Michael C. Bruck is a founder and partner in Spellmire & Bruck LLP. He has a wide range of experience and focuses his practice on professional liability and ethics, financial malpractice, insurance and reinsurance litigation, and complex commercial disputes. Mr. Bruck is “AV Preeminent” peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting the highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability.
Mr. Bruck has more than 29 years of jury trial, litigation and client advisory experience, handling hundreds of high-stakes cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States. He has represented numerous clients in a range of industries, including Toyota Motor Sales, USA, major professional service firms, and Kemper Insurance Companies.
Mr. Bruck has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Illinois Leading Lawyers for professional malpractice, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage and reinsurance law. He also has been selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers for professional liability, business litigation, and insurance coverage.
Mr. Bruck received a B.S. in Organizational Leadership and Supervision in 1984 from Purdue University. He received his J.D. in 1988 from DePaul College of Law.
Mr. Bruck was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1988 and also has been admitted in the following federal trial and appellate courts:
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (including the trial bar)
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, District of Maine
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
In addition, Mr. Bruck has been admitted pro hac vice in state and federal courts throughout the country.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Secured $6 million jury verdict after three-week trial in favor of private equity investors in legal malpractice action against their patent lawyers for failed patent due diligence. Verdict is second highest jury verdict in a legal malpractice in Cook County, Illinois history.
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois; 2017 WL 71412378 (N.D. Ill. 2017)
In first of its kind case obtained judgment ordering arbitration of individual claims and enjoining class action claims against law firm for allegedly having inadequate cyber-security to protect confidential client information.
Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Ill.; 316 Ill. App. 3d 227 (5th Dist. 2000), reversed in part, 199 Ill.2d 325 (2002)
Defended auto manufacturer and distributor in three-week jury trial and appeals of franchise act and breach of contract lawsuit brought by dealer arising from dispute over allocation of vehicles. In case of first impression, Illinois Supreme Court found that UCC statute of limitations applies to franchise agreements and that statute of limitations is not tolled by continuing breaches of contract or continuing violations of Franchise Act.
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois; 78 F.Supp.2d 812 (C.D. Ill. 2000), affirmed, 251 F.3d 662 (7th Cir. 2001)
Obtained not guilty verdict for school board in civil rights lawsuit brought by six students expelled for a gang fight at a football game. Claims were prosecuted by Operation PUSH and Rev. Jesse Jackson and garnered national attention due to board’s so-called zero tolerance policy.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Defended trade libel and prosecuted copyright infringement claims between manufacturers of naturalistic animal statuary in two-week jury trial. Case resolved through confidential settlement.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of of Mississippi, affirmed, 647 F. 3d 524 (5th Cir. 2011)
Obtained summary judgment and affirmance on appeal on $10.5 million bad faith and breach of contract claims against excess insurance carrier.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, affirmed, 216 Ill.2d 294 (2005)
Obtained summary judgment and successfully argued appeals of seminal Illinois Supreme Court attorney malpractice case on damages.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, affirmed, 2013 IL App (1st) 123660
In first of its kind case, obtained summary judgment and affirmance of appeal by establishing that the two-year statute of limitations in Section 13-214.3 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure – not the longer five-year statute of limitations – applies to aiding and abetting claims against lawyers that are connected to their performance of legal services.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Successfully defended accounting firm in two-week jury trial in claims alleging failure to detect and report defalcation.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Obtained dismissal of $3 million lost profits claim against environmental auditor client arising from a Phase I environmental site assessment on property containing asbestos. Claims dismissed during two week jury trial.
318 Ill.App.3d 1221 (1st Dist. 2001)
Handled case of first impression in Illinois involving claims of attorney malpractice. Appellate court found insurer had no right of subrogation against its insured’s defense counsel.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois; 1994 WL 702641, affirmed, 71 F.3d 1311 (7th Cir. 1995)
Obtained summary judgment and successfully argued appeal of accountant’s malpractice case. Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for auditor client finding no breach of duty of care.
