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Employers Continue To Struggle With Employee Leave Laws That Protect Parents In The Wake Of Schools Reopening

With the start of the school year upon us, employers continue to struggle with employee leave laws that protect parents. In response to the pandemic, Congress passed sweeping legislation (the Family First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA) that provides, among other benefits, up to 12 weeks of paid leave for parents who are unable to

Can Businesses Count on Business Interruption Coverage to Combat COVID-19 Losses?

When disaster such as fire, explosion, or other event strikes and damages a business to the point of interrupting operations, the business owner will turn toward its insurance policy and business interruption coverage (if available) to alleviate the financial fall out.  Business interruption policies generally provide coverage for lost income and extra expenses that a

The Force Majeure Clause in an Age of COVID-19

An often overlooked contract provision has now gained the spotlight in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Parties to a contract are now considering whether a contractual force majeure (French for “superior force”) clause will play a critical role in determining whether or not performance is still required.  Force majeure provisions typically consist of boilerplate

Update on Federal COVID-19 Legislation

By: Walker R. Lawrence Yesterday the President signed into law the Emergency Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) (the “Act”) which provides for emergency family medical leave and emergency paid sick leave. Employers must comply on or before April 2, 2020. Here’s the benefits the Act provides for employees: Emergency Family Medical Leave Applies

New Rules Regarding Retirement Benefits — More Secure?

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) is now effective.  The Act made various changes to rules regarding qualified retirement plans as well as some changes to 529 plans.  The following are but a few of the changes: IRAs and other Qualified Retirement Plans Under the SECURE Act, the general rule

Can Employee Handbooks Require Arbitration of Employment Disputes?

Every business with employees should have an employee handbook.  An employee handbook is essential because it helps employees to understand what their rights are, what the company’s human resource processes and policies are, standardizes company policies and reduces human resource’s time resolving issues. Handbooks and policies are also often required if an employer wants to

City of Chicago Fast Tracks $15/Hour Minimum Wage Ordinance

On November 26, 2019 the Chicago City Council amended its Minimum Wage Ordinance to accelerate its $15/hour minimum wage hike four years ahead of schedule. Instead of tying the increases to CPI in 2020, the amendment will increase the minimum wage to $14/ hour on July 1, 2020 and to $15/hour July 1, 2021. The

Don’t Let A Creditor Make It Personal

As the owner of a corporation, when you set up your business, you and your lawyer believed that you had taken all necessary steps to protect your personal assets.  After all, the primary reason you set up a corporation was to shield your own assets from your business’s creditors. In order to ensure that your

Current I-9 form will Expire August 31, 2019 – What should you do?

The current I-9 form that is approved for use by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is set to expire on August 31, 2019. USCIS has not finalized the next version and in previous years, USCIS has directed employers to continue using the expired form (available at its website) until an updated version is

Morris Saunders to be a Presenter at Upcoming NBI Seminars

Morris Saunders will be a presenter at two upcoming seminars for the National Business Institute. Both seminars are being held at Illinois Business & Industry Services located at 1100 East Warrenville Road, Suite 150 Naperville IL 60563. The first seminar is titled “Trusts: The Ultimate Guide” where Morris will be giving two presentations. The first

Estimates are Opinions, Not Fact and Not Actionable

The internet has unquestionably provided unparalleled access to information to the public, both consumers and businesses, not seen since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.  One such benefit of the access the internet has provided is in real estate.  Several websites now allow users to get estimates on almost every property imaginable.  Zillow is one

An Unexpected Risk for Banks: The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance

It is an all too common scenario these days with mortgage foreclosures still commonplace in Chicago:  someone leases a single family home or condominium unit (used for residential purposes) from the then owner of the property.  Subsequent to this lease being executed and the tenant taking possession, the owner goes into default on his or

Employee Owes Fiduciary Duty to Employer and Cannot Misappropriate a Corporate Opportunity

The Illinois Appellate Court has reiterated what the Illinois Supreme Court said a few years ago: Employees of a corporation owe a duty of loyalty to the company by which they are employed.  And that it is a breach of their fiduciary obligation to appropriate for their own gain an opportunity that rightfully belongs to

The Board Made a Wrong Decision – Can (Should) it be Held Liable?

