Privacy & Data Security

Generally, members of the board of directors of a corporation are protected from liability for the actions of the corporation and its employees, but that protection is not absolute and is being eroded by recent court rulings. In the corporation hierarchy, the shareholders (owners) elect the directors who are responsible for broad corporate policies and hire the officers (president, CEO, etc.) who are responsible for operating the business and hiring the employees. In small corporations, persons often hold multiple positions. To attract and protect your directors, particularly those who are just board members (independent directors), whether compensated or not, the
Continue Reading Protecting Corporate Board Members 

Our Business Bytes highlights recent publications, issues, events and successes that we think our clients and friends should know about. We seek out, sort, prioritize and summarize them for your quick review. Please contact us if you have any questions, issues or problems with your business or otherwise that we can help solve. 
Domestic Worker Rules. The Illinois Department of Labor issued final rules effective August 1, 2022, regarding the employment, compensation, conditions and employer requirements for domestic workers. They include obligations for domestic workers that are shared or employed by multiple households, including persons employed as nannies, caregivers, housekeepers
Continue Reading October Business Bytes

As any business can be a cyberattack target, business owners should:

  • Foster a culture of security awareness in their organization by clear and consistent messaging, policies, and procedures.
  • Have clear written security policies and incident response plans that provide guidance, rules and expectations when it comes to handling and accessing company systems and information, and addressing a breach.
  • Provide regular and consistent training relating to security.
  • Invest in technical safeguards and the people needed to keep them up to date, including continual monitoring, regular back up of systems, and maintaining physical security practices.
  • Obtain a dedicated and appropriate cyber insurance

Continue Reading Cyberattack Protection

A trademark is a legally protected, non-generic, unique and distinctive name, symbol, letter, word, mark, slogan, phrase, smell, color, sound or hologram that can be owned to identify your business, products or services. It identifies and distinguishes your business or product from competitors or copycats. The value of a successful trademark continues to increase, including licenses and sales, but they need to be properly designed, registered and protected in order to retain their value and prevent their unauthorized use.
Some tips regarding trademarks include:

  • Make sure that your trademark is distinctive, non-generic and a strong identifier of your business, products

Continue Reading Trademarks

The number of seniors targeted by scams, identity theft, charity fraud, online deception and undue influence increases each year. These occur in person and by phone, mail, e-mail, and social media, and target the most vulnerable. Don’t find out too late that those you care about are victims. You can assist, protect, and ensure them that they won’t become victims by discussing with them the use of a Power of Attorney, guardianship and other legal protections for their property, assets, income, and estates during their lives and after their death.
Please contact us to discuss what protections are available and
Continue Reading Guardianships and Powers of Attorney

Unfortunately, many businesses are confronted with extraordinary losses and may be forced to choose between a creditor workout or a reorganization bankruptcy in order to survive. Some of the differences between workouts and bankruptcies include.

  • Timing. A creditor workout is generally faster than a bankruptcy and can involve only a few major creditors as opposed to all. Bankruptcies also take longer because of the required notices and formalities.
  • Cost. A creditor workout is usually less expensive than a bankruptcy as there are fewer filings and professional fees.
  • Disruption to Operations. Unless a company is publicly, traded, owned, or has publicly

Continue Reading What is the Difference Between Creditor Workouts and Bankruptcy?

Almost all employers in Illinois are subject to the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and any employers subject to the U.S. Minimum Wage Act are also subject to the Federal Pay Act, that ensure women are paid equal to men for the same job, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, that prohibits gender discrimination. While the determination of what constitutes equal pay is complex, violations, particularly shown to be in bad faith, can result in government enforcement actions and individual civil suits to recover compensatory damages, costs, attorney’s fees, and possibly punitive damages. As enforcement and
Continue Reading Equal Pay Act

Eric Wilen presented his program “Navigating the Estate Planning Client Through Common Myths and Competing Voices” to the lawyers of the DuPage County Bar Association in June 2022. Eric discussed how estate planners can filter, evaluate and address clients’ most frequent misconceptions, fears, misinformation and “free” advice they receive from social media, family and friends about estate planning probate, taxes and inheritances before their first meeting with a competent, committed and capable estate planner, in order to meet the clients’ needs and exceed their expectations. As a distinguished estate planner and tax advisor, Eric often addresses groups of attorneys, accountants,
Continue Reading Eric Wilen presents program: ‘Navigating the Estate Planning Client Through Common Myths and Competing Voices’

