Corporate & Commercial

Jared Pozner, who lost his 6-year-old son, Noah, in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, has had to deal with attacks from everyone from the hosts of radio shows to the authors of books claiming he’s lying about his son’s death. In addition to the HONR Networking, an advocacy group that puts pressure on social media sites like Facebook to remove false or misleading information about the Sandy Hook shooting, Pozner and several other families of the victims have filed defamation lawsuits against their accusers all over the country. The largest defamation lawsuit is against Alex…
While buying a used car might sound like a great way to save money, a new investigation allegedly found that buying from AutoNation could mean the possibility of buying a car that AutoNation knows is defective (or is subject to recall) but never bothered to have repaired or to resolve the recall issue. There is a federal law that prevents auto dealers from selling new defective automobiles, but there is no such law to prevent anyone from selling used cars with defects. A new federal bill was recently introduced that would close that loophole, but we have yet to see…
The Federal Trade Commission is asking the Second Circuit federal appeals court to uphold a finding that 1-800 Contacts violated antitrust law by preventing rivals from using its trademarked name in search ads. Meanwhile, 1-800 Contacts is also defending against a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of consumers centering on the same conduct, but also naming additional retailers as defendants, including National Vision, Vision Direct, Luxxotica and Walgreens. Luxxotica recently agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle the claims against it in the lawsuit and National Vision settled for $7 million in 2017. The dispute centers on 1-800 Contacts’s business…
The new Illinois laws legalizing cannabis has a benefit to old stoners – expungement of criminal records. Among the several provisions of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act which takes effect on January 1 are provisions that include some dramatic criminal justice reforms.  The most important of these provisions are the expungement provisions for certain past cannabis-related criminal convictions. Illinois laws now permit expungement of prior cannabis related crimes. The new laws provide for an expedited and automatic expungement[1] procedure for convictions of cannabis related crimes which (1) involved less than 30 grams of cannabis and (2) did…
The United States Department of Agriculture has released its initial guidance through an interim rule, the Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program (link to the full text). The rule is part of the system mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill governing hemp production and should be followed by FDA guidance and a flood of state statutory and regulatory rulings regarding the marketing, sale, and distribution of hemp and hemp-based products like CBDs. The rule regarding hemp production programs will likely become the final rule, but is technically emplaced for only two years and gets replaced by the final rule.…
In T-Mobile USA Inc. v. Selective Ins. Co. of Am., No. 96500-5, — P.3d —, 2019 WL 5076647 (Wash. Oct. 10, 2019), the Supreme Court of Washington answered the Ninth Circuit’s certified question regarding whether an insurance company is bound by its agent’s written representation — made in a certificate of insurance — that a particular corporation is an additional insured under a given policy. Under Washington law, the answer is “yes” — an insurance company is bound by the representation of its agent in those circumstances where the agent acted with apparent authority even though that agent’s representation turned…
Question: I loaned a sizeable sum to my daughter to enable her to purchase a residence.  While I expect to be repaid, there is no specific time for repayment and no interest will be paid on the loan.  What are the tax consequences of this arrangement? Answer: Persons who make non-interest bearing loans face various tax consequences.  The borrower of a non-interest bearing loan is treated as having made interest payments to the lender computed based on IRS-prescribed interest rates in effect from time to time, the Applicable Federal Rate.  The lender, in turn, is treated as having retransferred the…
The slow march to realizing the impacts of the Tennessee Wine ruling will unfold over the next few years as states refuse to reconsider their in-state vs. out-of-state alcohol regulations and legislation and choose to fight those businesses and individuals claiming that various alcohol regulations or laws discriminate against in-state vs. out-of-state interests in violation of the Commerce Clause. For instance, in our neck of the woods, both Indiana and Iowa allow in-state brewers the privilege of self-distribution but do not allow out-of-state brewers the same privilege as states like Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan do. The advocates for change have…
