Corporate & Commercial

Palin’s lawsuit against The New York Times alleges the newspaper defamed her in an editorial it published that incorrectly linked Palin’s own political rhetoric with a mass shooting that took place near Tucson, AZ in 2011 in which six people were killed and 14 others were wounded. The casualties included Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head and was a Democratic member of Congress at the time.

As it happened, the editorial about Palin was published on June 14th, 2017. That same day, a gunman opened fire on several Republican congressmen at a baseball field in Virginia. The editorial
Continue Reading Palin’s Libel Lawsuit Is a Litmus Test for the First Amendment

An Illinois appeals court recently held that the plaintiffs in a commercial litigation lawsuit could not sustain claims for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and tortious interference with contract because the claims were untimely. The Court also affirmed dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims for respondeat superior liability, prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees on the basis that the substantive underlying claims were untimely or had been released by the plaintiffs.
The appeal stemmed from a November 2016 lawsuit filed by Edward Shrock, a minority owner of the company Baby Supermall, LLC, against the company’s bank and the bank’s vice president
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Finds Fraud and Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims against Bank and Officer Time Barred

Recently, the
Northern District of Texas found a commercial general liability policy did not
provide coverage for the death of a utility contractor who suffocated after he
was buried in a pit of gravel by another worker. 

The Tarrant Regional Water District hired IPL Partners to perform construction work on an integrated pipeline in Venus, Texas. IPL then subcontracted with Oscar Renda Contracting, Inc. to perform excavation and pipelaying. Nabor Machuca-Mercado, a laborer for Oscar Renda Contracting suffocated to death while working on the pipeline after he was buried by another worker in a trench of gravel. 

The children of Mr.
Continue Reading Northern District of Texas Finds Employee Exclusion Bars Coverage for Contractor’s Death Despite Restoration in Policy of Coverage for Accidents Involving Co-Employees

Because the medical marijuana, hemp, and CBD businesses are still in their infancy, many cannabis business owners are unsure if they qualify for trademark protection. The 2018 Farm Bill established a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana, as well as the legal status of regularly used cannabinoids and derivatives like CBD.As a result, as stated in an Examination Guide published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in May of 2019, significant developments in hemp-based trademarks have occurred. Here are the fundamentals of trademarking, with a focus on cannabis and hemp products at the federal and state levels.What
Continue Reading How to protect a marijuana trademark

Pay equity has become a hot topic of discussion and legislative focus across the United States in the last few years as states seek to adopt stricter pay equity laws and to increase enforcement efforts combating pay inequities for members of protected classes. At the federal level, Congress has introduced legislation aimed at securing pay equity. The Biden administration has also indicated its support for plans to strengthen pay equity between men and women. At the state level, Illinois is one of many states, including California and New York, to have passed or amended pay equity and related laws.

Continue Reading With a New Year Comes New Equal Pay Act Reporting and Certification Obligations for Many Illinois Employers in 2022

Do you need a business license?
In the past two years about 30,000 new businesses were started in Illinois.   Most of those new business had to get a specific license for their particular type of business.   Not all businesses do, but many will need an Illinois Business License specific to their occupation, which vouches for the fact that you’re qualified to perform a certain type of skill and reassures customers that you will be accountable for your work.
For starters, you will need a Certificate of Registration common to all types of businesses. Then, you will need to drill
Continue Reading Do You Need a Business License in Illinois?

In a decision dealing with prior restraints on speech, the First District Appellate Court recently held that the trial court overstepped federal and state constitutional bounds when it ordered a company and its president to refrain from making any future online statements about a vendor the company had hired. The First District vacated the order entered by Cook County Circuit Judge Diane M. Shelley and issued an opinion explaining why the trial court’s order violated longstanding constitutional principles of free speech.

The plaintiff, Same Condition, LLC is a company that sought to create a web-based, medical patient-centered software application. Same
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Finds Order Restraining Speech Violates First Amendment, Unconstitutional

Federal law allows schools to collaborate on their formulas for determining the amount of financial aid to award students, but they are not allowed to consider an applicant’s need for aid when determining whether to accept their application to become a student. A recent class-action lawsuit against 16 major U.S. universities alleges that, not only were the universities collaborating on their financial aid formulas, but that they did so in order to fix their prices, and that their actions unfairly limited the financial aid students were able to receive. The federal lawsuit also alleges that the defendants do factor an
Continue Reading Federal Financial Aid Class Action Lawsuit Accuses Top Universities of Price Fixing

Probably due to the pandemic, the Illinois Legislature passed few laws important to business in Illinois and effective January 1, 2022. They include:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour;
  • Making non-compete agreements generally not enforceable against employees earning less than $75,000.00;
  • Enacting new restrictions on vaping sales;
  • Requiring health insurers to cover mental illness and addiction treatment;
  • Barring or restricting early termination fees for many utilities and services; and
  • Making Juneteenth (June 19) a state holiday.

