Most divorces are something like “Marriage Story” where there is cheating or a breakdown of communication or a couple seems to fall out of love. It’s painful, but one of you usually files for divorce and the process goes from there.  The good news is that over time most people feel better and find themselves in a happier place in life.

Some people though get married, separate from their spouse and don’t talk to them for years.  For whatever reason, neither of them files for divorce.  Usually it’s because it’s too expensive, but some people just don’t get around to it.  It may sound odd, but it’s really no different than people who know they need a will but keep putting it off.  At some point when you’ve divided everything up and have your own place, you feel like you’ve moved on. That’s enough for some.

Eventually though it does seem that one of the spouses wants to make the breakup official.  Often it’s because they are in a new relationship, possibly heading to a new marriage.  Other times it’s because they are buying a house and want to make sure there are no issues with that.  For some, they make a New Year’s resolution and just get it done.

When you do file after a long separation, the process itself isn’t much different than any other divorce.  The good is that there won’t be a battle, most likely, over assets and debts as well as child custody or support.  Usually it’s just a matter of making everything official.

The biggest issue we see in these cases is that a caller doesn’t know where their spouse is.  In those cases you still file for divorce like normal, but tell the Judge that you can’t locate your ex.  If you can prove to the Court that you’ve used your best efforts to find them, they will likely grant you permission to get divorced by publication.  This essentially means that you place an ad notifying the public about the divorce filing in local papers.  I’ve never heard of anyone actually discovering about a case that way, but it’s the law.  Prior to that time though you’d need to show the Judge that you called relatives, searched the internet, tried old phone numbers or emails, etc.

In the end this is almost like pulling off a band-aid.  You just have to just do it and when it’s done you’ll be glad you did.

There is a terrible trend in today’s celebrity and social media driven world where the loudest person can claim to be an expert on something. Dr. Drew made his fame by giving relationship advice.  He then went on to make money by giving substance abuse advice.  He recently made terribly wrong predictions about Coronavirus.  People don’t want to stay in their lane when there is money to be made.

Although no longer a licensed doctor, Dr. Phil also likes to give medical advice about things he’s not trained in. Talking loud or confidently is not a substitute for real expertise.  Instead of saying, “I’m not an expert on this issue, this is who we should listen to,” these TV docs just spout off opinions.

It’s bad enough when they do it with something related to medicine.  It’s even worse when they act like an expert in other things.

A good friend of mine sent me a video of Dr. Phil saying that if juries can’t hear cases, Judges could dismiss thousands of cases.

Technically anything “could” happen.  But there is no realistic way that thousands or even hundreds of cases are going to get tossed out because juries are not available.  Your right to speedy trial isn’t violated when the courts can’t open due to a pandemic. Might some people get temporary release from jail why they await trial?  Yes, and that should happen in many instances.  But they eventually will have their day in court if they want one.

Similarly, civil cases, which make up the great majority of jury trials, aren’t going to be thrown out because of a long delay.  That would unfairly harm plaintiffs and the reality is that it’s not uncommon for some civil cases to take years. I had a trial on a case I’m involved with that was supposed to start last week.  At the earliest it will go to trial in the fall and if not then next year some time.  That sucks for us and the client, but it’s just the way it is.

I love Oprah and even got to appear on stage at one of her shows once.  But her propping up carnival barkers like Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and others is really a stain on her legacy.

Bottom line is that when you want to form an opinion on something you don’t know about, listen to an expert in that field.  And if someone thinks they have the answer for just about everything, they should be ignored and/or ridiculed.

With some exceptions for emergency situations and some criminal cases, you can’t have your day in court in Illinois right now. Chief Judge Evans of Cook County announced the other day that the courts will be closed through at least May 31st.  I’d quite honestly expect it to go on longer than that.

It’s very frustrating for people who don’t feel that they have access to justice when it comes to our civil courts.  I have a case that I’m a part of that was set to go to trial this week after four years of preparation and now it’s postponed until November at the earliest.  It sucks for the clients and everyone involved, but of course it makes sense and it’s a good thing we are doing this.

