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David S. Ruskin Partner
  • D 312.606.3235
  • F 312.267.2194
druskin@hmblaw.com
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.

 

Experience

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

Education

Loyola University, J.D.

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

Licenses

Illinois

Admissions

Illinois

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

Publications

  • Cannabis Businesses Currently Ineligible For Coronavirus Disaster ReliefMarch 26, 2020

    On Monday March 23, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) confirmed that cannabis businesses are ineligible for disaster relief loans to assist with the detrimental effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. In the recent Twitter post, the SBA stated, “With the exception of businesses that produce or sell hemp and hemp-derived products [that were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill],…

  • 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.

Events

News

blog

  • The New Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and a Preview of Upcoming LitigationFebruary 26, 2020

    As you undoubtedly know by now, on January 1, 2020, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the possession and use of adult-use cannabis. The new law, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, 410 ILCS 705, et seq., (the “CRTA”) – all 610 pages of it – establishes the framework of one of the most regulated industries today. More than…

  • 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,…

Education
  • Loyola University, J.D.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. in Political Science
Admissions
  • Illinois
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Licenses
  • Illinois
500 West Madison Suite 3700
Chicago IL 60661

Phone: 312-606-3200 Fax: 312-606-3232
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