Katheleen A. Ehrhart

Partner

[email protected]

Phone: (312) 360-6460

Fax: (312) 360-6520

“If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.” – Walt Disney


For me, Walt Disney’s description of not being afraid to let your imagination and dreams help pave the road to your reality encapsulates what practicing law and serving my clients is really all about.  First, it is helping the client answer the necessary and relevant questions of what is the end game they can see and what is the end game that they want.  And then second, it is figuring out what the right pathway is that best gets us to that desired result.  Working hand and hand with my clients to find and follow the right strategy to meet their visions and dreams is what I love best about my job.

About

About

First and foremost, Kathy Ehrhart is a litigator and has tried cases and arbitrations in federal and state courts throughout the United States.  As one client has described, “(Kathy’s) cross-examinations are strict and unfaltering, and she irritates counterparties with her thorough preparation.”  In this role, Kathy represents a variety of individuals, corporations, business and professional firms.  She is well-versed in and enjoys representing both the Davids and Goliaths of the world.

She has extensive experience working with executives, senior management and in-house counsel of corporations in managing litigation as well as advising on litigation risks and strategy.  Clients also rely on Kathy for her talent in working with experts, in particular with damages modeling and bringing together the necessary links between mathematics and the law.

Her areas of focus include complex commercial litigation with particular emphasis on restrictive covenant cases, class actions, reinsurance, antitrust, securities fraud, accountant liability, employment and breach of contract claims.

Kathy is a Partner in the Litigation Practice Group and member of the Insurance Brokerage and Insurance/Reinsurance Teams.  Before joining Freeborn, Kathy was a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP focusing on similar matters.

Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Obtained temporary injunction in Florida state court for insurance intermediary Brown & Brown, Inc. against multiple individuals and AssuredPartners Inc. in a lawsuit over violations of restrictive covenants of former Brown & Brown employees hired by AssuredPartners resulting in a $20 million settlement paid to Brown & Brown.

  • Obtained verdict for damages and attorneys’ fees in Kentucky state court for insurance intermediary Brown & Brown against former employee for violations of restrictive covenants.

  • Currently prosecuting multiple lawsuits for insurance intermediaries against former employees for violations of restrictive covenants.

  • Represented a German reinsurer in an arbitration against a U.S. insurer where the client raised breach of contract claims as well as breaches of the duty of utmost good faith. In a unanimous decision, the panel found for our client, awarding it over $15 million in compensatory damages plus 6.5% compound interest and $1 million in punitive damages. The award was confirmed by a federal court. AXA Versicherung AG v. New Hampshire Insurance Co. et al, (S.D.N.Y).

  • Defense of putative nationwide class action alleging gender discrimination under Title VII and The Equal Pay Act. Successfully defeated two class certification motions and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) Petitions. Successfully defended rulings on appeal in front of Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 

  • Defense of antitrust claims alleging price fixing and market allocation. Obtained summary judgment on all claims and successfully defended judgment on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Defense of nationwide class action alleging securities fraud against developer and marketer of satellite global phone system.

  • Defense of lost wages and benefits claims based on breach of contract and promissory estoppel theories.

  • Defense of claims alleging business conspiracy and race discrimination, summary judgment was granted in favor of client on all counts, affirmed by the Fourth Circuit.  

  • Prosecution of breach of contract claims based on the proposed merger of two large cellular companies to successful outcome. 

  • Defense of antitrust claims alleging price fixing in the linerboard and corrugated container industry.

  • Trial of Illinois class action involving the exempt status of auto and casualty adjusters under the Illinois Minimum Wage Act (which incorporates provisions of the FLSA), resulting in a complete defense verdict for our client.

  • Defense of accounting negligence case for Arthur Andersen. Obtained complete defense verdict in first jury trial the client faced following the Enron indictment.

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2019 (cited in multiple years)
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - Emerging Lawyers - 2017 (cited in multiple years)
  • Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer – 40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch – 2015

Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Member, International Association of Defense Counsel

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, "Wading into Flood Insurance," AIRROC Chicago Regional Education Day (June 12, 2018).
  • Speaker, Women in Law & Leadership Summit: Chicago (June 6, 2018).
  • Speaker, "Head Injuries and Sports: Emerging Claims Issues," AIRROC Membership Meeting (March 2013). 

Perspectives

Media

Media

Publications

  • "Policing the Workforce and Litigating Employment cases in the High Tech Era of Social Networking, Blogging and Texting," Chicago Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Committee.
  • Co-Author, “To Arbitrate or to not Arbitrate—That is the Question,” Bench & Bar Newsletter, Illinois State Bar Association, Vol. 47, No. 11 (June 2017).