Corporate & Commercial

Our December Business Bytes highlights your A.I phone system, virutal workplace accessibility and declaring and updating your insurance values. 
Your A.I Phone System Can Get You Sued. The collection, storage, use, transfer and destruction of biometric information is a hot bed of litigation in a largely unsettled area of law. Even your automated phone ordering system that uses A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) to create a more tailored customer experience could result in liability if it gathers voice or other information from consumers. READ MORE.
Your Virtual Workplace Accessibility.  With expanding remote or virtual work places, your business’ obligation to make those
Continue Reading December Business Bytes

Facing a recently filed putative class action lawsuit over the labeling and marketing of its toddler formula, baby formula manufacturer Gerber has asked a federal judge in Chicago to dismiss the suit arguing that reasonable parents buying its toddler formula couldn’t possibly be misled by the claims on its Good Start Grow products. The motion comes on the heels of the dismissal of a second class action lawsuit involving Gerber’s formula by a Virginia federal judge earlier in the month.
In her complaint, plaintiff Melissa Garza alleges that Gerber makes a toddler formula that is marketed as nutritional, but which
Continue Reading Gerber Asks Chicago Federal Judge to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit over Toddler Formula

With the increased number of workplace harassment suits and administrative proceedings, as well as fines, penalties and verdicts, all employers need to be proactive to avoid, identify and minimize workplace harassment and avoid claims or suits being filed. Some steps you can take include:

  • Knowing and identifying what actions and statements could constitute harassment.
  • Being aware of all potentially protected persons (almost everyone) and troublesome individuals.
  • Instructing management to be alert to harassment and how to address or prevent it.
  • Implementing and publicizing anti-harassment policies, including anonymous reporting.
  • Conducting anti-harassment training, as required by law and as provided by the


Continue Reading Avoiding Workplace Harassment Suits

In a recent decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that clients ordered to pay punitive damages can sue their attorneys to recover the money. In doing so the Court considered and rejected arguments that state law and public policy protect lawyers from being subject to punitive damages awards.
Midwest Sanitary Service Inc. retained St. Louis law firm Sandberg, Phoenix & Von Gontard to represent it in a whistleblower retaliation case filed against it by a former employee. Midwest lost the trial which resulted in a jury award of $160,000 in compensatory damages and, important to the case before the Court,
Continue Reading Court Rules that Client Can Sue Lawyers over Punitive Damages Award

Family Owned BusinessSuccession or Dissolution?
They make great stories when they’re successful, but maintaining continuity of family-owned businesses from generation to generation presents many challenges.  A family-owned business can be an excellent means of transferring and preserving generational wealth when run smoothly. Learning to work together as a family can benefit everyone and the business.
But many families just don’t get along, and those internal familial problems have a way of working themselves into the operation of the business.  When that happens, family members inevitably look to their attorneys for guidance, and at that point litigation may be the only
Continue Reading Family-Owned Business Succession—or Dissolution?

An Illinois appeals court recently found a political candidate in Madison County could not be held liable for defamation for statements in a press release finding that the allegedly defamatory statements were privileged and thus immune from liability. Former Madison County IT director, Rob Dorman and former administrator Doug Hulme filed the lawsuit claiming that the press release statements were false and defamatory and ultimately cost them their jobs.
In April 2020, Robert Daiber, the Democrat candidate for county board chairman was identified as one of several local Democratic politicians calling for the dismissal of top officials in Madison county
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Finds Defamation Suit Barred as Statements Protected by Privilege

As many of your business’ records and accounts are stored or accessed electronically, it is increasingly important to not only inventory, secure and protect these assets, but to enable your business or its successor to access them. Some steps to take include:

  • Inventory.  Identify the hardware (CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, computers, phones and other equipment), social media outlets, on-line banking and investment accounts, ecommerce transactions, cloud storage and vendors that constitute, store or access these digital assets.
  • Value.  Determine the commercial value of your digital assets (i.e. domain names) for insurance, protection and potential sale.
  • Collect.  All usernames, passwords,


Continue Reading Your Business’ Digital Assets

Earlier this year, the governor of Delaware signed Senate bill 273 which amended various provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (GCL). The changes became effective August 1, 2022. Most notable among the changes was the amendment of Section 102(b)(7) of the GCL to allow corporations to exclude or limit certain officers from personal liability for breaches of their fiduciary duty of care. In order for corporations to take advantage of this change in the law, companies must include a provision in their certificate of incorporation eliminating or limiting its officers from personal liability for breaches of the duty of
Continue Reading Changes to Delaware Corporate Law Concerning Officer Liability for Breach of Fiduciary Duties

How Do Family Businesses Survive Transition?
The Cornell University Smith Family Business Initiative says that more than three-quarters (77%) of small businesses rest on significant family involvement. Family Enterprise USA has counted 5.5 million family businesses in the U.S., finding that they contribute 57% of the U.S. GDP, employ 63% of workers and create 78% of all new jobs. And not all are small businesses: Businessweek.com has reported that 35% of Fortune 500 companies are family-controlled.
But the statistics on how often family businesses don’t sustain themselves over time—whether due to squabbling or for other reasons—paint a stark picture. According
Continue Reading How Often—and How—Do Family Businesses Survive Transition?

