Kevin B. Duff
Kevin Duff is a partner in the firm of Rachlis Duff Adler Peel & Kaplan, LLC. He has trial and appellate experience in a variety of complex commercial litigation matters including: financing and lending; corporate, securities, partnership and contract disputes; class actions; and Olympic disputes. He serves as a receiver and counsel to receivers in federal equity receiverships. The following highlights some of this experience:
Kevin Duff serves as a federal equity receiver and counsel to receivers. He has significant experience in litigation involving Ponzi scheme and other similar illegal, illicit, fraudulent, and sham transactions, including pursuing a spectrum of remedies to recover money and other assets from defendants and third-parties in such circumstances. Mr. Duff and RDAPK have represented international lenders, developers, underwriters, mortgage portfolio traders and managers, property owners, and hedge fund and other investors in securities, intellectual property, finance and banking, and real estate litigation matters.
Mr. Duff currently serves as receiver in actions brought by the SEC and private litigants in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. These actions include multi-million dollar Ponzi schemes and serial predatory frauds in which Mr. Duff has worked to freeze, seize, secure, evaluate, manage, and liquidate various assets, including but not limited to cash, investments, real estate, personal property, life insurance, artwork, and other valuable items. As a receiver, Mr. Duff has pursued claims and used receivership authority against relief defendants, professionals, claw back defendants, and others to the substantial net benefit of the receivership estates he manages.
Mr. Duff is the receiver in SEC v. Goyal, et al., No. 14-cv-3900, which is pending before the Honorable Rebecca Pallmeyer in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The Goyal Receivership involves a Ponzi scheme of more than $11 million. As the court-appointed receiver, Mr. Duff has worked to freeze, seize, secure, evaluate, manage, and liquidate various assets, including but not limited to cash, investments, real property, personal property, life insurance, and other assets.
Mr. Duff currently serves as receiver in SEC v. Huber, et al., No. 09-cv-6068, which is pending before the Honorable Ruben Castillo in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The Huber Receivership involves a $40 million Ponzi scheme, and as the court-appointed receiver. Mr. Duff’s distribution was upheld by the Seventh Circuit in SEC v. Huber, 702 F.3d 903 (7th Cir. 2012) (Posner, J.).
Mr. Duff also has been the receiver in Friedhopfer, et al. v. Dachman, et al., No. 10-cv-6162, before the Honorable Rebecca Pallmeyer in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. This receivership involved the assets of defendants who are subject to claims of serial predatory fraud. Mr. Duff had the authority to hold and manage all receivership assets, including the assets of several individuals and the corporate entity through which the scheme at issue was perpetrated. Mr. Duff’s distribution plan and efforts to prevent an end-run against receivership assets was upheld by the Seventh Circuit in Duff v. Central Sleep Diagnostics, LLC, No. 13-3837 (7th Cir. 2015) (Sykes, J.).
Mr. Duff and RDAPK’s experience also includes litigation involving securities, options, complex and novel derivative investments, investment advisors, various electronic trading platforms, commercial loans, complex securities trade-based tax shelters, and the audit of such matters. This commercial litigation experience also includes disputes over secured and subordinated notes and guarantees, letters of credit, commissions, distressed companies in liquidation, acceleration demands, class actions, and workout scenarios.
Mr. Duff joined the National Association of Federal Equity Receivers in 2011. He is currently a member of NAFER’s Executive Board and also serves on NAFER’s Conference Planning and Board Nominations Committees.
Mr. Duff successively represented an officer and shareholder of a closely held international engineering consortium corporation, as well as the estate of the corporation’s former majority shareholder and chief executive officer, against multi-million dollar claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the valuation and purchase of a minority shareholder’s interest in the corporation. Mr. Duff also represented and obtained dismissal of all claims against the corporation.
Mr. Duff defended a client in a legal malpractice action, which included negligence claims against an investment consulting firm, involving $7 million in securities options. Mr. Duff prevailed on a motion for summary judgment and then successfully defended that ruling before the Illinois Appellate Court.
Mr. Duff pursued claims on behalf of the Special Litigation Committee, certain trustees, and an LLC of a Taft-Hartley Pension Fund that was sold 55 acres of real estate for $10 million, when its value was closer to $4 million, as a result of a bribe-induced transaction. The case included claims of securities law violations, breaches of contract, fraud, RICO, and breaches of fiduciary duty. Together with co-counsel, Mr. Duff recovered more than the original investment amount from responsible parties by the time the last defendant settled only weeks before trial.
Mr. Duff represented a commercial real estate development firm in connection with a $25 million dispute between investors over the development of a condominium tower in downtown Chicago. The claims at issue included fraud and breaches of fiduciary duties. The case was resolved by settlement.
Mr. Duff successfully represented the nation’s largest community college district in an accounting malpractice matter against two of the (then) big five accounting firms, where the issue involved illegal investment trading practices and impermissible derivative mortgage-based securities in a $100 million investment portfolio.
Mr. Duff represented a lender in an action to enforce a guaranty following a default on a subordinated secured note issued in connection with the sale of corporate assets. The matter involved a distressed company in liquidation, the sale of the senior secured note, and multiple guaranties. The client obtained a partial summary judgment in which the court ruled that a key transaction upon which the guarantor relied for his defense was a sham.
Mr. Duff currently serves as local counsel to a group of affiliated life-insurance financing and brokerage companies in connection with a fraud action against a well-known bank. The matter involves a $100 million life-insurance premium-finance program and related loan, security, and guaranty agreements.
