Trial Notebook


Bank sued for opening safe deposit box

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank invoked the Moorman Doctrine — the rule that “a plaintiff may not recover for solely economic loss in tort,” Fattah v. Bim, 2016 IL 119365 — when Jay Li sued for ordinary and gross negligence after the bank drilled his safe deposit box and allegedly let an imposter abscond with two Rolex watches and $71,200 in cash. Li’s response to Chase’s motion to dismiss conceded his complaint did not allege any of the three exceptions to the economic loss rule that the Illinois Supreme Court adopted in Moorman Manufacturing v. National Tank Co., 91 Ill.2d 69 (1982). But U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. — applying the rationale of Mutual Service Casualty Insurance Co. v. Elizabeth State Bank, 265 F.3d 601 (7th Cir. 2001) (“as with attorneys and accountants, the law has long imposed on banks a duty of reasonable care, and that duty is so entrenched that the Uniform Commercial Code does not permit the parties to a banking contract to abandon it”) — declined to toss the negligence claim.

Workplace Issues


Court gives OK to discovery in case involving fibromyalgia claim

One of the most challenging aspects of litigating cases under ERISA is that unlike other civil cases, in ERISA litigation courts usually disallow discovery. The ostensible reason for denying discovery is that in many instances, the case is being resolved based on a review of a record.

Realty Check


Buyer beware: Seller’s market looks like 2007 all over again

Honestly. Do you think paying $30,000 to $90,000 over list price is a good idea? I hear this regularly these days. To me, it is reminiscent of 2006 and 2007.

For the Defense


Discovery orders need teeth

The direct effect of discovery deficiencies is often delay in the resolution of a matter and not much else. However, as has been referenced in this space on Jan. 20 and Feb. 17, in order to properly evaluate the consequences of a policy, one must look beyond the immediate and see the unseen result.

Employment Law


To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: Considerations for employers

In December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance for employers regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and potential implications under multiple federal laws. Since then, many employers have been evaluating whether to mandate vaccines, incentivize employees to obtain vaccines or do nothing on this point.

Federal Courts


7th Circuit rejects expert who had little exposure to skid loader

Today’s 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case involves the admissibility of a professional engineer’s opinion that a skid-steer loader that tipped on a ramp was defective where the engineer never used or tested any skid-steer loader, let alone the accident one, and did not know the accident facts.

Opening Statement


Crouch’s work shines online at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

I have seen two productions of playwright Tim Crouch at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier and found them both extraordinary.

Opening Statement


A special rendition of a well-known story in ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’

In 1797, the famous German author, philosopher and poet Johan Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the poem “Der Zauberlehrling,” known in English as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Lex Sportiva


Sports betting app targeted for unfair, deceptive trade practices

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which ultimately prohibited sports gambling in the United States, was unconstitutional. Murphy v. NCAA, 138 S. Ct. 146 (2018). SCOTUS held that PAPSA violated the anti-commandeering doctrine because PAPSA essentially dictated what state legislatures could and could not do. In the few years since Murphy, sports gambling has already been legalized by several states nationwide.

Opening Statement


‘Duchess!’ gives room to discuss increased pressure on women

Although Vivian J.O. Barnes is still finishing graduate school in playwriting her show “Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!” was produced by Steppenwolf Theatre and is available online until Aug. 31.

Opening Statement


With new ownership, Second City ready to resume performances

As the first year of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, which darkened theaters throughout the country draws to a close, there are about to be brighter days ahead.

Opening Statement


Unanswerable questions require important texts for deep thought

One of my favorite panels of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip when Charlie Brown and his nemesis Lucy are looking at the night sky.
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