Trial Notebook


Justices disagree on borrowed servant defense

A Will County judge tossed Jaime Quintana’s negligence complaint against Ferrara Candy Co. based on the borrowed servant doctrine and the Workers Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provision. But a 2-1 decision from the Illinois Appellate Court reversed because Ferrara had Quintana sign a waiver — when Elite Staffing sent him to work in Ferrara’s Bolingbrook packaging center — that said he agreed he was “solely an employee” of “staffing firm.” Although the majority acknowledged that “members of this panel with many years of cumulative legal knowledge and experience” would rely on “seemingly definitive contrary language” about Quintana’s status, the crucial question — under the two-part test for application of the borrowed servant rule — was “whether this plaintiff knew or should have known” that he had “entered an employer-employee relationship with Ferrara.” And because the answer was “not so clear to an average worker reading that specific waiver language,” it was a question of fact for trial. Quintana v. Ferrara Candy Co., 2020 IL App (3d) 190414-U (July 21, 2020).

Federal Courts


Oral settlement agreement approved by judge is binding

This 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case clarifies an issue which sometimes causes confusion for the parties: Is a settlement of a case before a judge binding if it is an oral settlement, or must the settlement be reduced to writing and signed by the parties before it becomes legally binding?

School Law


Emergency education rule relaxes requirements for student supervision

Illinois school districts, teachers, and parents alike will want to take notice of the new emergency rule amendments enacted by the Illinois State Board of Education and posted to ISBE’s website on Oct. 7 regarding student supervision in the classroom.

Cotter’s Corner


With looming vote, SCOTUS will soon return to nine

On Thursday of last week, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate, and the Senate on Monday likely will confirm her by a slim margin. Democrats boycotted the vote of the committee.

Global IP


Reconsidering best mode disclosures in the COVID-19 era

It is axiomatic that the patent system will change as a result of the current global pandemic. Countries have already rewritten patent exclusivities to assure greater access for their citizens to life-saving treatments for COVID-19.

Workplace Issues


Ex-NFL players’ disability case remanded yet again

There has been a growing volume of litigation relating to disability benefit claims brought by former professional football players.

Opening Statement


Looking back at the Bar Show’s take on the Chicago 7 trial

I assume that by now many of my readers have watched Aaron Sorkin’s latest film, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” on Netflix.

Opening Statement


Court Theatre readies in-depth look of Stoppard’s ‘Leopodstadt’

Stumped by Stoppard again.

Lex Sportiva


Title IX continues to have strong influence over college sports

Prior to the enactment and enforcement of Title IX, there was a significant imbalance between the amount of men and women student-athletes.

Opening Statement


More local theater shows sprout up

While COVID-19 continues to shut down national touring companies from performing in Chicago, I am happy to report all of our major local theater companies are not just wringing their hands or, much worse, sitting on them.

Opening Statement

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‘Lonesome’ Rhodes paved the way for rise of Trump

I recently rediscovered yet another gem of a motion picture while surfing the internet during the pandemic blackout.

Sports Marketing Playbook


COVID-19 may compel leagues to address gambling integrity issues

As the sports world grapples with the realities of starting or restarting seasons during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, gambling on sports has also returned — and the virus that brought sports to a standstill and continues to hamper efforts to return to some sense of normalcy is having an impact on sports betting as well.
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