The reality is that some people are going to temporarily get away with nonsense and innocent people are going to suffer.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t act.  While you aren’t going to be able to appear in court this month, you can still file a lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit does a lot of things to eventually get you justice.  First and foremost it lets the other person know that you are serious.  Second, while you won’t get in to court right away, you will get a court date.  There are certainly a lot of cases that have backed up the system, but getting in line now is really to your advantage. When courts do open back up, the other party will be on the clock of having to respond and that will also put real pressure on them. We also have seen that when someone is sued, if they don’t get a lawyer the first thing they do is call your lawyer.  Often you can get a result without ever even having to go to court.

It’s my opinion that when the Illinois courts do open up, there is going to be a flood of new cases filed.  We expect it a lot for divorce, but certainly for other areas too, like evictions.  My best advice is to get ahead of the game if you need to, and act now.  Nobody wants to have to sue someone or go to court, but waiting too long will likely make getting a good result even harder.

And as always, if you have questions or want to speak with a lawyer for free, call us any time at 312-346-5320.

The last couple of weeks have been draining for everyone.  I’ve tried to focus on all of the good that will come out of this like an improved climate.  That said, there is a lot of bad that is coming from Coronavirus.  I’m not just talking about the deaths, but also the terrible movies that will surely be made that try to show a COVID -19 subplot. Grab your popcorn because here is my guess as to the plot of 11 movies that will be shoved down our throats in the next two years.

1. Three teenage boys make a pact to lose their virginity by the end of the school year.  How will they do it if classes are cancelled and a quarantine is in place?

2. She’s a social media star who suddenly finds her source of revenue dried up when she can no longer promote her special diet drink. They’ve gone out of business because everyone is eating like a maniac.  What will happen when she has to get a job at the grocery store because she has so many bills?

3. Georgia opens up their state and the hospitals are overrun.  Coming this fall, The Purge 5, this time you make the rules.

4. The race.  50 movie studios try to get their Joe Exotic pic made but struggle to do so while being forced to stay six feet apart.

5. A high school couple (half of these terrible movies will be teen rom-coms, you just know it) had planned for that special night at prom.  Her parents won’t let her leave the house, his parents are busy partying.  Prom is cancelled until John Krasinski steps in with his “Good News” prom. Can it save the day?

6. There will probably be ten movies about girls who had to become strippers or escorts because they lost their jobs.  Wait until you see the shenanigans they pull on their customers. Hilarious.

7. The Mask.  Move over Jim Carrey.  This mask is a foreign romance smash about a man and a woman who fall in love from six feet away.  Will that all change when she has to remove her mask and reveals a terrible secret?

8. He was a dweeb when the school quarantine went in to effect.  She had bad skin, braces and (don’t be alarmed) glasses.  Nine months have passed since they’ve seen anyone and now everyone thinks there are two new hot kids at school.  See what happens in “Chad and The Swan.”

9. Jake just loves sports so much. ESPN is all reruns but he’s still watching. One late night they put on a random show that reveals pogo sticking is a big sport in New Zealand. You won’t believe it, but Jakes becomes the best pogoer in the world and an overnight sensation to the Kiwis.

10. We can expect tons of sadly based on a true story movies of people marketing fake vaccine cures.  Coming this spring, “Keeping Up With The Alex Jones’s.”

11. John is a CEO of a hospital system trying to get personal protection equipment.  Every time they order the Feds seize their purchase.  Nobody knows what the Fed is doing with this PPE.  John’s doctors and nurses need the gear so they can stop trying to protect themselves with bandanas and garbage bags.  Based on a true story, John the CEO turns in to John Rambo to smuggle in N95 masks and gowns from China only to discover they were originally shipped to Chine from the United States.

We have all suffered enough.  We can only beg Hollywood to never make any of these films or hope that the apocalypse comes before then.

We are experienced attorneys with a track record of success in nursing home abuse and negligence cases in Illinois. If you would like our help in finding the right lawyer for your case, call us for free any time at 312-346-5320 to discuss your case with an attorney.

