Civil Litigation

Nursing Home litigation has increased significantly in Illinois in recent years in large part due to the failure of Illinois to institute damages caps and eliminate attorney’s fees from their nursing home statute. Attorneys’ fees are recoverable under the Nursing Home Care Act. In fact, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides for fee shifting and specifically states that “The licensee shall pay the actual damages and costs and attorney’s fees to a facility resident whose rights, as specified in Part 1 of Article II of this Act, are violated.” 210 ILCS 45/3-602. An attorney’s fees in a matter worked…
The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) establishes safeguards and procedures relating to the retention, collection, disclosure, and destruction of biometric data. 740 ILCS 14/15. Passed in October 2008, BIPA is intended to protect a person’s unique biological traits – the data encompassed in a person’s fingerprint, voice print, retinal scan, or facial geometry. Id. But in the last few years, BIPA – with its statutory penalties of $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation – has quickly become the bane of corporate defendants. The situation became even worse after the Illinois Supreme Court’s Rosenbach…
Written by Sorin A. Leahu Is the law settled when it comes to eliminating religious symbols from public places? Or are we still awaiting a case with broader implications for religious exercise? On June 20, 2019 the United States Supreme Court issued an important decision finding that the State of Maryland did not violate the establishment clause by allowing the Bladensburg Peace Cross on public land. Nor did the State violate the establishment clause by using public funds to maintain the cross. By way of background, the cross is a 40-foot Latin cross erected in 1925 to pay tribute to World…
What kind of house has no walls, no doors, and no roof, but restricts the speech of those who dwell within it? Apparently Millennium Park, which Chicago authorities have recently divided into “rooms” to suppress free expression. On March 17, a student from Wheaton College made efforts to spread the gospel in Millennium Park while standing near Cloud Gate (commonly known as The Bean) by respectfully speaking about Jesus and distributing free religious literature. The student peacefully interacted with other park visitors without causing a disruption, but they were stopped by a park authority that claimed it was against the…
When the Foundations Are Being Destroyed, What Can the Righteous Do? The Equality Act and What it Means for You Written by Richard C. Baker At a time of great turmoil in Israel’s history, the psalmist wrote in Psalm 113, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” We are faced with a similar question today in our nation. On March 13, 2019, a bill labeled H.R. 5 and known as the “Equality Act” was introduced into the House of Representatives. This bill was an urgent priority to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House’s Democratic majority. It…
Written by Soo Yeon Lee Having an estate plan can make a big difference when it comes to preserving your legacy. Not sure if you need one? Comparing and contrasting can be an effective way to see the benefits and reasons to have an estate plan. Because everyone is different, pay special attention to the numbered items that are particularly relevant to your circumstance. If you are a young parent with young children see numbers 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, and 14 If you are a parent with special needs children (or if you have special needs) see…
The most traumatic part of sexual abuse is recounting it – having to live through it again when all you want to do is move on. You may have been told to stay quiet, or there was nothing you could do. But the truth is you may be able to take powerful legal action now that will allow you move on from your own pain and help protect children today. What is That Happened To Me? The sexual abuse lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy are helping to give child sexual abuse victims a voice by teaming up with internationally known…
Asbestos-related diseases have taken the lives of thousands of fathers and grandfathers. This Father’s Day, Simmons Hanly Conroy wants to honor the legacy of those who left loving families behind and wish strength to those who are still fighting this terrible, preventable disease. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by asbestos. The prognosis for mesothelioma is grim. Treatment options cost a tremendous amount, both physically and financially, and many patients live less than a few months after diagnosis. The shock and sadness are impossible to imagine. For a father, personal fears quickly give way to real questions: what will my…
With what many have described as a historic Illinois legislative session having recently concluded, and with the focus having been on the budget, gaming, cannabis, and infrastructure, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there weren’t many significant changes to Illinois’ environmental laws. But you would be wrong. Several environmental bills of interest to the regulated community made it to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk and have either already been signed by the Governor or will be in the next few weeks. A quick recap of that legislation follows. Ethylene Oxide: This issue received a great deal of media and legislative attention…
The Illinois First District Court of Appeals recently decided Babich v. Copernicus Foundation, 2019 IL App (1st) 181537-U (April 26, 2019). Babich is yet another chapter in the long line of slip-and-fall cases litigated in Illinois. This particular chapter concluded in favor of the premises owner, who was found to have fulfilled the duty owed to an invitee. Although not formally reported, Babich provides guidance to premises owners that might encounter this relatively common situation. In Babich, an event attendee slipped on spilled wine which caused him to fall and resulted in a fractured fibula in his right ankle. The…
Asbestos-related diseases have taken the lives of thousands of fathers and grandfathers. This Father’s Day, Simmons Hanly Conroy wants to honor the legacy of those who left loving families behind and wish strength to those who are still fighting this terrible, preventable disease. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by asbestos. The prognosis for mesothelioma is grim. Treatment options cost a tremendous amount, both physically and financially, and many patients live less than a few months after diagnosis. The shock and sadness are impossible to imagine. For a father, personal fears quickly give way to real questions: what will my…
The question of what constitutes “apparent agency” in the context of alleged medical malpractice continues to be analyzed by the Illinois appellate courts. The issue was first addressed by the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Gilbert v. Sycamore Municipal Hospital. 156 Ill.2d 511 (1993). In Gilbert, the Court set forth a multi-factor test to determine whether a hospital could be held vicariously liable for the alleged acts of its independent contractor physicians. Id. at 525. Specifically, in order to hold a hospital liable under the theory of “apparent agency,” a plaintiff must show that: “(1) The hospital, or…
The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided Sienna Court Condominium Ass’n v. Champion Aluminum Corp., 2018 IL 122022 (December 28, 2018). The case raised a rather straightforward question: May the purchaser of a newly constructed home assert a claim for breach of an implied warranty of habitability against a subcontractor who had no contractual relationship with the purchaser? The Court held that the purchaser could not assert such a cause of action, regardless of the general contractor’s insolvency or the unavailability of recourse against the general contractor. This ruling overturned the decades-long rule established in Minton v. The Richards Group of…
Written by Whitman H. Brisky Divisions in the church are like fires. If not properly contained and handled, they can destroy the fellowship and witness of entire congregations, not to mention the faith of those involved. Many of those burnt by divisions in the church leave and never come back. However, if properly handled, divisions can refine a congregation and, in some cases, even help build the Kingdom. For better or for worse, church splits and divisions happen. While pastors may be equipped to handle the spiritual and personal dynamics that fuel division in the church, they are likely not…
For a church leader to be fully ministry-minded they must be vigilant to protect their flock from things that can detract from the Gospel and divide their congregation. This involves being constantly aware of potential legal pitfalls within their church. These pitfalls can take the form of unexpected encounters with the authorities. Although the government cannot infringe upon religious liberty, churches are still subject to many legal stipulations like other nonprofit organizations. If not in careful compliance, you may see your church involved in an unfortunate legal situation. Many times, churches are also responsible for the care of those involved…
Attending law school is not a spontaneous decision. There is much time spent balancing on the fence, trying not to fall prematurely on either side of the decision. Well, let me nudge you a little. If you’ve been thinking about going to law school, then go. Spiritual warfare comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they take the shape of legal battles and Christian lawyers are on the front lines. A law degree opens the door to glorifying Jesus in an extremely fruitful way. There are not many careers that provide better opportunities to spread Gospel than the law. Legal…