When do you need a partnership lawyer for your business?
If you are a partnership experiencing disputes, it is crucial to consult with partnership dispute litigation lawyers to protect your business interests. Our partnership dispute lawyers have experience handling all types of disputes, including breach of fiduciary duties, misappropriation of business opportunities, minority rights violations, fraud, embezzlement, and errors and omissions in partnership agreements. We understand the importance of resolving partnership disputes quickly and effectively to minimize business disruption. Contact us today for a consultation.
What are Common Partnership Disputes Where Business Lawyers Can Help?
Partnership disputes commonly occur during
Continue Reading Partnership Dispute Lawyer

Illinois Amends One Day in Seven Rest Act
The new year will bring with it activation dates for new or amended state legislation that passed earlier this year, some of which will have an impact on small business owners and their employees.
One significant change that employers should know about centers on the One Day Rest in Seven Act, or ODRISA. Heretofore, that law has mandated a minimum of 24 hours of rest per calendar week, but as of January 1, this will change to 24 hours of rest per seven-consecutive-day period. So if an employee works for six consecutive
Continue Reading On the Seventh Day, Employers Must Allow Rest

This month’s Business Bytes highlighs reservation of rights, avoiding hack attacks and workplace satefy.
Reservation of Rights.  While most states require your liability insurance carrier to defend you even if there is just an arguably covered claim alleged, they often do so under a reservation of rights. Then, as some celebrities learned, if the judgment is entered only on a non-covered claim (i.e., intentional bad conduct), your carrier may not only refuse to pay the judgment and your future defense costs but seek to recover from you the prior defense costs it paid. READ MORE.
Avoiding Hack Attacks. No
Continue Reading November Business Bytes

The Seventh Circuit federal appeals court recently determined that a Wisconsin newspaper did not commit defamation when it published a 2018 story concerning a local financial adviser. In affirming the district court’s finding in favor of the newspaper, the Seventh Circuit found that the allegedly defamatory article was largely accurate and protected under what is known under Wisconsin law as the judicial-action privilege, which protect publishers who report on court activity.

In August 2018, the Wausa Daily Herald published an article by reporter Sam Wisneski titled Wisconsin financial advisor accused of violating a dead man’s trust, mishandling $3 million. In
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Finds in Favor of Newspaper in Defamation Suit over Article Detailing Trustee’s Breach of Fiduciary Duties

On October 26, 2022, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors unanimously voted to clarify how schools and collectives can be involved with the name, image and likeness (NIL) activities of enrolled student-athletes.  The Board found it necessary to provide additional guidance to schools and booster organizations on a number of key questions that have arisen since the adoption of the Interim NIL Policy in July of 2021.  The guidance appears to address several questions related to booster organizations known as “collectives” that have been raising funds for NIL activities in cooperation with schools.  The guidance defines collectives generally as
Continue Reading NCAA Clarifies NIL Rules for Institutions

Eric Wilen is the President of the DuPage County Estate Planning Council for 2022 – 2023.  The DuPage County Estate Planning Council recently hosted a Judges Panel and Networking event at the Butterflied Country Club with the Honorable Bonnie Wheaton, the Honorable Paul M. Fullerton, the Honorable Anne Therieau Hayes and the Honorable James Orel from the 18th Judicial Circuit, Chancery Division.  During the evening, the Judges answered questions about Zoom and Courtroom practice and shared their insights with Council members and their invited guests.  The Judges spoke about their experiences with probate matters, views on will and trust enforcement
Continue Reading Eric Wilen Hosts a Judges Panel and Networking Event

In a recent decision, the Seventh Circuit federal court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of an action for breach of fiduciary duty brought against two investment firms by a disgruntled customer. In ruling that the District Court properly dismissed the claims, the Court found that the fiduciary duties the investment firms owed to the plaintiff did not include a duty to stop the plaintiff’s daughter who acted under a power of attorney from making certain withdrawals from the plaintiff’s accounts.
The plaintiff, Joseph Allen, amassed a net worth of nearly $8 million dollars. He enlisted the services of the defendants,
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rules in Favor of Investment Firms in Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit