David S. Ruskin Partner
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  • F 312.267.2194
David S. Ruskin

David is a partner in HMB’s Litigation Group. He focuses his practice on business and tax litigation, as well as general counsel representation for privately-held companies and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.

Known as an excellent listener, David’s approach is time-efficient and focused on getting to the client’s business goal. He handles a range of issues, including whistleblower (qui tam) and False Claims Act defense, partnership and ownership disputes, contract disputes and business torts and the array of issues being litigated in the cannabis industry.

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For clients in the cannabis industry and other emerging industries, David helps clients navigate unsettled and differing statutes, regulations and industry-specific legal developments, including where inconsistencies exist between state and federal law. David enjoys guiding clients through the regulatory maze for state licensing of cannabis businesses and counseling on the issues, some new and some common, during the course of the company’s life through sale and beyond.

David also has particularly deep experience handling multistate tax matters. He represents clients before state courts and administrative tax tribunals across the country, litigates in appellate and federal courts and facilitates audit disputes and informal dispute resolutions nationwide.

Legal Advice Built on Solid Business Sense

Clients rely on David for his business focused approach to proactively addressing issues and for resolving complex disputes. He is well known for providing counsel for operating efficiently and for complex issues involving new laws in different jurisdictions.



State & Local Tax

  • Represented group of retailers challenging the Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. Successful in securing Temporary Restraining Order from Circuit Court enjoining Cook County from implementing the tax, leading to ultimate repeal of the tax by Cook County
  • Lead counsel for wealthy couple facing residency challenge from the Illinois Department of Revenue after deciding to become permanent Florida residents. After extensive written discovery and depositions, the Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of clients and confirmed their Florida residency while reversing the multi-year income tax assessments as Illinois residents
  • Successful resolution in favor of client, an international steel manufacturer, seeking manufacturing tax credits denied by the Illinois Department of Revenue. Following written discovery and expert depositions, the Department of Revenue conceded and agreed to allow the credits in full
  • Lead counsel for Fortune 100 telecommunications company in series of trials across multiple states, supporting company’s income tax filing positions on cost of performance methodology. Multiple successes through both settlements and following full bench trials

Whistleblower (Qui Tam)

  • Lead counsel in defending national retail chain against whistleblower claim seeking in excess of $9 million, based on unpaid sales tax. Following extensive discovery and mediation attempt, the whistleblower voluntarily dismissed his claims
  • Defended large wine retailer and trader against whistleblower claim seeking damages for unpaid Illinois sales tax. Case dismissed by the Circuit Court granting our motion, which was subsequently upheld by the Illinois Appellate Court
  • Lead counsel in defending international toy manufacturer against whistleblower claim seeking damages for unpaid sales tax on website purchases. Case dismissed by the Circuit Court granting our motion to dismiss
  • Lead counsel in defending large family owned tool manufacturer against whistleblower claim seeking damages for unpaid Illinois sales tax on website purchases. Following discovery and a fully briefed and argued motion to dismiss, the whistleblower voluntarily dismissed his claims, with prejudice

Business Litigation

  • Obtained successful verdict following Federal Court bench trial in Philadelphia in favor of traders and joint venture funding partner and against worldwide trading organization. Plaintiff was seeking millions of dollars in damages for alleged trade secret and non-compete violations. Verdict upheld after subsequent argument before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Successful dismissal of wrongful death claim against client, condominium developer, following written discovery and a deposition and the Circuit Court’s grant of our motion to dismiss, based on the determination that the deceased was an employee and thus limited to workers compensation benefits
  • Successful verdict after lengthy bench trial on behalf of client, investment banker, seeking accounting and money damages in excess of $2 million from ex-partners and corporate entities. Trial court granted clients claims for tortious interference and pierced the corporate veil of various entities in granting money damages
  • Obtained Temporary Restraining Order from Circuit Court for client who was frozen out of his partnership after being locked out of the business premises and computer access. Circuit Court order ultimately resulted in arbitration and resolution of the disputed issues


Loyola University, J.D.

University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. in Political Science





United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association, Member

Chicago Bar Association, Member

Illinois State Bar Association, Member

International Cannabis Bar Association, Member

Illinois Cannabis Bar Association, Member

Cannabis Law Digest, Contributing Editor

Anti-Defamation League, Board Member


  • Counseling a Cannabis-Related Business OverviewApril 24, 2019

    David provides an overview of the regulation of cannabis and considers the top legal issues faced by a cannabis-related business, focusing on the conflict between federal law and state laws where medical or adult use recreational marijuana is legal.