If you’ve been followed the news lately, you’ve seen that there have been scores of deaths at Illinois nursing homes due to Coronavirus. There was a large outbreak at a Symphony Care nursing home in Joliet that reportedly lead to 26 deaths.  Allegedly all of the infections traced back to one worker.  In Chicago at the Lakeview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Lincoln Park, at least 12 people have died of COVID 19.

There are more than 100 Illinois nursing homes and long term care facilities in Illinois with at least one COVID-19 diagnosis. While the majority of these are in Cook County, cases are happening throughout the state.

The question we’ve had of late from potential clients is, “Do I have a lawsuit for my loved one dying of Coronavirus in a nursing home?”

The answer is that it depends, but it’s definitely worth investigating.  As part of the investigation attorneys do, we want to see if the nursing home, rehab center or long term care facility failed to take action to prevent their clients from getting infected.  Were they taking proper precaution such as mandatory use of masks and gloves?  Were sick residents quarantined and kept away from healthy ones?  Were employees and outside workers screened for possible exposure and illness?  Did those people take precautions?  Was everyone constantly checked?

All of those things matter.  A big problem we are also seeing is that some patients were misdiagnosed as having pneumonia or another condition and were not given a prompt transfer to a hospital for care and treatment.

We are also seeing a big uptick in patients getting dehydrated, malnourished or having bed sores because loved ones aren’t allowed to visit.  When a family member isn’t there these facilities need to step up. If an injury occurs they can be liable.

It’s important to understand that the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides residents with lots of rights and protections.  We hope that you aren’t dealing with a loss of a loved one, but if you are we’d be happy to talk to you to see if we can help you obtain some justice and prevent this from happening to another family.

We are Chicago attorneys who provide free legal guidance and attorney referrals in Illinois.  If you want to speak with one of our lawyers for free, with no strings attached, give us a call at (312) 346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

If you know anything about insurance it’s that for most businesses, you never use any of the things that you are paying for.  Some brokers will get you to pay an extra $100 a year for some obscure reason and you go along with it because “it’s only $100.”  Insurance companies make millions with these add ons as well as with stand-alone policies that are almost never acted on.

Then came COVID-19, and some of these obscure dangers that businesses get insurance for are actually happening.  The problem is that some insurance companies are refusing to pay.

There was an article in the paper the other day about a Chicago restaurant that purchased business interruption insurance that is supposed to provide payment if there is a “necessary suspension of operations during a period of restoration.”  In plain English, it seems to say that if you have to close up shop for reasons that you can’t control, the insurance company will compensate you for your losses.

Obviously restaurants in Chicago and elsewhere have been rocked by having to close their doors to dine-in guests.  That has been a necessary suspension of business because it comes from the Governor’s orders.  You’d think an insurance company would agree and just pay out what they owe.

Well that hasn’t happened in this case and others.  It’s similar to when insurance companies deny life insurance payments.  They don’t have much to lose by doing the wrong thing because if you get a lawyer they likely won’t have to pay much more than they are supposed to.

We’ve had a lot of success with denied life insurance claims and we are confident we can do the same if your business insurance isn’t paying what it owes you.  You should check whatever policies you have purchased to see if you are entitled to this benefit even if it wasn’t the main goal of what you purchased for your business.  And if you have it and it’s not being honored, please call us to learn how to resolve this problem.  In most cases, the lawyers we recommend work on a contingency basis which means you won’t have to pay them unless they win the case.  And these cases can be a little tricky as they often require an audit of what your actual losses are.

We are honest, experienced, Illinois attorneys who will talk to you for free and/or help you find the right lawyer.  If you would like our help, please call us any time at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.

For couples expecting a baby, there are several overwhelming feelings a parent will feel throughout the 9 months of the pregnancy. By the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, most new moms are emotionally ready to give birth, but their bodies are also physically ready too.

Nature is good at controlling most aspects of labor, but sometimes nature could use a nudge. Inducing labor is the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth.

There are many different ways that labor can be induced, including being given the drug Pitocin to strengthen contractions. A woman’s body naturally produces oxytocin, the hormone the body uses to induce contractions. Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin.

