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J&B Blog Archives

Risk Management: Avoiding Unnecessary Litigation in the Enforcement of Sign Codes

INTRODUCTION Signs used by citizens to convey messages to the public are generally regulated by local town codes and ordinances. Restrictions on the use of such signs can create constitutional issues that municipalities must be wary of when enforcing the provisions of their particular code. Sign use restrictions in an Arizona town’s code were recently   Continue Reading »

Court Finds Municipality Used Arrest Record to Wrongfully Terminate Employment

In Murillo v. City of Chicago, the First District Appellate Court was asked to interpret a section of the Illinois Human Rights Act (Act) (775 ILCS 5/2-103(A) that prohibits employers from “[using] the fact of an arrest” as a basis to discriminate in employment.  Plaintiff, after about three years working as a janitor for a   Continue Reading »

Supreme Court Holds Fourth Amendment Requires a Warrant for Blood Testing

The Supreme Court recently weighed in on state laws that require a motorist suspected of driving under the influence to submit to blood testing. Birchfield v. North Dakota (No. 14-1468, June 23, 2016)[1]. The holding of Birchfield has far reaching implications for the many states that require a person to submit to warrantless blood tests.   Continue Reading »

Supreme Court Ruling Expands First Amendment Municipal Liability

Ruling Focuses on Employer’s Motivation Rather than the Employee’s Intent — Even Where Employer Was Mistaken Regarding the Employee’s Behavioral Intent The Supreme Court recently expanded potential municipal liability in Heffernan v. City of Patterson, New Jersey (No. 14-1290, Apr. 26, 2016)[1]. The plaintiff, Jeffrey Heffernan, is a police officer working in the Police Chief’s office in   Continue Reading »

Utilizing the Appointment of Guardians ad Litem as a Defense Tool to Effectuate Settlement in Cases Involving Minor Plaintiffs and/or Minor Beneficiaries

Cases involving catastrophic injuries to minors, whether through birth trauma, motor vehicle collision, or any other alleged mechanism of negligence, can carry extremely high exposure due to the effect the injuries may have on the minor during the rest of his or her life. Especially in cases where liability is in question, litigants should be   Continue Reading »

Using the Affordable Health Care Act to Mitigate Future Medical Damages

In personal injury cases, is there a defensible strategy to significantly reduce claims for future medical damages through application of the Affordable Care Act?  Time will certainly tell, but it does appear possible. In its simplest terms, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) provides that all persons in the United States be afforded health insurance, regardless   Continue Reading »

Ransomware Attacks – Health Care Institutions an Emerging Target?

Several news media outlets are reporting a recent cyber-attack assault on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.  According to authorities, the hospital was the victim of a cyber-attack on February 5 that locked the hospital out of its computer systems using ransomware to infect their network. According to reports in this case, the unknown   Continue Reading »

Discovery Depositions Are Not Available for Media Use During Pending Litigation.

As you may have heard, Pam Zekman of CBS Channel 2 has run a television segment relating to a pending lawsuit against Palos Community Hospital.  In the segment, plaintiff’s counsel, Jim Ball, is interviewed along with the parents of a child that suffered brain damage after the hospital allegedly failed to properly treat the mother’s   Continue Reading »

Electronic Monitoring Comes to Illinois Nursing Homes

Lights! Camera! Electronic monitoring comes to Illinois nursing homes in 2016.  Shareholder Lynn M. Reid outlines the issues in a recent blog post.

Federal District Judge Upholds Chicago PD Rule Limiting Tattoos

In June of 2015, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) issued changes to its uniform policy. Under the new policy, on-duty CPD officers are required to cover tattoos on the hands, face, neck, and other areas not covered by clothing, with skin tone adhesive bandages or tattoo covers. Soon after the policy went into effect, three   Continue Reading »

Cook County Ruling Expands Petrillo. Defense Counsel in a Pickle?

Given the serious penalties courts have imposed due to even trivial perceived Petrillo violations, all defense counsel should be on high alert in the wake of a recent Cook County ruling further expanding the rule in Petrillo v. Syntex Laboratories. William McVisk explains here.

