Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble, LLC

We are a general practice firm, providing legal services in corporate law, commercial transactions, real estate, contracts, estate planning, business litigation, local government representation, divorce, privacy protection, personal injury litigation, and a wide range of other legal areas. Our attorneys also serve as general counsel to many families, businesses and organizations.

Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble, LLC Blogs

Latest from Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble, LLC

A recent Illinois Appellate Court ruling upheld a carpet cleaner’s claim against a competitor that its competitors’ use of cleaning chemicals banned by the EPA that do a better cleaning job than his legal cleaning solutions constituted unfair competition in Illinois. Traditionally unfair business competition claims involve a competitors’ theft or misuse of business information, poaching protected customers or employees, or publishing false or defamatory information. None of those were involved here. The unfair competition claim was based on the competitor’s illegal or unethical conduct that did not directly relate to the operation of the plaintiff’s business. This suit is
Continue Reading New View on Unfair Competition

As close as you may monitor your debtors or borrowers, you may be surprised when you learn that a debtor or borrower is in financial distress. Some of the steps to take to prevent your borrower or debtor’s financial distress from becoming yours include:

  • Reconsidering further credit extensions.
  • Obtaining as much information as possible about the situation from your borrower, its plan to address it and the borrower’s risk of default.
  • Determining whether the distress is due to bad circumstances, bad management, or the state of the business or industry.
  • Evaluating the debtor’s chances to recover or default, and the

Continue Reading What to do When You See Your Borrower in Trouble

This month’s Business Bytes highlights cyber security, privacy violation suits and marijuana in the workplace. 
Cyber Security.  With more cyberattacks predicted and smaller businesses with less to spend on security being targeted, there are some inexpensive steps you and your employees can take to help protect your business from cyberattacks, and minimize damage if one occurs. READ MORE
Privacy Violation Suits May Not Be Insured.  Several courts are deciding whether lawsuits brought pursuant to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) are covered by existing insurance policies. If you use or collect biometric or personal information, check your current policies or
Continue Reading September Business Bytes

While it is always important to read and understand the contracts you sign, loan documents, particularly those that look to be the lender’s printed “standard form” can contain hidden provisions. While a loan may say its “unsecured,” not constituting a lien on your assets, it could contain a “negative pledge” that could prevent using your assets for security for other loans or even obtaining other credit. The negative pledge is that you will not encumber or pledge your assets for another loan or will not incur additional debt until you repay this loan. Especially in situations where you or your
Continue Reading Negative Pledge in Loan Documents

Even the smallest Illinois employers are faced with complying with a myriad of state and federal employment laws, including:

  • No age, race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation or pregnancy discrimination (All)
  • Providing equal employment opportunities without discrimination (All)
  • Allowing family medical leave (50 employees)
  • Preventing and training to identify sexual harassment (15 employees)
  • Allowing bereavement leave (51 employees)
  • Allowing blood doner leave (50 employees)
  • Allowing Civil Air Patrol leave (15 employees)
  • Allowing domestic violence leave (15 employees)
  • Allowing election judge leave (25 employees)
  • Allowing emergency work leave (All)
  • Allowing jury duty leave (All)
  • Providing meal and rest breaks (All)
  • Allowing

Continue Reading Illinois Employer Obligations List

This month’s Business Bytes highlights gift/estate tax exemption, cyber insurance confusion and social media liability. 
Gift/Estate Tax Exemption. While the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2021 increased the $5,000,00.00/$10,000.00 estate tax and $12,920,000.00/$25,840,000.00 annual gift tax exemptions for 2023, these generous exemptions sunset in 2025, so if they are useful to you, consider action. READ MORE,.
Cyber Insurance Confusion. Increased cyber-attacks put your business at risk, but obtaining appropriate cyber insurance is complex. Obtain the advice of competent experts in purchasing or deciding not to purchase this insurance, as either decision could be costly. READ MORE.
Social Media Liability. Hyped,
Continue Reading August Business Bytes

The recent U.S fine imposed on a French company pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 USC §2339 B et seq., for its payments to a terrorist organization that controlled the area where its cement factory was located in order to keep it operating, is a warning to all companies engaged in international trade. Like our government’s enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 15 USC Ch. 2B §78a et seq., barring paying bribes to foreign governments or agents, the U.S. Justice Department will pursue payments made to designated terrorist organizations. Not only should you ensure your employees know and comply
Continue Reading International Business and Terrorism

