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Property insurance policies typically contain provisions requiring the insured to cooperate with the insurer in the investigation and adjustment of the loss. As part of those post-loss obligations, the insured may be required, if requested by the insurer, to submit to an examination under oath and produce documents and records related to the claim. The typical policy provision is phrased as follows: Your Duties After Loss After a loss to which this insurance may apply, you shall see that the following duties are performed: As often as we reasonably require, submit to and subscribe, while not in the presence of…
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” –Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III Al Pacino probably doesn’t know it, but his iconic line from The Godfather Part III encapsulates the plight of hospitals pulled into medical malpractice suits due to negligent credentialing claims. That’s because plaintiffs sometimes assert this claim when they cannot prove a deviation from the standard of care on the part of any hospital employee or agent—so even if a hospital thinks that it’s out of the suit, plaintiffs can sometimes pull it back in by alleging that it negligently credentialed the…
A person injured by another’s negligence is entitled to recover the reasonable value of the necessary medical care she received for her injuries. Although most injured parties have their medical care paid for by a third party—either health insurance or a government program—which settles the medical bills for a significantly discounted amount, in Illinois the injured party can submit the actual billed charges with a proper foundation to seek recovery of more than was actually paid for her care. In Willis v. Foster, 229 Ill. 2d 393 (208), the Supreme Court of Illinois held that the defendant may not introduce…
A wide variety of employment-related statutory changes went into effect in Illinois this year. These include important amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), such as P.A. 101-0430, which, effective July 1, 2020, expanded the definition of an employer to cover any person employing at least one (not fifteen) employee(s). Additionally, P.A. 101-0221—which enacted the Workplace Transparency Act, the Sexual Harassment Victim Representation Act, and the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act and which amended the IHRA, the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), and the Uniform Arbitration Act— imposed new sexual-harassment training requirements. With the advent of…
Any defense practitioner who frequently litigates in Illinois state court has seen this situation before. You are defending an action, and at some point, and for whatever reason, the plaintiff moves for a voluntary dismissal under 735 ILCS 5/2-1009. The dismissal order includes language giving plaintiff “leave to replead, with costs to be repaid upon refiling, etc.” Oftentimes, plaintiff does in fact refile the action within one year, pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/13-217, in the form of a new complaint with a new case number. The defendant is served in the new suit, and the litigation essentially picks up where…
The Illinois Department of Insurance cannot adjudicate employment status disputes relating to insurance premium calculations. That is the ruling from the Illinois First District Court of Appeals in a significant decision with ramifications for trucking companies utilizing owner-operator agreements. The case, CAT Express, Inc. v. Muriel, 2019 IL App (1st) 181851, concerned whether truck drivers retained under an owner-operator agreement are employees or independent contractors for the purpose of workers’ compensation insurance. CAT Express (“CAT”), an Illinois based trucking company, applied for workers’ compensation insurance through the Illinois Assigned Risk Plan. In its application, it identified six clerical employees to…
The old maxim that “bad facts make bad law” is only a precursor to the conclusion that “bad facts and bad law make very bad results.” Bronx Honda engaged in almost inexplicably bad behavior by engaging in discriminatory and deceptive practices related to its vehicle financing practices for minority customers. In a case that has broad industry implications, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took note and put the pedal to the metal on stopping these practices. On May 21, 2020, the FTC filed a complaint for injunctive and other relief against Liberty Chevrolet d/b/a Bronx Honda and its individual general…
By now, most of us have seen a funny warning sign or two, either in person or perhaps as a meme on social media. While these warnings may give us a quick laugh, can they also be useful in shielding against liability for bodily injury claims? The Third District of the Illinois Appellate Court thinks so, as set forth in its recent decision in Smith v. The Purple Frog, Inc., 2019 IL App (3d) 180132. In Smith, plaintiff sued a bar for negligence after backing into a heater located in the bar’s outdoor beer garden and sustaining injury. Plaintiff had…
