Photo of Cara M. Houck

Cara M. Houck





Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, M.B.A 2012

Northwestern University, post-graduate related course work

Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., 1996

Northwestern University, B.S. 1990

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals

  • Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Courts

  • Eastern District of Michigan
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Central District of Illinois
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin

Supreme Court of Illinois

Cara M. Houck is a trial attorney specializing in commercial litigation.  In addition to her law degree, Cara holds a master’s degree in business administration.  

Cara is consistently recognized as one of Illinois’ Super Lawyers, a list representing the top five percent of the lawyers in the State. 

Prior to joining the firm, Cara worked as an associate at McGuireWoods where she defended several Fortune 500 companies in business disputes as well as product liability and mass toxic tort defense claims.  She has tried several lawsuits, conducted arbitrations and appeared before state and federal courts around the country.

During the course of her 20-year career, she has served on several not-for-profit boards dedicated to helping underprivileged children.  Cara is currently the President of the Awassa Children’s Project located in Ethiopia, Africa.  She also serves as a Board Member for the Chicago Bar Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping those who cannot afford legal services.  She also serves on Miller Canfield's Pro Bono Committee.

Representative Matters

Successful appeal. CF SBC Pledgor 1 2012-1 Trust v. Clark School LLC et al., 2016 IL App. (4th) 150568 (Sept. 8, 2016).

Won appeal on lender’s right to appoint receiver on an ex parte basis.  CF SBC Pledgor 1 2012-1 Trust v. Clark/School, LLC, No. 4-14-0416; 2014 WL 5761126 (4th Dist. App. Ct. Nov. 4, 2014).

Lead and prevailing trial lawyer in § 1983 case, Jeremy O'Brien v Joseph Sroka, et al., Case No 10 C 5156

Prevailed on motion to quash service of process one year after complaint was filed. Shannon Carlson v. Walgreen Co., et al., Case No. 07 L 002596 (Cook County, IL).

Defended a Land Trust by means of a motion to dismiss the action with prejudice. The action alleged Specific Performance and Intentional Interference with Contract. Alice Prus v. Chicago Title Land Trust Co., et al., No. 05 CH 3424

Challenged venue and obtained transfer from Cook County to DeKalb County. Irene Belmonte v. Crown Equipment Corporation, et al., Case No. 03 L 60.

Wrote several motions for summary judgments in asbestos litigation cases pending in Madison County, Illinois based on lack of product identification where plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed cases before oral argument. Betty Briggs v. The Sherwin-Williams Company, et. al. Case No. 03 L 1460.

Briefed and argued two winning motions to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on negligence and negligent misrepresentation issues. Blinderman Construction Co. v. El Greco Painting Contractors, Inc. and The Sherwin-Williams Company, Case No. 02 L 0605.

Obtained reversal of summary judgment from Illinois Court of Appeals, First Judicial District on breach of contract and implied-in-fact contract issues. Burrell v. Andre's Foto Lab, Inc. and GFX International, Inc., Case No. 03-3059 (June 29, 2004) appealed from 00 CH 11892.

In re: Asbestos Product Litigation, (U.S. Dist. Ct., Philadelphia, MDL 875 (multidistrict asbestos litigation)

Obtained an arbitration award in DuPage County on behalf of Crown Equipment Corporation in a Breach of Contract dispute. Crown Equipment Corporation d/b/a Crown Lift Trucks v. Scott Karoll, individually and a/k/a Furniture Zone, Inc. Case No. 03 L 639

Plaintiff alleged serious facial and other burns as a result of a product manufactured by the defendant. After the close of discovery in July 2001, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District dismissed for want of prosecution. Kimberly Kuss v. The Sherwin-Williams Company, Case No. 00 C 1821

Obtained a dismissal order for lack of personal jurisdiction (based on the fiduciary shield doctrine) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Burns v. Prestige v. BLD Funding, et al., Case No. 00 C 2933.

Obtained multiple judgments in favor of plaintiff in breach of contract proceedings. Crown Equipment Corporation v. Faustech Industries, Inc., Case Nos. 00 M1 115922 and 00 M1 142773.

Obtained no liability award in arbitrated negligence action brought against a semi-truck driver. Allstate Insurance Company as Subrogee for Weilin Tao v. Guy Malizzio, Case No. 00 M1 02311.

Co-authored motion and brief used to obtain summary judgment in favor of defendant in consolidated cases alleging a design defect in the defendant's product affirmed on appeal where plaintiff's expert was excluded on Daubert grounds. Bourelle and Wendling v. Crown Equipment Corporation, 220 F.3d 532 (7th Cir. 2000), CCH Prod. Liab. Rep., p. 15,860


Illinois Super Lawyers, Business Litigation 2012-present

Miller Canfield Pro Bono Champion 2011-present

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

Illinois State Bar Association

Chicago Bar Association

Chicago Bar Foundation, Board Member, 2015-present

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Awassa Children's Project, Ethiopia - Volunteer 2011; Board Member, 2012; President, 2013-present

The Chicago Challenge, Board Member, 2000-2005

Prevent Child Abuse America


"Hidden Hazards - Managing Environmental Challenges," Moderated Panel of Environmental Experts (CLE presentation,) Trigild Conference, October 5-7, 2016 San Diego, California

“How to Maximize Recovery,”  Training Session on Commercial Foreclosure Work-Outs (CLE presentation), Presenter, Trigild, May 21, 2015, Dallas, Texas

“Seven Principals of Conducting Commercial Foreclosure Work-Outs,” Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), October 9, 2014

"Future of Big Box Retail," Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), October 23, 2013

"Real Dealings with REAs," Real Estate Litigation (CLE presentation), April 16, 2013


"Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis and Gadolinium-Based Contrast: Medico-Legal Implications," Seminars In Dialysis, Online Early Articles, Published Online Early, January 23, 2008 .

"The First State to Reject the Learned Intermediary Doctrine: West Virginia," McGuireWoods Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Biotechnology News, October 29, 2007

"Price Advertisers Beware," McGuireWoods Life Sciences Industry News, July 30, 2007

"Attacking the Learned Intermediary Defense with Evidence of the Behavior of the Manufacturer's Representative," McGuireWoods Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Biotechnology News, November 20, 2006

"Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: A Threat to the Powerful 'Learned Intermediary Doctrine' Defense?" McGuireWoods Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Biotechnology News, October 16, 2006