Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Latest from Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog

Real product reviews are a great tool for helping consumers make better, informed decisions. Many of these reviews come from real customers who really used the product. Other reviews, however—particularly those on websites, in blogs, and on social media—are not from legitimate customers but come from companies that use fake reviews to paint a pretty picture of their products and boost their bottom line. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) set its sights on a cosmetic company accused of posting fake consumer reviews of its own products online. According to a leaked internal email, the CEO of the…
A federal judge reversed himself and reinstated part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann against The Washington Post. The lawsuit alleged that the newspaper libeled the teen in its coverage of his encounter with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial earlier this year. The federal judge assigned to the case, Judge William O. Bertelsman, originally dismissed the suit back in July on First Amendment grounds. After a request for reconsideration, the Judge reversed himself saying that the libel suit could go forward while narrowing the scope of the suit from 33…
Earlier this year, a federal grand jury indicted pioneer of self-driving car technology and serial entrepreneur, Anthony Levandowski, with trade secret theft. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California charged Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google under 18 U.S.C. § 1832 of the Economic Espionage Act (EEA). According to the indictment, Levandowski allegedly downloaded more than 14,000 files containing crucial information about Google’s autonomous-vehicle research before leaving the company in 2016. The indictment also alleges that Levandowski then made an unauthorized transfer of the files to his…
Earlier this month McDonald’s announced suddenly that the board had voted to terminate CEO Steve Easterbrook due to a consensual relationship with another McDonald’s employee. The day after firing Easterbrook, McDonald’s outlined the terms of Easterbrook’s severance package in a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission. Easterbrook will receive 26 weeks of salary as severance, totaling at least $675,000 before benefits. In addition, he will be eligible for a prorated bonus if McDonald’s hits its performance targets for 2019. The severance agreement also includes several restrictive covenants including a strict non-compete provision prohibiting Easterbrook from working for any fast-food…
Most of us have become accustomed to the idea of saying just about anything on social media without having to face any real consequences for our words, but Elon Musk is about to go to trial over a couple of words he posted on Twitter in the summer of 2018. You might remember the case of the boys’ soccer team and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand for several days before rescuers were finally able to get them all out. The incident gained international attention and Elon Musk sent a team of engineers from the three companies he…
Netflix released its movie about the Panama Papers on October 18th, and while fictional versions of Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca narrate the story of the movie to “tell their side”, the real-life Mossack and Fonseca are suing Netflix for defamation. Mossack and Fonseca are the two lawyers who founded and ran the law firm Mossack Fonseca out of Panama. Their law firm controlled the finances for companies for people all over the world. These are known as offshore accounts, and while they are legal, the Panama Papers revealed that some of the companies allegedly held by the law firm…
As consumers have started to recognize the unhealthy effects of consuming corn syrup, more and more food and beverage manufacturers have removed or limited its use in their products. While beer has never been considered a health food, the battle over corn syrup appears to have made its way to the world of beer, starting with Anheuser-Busch’s Superbowl commercial showing an order of corn syrup being delivered by mistake to the castle of the fictional medieval king of Bud Light. The king then leads a quest to remedy the mistake by personally taking the corn syrup to the fictional king…
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…
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…
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 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…
To combat the increasing restrictions in non-compete agreements, legislators throughout the United States have been passing laws to limit what restrictions employers can put in their non-compete agreements with their workers, or even whether they can use non-compete agreements at all. California has refused to recognize any non-compete agreements, and other states have followed suit. A federal law limiting or banning non-compete agreements does not exist, though bills on the issue have been proposed. The latest tactic used by employers to get around the restrictions placed on non-compete agreements has been something called “garden leave”. Garden leave is when an…