Ann H. MacDonald

Partner
Ann represents clients in complex litigation matters, in particular companies in the energy, hospitality, franchising, and entertainment industries.
AFS_MacDonald_Ann

Ann handles complex civil litigation and regulatory inquiries for a variety of clients, in particular companies in the energy, hospitality, franchising, and entertainment industries. She has successfully litigated commercial disputes, class actions, franchise suits, vicarious liability claims, and other matters, and represented publicly traded companies and other clients in FTC, DOJ, and other governmental inquiries.

Ann has been repeatedly recognized by clients and peers for her successes. In 2022, Ann was named a BTI Client Service All-Star. She has been named to the Illinois Leading Lawyers, Emerging Lawyer List (2016-2022), and to Who’s Who Legal, Franchise, Law Business Research (2019-2021).

Ann serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Franchise and Distribution Client Service Team and as Co-Chair of the Hospitality Industry Team. She advises and develops strategies for clients on a wide range of franchise, distribution, and dealer issues, including those related to litigation, system changes, system restructuring, terminations, and mergers and acquisitions.

Ann also has an active pro bono practice and recently received the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service from the Judges of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in recognition of her outstanding commitment to pro bono representation (2021).

Client Work

Energy

  • Trial counsel for independent power producer in dispute regarding performance of coal transportation agreement.
  • Pre-litigation counsel in dispute resolution proceedings involving renewable energy facilities, including counseling regarding state approval process and strategy for government and community engagement.
  • Trial counsel for transmission only public utility in federal court litigation on admiralty claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(h) and claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) to obtain reimbursement for environmental response costs and property damage arising from destruction of two submarine electric power circuits.
  • Trial counsel for independent power producer in defense of a citizens’ suit alleging violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and other federal and state regulations governing opacity and particulate matter emissions from coal fired power plant.
  • Trial counsel for a commodities trading firm in connection with alleged breach of master rail car lease for transportation of Bakken crude oil.
  • Trial counsel for independent power producer in dispute arising in connection with alleged breach of electric power plant engine maintenance agreement and warranty claims for defective engine components.

Hospitality and Franchise

  • Successful defense of franchisor in lawsuit alleging vicarious liability claims arising out of incident at franchised location.
  • Trial counsel for hospitality client in multi-party antitrust lawsuits involving claims under the Sherman Act.
  • Represented franchisor in buyout of regional sub-franchisor and related dispute resolution proceedings.
  • Trial counsel for hospitality client on claims of negligence and for punitive damages.
  • Successful defense of a franchisor in injunction proceedings related to site termination.
  • Successful defense of a timeshare company in consumer class actions alleging statutory violations and common law claims.
  • Won summary judgment for a franchisor in a breach of license agreement case related to site termination.

Sports and Entertainment

  • Counsel for professional athlete on claims for breach of contract and unauthorized use of name, image and likeness.
  • Pre-litigation counsel for claim against professional athlete arising out of personal services contract.
  • Obtained a verdict after a two-week jury trial of $8.9 million in favor Michael Jordan against Safeway and Dominick's for the unauthorized use of his identity in an ad published in a Sports Illustrated commemorative issue celebrating Michael Jordan's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Successful prosecution of claims by Michael Jordan against Supervalu and Jewel food stores for the unauthorized use of his identity in an ad published in a Sports Illustrated commemorative issue celebrating Michael Jordan's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Successful prosecution of claims against Samsung for the unauthorized use of Pele’s identity in a look-alike ad published in The New York Times and other national publications.
  • Successful prosecution of claims against Fox Broadcasting Company for the unauthorized use of Muhammad Ali’s identity in a promotional video broadcast during the pregame show before the Super Bowl.
  • Won summary judgment for Warner Bros. on its claims for infringement of its copyrights in The Wizard of OzGone with the Wind, and the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
  • Successful defense in an evidentiary hearing of a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the release of Warner Bros.’ movie The Hangover Part II based on a claim of copyright infringement by the tattooist who created Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo.

