Coronavirus

This week, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will meet for the first of several presidential debates leading up to the November 3 general election.  Several of my blogging colleagues and I have identified THE debate question we would ask each of the candidates if we had had the chance. Channeling my inner Chris Wallace, these are the leave-related questions I would pose: To Vice President Biden With the exception of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), there is no federal law requiring private-sector employers to provide paid family and/or medical leave to their employees. Numerous states…
As has been widely reported by local news, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) office of the Attorney General recently issued an opinion finding the City of Chicago City Council in violation of the Open Meetings Act for allegedly conducting phone meetings with a majority of a quorum of the Council outside of a noticed meeting. 2020 PAC 62918 ProPublica Illinois filed a request for review with the PAC claiming that the City Council had held a number of meetings by phone without complying with the OMA. The City responded that the calls were informal briefings about pandemic-related issues and did…
Thank you for being part of the Miles for Meso community and the 12th Annual Alton Miles for Meso 5k Run & 3k Fun Run/Walk, organized and presented by Simmons Hanly Conroy and the Metro Tri Club. Normally, the event would take place in historic downtown Alton, Ill., at the firm’s national headquarters, across from Marquette High School. However, the race was changed to an all virtual format for 2020 to ensure the safety of participants in light of COVID-19. This means that anytime from Saturday, Sept. 26 through Friday, Oct 2, participants may instead run or walk their favorite…
Last Friday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. Ginsburg, affectionately known as RBG, was a trailblazing jurist who spent her career fighting for equal justice for women and other marginalized communities. She occupied the roles of U.S. Supreme Court justice, gender equality pioneer, and pop culture icon with decorum and humility, striving to use her position of power to benefit those less fortunate. She once said: “I tell law students … if you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill — very much like a plumber. But if you…
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March, I thought we would be working from home for a couple of weeks to help flatten the curve. As Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism, I didn’t make any long-term plans for my staff to work remotely for months on end. Nor did I consider how I would maintain our corporate culture while my team was working across the state and beyond. Then, reality sank in: we are in this for the long haul. Employees across industries are learning new skills and applying innovative tools to help them adjust to working…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Ken Koehn, Chief Financial Officer at Gould & Ratner LLP and President of the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). Ken discusses how law firms can maintain their corporate culture during COVID-19, why strong leadership is more important than ever, and how firms can nurture success in their attorneys. Timestamps  1:04 – How has the virtual work environment impacted the team culture at Gould & Ratner and law firms across the nation? 2:03 – Now that most employees are virtual, how can firms continue to connect with their…
Eugene Keefe <EKeefe@keefe-law.com> 9:00 AM (2 hours ago) to Synopsis: Illinois Has Another Awful Anti-Business Law and This Law Can’t Be Blocked by the IL WC Act. Editor’s comment: In McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park LLC, 2020 IL App (1st) 192398 (issued September 18, 2020), the Appellate Court ruled the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act do not bar a claim for statutory, liquidated damages, where such damages arise under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act where an employer is alleged to have violated an employee’s statutory privacy rights under the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The court ruled a…
When I recently wrote Zooming to a Conclusion, I focused primarily on the role technology played in resolving that case. There was another angle that was equally important in allowing me to maximize the amount of funds my seriously injured client received. Underinsured Motorist Coverage As you may remember, that case involved my client and her sister as passengers in their friend’s car, which was struck by another vehicle. Long story short, the other car (which was at fault) had very limited insurance, and my client had serious injuries requiring several surgeries. (My other client, her sister, had relatively…
After months of delays, Illinois finally released top scores for coveted cannabis dispensary licenses. The 75 available licenses went to only 21 companies. These companies will be entered into a lottery, which the state will hold next month. The scoring process and implementation of the law have come under intense scrutiny. Allegations of unfair scoring and mismanagement of the social equity intent of the law triggered multiple lawsuits. Illinois Dispensary Licenses Released Illinois’ long-awaited announcement of the winners of the cannabis dispensary licenses has drawn much criticism from around the state. Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Financial and…
Across the country, moratoriums have been placed on eviction and foreclosure proceedings as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. At the end of August, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it was extending the foreclosure moratorium for federally-backed single-family home mortgages until the end of the year at the earliest. The moratorium was set to expire on August 31, but the FHFA recognized that many homeowners still face serious struggles when it comes to making their mortgage payments. While non-federally-backed mortgages are not directly affected by the moratorium, most private lenders have followed suit and are holding off…
If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you may have questions about how your living situation will influence the divorce timeline. COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. In fact, for many spouses contemplating divorce, moving to a new home is simply not a possibility right now. You may have wondered, “Can I get divorced if my spouse and I are still living together?” Illinois divorce requirements have changed significantly over the past several years, so it is important to understand these requirements if you plan on ending your marriage. Mandatory Separation Period for Illinois Divorces…
The COVID-19 crisis has placed many businesses and their employees in difficult financial situations. Some businesses have had to close or limit their hours of operation, and many employees have been laid off or had their work hours reduced. While some government relief programs have provided aid to those who have been affected by these issues, many people are continuing to experience financial difficulties. A recent executive order may provide some help in this area by allowing employers to defer some of the taxes withheld from employees’ pay. Social Security Tax Deferral In August of 2020, President Trump issued an…
Illinoisans have not yet received official guidance from the State of Illinois on Halloween activities and events. However, yesterday the CDC posted guidance about Halloween activities and other fall holidays on its website that may be of interest to readers. The CDC has assigned various levels of risk to Halloween-related activities. For those wondering how traditional trick-or-treating will be categorized (or its close cousin, “trunk-or-treat”), the CDC has assigned these activities to its “high risk” category. Hayrides, indoor costume parties, and indoor haunted houses are similarly assigned to the high risk category of activities. The CDC notes that traditional costume…
If ERP software system integrators were as smooth at integrating new or upgraded projects as they are at selling, it is likely they would be involved in fewer court disputes with users. Often, disputes happen because senior management hands off responsibility for the effort to the integrator rather than owning it as an integral part of management’s job. In reality, people in charge of an organization cannot delegate authority for an ERP project to either the vendor or an integrator. Interests are usually different. Ensuring this does not happen should start when the project is in its inception phase, before…
How private is your cell phone? Smartphones provide all kinds of information that advertisers might find useful, including the user’s locations throughout the day. While this information is aggregated and anonymized—excluding names and other identifiers—it’s possible that hackers or other malevolent actors could gain access to a user’s raw data. Location tracking can be useful for a number of reasons, ranging from targeted advertising from stores and brands, to traffic monitoring and reporting on the part of GPS apps, to analyzing the growth of potential coronavirus hot spots. But people often don’t know their information is being tracked, and disclosures…
Now that many of us have been doing some form of remote learning for close to 7 months, we are starting to see hearing officers and state agencies weigh in to resolve complaints related to the appropriateness of remote special education services. While we have not yet seen any Illinois decisions, a review of decisions from other states may shed some light on trends and approaches. Read on for a sample of recent cases and takeaways that may be relevant to your school. Participation in Remote Learning In a due process case in Washington, DC, the student had previously been…