Corporate & Commercial

The Illinois Department of Agriculture posted the first of two anticipated frequently asked questions bulletins regarding the current process for the cannabis licensing process it is currently running for the Illinois craft grower, infuser, and transporter licenses available in the current round of cannabis licensing. You can find the full first FAQ on the licensing process for Illinois’s craft growers, infusers, and transporters here. You can find the link to the Department’s adult use cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter applications and other materials hosted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture on their adult use cannabis site here.…
We all get them … and we get them all the time … and we are all tired of them … and we all cuss them out! Many of those calls are illegal.   Some of the robocalls you may have agreed to receive when you signed up for certain services – like those reminders that your prescription needs to be refilled – and those are legal.  But the automated, unsolicited calls coming from other countries are finally getting some attention from the federal government. The dead heads in the House and Senate have finally agreed on something and adopted the…
On December 4, 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1557. This new law contains various amendments to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“Cannabis Act”), 410 ILCS 705/1 et seq., and provides clarity regarding the interplay between the Cannabis Act and the Illinois’ Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (“Right to Privacy Act”), 820 ILCS 55/1 et seq. The Cannabis Act legalized (under state law) the adult-use of cannabis recreationally and goes into effect January 1, 2020. The Cannabis Act does not interfere with employers’ drug-free policies but instead expressly provides…
The TTB has posted some informative videos about different issues in its trade practices enforcement efforts and the history of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The new videos are linked below and can be found on the TTB’s Trade Practices website. Each is a decent introduction to issues raised in the TTB’s enforcement of matters in the alcoholic beverage industry. FAA Act History & Background Tied House Exclusive Outlet Commercial Bribery Consignment Sales The post TTB posts informative trade practices video series about the history of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, tied-houses, exclusive outlets, bribery, and consignment. appeared first…
The plaintiff in this case is a professional photographer whose work is registered with the copyright office. He sued New York Vintners LLC for copyright infringement when they used a picture of his on a third-party website, PULSD.COM promoting their wine education classes. You can see the photograph and read the complaint here. For whatever reason, the wine retailer did not respond to the complaint and default was entered against them. In reviewing the claims and setting the judgment amount, the magistrate’s report and recommendation inquired as to the fair market value of use of the photograph and set…
Settling most cases is a difficult process, particularly when the parties dispute what exactly happened or when the underlying claim turns out to be smaller than anticipated. In Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) cases, the process can be even more difficult depending on the court’s interpretation of the FLSA’s enforcement provision, section 16, which permits the Department of Labor to supervise settlements. Courts have reached differing interpretations regarding this statutory language and whether it requires DOL or judicial approval of all FLSA settlements. The parties to an FLSA case may wish to avoid having to submit a settlement agreement to…
Can a business ban guns from the business and workplace? If a customer walked into your retail business or professional office carrying a gun, would you be comfortable with that, or would it feel a little too much like the O.K. Corral? What if they were carrying their weapon openly? Businesses in Oklahoma (postal abbreviation: OK) have had a new reason to ask themselves those questions since November 1, when a change in state law enabled most Oklahoma residents to carry firearms without a license. That follows a 2012 law that gave licensed firearms carriers the ability to open-carry weapons. …
That’s right, the oral arguments in this historic wine shipping case involving the rights of in-state citizens and out-of-state retailers to set their contractual terms and receive alcohol through third-party shippers like FedEx will be broadcast live today.  Here’s why this case about retailers shipping alcohol to residents of other states is important.   So take a break and have lunch today watching this first of its kind liquor shipping dispute. Beer, wine, and spirits retailers, especially those thinking about setting up programs to sell online shouldn’t take their eyes off this matter as it provides review of an as-of-yet…
The Ninth Circuit heard argument on the trademark dispute that Jim Beam, the maker of “Pucker” flavored vodkas, won against a rival spirits brand that makes Johnny Love Vodka, JL Beverage Co. The vodka maker, through its liquor attorneys, wanted to overturn the District Court decision in an attempt to breath life back into its lawsuit. The District Court had handed both parties something of a draw in determining that the Pucker lipstick mark did not infringe on the more realistic Johnny Love lipstick mark and that the Johnny Love mark shouldn’t be invalidated. In discussing the decision after a…
Question:        I am planning to retire and give stock in my business to my children in the next few years.  While I am not expecting any payments in return, I want to continue my salary following my retirement. Can the business continue to pay salary to me after I retire? Answer:           If you retire and are no longer rendering services for your company, you cannot continue to receive a salary.  If a tax audit occurs, the IRS will not respect the salary payments to you and will recharacterize your continuing payments from the company as a dividend or gift,…
In the Friday January 10, 2020 edition of the Illinois Register, the Illinois Department of Revenue proposed two new pieces of emergency rulemaking to implement taxation portions of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The first emergency rule implements the 7% tax on cannabis cultivators in Illinois for the privilege of cultivation. The tax is imposed on gross receipts from the initial sale of the product to another cultivator or to a craft grower, infuser or dispensing organization. The second emergency rule implements the sales tax that adult users see on their receipts for the purchase of cannabis…
An Illinois appellate court recently affirmed grant of summary judgment in favor of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) in a class-action lawsuit alleging that ComEd violated the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act (“Act”), 820 ILCS 70/1 et seq., by investigating the plaintiff’s credit history in connection with a conditional offer of employment and ultimately refusing to hire her as a result of that investigation. Many Illinois residents are familiar with ComEd, the public utility company that provides electrical services to nearly four million customers in Illinois. In 2017, ComEd offered the plaintiff a conditional offer for a part-time position. The offer…
Several months ago, medical marijuana dispensary operator, Ultra Health, won its case against the State of New Mexico for New Mexico’s odd actions in attempting to restrict how and what Ultra Health could display regarding its processes and cannabis plants at the New Mexico State Fair and for New Mexico’s improper actions for suspending Ultra Health’s licenses (22 dispensaries in New Mexico) following the incident. The State continued to restrict the free speech rights of the medical marijuana dispensary at the following year’s state fair  You can read the full opinion from the Federal District Court for the District…
We called this a while back for the broadcasters, producers, and distributors challenging Missouri’s restrictions on alcohol advertising contained in the state’s three-tier “of value” and tied-house laws and regulations.  You can read our analysis and a description of the issues in our prior posts on the case, here, here, here, and here. You’ll note this has been bouncing around for a while now as the state originally won a motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging certain Missouri liquor advertising restrictions as violative of the First Amendment. The 8th Circuit reversed that decision finding that the…
Vintage Wine Estates filed a lawsuit against Lloyd’s London and other insurers after the insurance companies failed to reimburse Vintage under an “all risk” insurance policy – denying claims that the policy covered losses Vintage suffered damage to its wines caused by the October 2017 wildfires in Sonoma County, Napa County and surrounding areas. The complaint alleges that smoke from the wildfires infiltrated the winemaking process resulting in substantial damage commonly referred to as “smoke taint” to Vintage’s wines.  Of particular interest to wineries, breweries and distilleries looking to hold insurers accountable under policies they’ve paid for over damaged products,…
Sex traffickers are as capable as the rest of us of using technology for their businesses, including social media. But what if we could prevent them from using social media for their sex trafficking? Annie McAdams is a personal injury attorney based out of Houston, TX who has sued insurance companies, drunk drivers, restaurants, and real estate developers. Now she’s taking on Facebook and other major tech companies. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 says internet companies are not responsible for what their users post, but according to McAdams, separate laws should exist that require Facebook and…