The board of directors made the decision to acquire a company for $100 million.  The negotiations and the due diligence process were difficult, but the board finally approved the acquisition and the transaction closed.  After closing, the acquirer determined that the value of the acquired company’s assets were greatly overstated and the acquiring company took

When Silence Is Not Golden, A Cautionary Tale For Brokers

Under the “Carmack Amendment,” a motor carrier (i.e. an entity providing transportation of cargo) is generally strictly liable for damages incurred during the interstate shipment of goods.  Alternatively, a broker (i.e. an entity who arranges for the transportation of cargo) is ordinarily not liable under the Carmack Amendment so long as it does not hold

CCPA UPDATE

While most businesses are aware, a surprisingly small number report that they will be ready to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), when it officially takes effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA was first signed into law in September 2018.  Often touted as “GDPR Lite” or “GDPR 2.0” because of its similarity

Illinois Minimum Wage Law Update – Higher Wages and Stiffer Penalties

On February 19, 2019, newly elected Governor J.B. Pritzker fulfilled a campaign promise and signed legislation that will raise the Illinois Minimum Wage. The law made two major changes: Raised the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2025 Significantly increased the penalties for violations of the act – including misclassifying independent contractors Minimum Wage

Levin Ginsburg Welcomes Roenan Patt to the Firm

LEVIN GINSBURG is pleased to announce that Roenan Patt has joined the firm as an Associate in its Litigation Practice Group.  Mr. Patt is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School, cum laude, (J.D., 2012) and Roosevelt University, (B.S. Biology, 2009). Roenan is a litigation and trial lawyer who has six years of experience

“For the times they are a-changing’.” Illinois Supreme Court rules that the Implied Warranty of Habitability does not apply to subcontractors.

For over 30 years, since Minton v. Richards Group of Chicago, 116 Ill.App.3d 852 (1st Dist. 1983), subcontractors in Illinois have been potentially liable to homeowners for breach of the implied warranty of habitability even though there was no contract between the subcontractor and owner.  The implied warranty of habitability is a judicially created doctrine

Katherine Grosh Authors Article for the Appellate Lawyers Association

Katherine Grosh authors article for the Appellate Lawyers Association titled, May a Federal Court Count the Vote of a Judge Who Dies Before the Decision is Issued? Please click here to read the article.

LIBOR Rate Phase-out — What’s Next?

Sometime in 2021, the most important benchmark for setting interest rates on commercial (and many variable rate residential) loans will be eliminated.  Trillions of dollars of such loans are governed by LIBOR, which is short for the London interbank offered rate.  LIBOR is determined on a daily basis and is the interest rate that London

Predictive Scheduling Legislation: What You Need To Know To Avoid Costly Surprises

In approximately a dozen states and a number of smaller municipalities across the U.S., including Illinois and Chicago, initiatives have been introduced that would allow state and local governments to dictate how restaurants (and retailers) schedule their employees. Some view this approach as interfering with employers’ rights to control the workplace while others view it

The Bottom Line on the Impact of Minimum Wage Hikes on the Restaurant Industry

Minimum wages are rising across the country, with well over a dozen states, plus many cities increasing minimum wages over the past few years.  As those changes are implemented, restaurant owners are finding that they must make significant adjustments to how they run their businesses in order to stay in business.  The Bay Area of

Taxpayer Attempts To Claim A Unilateral Settlement With IRS

In his letter enclosing his $1,396 check, taxpayer asserted unilaterally that “we are now concluded on this tax return issue” and that he would not “have any more issues with IRS” regarding 2006. But there can be no settlement unless there is mutual assent to its terms, which taxpayer has not shown. To demonstrate assent

Legal Tech Corner: Developing Laws to Fit the Internet of Things

In typical California fashion, the state is leading the charge toward developing law that would regulate the Internet of Things (“IoT”). IoT devices typically include any device that connects to the internet, such as phones, tablets, home security systems, Amazon “Alexa” and other similar convenience items, thermostats, baby monitors, and even connected home security systems.California

Predictive Scheduling Legislation: What You Need to Know to Avoid Costly Surprises

In approximately a dozen states and a number of smaller municipalities across the U.S., initiatives have been introduced that would allow state and local governments to dictate how restaurants (and retailers) schedule their employees. Some view this approach as interfering with employers’ rights to control the workplace, while others view it as a necessary tool

Michael Weissman to Present at an Upcoming ISBA Program

Michael L. Weissman will be a speaker at an upcoming Illinois State Bar Association program titled Navigating Today’s Muddy Banking Waters. The program takes place on Thursday, October 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Chicago ISBA Regional Office located at 20 S. Clark Street, Suite 900. To register for the program, please

Recent Changes in Illinois Law Will Place Additional Burdens on Employers

In 2018, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a number of changes that are already in effect or will go into effect starting January 1, 2019. As with each New Year, it is important to reflect on those changes and how they impact your business. Amendments to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act As

Will 2 Years of Continued Employment Be Enough in Illinois to Enforce a Non-Compete?

The Answer: It’s Complicated. In 2013, an Illinois Appellate Court in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., decided that absent additional consideration, continued employment for less than 2 years after the restrictive covenant was signed, would not be sufficient to enforce a restrictive covenant. The Fifield decision was unusual because courts often do not consider

Have You Looked At Your Buy-Sell Agreement Lately? Business Succession Planning

John, Alexandria, Mary, Martin, and Yvette, formed the Jammy Sleepwear Company over thirty-five (35) years ago.  They were equal partners and formed a corporation.  On the advice of their attorneys, the entered into a shareholders’ agreement that contained buy-sell provisions.  This type of agreement is sometimes referred to as a “buy-sell agreement”. Their buy-sell agreement

The Plaintiff’s End Game – Collecting the Judgment

It was a hard fought battle. You successfully sued a party in a commercial dispute who wronged you and a judge or jury awarded you seven-figure sum. Because the Defendant didn’t immediately take out its checkbook, however, you now face the task of collecting the judgment. Oftentimes, litigation doesn’t end when the judge bangs the

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide… More On Privacy Regulation, GDPR And California. Who’s Next?

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) went into effect.  US-based companies that had offices in the European Union or European Economic Area (collectively, “EU”) or those companies whose target market consisted of persons living in the EU were forced to take both IT and legal measures to ensure compliance, or

Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide

Morris Saunders will be a presenter at a seminar entitled “Estate Planning and Administration: The Complete Guide” for the National Business Institute. Morris will be giving two presentations at Illinois Business and Industry Services located at 1100 East Warrenville Road, Suite 150 Naperville IL 60563. The first presentation titled “Transfers During Life and Inter-Vivos Trusts” will take place

Purchaser Collection of Pre-Closing Rent Deficiency

In the purchase and sale of real property which is leased to tenants, sellers and purchasers must pay particular attention to the allocation of rent collected both before and after the closing.  A typical purchase and sale agreement will include, among other things, language addressing the allocation of rent by the parties for the current

Choice of Business Entity (Part 2)

In Part 1, we explored doing business as a sole proprietor or in a partnership.  A problem with those types of business entities was that they did not shield the sole proprietor or the general partner from the claims of creditors of the business.  This installment will briefly discuss the operation of a business through

Choice of Business Entity (Part 1)

Congratulations, you have decided to start a new business.  You are going to become an “entrepreneur”, a business owner.  You have put together your business plan, located potential business premises, talked with your advisors, and are ready to get started. You have talked with an attorney and an accountant and they have advised you to

Are Your Business E-Mail Messages Legally Compliant?

Overview: You may have heard of The Can-Spam Act (“Can-Spam”), but if your business engages in email marketing, you must understand the requirements and put processes in place for compliance.  Can-Spam is a federal law that establishes requirements for all outbound commercial messages, regardless of whether they are B to B (business to business) or

A Baseless Lawsuit Was Filed Against My Business. Can I Recover My Attorneys’ Fees?

Defending lawsuits is sometimes an unfortunate but necessary part of doing business. Whether the case was quickly dismissed by the court, or whether you won the case after a trial, you and your attorneys knew the case was unfounded from the beginning and yet you had to spend substantial time and money that you could

Keeping your Trade Secrets Safe: The Runaway Employee

How can a business protect its critical information when an employee goes to work for a competitor? Many employers simply assume that if it deems information “confidential,” the law automatically protects it when an employee leaves and goes to work for a competitor.  That’s not necessarily the case.  In order to protect its confidential information,

Estate Tax Developments under the New Tax Act – What about Illinois residents?

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the new federal estate tax system “exempts” from federal estate tax, all estates under $11.2 million for each decedent, meaning that a married couple could have an estate of $22.4 million and not incur any federal estate taxes. This higher amount means that most estates will not be

New York Toy Fair Is Approaching. Are You Legally Prepared?

February 17, 2018 is fast approaching.  Anyone who is anyone in the toy industry will be at Javits Convention Center showcasing the latest and greatest in toy innovation.  All businesses in the toy industry are putting the final touches on their displays and their presentations.  Is a meeting with the company’s lawyer on the pre-show

Is Your Business BIPA Compliant?

In order to increase productivity and efficiency, businesses are increasingly using biometric data to identify employees, customers and other individuals.  For example, some employers use biometric data to identify their employees and track work hours for purposes of compensation.   Biometric information includes fingerprints, retina scans, facial scans, hand scans, or other identifiers that are biologically

Updates to Construction Contracts

As is its custom every ten years, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released updated versions of many of its industry standard construction documents commonly used by owners, architects and contractors.  The A101 (Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Contractor) and A201 (General Conditions of the Contract of Construction) – which constitute the

Trademarks for Apps

If you are a typical person today, you’ve likely used at least three different apps before 9 am.  You get up in the morning and click on your weather app of choice to figure out what to wear and whether to take your umbrella.  Then you grab an UBER® to get to the office and

Joseph Ginsburg to be a Guest on a Weekly Radio Show

Joseph Ginsburg will be a guest on Shalom Klein’s AM560 radio show, Get Down To Business, on October 1st at 6:30 p.m..  Joe will be speaking on the topic of business continuity/succession planning. For more information about the show, please click here.