As we enter the final quarter of 2019, employers must begin to look ahead and begin preparing for a number of new employment laws that will take effect January 1, 2020. Even though employers have nearly 100 days to review and revise their employment policies, they should start familiarizing themselves now with the new requirements, training management in compliance, and preparing to implement any new procedures come the start of 2020. Department of Labor’s new overtime exemption rules Most employers are familiar with the overtime exemptions under federal law. Effective January 1, 2020, the criteria for many of those exemptions…
A retailer’s plan for calculating commissions for its sales associates did not violate the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act because the relevant portion of the statute concerned only deductions from an employee’s wages, and not the method used to calculate the employee’s gross pay prior to deductions. The Tile Shop, LLC sells tile and related materials and accessories. It operates 128 retail stores across 31 states. Each store employs a manager, one or two assistant managers, and a staff of sales associates. Sales associates and assistant managers are primarily responsible for sales. The Tile Shop pays its sales associates…
A beer distributor had a distribution agreement with Monster Energy to be the exclusive distributor for Monster’s products for a fixed term in a specified territory. Monster sought to terminate the relationship and the parties went to arbitration to determine whether the distributor, Olympic Eagle, was entitled to protection under state law – specifically questioning whether Monster Energy had good cause to terminate Olympic as would be required if a state-specific franchise law applied. The parties chose an arbitrator from JAMS and the arbitrator’s packet disclosed the following: I practice in association with JAMS. Each JAMS neutral, including me,…
Online dating sites are an increasingly common way people seek to find romance. But, according to the Federal Trade Commission, these sites could also be a source of scams or a haven for scammers. The FTC recently filed a lawsuit against the company that owns popular dating sites and apps such as Match.com, Tinder, OKCupid, and PlentyOfFish, alleging that the company used fake advertisements designed to trick consumers into believing someone had shown interest in them and purchase a paid subscriptions on Match.com. According to the FTC’s complaint, many consumers received emails or instant messages containing attention-grabbing text such as:…
Business owners and consumers alike know that contracts are an everyday part of life. Equally common though are modifications or amendments to those contracts. Some modifications are memorialized in writing. Many more, however, are made orally and even worse some are implied through a party’s conduct. As we have discussed previously, Illinois law permits the parties to a contract to orally modify their contracts, even if the contract provides that all amendments must be in writing. However, certain contracts are subject to specific statutory provisions that prohibit oral modifications. One such statutory prohibition against oral modifications is Section 2-209…
When last we reported on this particular facet of the MillerCoors Anheuser-Busch corn syrup litigation, it was an interesting exchange noted from the oral argument. Judge Easterbrook noted in oral argument as an oddly astute aside that it must be hard to remove all residual sugars in a product. You can read about that and listen to the oral argument about the beer here. He’s right. And he would also likely have access to the sealed documents. Which, Anheuser-Busch just moved to unseal and, which Law360 is reporting say that Anheuser-Busch has conducted testing that proves its competitor’s beers actually…
Should relators rejoice? The Supreme Court may have put to rest the vast uncertainty surrounding the applicable statute of limitations in False Claim Act (“FCA”) suits where the government declines to intervene with its recent ruling in Conchise v. U.S. ex rel. Hunt. After the Eleventh Circuit’s holding deepened an already existing circuit split as to applicable statute of limitations under the FCA, the Supreme Court granted certiorari. The Whistleblower Wire blog previously discussed the Eleventh Circuit’s holding here and the Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari here. In its May 13, 2019 opinion, the Court unanimously affirmed…
When two people purchased an RV that was later found to have a defect that substantially impaired its value, the purchasers were not required to give the seller of the RV time to cure the defect before being able to revoke their acceptance and receive a refund of their purchase price. The Illinois Supreme Court held that Illinois’ statute only required allowing the seller time to cure a defect if the purchaser had accepted a commercial unit with knowledge of a defect and an agreement with the seller which contemplated the seller repairing the defect. In April 2014, Kimberly Accettura…