The Continuing Controversy Over Custody Rights to Frozen Embryos in Illinois

As assisted reproduction technology continues to outpace the law intended to regulate it, the Illinois courts are faced, for the first time, with the question of which gamete donor has superior custodial rights over surplus frozen embryos resulting from the in vitro fertilization process.  William G. Beatty’s article, discussing the Szafranski case, presently before the   Continue Reading »

HOSPITALS’ LIABILITIES/RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN RESPONDING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT’S REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Imagine that you are a hospital administrator.  Law enforcement shows up at the hospital with a grand jury subpoena or a request of some kind for information.  Can you comply? In many jurisdictions, if protected medical information is sought, when faced with a grand jury subpoena, the answer is no, despite penalties that may arise   Continue Reading »

GOV. QUINN SIGNS BILL FOR HIGHER FEES IN MED MAL CASES

On Jan. 18, 2013, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into legislation House Bill 5151, which increases the amount that plaintiff’s attorneys in medical malpractice cases can collect, while eradicating the right of these attorneys to petition trial courts for enhanced fees in certain cases. With the signing of the bill into law, plaintiff’s attorneys will   Continue Reading »

THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT CLARIFIES THE APPLICATION OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS IN NURSING HOME CONTRACTS

On September 20, 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court filed its opinion in the Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Co. case, 2012 IL 113204. In the case, the Court revisited the issue of whether arbitration agreements contained within nursing home contracts are enforceable. The Court upheld the general applicability of such agreements within the nursing home context but   Continue Reading »

PROBABLE CAUSE FOR ARREST VS. PROBABLE CAUSE TO INITIATE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS - HOW THE STANDARD DIFFERS BASED ON THE CLAIM

In federal civil rights litigation, two of the most common claims brought against police officers and municipalities are those for false arrest and malicious prosecution.  For a plaintiff in a false arrest case to prove his claim, he must show, among other things, that the defendant police officer who arrested him did not have probable   Continue Reading »

"BAD FAITH": WHAT DOES IT MEAN? AN OVERVIEW OF BAD FAITH/FAILURE TO SETTLE THIRD PARTY ACTIONS UNDER ILLINOIS LAW

You are an insurance claims representative attending a pre-trial settlement conference in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff’s attorney makes a demand that is within policy limits, but you consider it unreasonable and not consistent with the nature of the injury claimed. You make an offer that is more consistent with your assessment of the   Continue Reading »

THE PECULIARITY AND RELEVANCE OF RESPONDENTS IN DISCOVERY

In recent years, plaintiff attorneys in medical malpractice lawsuits have increasingly utilized the statute allowing for respondent in discovery (RID).  735 ILCS 5/2-402 involves persons and entities designated as RIDs.  However, RIDs are not parties.  RIDs are identified in complaints and are required to participate in discovery, including answering written discovery and sitting for a   Continue Reading »

PRESSURE ULCERS: AVOIDABLE OR UNAVOIDABLE?

Skin breakdown or pressure ulcers are a common topic in geriatric litigation across the country.  These cases are not just found in the realm of nursing home litigation.  At an increasing rate, plaintiff’s attorneys are filing wound cases against anyone who may have cared for the wound which can include:  long term care facilities, assisted-   Continue Reading »

Nursing Home's Health Care Arbitration Agreement Held Invalid...

… But Door Left Open for Future Arbitration Agreements to be Upheld On Aug. 18, 2011, the Fifth District Court of Appeals held that the arbitration agreement at issue in this Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and Wrongful Death case was invalid as it lacked mutuality making it unenforceable.  However, the court left the door   Continue Reading »

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT RULING BRINGS TORT IMMUNITY ACT BACK TO FULL STRENGTH

Over the years, the protections afforded to municipalities and public employees by the Illinois Tort Immunity Act have eroded somewhat due to various decisions extending the willful and wanton conduct exception found in 745 ILCS 10/2-202 to other provisions of the act.  For instance, in Doe v. Calumet City, 161 Ill.2d 374 (1994), the Illinois Supreme Court   Continue Reading »

HEALTH PROFESSIONAL REPORTS UNDER 735 ILCS 5/2-622: FIRST DISTRICT APPELLATE COURT DECISION FURTHER CLARIFIES STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS IN CHRISTMAS V. DR. DONALD W. HUGAR, LTD., ET AL.

The much-publicized 2010 Illinois Supreme Court ruling in LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital is most well-known for its impact on Illinois’ efforts at tort reform.  However, this decision also served to change, and in some critics’ minds further complicate, Illinois law on the issue of the requirements of 735 ILCS 5/2-622.  Recently, in an effort to further   Continue Reading »

Johnson and Bell

Johnson and Bell