Monday, February 6, 2023

Social Security cost-of-living adjustments have fallen short of inflation by $1,054 since the start of pandemic

New data used to measure government inflations shows that average Social Security benefits fell short of inflation for the past two years. The Social Security Administration uses a measurement called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W to calculate the cost of living adjustment each year.
The average benefits fell short by about $1,054 from the start of the pandemic through 2022. This excludes Medicare Part B premiums. This is going to be difficult
Continue Reading Social Security cost-of-living adjustments have fallen short of inflation by $1,054 since the start of pandemic

Happy 30th birthday, you wonderful old FMLA! 

Break out the band aids and ace bandages! It’s time to celebrate a special birthday for our favorite federal statute.

All weekend, I’ve been singing Harry Styles’ song “As It Was” to the Nowak kids:

You know it’s not the same without medical leaveIn this world, it’s just FMLA. . .

And as predictable as my god-awful FMLA songs are, we even broke out the 30th birthday cake last night in honor of the FMLA.

Where Have We Been, Where are We Going?

In all seriousness, as our world comes out of a
Continue Reading Happy 30th Birthday, FMLA! Where Do We Go from Here?

Growing up as a Black girl with a multiracial heritage in central Illinois in the 1980s, race often played a role in my experiences. And in those moments, I felt a sense of otherness.
Julia Roundtree Livingston in first grade
Whether I was the only brown face in my school, on my extracurricular teams, or in my church, I was hyperaware of racial differences.
I was not the only one who would define my differences; my classmates regularly pointed them out in my appearance—brown skin and protective hairstyles (often braids)–which was starkly different as compared to theirs.
Like other children,
Continue Reading Meet Our DEI Manager Julia Roundtree Livingston—Educator, Advocate, and Community Leader

Hernia mesh devices involve designing, manufacturing, and marketing like any other medical product. Manufacturers have a duty of care to their consumers and should warn them of any danger related to their goods. Healthcare professionals use medical apparatuses to address specific health conditions or disorders. So many patients rely on the safe use of the devices for their health and well-being. But if the product is defective, it causes harm affecting their quality of life. The manufacturer may be held liable in a hernia mesh lawsuit. Consult Personal injury and product liability lawyers at Phillips Law Offices for guidance. We
Continue Reading Hernia Mesh Lawsuit

Synopsis: The first Covid-19 ruling has been dispatched by the IL WC Commission, affirming the Arbitrator’s finding of work-related exposure.  Editor’s Comment: Nearly three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the IWCC has considered and now published the first litigated IL OccDisease Covid-19 claim. In Lucero v. Focal Point, LLC, 20WC018985, 22IWCC0231, the Commission affirmed the Arbitrator’s finding of occupational workplace exposure, ruling Petitioner’s Covid-19 infection/illness arose out of employment. We note the ruling was correctly classified as an Occupational Disease Act case vs. a Workers’ Compensation Act matter; a relatively minor, but proper distinction. Petitioner worked as a machine operator for an
Continue Reading 1-31-2023; First Covid-19 Ruling from IL WC Comm; New IL Laws (with one old one) and more

Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Michele M. Jochner, partner at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP in the Chicagoland area, represents family law clients in complex appellate matters.
Previously, Michele served as a judicial law clerk to two Chief Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court: the late Justice Mary Ann G. McMorrow and the late Justice Charles E. Freeman.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
After nearly 16 years of service at the Illinois Supreme Court, I joined the internationally-recognized law firm of
Continue Reading Lawyer Spotlight: Michele M. Jochner

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) recently announced that the Motion to Seal Court File in an Eviction Case form suite is available for comment for 45 days, through March 3, 2023.
This new form set is meant to help self-represented litigants request to seal their eviction court files.
The forms and a link to submit comments can be found on the Illinois Supreme Court website.
After the public comment period ends, the ATJ Commission will review any feedback or suggestions received and make any necessary revisions.
What eviction forms are available for comment?
Continue Reading ATJ Commission Approves a New Suite of Eviction Forms for Public Comment

Baker Sterchi attorney Betsy Miller recently graduated from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program.
Established in 1976, Centurions is an intensive two-year leadership development program for individuals selected as emerging leaders in Greater Kansas City. Extended to 29 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller’s class included individuals representing 40 Kansas City companies.
Miller served as co-chair of the May 2022 Task Force and as a mentor to a subsequent class participant. She was also a member of the Centurions Projects Committee, responsible for the program’s service hours, with her class completing over 3,000 hours of
Continue Reading Betsy Miller Graduates from the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sister Andre, the world’s oldest living person, dies at 118