  • David Ruskin presents "The Business of Marijuana in Illinois" at The Seminar Group - 4/16/20-4/17/2020April 7, 2020

    4/16/20-4/17/20 Chicago, IL David Ruskin, with other practitioners and policymakers, will discuss topics directly related to Illinois' Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The seminar will cover: A brief history of Illinois legalization The status of the Federal and state law conflict Income taxation and marijuana income under IRC 280E Real estate and land use Intellectual property protection Banking Cannabis-related litigation…

  • David S. Ruskin presents "Cannabis 101 for Older Adults" at Deerfield Public Library - 2/6/20January 29, 2020

    2/6/2020 Deerfield Public Library Deerfield, IL David Ruskin, with a panel of experts, will discuss what you need to know about legalized cannabis in Illinois. The panel will address topics such as purchasing and using cannabis lawfully, the types of products available, safe use, potential therapeutic benefits and more. The program is geared toward older adults but is open to…

  • David Ruskin presents "Cannabis and Judaism: Implications in Halacha as well as the Law" at the Chicago Loop Synagogue - 1/16/20November 22, 2019

    1/16/20 Chicago, IL David joins a panel of experts to discuss important issues related to Cannabis Law and how it impacts the Jewish Community at the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Attendees will learn more about: The impact of marijuana legalization How it will work within the context of the state What Rabbinic authorities have to say on the issue How it…

  • David Ruskin presents "Alternative Dispute Resolution" at the Cannabis Law Institute - 10/03/19August 28, 2019

    10/03/19 New York City, New York David Ruskin presents "Alternative Dispute Resolution" at the Cannabis Law Institute. The key curriculum of the third annual institute is "All Things CannaBusiness" and seeks to focus on learning every aspect of cannabis legal representation. David will discuss how one of the most important instruments in the attorney's doctrinal toolbox is Alternative Dispute Resolution…

  • David Ruskin Presents "Counseling Clients in the Cannabis Industry"April 12, 2019

    This year's Business and Commercial Law Journal Symposium will be focused on developments and innovation in the legal landscape. The speakers will be presenting on a wide range of topics from technological developments, and how they impact the practice of law, to diversity and pay inequity in the workplace. David Ruskin will discuss the evolving cannabis industry and how to…



  • Employers Beware: The Cannabis Laws, They Are A-Changin'February 26, 2019

    Of course, laws are changing all the time. But with medical marijuana laws being enacted in states around the country at a quick pace, the list of shifting rights and obligations related to the workplace is growing like a weed. Two recent cases highlight wins for Employees and Employers.

  • Scary Stuff: Illinois Sales Tax Whistleblower Update - First E-tailers and now Custom TailorsOctober 31, 2017

    You may have already seen the Bloomberg article issued on June 1, 2017 which outlines what many of us have sadly come to know as the ?Diamond? qui tam claims: the ongoing exploitation of the Illinois False Claims Act and abuse of the state and local tax regime by an aggressive lawyer turned whistleblower.

  • Lessons Learned from New York's Largest Ever False Claims Act Tax SettlementMay 3, 2017

    A little good faith can go a long way. Insight can be hard to gain from publicly announced settlements, mostly because litigation is typically settled due to the cost of defense and overall frustration with litigating. But the recently announced settlement of a False Claims Act case in New York, based on state income tax, is an exception.

  • No Ostrich Here: Qui Tam Victory for Taxpayer from the Illinois Appellate CourtOctober 19, 2016

    The Illinois Appellate Court has, once again, determined that there was no "reckless disregard," by a taxpayer under the Illinois False Claims Act ("IFCA"), by failing to pay Illinois use tax on internet and catalog sales made into Illinois. The decision issued by the appellate court on October 17, 2016 in State of Illinois, ex rel, Beeler, Schad and Diamond,…

  • Wine Seller Victory in Illinois Qui Tam LawsuitSeptember 4, 2015

    Wine sellers received a second positive update just this week in the qui tam winery lawsuits in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. With the help of some procedural maneuvering, we were successful in getting a qui tam winery case dismissed, with prejudice.

  • Loyola University, J.D.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. in Political Science
  • Illinois
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • Illinois
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Chicago IL 60661

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