, this is the ‘cherry on top’ of the wins our team has successfully achieved on behalf of the alarm companies,” Goldsmith said. “But our work is not done. While many fire protection districts exited the alarm monitoring business after the successful appeals, litigation continues on concerning whether the manner of the exits was appropriate. I am eager to see what becomes of these cases.”

“This victory is well-deserved and a prime example of the excellent litigation work Dykema does, day-in and day-out,” said Michael Borders, Office Managing Member of Dykema’s Chicago office. “These wins demonstrate the tenacity Dykema lawyers fight with through these tough, uphill cases, and I’m proud of the work our team has done.”