Nature typically prepares the cervix for delivery in the most efficient, comfortable way. However, if a health care provider is concerned about the health of the mother or the baby, inducing labor might be the best option. There are several reasons why inducing labor might be recommended. For example:

  • Labor hasn’t started naturally as one has approached two weeks beyond their due date
  • Labor hasn’t begun even after a woman’s water has broken
  • There is an infection in the uterus
  • The baby has stopped growing at the expected pace
  • There is not enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby
  • New mother is diabetic or has a high blood pressure disorder

Pitocin may be used to start, strengthen, and make contractions more frequent. In other situations, it may be used to induce contractions if a pregnant woman does not go into labor on time, her contractions are weak or there are other complications.

Unfortunately, Pitocin also has some pretty heavy risks and is most commonly associated with preventable adverse events during childbirth. Both the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Food and Drug Administration have high alert warnings against Pitocin due to the uncertainty of its benefits compared with its risks.

If the Pitocin is used improperly it can cause contractions to be too strong or too frequent, with little rest in between. When this happens, the baby is at risk of not getting enough oxygen, suffering from birth asphyxia which, in-turn, can cause subsequent brain damage or even fatality. In addition, the mother can suffer extreme pain, cervical or vaginal lacerations, uterine rupture and postpartum hemorrhage.

In a recent Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit, a family was awarded $14 million who negligently gave Pitocin and didn’t monitor the contractions. Their failure to act lead to a delay in the delivery and ultimately severe brain damage.

There are strict guidelines for the use of Pitocin and is mandatory medical professionals follow the strict guidelines to only administer Pitocin when absolutely necessary. If medical staff do not follow the proper guidelines and an injury occurs, it is medical malpractice. If you suspect your child’s birth injury is a result from the misuse of Pitocin, contact us today for a free consultation.

There was a very sad case recently that lead to an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit where an 11 year old boy passed away after having an asthma attack and seizure at school.  The lawsuit alleged that the boy was unsupervised and his medical condition was known.  Regrettably, even though that had an outstanding law firm in their corner, the case was dismissed.

There are a few of reasons the family didn’t get their day in court. First, it’s generally held that schools can not supervise every student at all times.  That’s not to say they can be left on their own for hours.  Schools just aren’t expected to supervise them at all hours.  Second, you can’t sue public schools in Illinois for general negligence.  You have to show they had “wilful and wanton” disregard which is a much higher standard. Third, public schools in Illinois are protected by the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. This law immunizes public employees from liability for a failure to examine someone, or failure to examine someone adequately, for a disease or mental health problem.

In plain English, suing a public school for a injury in Illinois is very hard to do.  Or to be more clear, it’s hard to win.

If your child falls from the monkey bars and breaks their arm, there might be negligence by the school, but not a wilful and wanton failure unless they knew the monkey bars were broken.  If your child gets beaten up by a bully, it’s probably a tough case to win unless the school knows it’s going to happen or teachers stand by and encourage it to happen.

It’s much different if your child is hurt at a private day care or private school. There the general laws of negligence apply.

I don’t write this to discourage anyone from finding out if they have a case. On the contrary, you can call us for free to discuss any case that you want.  We just want people to be educated about what the laws are in IL.  A lot of people think that attorneys are scared to take on the State or a school.  It’s simply not true.  What lawyers want to do is get involved in winning cases.  The reality is that the laws for suing schools are stacked heavily in favor of the public schools.  That doesn’t mean there can never be a victory.  We’ve been involved in winning cases against public schools.  What it does mean is that it’s harder and there are no slam dunks.

I hope this isn’t confusing to anyone. If you have any questions, please call us any time at 312-346-5320.

There is a Chicago class action attorney I know who also does consumer fraud cases.  I’ve referred her some cases over the years.  Some of the cases she’s pursued, others she has rejected.  But on a lot of cases she has told me that she wants to bring a lawsuit, but the client doesn’t want to do the work needed to help her find out if there’s a good case or not.

Take this recent referral where a man had his car re-possessed.  He hadn’t done anything wrong, the repo company thought they were taking it from the old owner.  This is likely very illegal and a good case. Here is part of what she said to him in writing as a follow up.

