ARI J. SCHARG is a Partner at Edelson PC and Co-Chair of the firm’s Public Client and Government Affairs Group, where he leverages his experience litigating hundreds of complex class and mass action lawsuits to help state and local governments investigate and prosecute consumer fraud, data privacy, and other areas of enforcement that protect government interests and vulnerable communities. Ari has been appointed as a Special Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney to litigate cases against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica for their alleged misuse of consumer data and against Uber for its alleged violations of the state’s data breach notification law and information security requirements. He is currently representing the Illinois Citizens Utility Board in litigation against Commonwealth Edison for its alleged role in a decade-long bribery scheme, and serves as Special Counsel for Columbus and Cincinnati in litigation alleging money laundering and corruption against FirstEnergy, where he recently secured a preliminary injunction blocking more than $1 billion of new fees from being collected from ratepayers. Ari also represent a broad range of stakeholders in litigation against opioid companies, including governments, municipal risk pools, labor unions, and health and welfare funds.
Ari is passionate about social justice causes, and in 2017, the Michigan State Bar Foundation presented both Edelson PC and Ari, personally, with its Access to Justice Award for “significantly advancing access to justice for the poor” through his consumer class actions.
As Special Counsel for Melrose Park, Ari served as lead trial counsel in first-of-its-kind litigation seeking to block the closure of Westlake Hospital, a community hospital providing safety net services to medically and socially vulnerable minority populations. Village of Melrose Park v. Pipeline Health System LLC, et al., No. 19-CH-03041 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.). In what has been called “one of the most complicated hospital closure disputes in the state’s history,” Ari worked tirelessly to preserve access to healthcare for the community by securing a series of in-court victories, including a temporary restraining order prohibiting the owners from closing the hospital, and later, after a full-day evidentiary hearing, an order holding the owner in contempt for attempting to shut down hospital services prematurely.
Recognized as a leader on privacy and emerging technologies, Ari serves on the Executive Oversight Council for the Array of Things Project where he advises on privacy and data security matters, founded and chaired the Illinois State Bar Association’s Privacy and Information Security Section (2017-2019), and served as Co-Chair of the Illinois Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers Task Force. Ari also enjoys working with law students through the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP) and Berkeley’s Women of Color Collective.
- Representing a broad range of stakeholders in litigation against opioid companies, including governments, municipal risk pools, labor unions, and health and welfare funds. See, e.g., Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs, Local 150, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2019-CH-01548 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); City of Harvey, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2018-CH-09020 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); Village of Melrose Park, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2018-CH-06601 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2018-CH-12828 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Appointed Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in their consolidated data breach/failure to notify lawsuit against Uber Technologies. City of Chicago and People of Illinois, ex rel. Kimberly M. Foxx, State’s Attorney of Cook County, Ill. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 17-CH-15594 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Appointed Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in a suit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over their alleged misuse of consumer data. People of Illinois, ex rel. Kimberly M. Foxx, State’s Attorney of Cook County, Ill. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 18-cv-02667 (N.D. Ill.).
- Appointed Special Assistant by the Lake County State’s Attorney in a suit against e-cigarette giant Juul Labs alleging false and deceptive marketing and that the company intentionally marketed its e-cigarette and nicotine pod products to minors.
- Appointed Special Counsel to the Village of Melrose Park in a suit against Pipeline Health and its partners for allegedly committing fraud and conspiracy in connection with their purchase of Westlake Hospital. Village of Melrose Park v. Pipeline Health System, et al., No. 2019-CH-03041 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Lead counsel in class actions under the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act involving the unlawful disclosure of personal information to data miners that secured more than $30 million in cash settlements and industry-changing injunctive relief. See, e.g., Coulter-Owens v. Rodale, No. 14-cv-12688, dkt. 54 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 29, 2016); Kinder v. Meredith Corp., No. 13-cv-11284, dkt. 81 (E.D. Mich. May 18, 2016); Perlin v. Time Inc., 2:16-cv-10635, dkt. 55 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 15, 2018); Halaburda v. Bauer Publ’g Co., No. 12-cv-12831, dkt. 68 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 6, 2015); Moeller v. Am. Media, Inc., No. 5:16-cv-11367, dkt. 42 (E.D. Mich. Jun. 8, 2017).
- Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Privacy and Information Security Section (2017, 2018, 2019).
- Co-Chair of the Illinois Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers Task Force.
- Executive Oversight Council for the Array of Things.
- Digital Privacy Alliance, Board of Directors (2017, 2018, 2019).
- Appointed as an Observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s Identity Management in Electronic Commerce, Study Committee.
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow.
- Illinois Bar Foundation, Fellow.
- Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Managers (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).
- Sixth Municipal Circuit (Markham) High School Mock Trial Competition Committee (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).
- Graduate of the Anti-Defamation League Glass Leadership Institute.
- Testified before the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Commerce and Trade about Senate Bill No. 490’s impact on consumer privacy and the surging data mining industry (February 9, 2016).
- Panelist for HB Litigation’s Data Breach & Privacy Conference, “Sleuthing: Investigation & Evidence Collection in a Cyber World” (February 11, 2016).
- Guest speaker at Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Consumer Law Review Symposium, “Consumer Class Actions in the Social Media Age” (March 18, 2016).
- Guest speaker for the Chicago Bar Association, Consumer Law Committee, “Legal Theories on Privacy & Interconnectivity” (May 5, 2016).
- Guest speaker for the Chicago Bar Association Consumer Law Committee, “Emerging Issues in Privacy and Data Security Litigation” (February 2, 2017).
- Guest speaker at Chi Hack Night, “Mr. Robot Goes to Washington” (February 28, 2017).
- Testified before the Nevada Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee in support of Assembly Bill 313 and to discuss the privacy implications raised by the surreptitious collection and use of geolocation data (April 3, 2017).
- Panelist for the Privacy + Security Forum’s “State Privacy Legislation Trends to Watch” (October 4, 2017).
- Panelist for NetDiligence’s Cyber Risk & Privacy Liability Forum, “Litigation Tips from the Trenches: A Focus on Settlement of Cybersecurity Class Actions and Regulatory Investigations” (October 11, 2017).
- Moderated a fireside chat for Smart Cities Summit’s ”Optimizing Data for Tomorrow’s Cities – Real-Time Intelligent Decisions” (October 17, 2017).
- Guest speaker for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series, “Cybersecurity – Running Your Practice in Today’s High-Tech World” (March 16, 2018).
- Appeared for WTTW’s live broadcast of Chicago Tonight, “Facebook Users’ Personal Data Exploited to Help Trump’s Campaign” (March 20, 2018).
- Guest speaker for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics, “Cybersecurity for Law Firms” (June 15, 2018).
- Guest speaker for the Chicago Bar Association’s Intellection Property Section, “Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Panel” (March 6, 2019).
- Testified before the Illinois House of Representatives Appropriations-Human Services Committee concerning alleged fraud and conspiracy committed by Pipeline Health in connection with its purchase of Westlake Hospital (March 8, 2019).
- Testified before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, as Special Counsel to Melrose Park, in opposition to Pipeline Health’s application to close Westlake Hospital (March 11, 2019).
- Guest speaker for the Lake County Bar Association, “The Biometric Information Privacy Act: Current Landscape and Recent Developments” (May 30, 2019).
- Guest faculty, American Bar Association, “Biometric Identifiers and Technology: Privacy and Security” (July 25, 2019).
- Testified before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in opposition to Quorum Health Corporation’s application to close MetroSouth Medical Center (September 17, 2019).
Ari received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law where he served as a Staff Editor for the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law Law Review and competed nationally in trial competitions. During law school, he also served as a judicial extern to The Honorable Judge Bruce W. Black of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.