HeplerBroom Blog

Chances are you first become aware that your company is a target or subject of a criminal antitrust investigation when you receive a grand jury subpoena, or worse, when federal agents show up with a search warrant asking questions. This is serious business, given the consequences. Among the many questions experienced antitrust counsel will ask you early on is whether you have an antitrust compliance program, and if so, how it is set up and operates. In recent years, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) assigned no weight to the existence of a compliance program,…
On July 10, 2019, Missouri Governor Michael Parson signed significant pieces of legislation that confirmed his emphasis on tort reform in Missouri. The Governor previously highlighted tort reform in his State of the State address in January 2019. In that address, Parson referenced the need for increased regulatory and venue reform in the Show-Me State. The legislation signed in this month’s slate achieved the goals outlined in that speech and more. The relevant bills will significantly impact litigation and trial practice in Missouri’s courts via considerations to venue, joinder, and discovery issues. Additionally, the legislation changes the long-time approach towards…
Be our guest, be our guestWatch your step, may we suggestFrom known dangers, we’ll protectBut we have no duty to inspect! If Beauty and the Beast took place in modern-day Missouri instead of 18th century France, those probably would have been the words to “Be Our Guest.” That’s because property owners in Missouri do not have a duty to inspect their premises for the safety of their social guests, also known as “licensees.” On the other hand, property owners must inspect their premises for dangerous conditions in order to protect customers or clients, a.k.a. “invitees.” In the recent case Scholdberg…
On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed an appellate court’s ruling on an Illinois Pollution Control Board (“Board”) decision involving groundwater monitoring at clean construction or demolition debris fill sites, in The County of Will v. The Pollution Control Board, 2019 IL 122798, Case Nos. 122798, 122813. The case concerned the Board’s adoption of regulations governing the use of clean construction or demolition debris (“CCDD”) and uncontaminated soil (“US”) as fill material at CCDD fill operations. CCDD is uncontaminated broken concrete without protruding metal bars, stone, bricks, rock, or reclaimed asphalt pavement generated from construction or demolition…
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Responsibility (IDFPR) is the state agency that oversees licensure and discipline of various health care practitioners, including physicians, nurses, and dentists, among others. The IDFPR is charged with overseeing enforcement of the various healthcare practice acts, and it typically investigates matters brought to its attention, primarily from patient complaints. With the advent of electronic communications, dissatisfied patients can pursue complaints with far greater ease. The simplicity of electronically filing a patient complaint against a healthcare provider does not alleviate the responsibility of the Department to do a proper investigation of a complaint, but…
Nursing Home litigation has increased significantly in Illinois in recent years in large part due to the failure of Illinois to institute damages caps and eliminate attorney’s fees from their nursing home statute. Attorneys’ fees are recoverable under the Nursing Home Care Act. In fact, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides for fee shifting and specifically states that “The licensee shall pay the actual damages and costs and attorney’s fees to a facility resident whose rights, as specified in Part 1 of Article II of this Act, are violated.” 210 ILCS 45/3-602. An attorney’s fees in a matter worked…
The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) establishes safeguards and procedures relating to the retention, collection, disclosure, and destruction of biometric data. 740 ILCS 14/15. Passed in October 2008, BIPA is intended to protect a person’s unique biological traits – the data encompassed in a person’s fingerprint, voice print, retinal scan, or facial geometry. Id. But in the last few years, BIPA – with its statutory penalties of $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation – has quickly become the bane of corporate defendants. The situation became even worse after the Illinois Supreme Court’s Rosenbach…
With what many have described as a historic Illinois legislative session having recently concluded, and with the focus having been on the budget, gaming, cannabis, and infrastructure, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there weren’t many significant changes to Illinois’ environmental laws. But you would be wrong. Several environmental bills of interest to the regulated community made it to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk and have either already been signed by the Governor or will be in the next few weeks. A quick recap of that legislation follows. Ethylene Oxide: This issue received a great deal of media and legislative attention…