Other significant litigation experience

  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of alleged consumer class action against retail chain alleging unfair business practices with regard to warranty program.
  • Team member for successful resolution of client’s claim for damage to seed and herbicide business caused by defendant’s GMO contamination, after the court dismissed the defendant’s $850 million counterclaim.
  • Successful defense of trust company in lawsuit seeking reimbursement for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and mismanagement of trust funds.
  • Successful defense of a transportation company in tort lawsuits alleging serious and permanent physical injuries.
  • Successful defense of product manufacturers in numerous tort lawsuits alleging personal injuries.

Boards, Memberships & Certifications

  • American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising
    • Nominating Committee Member (2021)
    • Information Committee Member (2018-present)
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers
    • Board of Governors & Executive Committee Member
    • President (2015-2016)
  • DRI, Retail and Hospitality Committee
    • DRI Retail and Hospitality Steering Committee, Vice-Chair (2020-present)
    • DRI Retail and Hospitality Seminar, Program Chair, Orlando, Fla. (May 6-8, 2020)
    • DRI Retail and Hospitality Seminar, Program Vice-Chair, Orlando, Fla. (May 8-10, 2019)
    • DRI Retail and Hospitality Seminar, Marketing Chair, Chicago, IL (May 5-6, 2016)

Professional Activities

Ann is committed to providing legal representation to individuals and organizations that cannot afford to hire legal assistance, and she is very active in pro bono matters.

In 2021, Ann received the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service from the Judges of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in recognition of her outstanding commitment to pro bono representation.

She regularly accepts court appointments for indigent civil rights plaintiffs and has tried a Section 1983 civil rights case to verdict in the Central District of Illinois. She has argued before the Georgia Supreme Court while representing a death row inmate in Georgia, assists with various family and housing law matters through Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS), and works with the Illinois Prison Project on a variety of matters.

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

Publications

  • “General Provisions,” chapter in The Annotated Franchise Agreement (co-author), ABA Forum on Franchising (Nov. 19, 2018)
  • “The 7 Step Guide To Tackling Tough Topics In Jury Selection,” publication for ABA Women of the Section of Litigation (2015)
  • “Discovery,” published in Class Actions (co-author), Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2013)

Presentations

  • “I’m Not Your Lawyer and Other Friendly Greetings: The Ethics of Communicating with Unrepresented Parties,” 2022 DRI Retail and Hospitality Litigation Seminar, Atlanta, Ga. (Jun. 24, 2022)
  • “Ethics of Joint Representation: Representing Franchisors, Franchisees, and Their Officers, Employees and Affiliates in Litigation,” American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising, Virtual Program (Oct. 30, 2020)
  • “You Want To Inspect What? How Businesses Are Balancing Privacy, Service & Security After The Recent Mass Shootings,” American Bar Association Webinar, Forum on Franchising (Jan. 19, 2019)
  • “What’s New in Retail Litigation,” DRI Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2018)
  • “The Most Common Post-Relationship Disputes,” ABA 41st Annual Forum on Franchising, Nashville, Tenn. (Oct. 10, 2018)
  • “Cain v. Abel, Dealing with Sibling Rivalries in Family Owned Businesses,” American Bar Association Webinar (Apr. 19, 2016)
  • “Race, Sex, and Bad Behavior: Tackling Tough Topics in Jury Selection,” presentation at ABA Women of the Section of Litigation (2015)
  • “Class vs. Collective Actions: A Distinction With A Difference,” presentation at DRI Retail and Hospitality Seminar (2015)
  • “Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now? The Complexity of Removal,” presentation at ABA Women of the Section of Litigation (2014)

Recognitions

  • Client Service All-Star, BTI Consulting Group (2022)
  • Emerging Lawyer, Law Bulletin Publishing Company's Leading Lawyers (2016-2022)
  • Who’s Who Legal – Franchise, Law Business Research (2019-2022)