Operating your business as a limited liability entity generally protects your personal assets from claims of business creditors, but the informal operation of small to mid-sized and family-owned businesses can sometimes weaken that protection when things go bad, allowing a business creditor to reach the owners’ personal assets. Some of the areas where the risk is highest include:

  • Signing Documents/Guaranties. Avoid personal guaranties, recourse loans and providing your personal information for business credit, and always sign as a representative.
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duties. Officers, directors, employees and sometimes shareholders owe fiduciary duties to the entity and their improper conduct gives

Continue Reading Avoiding Personal Risk From Your Business

Blended families bring unique challenges to wealth, retirement, financial and estate planning. Divorce decrees, second families, new in-laws, stepchildren and a whole new clan are some of the issues to address. Using experienced counsel can ensure your wishes are honored and family disputes after your death are minimized. Some of the planning tools available for blended family planning include:

  • Will.  The ultimate planning document and the final backstop to ensure your wishes are honored. While there are formalities, it can be changed by codicil or replaced when your wishes or situation change.
  • Living Trusts. They hold your assets during life

Continue Reading Planning for Blended Families

Asset protection planning is taking proactive steps to protect your personal or business assets and income before there is a legitimate threat or claim against you or your business. This is not giving away or transferring your assets to other parties, that carries its own risks, nor hiding your assets, but organizing and compartmentalizing your assets in order to isolate and protect them from creditor claims. Some asset protection planning you can do include:

  • Insurance. Liability, property, life, auto, business, E&D, D&O, cyber and other types of insurance should be considered and acquired to protect you and your assets in

Continue Reading Asset Protection Planning

Unexpected supply-chain tie-ups, price increases, delivery delays and product shortages recently plagued many businesses. If they are not bad enough, handling the situation poorly can also result in contract breaches, customer/supplier losses, damages and lawsuits.
To minimize these unfortunate results, we recommend that you try to get ahead of the situation and offer these tips:

  • Communicate with your customers/suppliers to let them know you have some supply/cost issues and may not be able to meet your deadlines/pricing.
  • Be proactive and encourage customers to order early, suppliers to confirm inventories and deliveries, and to lock in current prices when possible.
  • Buy

Continue Reading Supply Chain, Product Increases and Shortages

On March 8, 2022, the Northern District of Illinois issued an opinion in State Auto. Mut. Insur. Co. v. Tony’s Finer Foods Enter., Inc., et al., 20-CV-6199, 2022 WL 683688 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 8, 2022) again addressing whether insurance coverage existed for an employer with respect to its employee’s claims of violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 40 ILCS 14/1 et seq. The Northern District of Illinois previously addressed similar issues but rendered differing opinions in Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., S.I. v. Caremel, Inc., 20 C 637, 2020 WL 8093501 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2022) and
Continue Reading Split Emerging Within Northern District of Illinois Concerning Application of ERP Exclusion in BIPA Lawsuits

On March 1, 2022, the Northern District of Illinois issued an opinion in Citizens Insur. Co of Am., & Hanover Insur. Co. v. Thermoflex Waukegan, LLC, 20-CV-05980, 2022 WL 602534 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 1, 2022) addressing whether insurance coverage existed for an employer with respect to its employee’s claims of violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 40 ILCS 14/1 et seq.

In Thermoflex, an employee filed a class-action lawsuit against its employer in Illinois state court, alleging that his employer collected its employees’ handprint data in violation of BIPA. The employer collected the handprint data for purposes
Continue Reading Northern District Injects Confusion as to Whether Insurers Can Rely on the Employment-Related Practices Exclusion to Preclude Coverage for an Employee BIPA Suit

In McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park, LLC, 2022 IL 126511, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion finding the exclusive remedy provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (“Compensation Act”) 820 ILCS 305/1 et seq. does not bar an employee’s claim for statutory damages under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 40 ILCS 14/1 et seq.

An employee filed a class-action lawsuit against her employer for violating BIPA. Her employer required its employees to use a biometric timekeeping system in order to scan an employee’s fingerprint for purposes of authenticating an employee and tracking their time at work. The
Continue Reading The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act Does Not Bar An Employee’s Claim Under BIPA

Manufacturing delays, transportation shortages and overall supply chain issues caused problems for many businesses from manufacturing to retail. These situations outside of your control can also result in further problems for your business if you fail to supply, provide or have in inventory sufficient products for your customers. There are steps you can take to avoid, limit or minimize claims against you in these situations.

  • Review any and all contract documents to assess your potential exposure and the obligations others owe to you if these problems arise.
  • Redraft or amend your contract documents to limit your exposure in the

Continue Reading Supply Chain and Related Issues

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