Blog Authors

Latest from Chicago Business Attorney Blog

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order on April 1 designed to protect health care providers from litigation arising out of COVID-19 cases. How does it do so, and how well would it work in practice if a lawsuit were filed?  The Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act notes that statewide public health emergencies require “an enormous response” from different levels of governments working alongside private and public health care providers. As such, the order attempts to “promote the public health, safety and welfare of all citizens by broadly protecting the health care facilities and health care professionals in…
Business owners are anxious to reopen their doors and revive their sales.  But there are concerns that the proper precautions be taken to protect their employees and customers, at a time when no treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 appears imminent. As governors and mayors begin to ease restrictions on businesses, previously shuttered retailers, restaurants and others have another concern that could hold them back from reopening just as surely: whether and to what extent they can be held legally liable for employees or customers who contract coronavirus. Continue reading
Cyber Security Issues while working remotely. Does your cyber liability insurance cover data breaches that occur while employees are working at home, using their personal devices such as tablets and laptops? There’s no time like the present to look into this issue, with most employees telecommuting and hackers perhaps sensing new opportunities to do what they do—and in fact, cyber intrusions have been on the upswing in recent weeks. Continue reading
Small and medium-sized businesses with up to 500 employees are required to provide employees with up to 14 weeks of leave, most of which must be paid, for circumstances related to COVID-19, under a pair of temporary pieces of legislation that passed Congress last month. Starting April 2 and through December 31, 2020, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires that employers provide up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave—which has been required to be offered, but not required to be paid, since the 1993 passage of the original legislation. And also from April 2 through…
Chicago area business owners are facing a number of challenges and the coronavirus pandemic is threatening the viability of their business.   Here are some of the more frequently questions asked by business owners. Do I have to close my business? As of March 30 over half of Americans were under “stay at home” orders in 24 states and the District of Columbia in addition to several other major cities and local areas.  Four states have also ordered all nonessential businesses to close without issuing a formal “stay at home” order.  Which businesses can and cannot stay open varies depending on…
As Chicago area business litigation lawyers this is a question we frequently are asked. Electronic Signatures are Enforceable under Illinois Laws.  E-Signatures are permissible and valid in Illinois under the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act (the ECSA). Under the ECSA e-signatures can be used for all contracts except for real estate title transfers where the document has to be recorded.    The key point is to make sure that the contract has a provision that allows e-signatures. For more information, check out our the web page of our Chicago Business Litigation law firm on the subject of e-signatures.…
What to do when your business is forced to close due to the CoronaVirus? Does your business insurance policy cover the lost business due to the pandemic?  Most businesses carry commercial property insurance, which often includes business income coverage provisions. Recent events have caused our clients to raise questions as to what to do when their business is forced to close.  There are some options to business owners. COVID-19 – the coronoavirus – has put a halt on business as we know it.  The ordered closures of restaurants and bars across the country, and the official ban on public gatherings, have…
As coronavirus puts workplaces and indeed whole states including Illinois into “shelter in place” mode, employers need to respond quickly and sensitively to a host of health-related issues that no one anticipated dealing with as recently as a few weeks ago. These questions apply less directly to the many employees who are able to work from home during the crisis, but those whose employers remain open and who need to be on site to do their jobs will have to strike a delicate balance with their employers between safety, and performance of one’s job duties (and continuing to get paid).…
THERE IS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. Practically every small business is feeling the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world.   The restaurant and hospitality industries have been hit the hardest, but every business has seen the adverse effects. Congress has recently allocated $7 Billion to the Small Business Administration under the enacted Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act to help small businesses with loans to get through this crisis.   And there may be $350 Billion more! It looks like the loans to small business owners for working capital, paying off fixed debts, payroll or…
Did someone say force majeure? COVID-19 Pandemic and Force Majeure clauses According to Black’s Law Dictionary, force majeure is defined as “An event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled.”   It is generally viewed as an unexpected event that prevents someone from doing or completing something that he or she had agreed to do.  The term is usually applied to acts of God (such as floods and hurricanes), riots, strikes and wars.  It is unclear, however, if the term includes an epidemic, such as COVID-19.   That legal term for unforeseen circumstances resulting in non-fulfillment of a contract is likely…
As Harvey Weinstein rape trial moves forward, has your Chicago area business kept up with the increased awareness of sexual harassment and moved forward with adequate policy and cultural safeguards to ensure that you’re not the next target of the #MeToo movement? A survey conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, in conjunction with the software company SAP, found that one-third of U.S. workers and 38% of supervisors say they have changed their office behavior as a result of #MeToo. The movement has had other positive impacts: 40% of working Americans say their workplace has new training…
Marijuana became legal in Illinois on January 1, yet licensed cannabis dispensaries are generally forced to operate like their street-corner, black-market counterparts in at least one respect: They are cash-only businesses because they have no access to banking services. That’s because federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, and classifies marijuana businesses as illegal. And since banking is regulated by federal law, banks technically could be subject to charges like aiding and abetting, or money laundering, should they make loans, provide credit or otherwise service these businesses. A small number of banks, often local credit unions, have…
Borrowing a line from Leynrd Skynrd’s song, three quick steps to the doorway of business organization will get you into today’s preferred format for your business – a limited liability company (“LLC”).    So here are the three quick steps: Draft and file the Illinois Articles of Organization.  This is a required form offered by the Illinois Secretary of State and gives the State all of the required details for your LLC.  This is required in every state.  Although the questions seem simple, each one can have some serious ramifications for your business.    Even the choice of…
If you’ve watched any of the Democratic presidential debates, you might have heard candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang – you know, the guy with the $1,000 per month guaranteed income plan – talk about something called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”   This is a recognition that technology is imploding and changing everything about our lives. In describing the ways social media and technology have redefined communication, in 2009 journalist Graeme Wood said that  “Change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again.”   Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, coined the phrase “fourth industrial…
The Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which prevents non-governmental employers from requiring that low-wage employees enter into non-compete agreements, has begun to impact case law in the past three years since it was enacted. Employers would be wise to take note. The act, which defines “low-wage employees” as those earning the greater of $13 per hour, or the federal, state or local minimum wage, pushes back against employers who insert such agreements into new employee packets as a matter of course. The thinking behind the Freedom to Work Act is that an employer has no legitimate business interest in restricting…