For a more exhaustive list, please visit:
This Brief is designed to provide our friends and clients with information regarding
Continue Reading New Business Laws for 2022

When the owner or owners of a closely held small business decide its time to sell or are approached by a potential buyer, the first order of business should be determining the business’ value or the value of the selling owners’ interest. Innumerable factors are considered in determining the value of a small business, and appropriate professional advice from your accountant, lawyer, business valuator, appraiser, tax adviser, business broker, industry experts and other consultants should not be overlooked. In addition to the book, replacement and market values of your business, other factors to consider include:

  • Legal Constraints. Corporate bylaws, and

Continue Reading Valuing a Small Business for Sale

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently joined the Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits in ruling in favor of insurers facing COVID-19 business interruption lawsuits. The consolidated appeal dealt with three different claims under Illinois law brought by affected businesses in a diversified range of industries from a dentist office to a hotel.

Each of the plaintiffs was a business that had purchased a commercial-property insurance policy from the Cincinnati Insurance Company. Shortly after the initial outbreak of COVID in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued several executive orders that forced each business to shut down or
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rules for Insurer in COVID-related Business Interruption Litigatio

The Seventh Circuit in a recently issued decision held that an employer cannot invoke an arbitration provision to evade a shareholder class-action lawsuit seeking broad relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal law aimed at protecting participants in private employer retirement plans. In its decision, the Court found that claims under ERISA are generally subject to arbitration, but ultimately concluded that the District Court did not err in denying the defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff’s class action under section 1132(a)(2) of ERISA due to a class action waiver in the arbitration agreement that would
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rules that Employer Cannot use Arbitration Agreement to Escape Shareholder Suit over Retirement Plan

To many people estate planning is merely preparing a will to tell your executor what to do with what you own when you die. But, estate planning is more than just drafting a will. It includes tax efficiencies, wealth preservation, asset protection, efficient asset ownership, retirement planning and business succession planning.
Estate planning can include:

  • Will.  Appoints and directs your executor what to do with your property after your death.
  • Trust.  Allows you and your successor trustee to handle your assets in private.
  • Special Needs Trusts.  Provides for a disabled person without loss of government aid.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney. 

Continue Reading Estate Planning is Tax Efficiency and Wealth Management

Back in September the resident-run condo board of 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan sued the developer of the building for $125 million to repair 1,500 alleged defects to the luxury condo building. According to the lawsuit, multiple residents experienced flooding in their units and noise as a result of alleged building defects. They also reported elevators that would get stuck and trap residents for hours.
The lawsuit further alleges that the construction issues have affected the building’s management, causing common charges to go up by 39% and insurance premiums to go up 300%.
The building’s developer denies the allegations made
Continue Reading When Flooding and Other Problems Occur, Developer and Residents Point Fingers

In the last month, Facebook, Inc. announced its rebrand to Meta Platforms, Inc., doing business as Meta. The rebrand came at a curious time for Facebook.

Leaked internal research from the company demonstrated that it was repeatedly made aware of its large role in the spread of misinformation and hate speech; but despite the strange timing of the rebrand, Mark Zuckerberg said it had nothing to do with the criticism Facebook experiencing. Instead, the shift stemmed from a simple push for a more technologically-driven future: a world where shared experiences within the metaverse become increasingly common among
Continue Reading Facebook Rebrands to META

Last month, someone paid $650,000 for a yacht in the metaverse. It was the highest price ever paid for a NFT asset in The Sandbox, a digital environment not unlike The Sims. 

The yacht’s creator, Republic Realm, also develops and sells metaversal jet skis, speed boats, and even real estate, such as the Tikila Villa, which offers its owners “relaxed luxury and laid-back waterfront living with beach frontage and a personal pier” situated “on its own unique parcel of land” in The Sandbox. To own any of these assets, of course, one must first open a cryptocurrency wallet,
Continue Reading Reigning in the Metaverse: Congress Needs To Catch Up–Fast