The Illinois First District Court of Appeals recently decided Babich v. Copernicus Foundation, 2019 IL App (1st) 181537-U (April 26, 2019). Babich is yet another chapter in the long line of slip-and-fall cases litigated in Illinois. This particular chapter concluded in favor of the premises owner, who was found to have fulfilled the duty owed to an invitee. Although not formally reported, Babich provides guidance to premises owners that might encounter this relatively common situation. In Babich, an event attendee slipped on spilled wine which caused him to fall and resulted in a fractured fibula in his right ankle. The…
The question of what constitutes “apparent agency” in the context of alleged medical malpractice continues to be analyzed by the Illinois appellate courts. The issue was first addressed by the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Gilbert v. Sycamore Municipal Hospital. 156 Ill.2d 511 (1993). In Gilbert, the Court set forth a multi-factor test to determine whether a hospital could be held vicariously liable for the alleged acts of its independent contractor physicians. Id. at 525. Specifically, in order to hold a hospital liable under the theory of “apparent agency,” a plaintiff must show that: “(1) The hospital, or…
The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided Sienna Court Condominium Ass’n v. Champion Aluminum Corp., 2018 IL 122022 (December 28, 2018). The case raised a rather straightforward question: May the purchaser of a newly constructed home assert a claim for breach of an implied warranty of habitability against a subcontractor who had no contractual relationship with the purchaser? The Court held that the purchaser could not assert such a cause of action, regardless of the general contractor’s insolvency or the unavailability of recourse against the general contractor. This ruling overturned the decades-long rule established in Minton v. The Richards Group of…
The Nursing Home Care Act (“Act”) was born of concerns about reports of inadequate or improper treatment of residents in such facilities and provided residents with a cause of action against those facilities. To encourage residents, residents’ families, and attorneys to bring claims against nursing homes, the Act originally provided that a resident whose rights were violated could recover “3 times the actual damages . . . and costs and attorney’s fees.” 210 ILCS 45/3-602. That rather draconian remedy was subsequently challenged as being unconstitutional but was ultimately upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court in Harris v. Manor Healthcare Corp.,…
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“Agency”) issued guidance on April 15, 2019, “clarifying” that releases of pollutants from point sources to groundwater are not subject to the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements. The Agency, however, announced that its interpretation only applies to states outside the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, because those Courts of Appeal have ruled exactly the opposite on this issue. Upstate Forever v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P., 887 F.3d 637 (4th Cir. 2018) (“Kinder Morgan”); Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, 881 F.3d 754 (9th Cir. 2018) (“County of Maui”). The Fourth Circuit in Kinder…
Illinois law provides specific rules that nursing homes must follow when discharging or transferring a resident when the resident does not agree to the discharge/transfer (an “involuntary discharge/transfer”). 210 ILCS 45/3-401 et seq. If the resident requests a hearing on the discharge/transfer, an attorney must represent the nursing home during the hearing/appeal process if the nursing home is operated by a corporate entity or limited liability company. Stone Street Partners, LLC v. The City of Chicago Dept. of Admin. Hearings, 2014 IL App (1st) 123654. Before the hearing, however, the nursing home must follow specific rules to facilitate the resident’s…
Under certain circumstances, Missouri nursing homes may discharge or transfer a resident even when the resident does not agree to the discharge/transfer (an “involuntary discharge/transfer”). If the resident appeals the discharge/transfer, Missouri law requires that an attorney represent the nursing home during the hearing/appeal process if the nursing home is operated by a corporate entity. 19 CSR 30-82.050(12). Before the hearing, however, the nursing home must follow specific rules to facilitate the resident’s discharge/transfer. Missouri Rules on the Pre-Appeal Process Missouri nursing homes may involuntarily discharge/transfer residents for the following reasons: 1) the nursing home cannot meet the resident’s health…
On November 4, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Appellate Court of Illinois, for the First District in Folta v. Ferro Engineering. The Supreme Court held that the Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act provides the exclusive remedy for an employee’s injury arising out of and in the course of his or her employment, even when the employee first learns of the injury after the expiration of the applicable statutes of repose. Folta v. Ferro Eng’g, 2015 IL 118070, ¶ 52, 43 N.E.3d 108, 120 In Folta, the plaintiff’s decedent was allegedly exposed to…