Mr. Duff represented a trust fund in a $30 million action to enforce guaranty and pledge agreements against borrowers who formerly stood as one of the nation’s largest franchisees of family restaurants. The case required close coordination with bankruptcy and real estate counsel.
Mr. Duff defended an Alabama steel company against attempts to demand and accelerate payment from borrowers and guarantors of principal and prepayment penalties on $80 million in financing. The case was settled with a restructured set of loan papers, which provided each lender with full recovery and provided the steel company the time necessary to recover from a downturn in the steel industry.
Mr. Duff represented an aluminum products manufacturer against a financier’s claim to stock options and commissions in connection with a $203 million financing facility for an aluminum processing plant purchase. After Mr. Duff won a key battle over a disputed arbitration provision, the plaintiff dropped his efforts to proceed with the litigation in Los Angeles and the case proceeded as a declaratory judgment action in Chicago.
Mr. Duff also represented the lender in a $625 million foreclosure action that gained title to twin office towers in downtown Chicago. This case was the largest foreclosure proceeding in the history of the state of Illinois (by a factor of four at the time) and one of the largest in the nation. The case was initiated by successfully obtaining an ex parte temporary restraining order and having a receiver appointed to manage the properties on an interim basis.
Mr. Duff has handled multiple class actions involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act pending in the Northern District of Illinois. He has argued two of the leading cases in the Seventh Circuit on alleged violations of Section 1681b and 1681m of the FCRA.
Mr. Duff served as counsel for an international petrochemical company to coordinate the defense and strategy in numerous consumer class actions and third party litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States, in Canada, and before the Consumer Products Safety Commission in Washington, D.C. arising out of the sale of high temperature plastic vent pipe.
Mr. Duff has served as local counsel for a national telecommunications company since 2002 in the Northern District of Illinois and the Seventh Circuit in connection with a series of class actions arising out of fiber optic cable right of way disputes and on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Mr. Duff has more than 15 years of experience representing Olympic athletes. His experience includes litigation, investigations, dispute resolution, negotiation, and advising athletes in grievances and other disputes with National Governing Bodies, other athletes, coaches, and the USOC. These disputes have related to Olympic selection criteria, athlete rights and due process, eligibility, USOC and NGB Bylaws, the Ted Stevens Sports Act, funding, sponsorship, equipment, Olympic qualifying events, and Olympic events. He has represented athletes in federal lawsuits, including before United States District Courts, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has also appeared before the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) during the Olympic Games.
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. 1992; Managing Editor, Law and Policy in International Business; Law Fellow
Georgetown University, A.B. History 1989; Member, National Jesuit Honor Society
Panelist, “Working With Experts,” Financial Poise webinar, December 2016
Executive Board, National Association of Federal Equity Receivers (NAFER), 2013 to present; Member, Conference Planning and Board Nominations Committees
Moderator, “The End Game: Fairness in Distributing Receivership Funds,” NAFER Annual Conference, Washington, DC, 2016
Panelist, “Receivers Gone Wild?” NAFER/East West Bank/BMS program, Philadelphia, PA, 2016
Panelist, “Investors vs. Creditors in Receivership Actions: Rules & Equities,” NAFER/East West Bank/SM Financial Services program, Chicago, IL, 2016
Panelist, “Combating Pyramid and Ponzi Investment Scams: How to Detect and Combat Fraudsters Who Target Our Immigrant Groups and Affinity Communities,” University of Illinois at Chicago & United States Securities and Exchange Commission Joint Symposium, Chicago, IL 2016
Panel Producer, “Concluding Receiverships,” NAFER Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, October 16, 2015
Panel Producer, “Electronically Stored Information: Making and Breaking the Federal Equity Receivership,” NAFER Annual Conference, Washington, DC, October 24, 2014
Panelist, “Federal Equity Receiverships vs. Bankruptcies: Pros and Cons You Need To Know,” NAFER-BMS program, Chicago, Illinois, September 16, 2014
Committee Chair and State Chair, Seventh Circuit Bar Association, Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution (2007-15)
Co-Author and Moderator, “Class Acts: The Stage of Things to Come in Defending Class Actions,” presented in connection with PriceWaterhouseCoopers General Counsel’s Forum, Chicago, November 20-21, 2003
Co-Author, “Suing and Defending Fiduciaries,” presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association, August 6, 2001, and reprinted in The American Bar Association Real Estate and Probate Litigation Committee newsletter (Volume 2, Issue 1) (May 2002), at pp. 8-18
Co-Author, “Preparation and Readiness for a TRO Motion,” presented in connection with PriceWaterhouseCoopers General Counsel’s Forum, Chicago, June 21-22, 2001
Moderator, “Putting Out and Preventing Fires: Prosecuting, Defending, and Anticipating Emergency Litigation,” PriceWaterhouseCoopers General Counsel’s Forum, Chicago, June 21-22, 2001
Shareholder, Jenkens & Gilchrist, P.C.
Associate & Partner, Hedlund Hanley & John
State Bar of Illinois
United States Supreme Court
U.S. Courts of Appeals – Fed. Cir.; 6th Cir., 7th Cir.; 8th Cir.
U.S. District Courts – N.D. Ill. (General & Trial Bars); C.D. Ill.; N.D. Ind.; E.D. Wis.; W.D. Wis