Circuit Court of DuPage County, Illinois, affirmed, 292 Ill.App.3d 1127 (2nd Dist. 1997)
Obtained summary judgment for auditor in accountant’s malpractice case where plaintiff sought $21 million in damages. Appellate court affirmed, finding that parent corporation had no standing to assert claims for failed subsidiaries.
Mr. Bruck is active in numerous professional and civic organizations, including:
- Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
- Defense Research Institute: Professional Liability Committee, Steering Committee, 2004-present
- Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC): Commercial Litigation Committee, co-chair, 2008-2013; JDC Quarterly, Technology Law Columnist, 2004-2013
- Chicago Bar Association: Judicial Evaluation Committee; investigator and hearing officer; Committee on Attorney Malpractice, chair 2007-2008, vice-chair, 2006-2007
- Illinois Society of Trial Lawyers
- American Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society
- Seventh Circuit Bar Association
- Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association
- DePaul University College of Law, Alumni Board of Directors
- Chicago Legal Clinic for the Disabled, volunteer
- Western Springs, Illinois Park District Commissioner and Board President
- Western Springs Little League, Coach
Past Speaking Engagements
- Worker’s Compensation – March 1, 2012
- Why Don’t You Stop the Bleeding? – December 15, 2011
- Chicago Bar Association Workmen’s Compensation Committee Meeting – December 1, 2011
- Chicago Bar Association Professional Responsibility Committee Meeting – November 18, 2011
- Insurance Law for Illinois Attorneys – November 10, 2011
- Professional Liability for Spoliation of Evidence – October 8, 2009
- Evidentiary Issues Commonly Faced at Trial – February 27, 2009
- Construction Defect Coverage Issues – June 27, 2008
- Principles of Advertising Injury Coverage – June 27, 2008
- Perspectives on Legal Malpractice – June 12, 2008
- Basic Skills Program – October 25, 2007
- Ethical Considerations for Collection, Retention and Preservation of Evidence – May 5, 2007
- Evidence Update – September 17, 2005
- Avoiding Malpractice for Tax Services – August 15, 2004
- On the Record with Greta Van Susteren – May 12, 2002
- Hannity & Colmes – May 12, 2002
- Managing Your Accounting Firm in the Year 2000 and Beyond – September 17, 1999
- Proving Damages in a Commercial Case – October 4, 1996
- The Do’s and Don’t’s of Corporate Documentation – September 13, 1996
- Supreme Court Puts the Brakes on Patent Infringement: The Relaxed Obviousness Standard in KSR v. Teleflex
- Jerry Falwell’s Ears Are Burning – Gripe Sites, Domain Names, and Rejecting the Initial Interest Confusion Doctrine
- Long Live the Tie-In! The Supreme Court’s Decision in Illinois Tool Works, Inc. v. Indepndent Ink Inc.
- Consumers vs. Patent Holders – Will the Supreme Court Uphold the Market Power Presumption
- Teaching Old Tricks to a New Dog: The Supreme Court’s Application of Common Law Doctrines to New Technology: in MGM v. Grokster
- The Supreme Court Uncorks E-Commerce in Internet Wine Sales Decision
- “May” is Sounding More Like “Shall” When Awarding Fees in Certain Copyright Cases
- Betamax Revisited Again
- A Long-Awaited First Interpretation of Section 1201(a) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- Nanotechnology – It’s Small, But It May Be the Next Big Thing
- Understanding and Making the Most of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in Illinois
- Seagate May Bring Sea of Change to Patent Cases
- Patent Exhaustion – The Limits to Post-Sale Restrictions Following Quanta
- Chapter on Reservation of Rights Letters
- eBay, Inc. et al. v. MercExchange L.L.C., Three Years Later: Patent Trolls Remain Alive and Active Under the ‘Bridge’ of Patent Infringement Prosecution
- Illinois Appellate Court Holds That Two-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Aiding and Abetting Claims Against Lawyers