Sister Andre, who was born Lucile Randon, died last week at the age of 118. For nine months she held the Guinness World Record title of world’s oldest living person.
Prior to becoming a Catholic nun in 1944, she worked as a teacher and governess during World War II and later went on to care for orphans and the elderly in a French Hospital. Sister Andre lived through both the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic. 
Last year she told Guinness
Continue Reading Sister Andre, the world’s oldest living person, dies at 118

Over the past year and a half, school districts have been inundated with high numbers of due process complaints and mediation requests. Looking back, it appears that as the wave of COVID-19 cases finally began to slow, the number of due process complaints and mediation requests increased drastically. As we head into 2023, we want to reflect on recent trends in due process litigation to help prepare for the year ahead.

The pattern of increased litigiousness is likely the culmination of increased frustrations with the effects that remote learning and COVID-19 had on students. Parents are frustrated that they are
Continue Reading Trends in Due Process Litigation

In 2022, Illinois significantly restricted the use of non-competition agreements. The new Illinois law, the Freedom to Work Act, restricted the use of non-competition agreements (aka “covenants not to compete”) and other related agreements in several ways. Notably, the Act prohibited non-competition agreements for workers making less than $75,000 (adjusted upwards every five years), prohibited non-solicitation agreements for workers making less than $45,000 (again, adjusted every five years), required certain notices to accompany non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, and restricted the use of such agreements for many COVID-related layoffs and for most construction workers and for public workers or educators covered
Continue Reading FTC May Ban Non-Compete Agreements

It’s January, so that means it is time to publish our “best of” post listing our 10 most popular blog posts of 2022. Here they are:1.  Annexation Agreement Binds Successor Owner of Part of Property2.  The Open Meetings Act, Remote Meetings, and COVID-193.  Illinois Finds PSEBA Ordinance Invalid4.  PAC Finds Public Body in Violation of FOIA for Redacting “Goodbye Email”5.  School Board Members Blocking of Parents on Social Media Violated First Amendment6.  New Laws Raise Competitive Bidding Threshold for Some Local Governments7.  Agenda did not Adequately Describe Action Item as Required by OMA8.  
Continue Reading Top 10 Municipal Minute Posts of 2022

Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Wade Thomson is a litigator and partner at Jenner & Block in Chicago. Wade has specialized in litigating business-to-business disputes in aerospace and aviation. He has also had experience with media law and investigations and compliance.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
I have always focused on personal relationships in business development because that is something I truly value.
I haven’t changed that focus but I do think it has become even more pronounced during the pandemic. Everyone
Continue Reading Lawyer Spotlight: Wade Thomson

In Rockford v. Gilles, an Illinois Appellate Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a property owner that challenged a City’s foreclosure of the owner’s property finding that he did not file his petition to vacate that foreclosure judgment within the required two year period. Over the course of 13 years, the City recorded 20 special assessment liens against two vacant lots owned by Gilles, totaling $11,465. The City then brought an action to foreclose on the property for failure to pay the liens. The City made three failed attempts to serve Gilles personally and the trial court granted the
Continue Reading City’s Foreclosure Action Stands Where Petition for Relief Filed too Late

Over the past few years, immigration officials in the United States have used a rule put in place by the administration of President Donald Trump to quickly expel certain types of people who entered the country illegally. This rule, known as Title 42, was created in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its stated purpose was to prevent the spread of infections by immigrants entering the country. However, even though the threat of COVID-19 has decreased, this rule has remained in place, and it has allowed officials to expel 2.5 million people from the U.S.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Allows Title 42 Expulsions of Immigrants to Continue

January is National Mentoring Month. At the Commission on Professionalism, we would like to congratulate the attorneys and legal organizations that have already made mentoring a priority by participating in our lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program or programs elsewhere.
2022 was an exciting year for mentoring at the Commission. As of December 2022, 111 organizations across Illinois are implementing the Commission’s mentoring program, including 50 law firms, 22 bar associations, 15 professional organizations, 11 government offices, 9 law schools, two court districts, and one corporation. And participants have come from 13 states and 84 cities.
If you are not already part of
Continue Reading 3 Priorities for Lawyer Mentoring in 2023