Like a parent preparing an estate plan or an engaged couple preparing a pre-nuptial agreement, when you start or invest in a business you should have an exit plan. Deaths, disabilities, retirements or just the passage of time can create the need for substantial changes in your business or investment, and planning for the inevitable makes good business sense.
Some issues to consider in preparing your exit plan include:

  • Discuss and document an exit plan for owners and investors when forming your business and when bringing in new owners or investors.
  • Encourage all stakeholders to accept and participate in the

Continue Reading Plan Your Business/Investment Exit

This month’s Business Bytes highlights privacy protection, pursuing insurance claims and businesses in distress.
Privacy Protection.  While Illinois may have been first to enact strict privacy protections, most states, the federal government and many countries have laws or regulations regarding the collection, use, storage and sale of private and biometric information, with most providing for substantial fines and civil damages for noncompliance. Know what you collect and the risks. READ MORE.
Persistence in Pursuing Insurance Claims. Many carriers’ first response to a claim is to deny it, so don’t quit. Be persistent in pursuit and if you need help,
Continue Reading July Business Bytes

A recent rash of court rulings highlight the need to give all of your insurance carriers timely, complete, accurate and documented notice of a lawsuit, claim or potential claim in order to ensure you are entitled to the carrier’s defense and coverage that you paid for. As soon as you learn that someone is making, preparing to make or made a claim against you, your business or its employees or agents, you should send notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each and every insurance company that could possibly cover the claim, not merely your agent or broker. Strict
Continue Reading Notice to Your Insurance Carrier

Whenever you are in business with another person or you employ other persons in your business, you expose your personal assets to claims by parties that may be harmed by the actions or omissions of those other people. If not addressed before the liability occurs, the loss could be fatal to your business as well as damaging to your personal assets.
Some steps to take to reduce or avoid these risks include:

  • Use a limited liability entity or corporation for your business and properly maintain it.
  • Properly identify your business as an entity and that you are acting on its

Continue Reading Avoiding Personal Liability for your Partner’s Actions

This month’s Business Bytes highlights side hussles, employees’ social media and new class action targets.
Don’t Let Your Side Hussle Sideline You.  As one of the owners of a business, your side job or employment outside of that business could pose problems or create conflicts. Disclose, disclaim and document are some of the ways to avoid them. READ MORE.
Dilemma of Employees on Social Media. While a recent case found an employer not liable for terminating an employee when the employee’s conduct on social media clashed with the employer’s policies and could damage its reputation, it heightened the risks
Continue Reading June Business Bytes

Illinois law, 820 ILCS 40 et seq., obligates employers to timely provide on the demand of any employee or a former employee within one year of termination, an opportunity to review and obtain copies of any personnel file maintained on that employee relating to his employment. The request must be in writing on an employer provided form. An employer’s failure to timely comply with a proper request could result in prosecution of a complaint by the Illinois Department of Labor seeking compliance and fines or a civil suit seeking actual damages and attorney’s fees.
If you have any questions or
Continue Reading Illinois Personnel Records Review Act

While most employers are not obligated to provide severance to properly terminated at-will employees, no improper discrimination, contract obligations or retaliation involved, they often offer some form of severance conditioned on the terminated employee signing a severance or separation agreement that includes a waiver of claims against the employer and a promise of non-competition and other protections of the employer’s business. Recently enacted state laws and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rulings, no longer limited to collective bargaining situations (unions), may make those employer protection and release provisions not only unenforceable but could expose an employer to liability.
No Non-Competition
Continue Reading New Restrictions on Employment, Severance and Separation Agreements

This month’s Business Bytes highights cloud protection, corporate criminal liability and workplace injuries. 
Protection for Cloud Storage.  While it is popular and often less expensive to use cloud computer storage, not all providers are the same and caution is needed to switch providers. Be sure your cloud storage vender is stable, secure and insured in case your stored data is lost, leaked or stolen. READ MORE.
Corporate Criminal Liability. Recent Department of Justice pronouncements and enforcement actions indicate an increased effort to not only hold corporations liable for criminal conduct, but to prosecute individuals responsible for the corporation’s criminal
Continue Reading May Business Bytes

Illinois recently addressed a persistent problem with the time and cost to obtain condominium association documents in order to complete a condo sale by amending the Condominium Property Act, 765 ILCS 605/22.1, effective January 1, 2023. The association must now provide the 22.1 documents for a sale within five (5) business days and other information within ten (10) business days of a written request, and can charge no more than $375.00 to copy the documents and $100.00 more for rush requests. This should reduce closing costs and delays.
If you are buying or selling a condo, other residence or any
Continue Reading   Speedier Documents for Condominium Sales