Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity chief financial officer Phil Keshen and general counsel Michelle L. Masoncup answer questions about the Local CURE program before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on Tuesday in Springfield. – Capitol News Illinois photo/Peter Hancock

Pandemic aid to local govt. starts flow

SPRINGFIELD — The state of Illinois will soon begin distributing $250 million in federal funds to help cities, counties and other units of local government pay for pandemic-related expenses.

Environmental group: Indiana mill exceeds toxicity cap

PORTAGE, Ind. — An environmental group that sued a steelmaker in December for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act at its northwestern Indiana facility says the company continues to release excess amounts of chemicals into a Lake Michigan tributary.

Federal judge refuses to block campus sexual assault rules

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday allowed the Education Department to move forward with new rules governing how schools and universities respond to complaints of sexual assault.

Lawyer Legislators

Serving country, constituents and clients

In the Illinois General Assembly, a 38-member class of state legislators also practice as attorneys. Sens. Paul M. Schimpf, Michael E. Hastings and Jason A. Barickman hold rank as the only lawmakers with both a J.D. and a military I.D.

Lawyer Legislators

A different kind of House page

Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch’s series of conversations on Facebook Live began April 1 as a Q&A with his two kids — 8-year-old Tyler and 6-year-old Marley — about COVID-19.

7th Circuit: Fourth Amendment applies inside prison walls

A divided federal appeals court revived a class-action lawsuit accusing Illinois prison officials of violating the Fourth Amendment when they forced female inmates to spread their genitals during a strip search.

Judge grants TRO in protection-orders case

A Cook County judge granted an emergency request to end delays in filing domestic violence protection orders.

Judge’s ex parte contacts lead to new trial

A federal judge’s email exchanges with former colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s Office “cast a pall” over certain decisions he made in a criminal case he was handling at the time, an appeals court held.

Officials’ personal texts subject to FOIA

Government officials’ personal text messages and emails are subject to state open records laws, an appeals court has found.

Courts & Cases

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Trial Notebook


Judge looks at limits on promissory fraud

Denying a motion to dismiss Meridian Laboratories’ promissory fraud claim against OncoGenerix USA — a contract manufacturing organization (or CMO) with a laboratory in Mundanjiang, China, that allegedly used false representations about its capabilities and intent to lure Meridian into entering into a service provider agreement (or SPA) to produce large quantities of a drug Meridian developed in Buffalo Grove, Ill., to treat cancer — U.S. District Judge Jorge L. Alonso relied on several Illinois opinions that concluded “a fraud claim may arise out of a defendant’s misrepresentations to the plaintiff in the course of negotiating a transaction between the parties, provided there is more than just a broken promise to indicate fraudulent intent at the time of the negotiations.” Meridian Laboratories v. Oncogenerix USA, No. 18 C 6007 (May 13, 2020).

Professionalism on Point


Providing justice for your clients through proximity, listening

I sat waiting in a windowless, narrow room built of concrete blocks. Between me and the hot summer day were three steel doors controlled by a deputy sheriff behind a closed-circuit monitor. Eventually, the sound of doors opening and closing told me that Kevin (a pseudonym) was about to join me. He was accompanied by another deputy who reminded me, as he had on previous occasions, that, “The buzzer’s broken, so just pound on the door when you’re done.”

Health Law


Confidentiality Act protects mental health patient privacy

The Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, 740 ILCS 110/1 et seq., has carved out a unique exception to our legal system’s principles of liberal discovery, strictly prohibiting the disclosure of mental health records, even after death, in all but the narrowest circumstances.

For the Defense


Remote jury trials will create more problems than they solve

“Don’t mistake activity for achievement” was a maxim often preached by legendary basketball coach John Wooden. It is also is polite way of chastising those who implore “do something” to address a problem that they have not sufficiently thought through and thus have not yet developed a proper solution to address. That is the situation with the current backlog of criminal and civil jury trials to which remote jury trials is being suggested as the answer.

Opening Statement


Theaters kick off fall season with online fundraisers

As they say, “there’s no business like show business,” and certainly few businesses have taken a bigger hit from the blackout caused by COVID-19 than nonprofit live theaters.

Opening Statement


Larry Novak: The musical might behind the CBA Bar Show

This was one of the hardest columns I’ve ever had to write.

Opening Statement


Stumbling on a gem of a film from 1978

Recently two words have been increasingly creeping into our daily conversations, both of which describe an activity that has become most prevalent since the pandemic has confined many of us to our homes.

Opening Statement


The only play this weekend that comes with appellate briefs

William Shakespeare would have turned 456 years old this year were he still alive.

Lex Sportiva

Timothy-Epstein-NCAA COVID-19-waivers-7-21-20,ph01

Student-athlete COVID-19 waivers likely will face court challenges

In early March, the NCAA cancelled the remainder of all winter sports as well as all upcoming spring sports. Despite uncertainties as to whether fall sports would follow suit, the NCAA announced in June that the plan is to proceed with fall sports under the same formats and timelines.

Social Scene


Damage downtown after a night of unrest

Signs of unrest dot the Loop on Monday after looters damaged property across downtown overnight. The county and federal courts closed as a result of the unrest and security closures. Photo provided by Aaron Sidrow

Judges with shovels

The Lawyers Lending a Hand Committee of the DuPage County Bar Association assembled volunteers to do landscaping work at the Ray Graham Association’s Hanson Center in Burr Ridge on July 22. The nonprofit serves people with disabilities. Pictured are three DuPage County judges, from left to right: Associate Judge Brian J. Diamond, Circuit Judge Monique N. O’Toole and Associate Judge Paul A. Marchese.

NWSBA’s new officers

The Northwest Suburban Bar Association installed its new officers last month outside the Rolling Meadows Courthouse, then held a virtual cocktail party on Zoom the following week. Pictured left to right are the new NWSBA officers: President Gary A. Newland, partner at Newland & Newland LLP in Arlington Heights; First Vice President Mohammad “Moe” A. Ahmad, owner of Ahmad Law Firm LLC in Arlington Heights; Second Vice President Kenneth C. Apicella, partner at Drost Gilbert Andrew & Apicella LLC in Palatine; Treasurer Anthony F. Calzaretta, principal partner at Calzaretta Law P.C. in Arlington Heights; and Secretary Stephanie A. Garces Donat, owner of Garces Law LLC in Arlington Heights. Photo provided by the NWSBA

Clifford gets AAJ lifetime honor

The American Association of Justice awarded Robert A. Clifford of Clifford Law Offices its 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Clifford has been a member of the national plaintiff’s lawyer organization for more than 40 years. The AAJ will formally present the award by videoconference during its virtual Pass The Gavel and Awards Ceremony on July 15.

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