A product liability claim can survive a motion for summary judgment under three theories. For a plaintiff’s product liability negligence claim to proceed, the plaintiff must: (1) allege the product had a design defect, (2) allege there was a manufacturing defect, or (3) claim the product did not have proper warnings for consumers. When a plaintiff alleges a design defect, he or she must claim the product’s design made it unreasonably dangerous. If alleging a manufacturing defect, the plaintiff must claim the product manufactured was defective and different from the intended design. In Salerno v. Innovative Surveillance Technology Inc. (“IST”),…
In the Seventh Circuit it has long been acceptable to file a Motion to Dismiss in order to enforce a forum selection clause. See Auto. Mechanics Local 701 Welfare & Pension Funds v. Vanguard Car Rental USA, Inc., 502 F.3d 740, 746 (7th Cir. 2007). But a just-published case out of the Northern District of Illinois reflects a different practice:  that a forum-selection clause, if it permits federal jurisdiction, should now be enforced via a motion to transfer, not a motion to dismiss. The history of this change can help inform practitioners when deciding how to enforce forum selection clauses…
A recent decision could dramatically narrow the use of protected health information (“PHI”) that is disclosed to an insurer following the conclusion of litigation in Illinois. With this decision comes possible far-reaching implications facing insurers going forward by preventing the development of future medical fraud litigation and monetary recoveries. In Haage v. Zavala, et al. 2020 IL App (2d) 190499 (March 17, 2020), Plaintiffs filed negligence suits for auto collisions, and moved for entry of qualified protective orders pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) (Pub. L. No. 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936 (1996) [codified as amended in…
In Graham v. Lakeview Food Pantry, 2019 IL App (1st) 182003, the First District affirmed summary judgment for defendants, including the Catholic Bishop of Chicago (“the Archdiocese”), on plaintiff’s negligence complaint following a fall at defendant’s church. Ultimately, the court found that plaintiff’s claim against the Archdiocese was time-barred by the Illinois statute of repose for construction (735 ILCS 5/13-214(b) (West 2016) (“the statute”). Case Summary On January 17, 2015, plaintiff went to the Archdiocese’s church to accept food donations from co-defendant, Lakeview Food Pantry, which leased space in the church’s basement. Plaintiff was in the process of leaving the…
Most lawyers are keenly aware of Illinois’ Attorney Registration Commission’s (ARDC) role in the attorney registration, licensing, and continuing education processes.  However, many are unaware of the processes involved in the investigation and prosecution of attorney discipline matters.  Here are three tips (and a bonus!) for things you should consider if you are faced with a complaint to or Request for Investigation from the ARDC. Don’t delay, but don’t fire off an emotional response. Rule 53 of the Rules of the ARDC requires lawyers practicing within the state of Illinois to respond to ARDC’s requests for information in writing within…
From West Coast to East Coast, states have rushed to issue orders, rules, and regulations to address the new coronavirus pandemic, including, in part, the states’ determinations of what construction work/services are “essential.” Those definitions of “essential” construction activities vary greatly;  some states adopted severe restrictions on construction (allowing only emergency repairs), while others issued few restrictions (leaving construction relatively unaffected). Despite the states’ attempts to maintain “essential” construction projects, the COVID-19 pandemic caused more than one out of four contractors to halt or delay work. According to an April survey released by the Associated General Contractors of America (830…
In general, Illinois law requires that a lawsuit be commenced “(1) in the county of residence of any defendant who is joined in good faith and with probable cause for the purpose of obtaining a judgment against him or her and not solely for the purpose of fixing venue in that county, or (2) in the county in which the transaction or some part thereof occurred out of which the cause of action arose.” 735 ILCS 5/2-101. For venue purposes, the residence of a corporation, such as a hospital, is in the county where it has any office or is…
On March 25, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) published on its website a draft memorandum entitled “Interpretation of ‘Begin Actual Construction’ Under the New Source Review Preconstruction Permitting Regulations” (“draft memorandum”). The draft memorandum announces that USEPA is adopting a revised interpretation of “begin actual construction” that will allow a source owner or operator to undertake significantly more physical on-site activities prior to obtaining a construction permit than previously allowed under the current interpretation.  Background of the “begin actual construction” requirement, history of the current interpretation, and the meaning and impacts of the revised interpretation are discussed…