Is the Confession of Judgment Provision In My Contract Enforceable?

Answer: In a consumer transaction, no.¹ In a commercial transaction, it depends. A typical “confession of judgment” provision in a commercial contract (e.g., a promissory note) authorizes the creditor upon a default under the agreement to obtain a judgment for the amount owed without notice to the debtor(s) or guarantor(s), and allows the creditor to immediately

An Employer Can Be Liable for Accessing an Employee’s Personal Email Even if the Employee Engaged in Misconduct

Over the last several years, communication via email and text has become commonplace in the workplace. Oftentimes, employees use one device for both personal and work-related communication regardless of whether that device is employee-owned or employer-provided. There is no doubt that employers may have legitimate business reasons for monitoring employee communications. For example, an employee

Revisions to the Illinois Limited Liability Act

The Illinois Limited Liability Company Act (805 ILCS 180) (the “LLC Act”) recently underwent significant revisions which became effective on July 1, 2017.  The changes to the LLC Act align with the revised Uniform Liability Company Act, and Illinois now joins fifteen other states in modeling the revised Uniform Liability Company Act.  Although the LLC

Reminder to Chicago Landlords: Tenants Must be Notified of a Pending Foreclosure Action

Under the City of Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”), owners and landlords of residential property located in the City of Chicago must notify their tenants of a foreclosure action within seven (7) days of being served with the foreclosure complaint. If the foreclosure action is pending at the time the lease is executed, the

Have You Looked at Your Estate Plan Documents Lately?

Does this sound familiar? “John and Mary kept delaying any discussions about preparing estate planning. After they had their first child, Jack, they finally decided it was time to discuss their estate plan with a lawyer. They set up a trust for Jack if anything happened to John and Mary and designated John’s parents, who

Michael Weissman to be a Featured Speaker at Upcoming Events

Michael Weissman will be a featured speaker at the Specialized Lending Conference for the National Credit Union Association. The conference will take place on May 24, 2017 at the Downtown Hilton Hotel in Tampa, Florida. Michael will also be both a speaker and moderator at a program sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association’s Section Council

Decisions Facing Trademark Holders In A Post-BREXIT Europe

While the BREXIT decision has been made, much ambiguity remains on the issue of trademark rights holders and their interests that are currently protected by European Union trademarks, commonly referred to as “EUTMs”. Neither Theresa May’s BREXIT speech in January 2017, nor the UK government’s white paper entitled “United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership

Morris Saunders to be a Presenter at an Upcoming NBI Seminar

Morris Saunders will be presenting a seminar entitled “Medicaid Planning: The Ultimate Guide” for the National Business Institute. The seminar will take place on June 21 and 22, 2017 in Naperville, Illinois. To register, or for more information please click here.  

Amendments to Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act Expand Privacy Protections for Employees

On Jan. 1, 2017, amendments to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (IRPWA) took effect expanding the protections of IRPWA to prevent employers from insisting on access to any employee’s “personal online accounts.” The broadened definition of “personal online accounts” now includes all “online accounts” “used by a person primarily for their

Unexpected Liability for Service Providers

With “hacking” and identify thefts becoming all too common place, each service provider must place more and more emphasis on protecting itself from legal liability caused by not only its own actions, but the actions of the company(ies) to whom it outsources. This article provides an introduction to contracting for service providers with an eye

Recent Amendments to the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act

The threat of the theft or accidental disclosure of electronic personal information is on the rise. On January 1, 2017, new legislation went in effect amending the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act (the “Act”) to expand the definition of protected personal information and increase certain security and notification requirements for data breaches. Important amendments to

Selling Your Business?

John Smith owned a small manufacturing business.  One day he received a call from one of his competitors who said he was interested in buying John’s business.  John was now 75 and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for him to retire and have that “nest egg” for him live comfortably in retirement. John met

Is Your Business Litigation Proof?

The heading of this blog is a misnomer. There is no such thing as being litigation proof. Anyone can sue your business for any reason and meritorious or not, you will still have to defend the claim. Still, there are many important steps a business can and should take to reduce its exposure and put

Administrative Dissolution May Breach a Company's Third-Party Contracts

Under Illinois law, corporations and limited liability companies (“LLCs”) are required to file annual registrations with the Illinois Secretary of State in order to maintain their entities in good standing.  Pursuant to the Limited Liability Company Act (the “LLC Act”), the Secretary of State may administratively dissolve an LLC if it fails to timely file