Shari L. Friedman


Shari is a civil litigation attorney. She practices extensively in the areas of admiralty and maritime law, personal injury defense, transportation law, and commercial law. Shari’s practice in maritime and transportation law includes diverse areas such as the defense of Jones Act cases; maritime personal injury cases; actions under the Limitation of Shipowners’ Liability Act; the acquisition and sale of marine assets; ship mortgages; vessel repossession and foreclosure; marine contracts; shipyard disputes; vessel registration and documentation; arrest and attachment of vessels and cargo; cargo loss and damage; maritime liens; charter parties; and marina operator’s liability. She represents recreational and commercial vessel owners, barge towing companies, cruise lines, marine terminal operators, marinas, vessel tour operators, boating clubs, charter companies, charterers, freight forwarders, common carriers, banks, and companies and individuals acquiring and selling marine assets. Shari’s practice in commercial law includes the resolution of complex business and commercial disputes, contracts, toxic torts, and the defense of personal injury, products liability and property matters. In 2021, 2022, 2023 and for 2024, Shari was recognized by Thomson Reuters as an Illinois Super Lawyer in Transportation/Maritime law.

Education, Admissions & Organizations

Shari is a native Chicagoan. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She received her law degree, with Honors, from DePaul University College of Law in 1986. Shari was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1986, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. During her career, Shari has been active in various professional and service organizations, including the Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor), Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (Great Lakes Chapter), the National Marine Lenders Association, the Recreational Boating and Marine Lending Network of Attorneys, the Illinois Bankers Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Annual Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition, and the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Chicago (Secretary, 2003-2006), and Super Lawyer 2021-2023.

Notable Cases

Schade v. Clausius, 2016 IL App. (1st) 143162, 48 N.E.3d 707 (1st Dist. 2016), cert denied, 50 N.E.3d 1143 (2016). Summary judgment in favor of boat owners affirmed on appeal, holding that the danger posed by the wet condition of a swim platform of a recreational pleasure boat was an open and obvious condition for which no warning was required.

Karen Gorski v. AT&T Services Michigan and Johnson Controls, Inc., Case No. 13-3803-NF, State of Michigan, County of Macomb. Obtained summary disposition (2015) for Johnson Controls, Inc. in a personal injury matter involving an injury on an AT&T facility for which Johnson Controls provided property management services.

Alberti Global Supply & Packaging v. DSV Air & Sea, Inc., Case No. 2013 L 011836, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Law Division (Tried Dec. 2014). Trial of breach of contract case for failure to pay invoices for transportation of cargo, resulting in settlement in favor of client on counterclaim during client’s case in chief.

NDK Crystal v. Engineered Pressure Systems, Inc., Case No. 07 cv 50057, Northern District of Illinois, Western Division (2009). Favorable settlement of multi-million dollar lawsuit for third party defendant manufacturer of component part for large crystal-making vessels, based on limitations of liability under contractual documents.

Skipper Bud’s of Chicago, Inc. v. Diedrick, 2009 WL 424404 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Summary judgment in favor of marine client that sold a yacht to defendant secured by a ship mortgage, for a $1.2 million deficiency judgment after a foreclosure sale, plus attorney’s fees and costs.

Carefree Cartage, Inc. v. “K” LINE d/b/a “K” Line America, Inc., International Transportation Service, Inc., and Husky Terminal and Stevedoring, Inc., 2006 WL 3227892 (N.D. Ill. 2006). Dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction granted in favor of clients port operator and lessee for damaged shipment entering the United States through the Port of Tacoma, Washington.

American Nat. Fire Ins. Co. ex rel. Tabacalera Contreras Cigar Co. v. Yellow Freight Systems, Inc., 325 F.3d 924 (7th Cir. 2003). Favorable verdict in favor of client in action under Carmack Amendment against trucking company alleging that shipment of cigars was damaged in transit, affirmed on appeal.

Canal Barge Company, Inc. v. Commonwealth Edison Company, No. 98 C 0509 (N.D. Ill. 2002). Trial of a breach of contract action on behalf of barge owner against utility for the repair and maintenance cost of a fleet of 56 barges that were used to transport coal during the course of a twenty-year transportation contract in which the barge owner was awarded damages of $1,341,963.72, plus prejudgment interest in the amount of $347,996.66. Decisions arising from the case: 2002 WL 1264002 – Denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on claim for barge repair expenses under barge transportation contract; 2002 WL 206054 – The right of a plaintiff to amend the complaint to assert admiralty jurisdiction and the right to a jury trial under admiralty law; 2001 WL 845468 – The right to depose an expert witness who was retained prior to litigation; 2001 WL 817853 – Duty of a corporation to produce a deponent under Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

U.S. & International Travel & Tours, Inc. v. Tarom-S.A., S.C. Compania Nationala de Transporturi Aeriene Romane d/b/a Romanian Air Transport, 98 F.Supp.2d 979 (N.D. Ill. 2000). Order in favor of foreign airline client confirming award in arbitration in Romania in claim for accounting services.

Provident Savings Bank v. Popovich, 71 F.3d 696, 1996 A.M.C. 1101 (7th Cir. 1996). Judgment in favor of marine banking client affirmed on appeal against guarantor of ship mortgage.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. v. Calhoun, 519 U.S. 199 (1996). Prepared and filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court for the Maritime Law Association on issue of maritime tort remedies for pleasure craft.

Jerome B. Grubart, Inc. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., 513 U.S. 527 (1995). Prepared and filed an amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court regarding maritime jurisdiction over the Chicago tunnel flood litigation.

Articles, Speeches and Presentations

“A Brief Look at How the Cours Interpret Criteria for Bareboat Charters,” 19 Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin, First Quarter 2021.

“Maritime Liens 101 – The Basics, Transportation Lawyers Association, (January 2019 Chicago l Conference)

“Illegal Charters – It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Caught,”National Marine Lenders Association Annual Conference (November 2019)

“Protecting Your Security: Ship Mortgage Basics,” Illinois Banker Resource Guide 2016 (Fall 2016)

Observer, Uniform Law Commission Drafting Committee, Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (2009-2010)

Speaker, National Marine Bankers Association, Marine Lending Conference, December, 2007; Vessel Foreclosures and Repossessions

“Admiralty Jurisdiction and Recreational Craft Personal Injury Issues”, Tulane Law Review, Vol. 68, Nos. 2 & 3 (1994) (with Warren J. Marwedel)

“Admiralty Jurisdiction and the Great Lakes”, The University of Toledo Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2 (1993) (with Warren J. Marwedel)

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