Fredrikson & Byron has elected 9 new shareholders: Pamela Abbate-Dattilo, Jessica L. Foss, Aron J. Frakes, Robert M. Oberlies, Michael S. Raum, Lindsey A. Remakel, Michael D. Schoepf, Bradley J. Wallace and Aubrey J. Zuger.
Aron represents clients in a wide variety of disputes, including large contract disputes, product liability defense, class action defense, fraud and conspiracy cases, consumer fraud actions, construction litigation, professional malpractice defense (engineering), and toxic tort mass actions.
Aron’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation. He has represented clients in virtually all facets of litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including before arbitration tribunals, state and federal trial courts throughout the U.S., and various appellate courts. He also routinely assists clients with mediating or negotiating resolution of their disputes either before or after litigation is filed.
Aron has substantial experience in defending against putative nationwide class actions. He also has defended against complex product liability cases alleging that medical devices were defective, including negligence, strict liability, and wrongful death claims. Aron’s broad civil litigation experience includes prosecuting large fraud and civil conspiracy claims on behalf of businesses and individuals, post-closing indemnity disputes following the sales of businesses, cases seeking to invalidate non-competition provisions in contracts, asbestos cases against a leading engineering firm, and cases involving many other subject matters and industries.
Aron also devotes a significant portion of his time to pro bono representation. For instance, he has achieved successful results for a young mother wrongfully accused of child neglect, a woman with HIV and AIDS whose civil rights were violated, and a high school student with a learning disability. Aron and his colleagues were specially recognized by the Family Defense Center for their work on behalf of the young mother, which included a successful appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court.
Aron is a shareholder in Fredrikson & Byron’s Litigation Group. Prior to joining the firm, he was a partner with McDermott Will & Emery, an AmLaw 50 law firm, in Chicago.
CLASS ACTIONS/PRODUCT LIABILITY:
- Defense counsel in multi-district litigation currently pending in the District of Minnesota. This federal MDL proceeding includes a dozen putative nationwide class actions alleging product defect, breach of warranty and consumer fraud claims.
- Summary judgment granted in West Virginia federal court in a putative class action alleging that a company violated West Virginia consumer protection laws through debt collection activities. The Court therefore terminated the plaintiff’s motion for class certification as moot.
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a leading engineering firm in a putative class action filed in Illinois by a group of business and individual property owners complaining about the cost of electricity and alleging millions of dollars in damages. Plaintiffs agreed to waive any appellate rights.
- Represented an online travel company against consumer fraud claims filed in Illinois state court alleging that a website display was deceptive. Plaintiffs sought certification of a nationwide class of nearly 1.7 million consumers and sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment and contemporaneously denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The Illinois Appellate Court unanimously affirmed the trial court’s rulings in their entirety.
- Obtained summary judgment pre-certification in a putative class action filed in the Northern District of Indiana by a municipality against online travel companies alleging violations of state tax laws due to the municipality’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
- Defended a publicly-traded medical device manufacturer in complex medical malpractice/products liability litigation.
FRAUD AND CONTRACT:
- Following a multi-week arbitration before a panel of three arbitrators, obtained an award of over $15.5 million in favor of the purchaser of an ocean freight-forwarding business against the seller. The arbitration award was confirmed by the Court of Chancery of Delaware.
- Successfully prosecuted the claims of a victim of a complex conspiracy to defraud and violations of fiduciary duties, including a 3-week trial against some of the wrongdoers; also secured a judgment in Illinois state court totaling nearly $14 million against another of the wrongdoers.
- After compelling arbitration (affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit), obtained an arbitration award in favor of a leading candy manufacturer upholding the enforceability of a worldwide, 10-year non-competition provision in an asset purchase agreement.
- Secured dismissal of a complaint against a construction surety seeking to recover attorneys’ fees that had not been paid by a defunct construction contractor.
- Acted as lead and national coordinating counsel for a construction surety on a wide array of construction-related cases throughout the nation after a large, international construction company entered bankruptcy.
- Achieved dismissal of all claims filed against a Fortune 100 company in an environmental contamination case alleging violation of the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act, trespass, nuisance, negligence, and willful and wanton conduct. The Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed the plaintiffs’ appeal.
- Mediated a very favorable resolution with more than 80 named plaintiffs in an environmental contamination case, after taking the depositions of all of the named plaintiffs.
- Acted as lead national counsel representing a leading engineering firm in asbestos litigation.
- Affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of whether a debtor may discharge claims resulting from the debtor’s voluntary post-petition participation in a proceeding before the American Arbitration Association.
- Obtained dismissal of a multi-million dollar claim against an online travel company under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- Granted dismissal of all non-contract claims filed against a computerized reservations service because they were preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) and otherwise failed as a matter of law.
PRO BONO AND COMMUNITY SERVICE:
- Through appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, obtained reversal of a trial court’s and the Department of Children and Family Services’ finding of child neglect against a mother whose young daughter was injured in a freak accident involving a colored pencil. Aron and his colleagues were specially recognized by the Family Defense Center for their work on this matter.
- Through a trial before an administrative law judge, obtained a judgment against a tattoo parlor that refused to give a tattoo to a woman with HIV and AIDS in violation of her civil rights.
- Helped a high school student with a learning disability defeat disciplinary proceedings by the Chicago Public Schools when his coat was found in the locker of another student who possessed a shotgun.
- Supervised a successful appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, overturning the district court’s dismissal of a Section 1983 lawsuit alleging the deprivation of necessary medical care and the use of excessive force.
Articles & Presentations
January 19, 2015
Attorney Aron J. Frakes joins Fredrikson & Byron’s Litigation Group as an officer. Frakes was most recently a litigation partner in the Chicago office of McDermott Will & Emery. Frakes represents clients in a wide variety of disputes, including large contract disputes, product liability defense, class action defense, fraud and conspiracy cases, consumer fraud actions, construction litigation, professional engineering malpractice defense, and toxic tort mass actions. Frakes is licensed to practice in Illinois and is in the process of applying to be licensed in Minnesota.
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Featured in “Pro Bono Case Leads to Changes in St. Paul Schools,” Minnesota Lawyer, December 18, 2018
- Co-Author, “The Rise of Smaller Class Actions,” August, 2014
- “Surety Bad Faith: Tort Recovery for Breach of a Construction Performance Bond,” 2002 Ill. L. Rev. 497
Honors & Education
- University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 2002, magna cum laude
- Iowa State University, B.S., Construction Engineering, 1999, with distinction
- Minnesota, 2015
- Illinois, 2002
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2015
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2013
- United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2015
- United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, 2010
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 2002
- Minnesota State Bar Association, North Star Lawyer, 2017
- Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2009-2014
- Special Recognition – Pro Bono, Family Defense Center, 2011
- University of Illinois Law Review, Administrative Editor, 2001-2002; Writing Competition Coordinator, 2001-2002