As we discussed, when the car is released to you, if you are forced to sign anything, indicate you are signing under protest and without waiver of any rights.

You will also want to inspect the vehicle to ensure there has been no damage.  Take photographs of any issues and log any personal property that may be missing or lost.

And to reiterate, here is the paperwork I need:

  1. A summary from you of what happened (provide dates, times, the names of the people you spoke with and what you said to one another)
  2. A copy of all vehicle paperwork from the dealership
  3. A copy of your payment stubs or correspondence with your finance company
  4. A copy of the title
  5. A copy of any documents the dealership says it sent to the finance company who claimed to have an interest in your car
  6. Any Carfax or Autocheck reports you received

Once you have gathered this together, call me and we can arrange an appointment or telephone conference after you’ve e-mailed/faxed me the above.  Then I will be able to see if this is a matter my office can assist you with.

I’ve seen similar correspondence on other cases.  The reason the lawyer is asking for this is because the client is the only one who can get this information.  Surprisingly, many clients just want to verbally tell their story and turn over papers.  They expect the lawyer to just figure everything out.

No matter the type of case, that’s not how it works.  It’s also not how you can be successful and win the case which is of course the goal.  Your job is to paint as clear of a picture as possible for the attorney.

This is how it works in just any type of case.  It’s always a great idea to give your lawyer a summary of what happened.  If it’s an injury case, you want to get copies of accident reports, medical records or any other information.  If you’ve lost pay, you want to prove what you make via pay stubs.  Most of these items your lawyer can’t get.  In all cases you increase your chances of success by working with your lawyer.

Lawsuits aren’t meant to be easy, even when you’ve been obviously wronged.  If you want justice, you have to put some work in.

As always if you have questions and want a free consultation, please call us any time.

We are experienced Chicago attorneys who will talk to you for free about your legal matter.  Call us any time at 312-346-5320.

Many people invest in securities like stocks, bonds and mutual funds, some for years and often decades, saving for retirement, children’s education, family support, wealth accumulation, to create a sense of financial security or to leave behind a legacy. Whatever their reason to save, most investors seek the guidance of a financial advisor, whose very role is to both advise and manage clients’ investments in order to ensure that they are getting a good return on their money.

Sadly though, investors will lose tens of billions of dollars not always due to market forces, but due to unethical and negligent financial professionals who abuse the trust and confidence of clients.  We’ve seen this a lot lately with the Coronavirus pandemic.  Some financial advisers make money based on you staying in the market. If you were to have sold all of your stock, they’d lose their commissions.

As a result we’ve seen some brokers who told their clients to stay in the markets when they knew or should have known the market was about to tank.  As a result, many people have lost their nest egg.  If you can prove your broker was negligent they may have to reimburse you for your losses.  It’s like suing a doctor or someone else for malpractice in many ways.

There are a variety of financial laws and obligations in place for stockbrokers, broker dealers and investment companies along with both federal securities laws and state securities law to regulate the duties that apply to the financial industry and the standards that the industry must meet.

Unfortunately, wrongful conduct within the industry still occurs every day. In 2018 alone, according to FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), brokerage firms and financial professionals were fined more than $61 million and ordered to pay over $25 million in restitution. Additionally, 386 individuals were barred from practice and another 472 suspended.  You can bet that those numbers are going to sky rocket this year.

Investors have a “Bill of Rights” designed to protect their interests and investments from acts of fraud or wrongdoing. Brokers and financial investment companies, like in any other profession, have obligations to their clients. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing – Brokers must reflect honor and integrity. They may not trade securities without investors permission, excessively trade to increase commissions or misuse funds.
  • Duty and Knowledge of the Customer and Financial Conditions – Brokers must learn about the investor’s financial conditions before making recommendations.
  • Duty of Requirement of Suitable Recommendations – Recommendations must be aligned with the investors financial condition, investment, objectives and risk level.
  • Duty of Loyalty – Brokers must continually put the investor’s interests first
  • Duty of Disclosure – Brokers must remain truthful, including communicating risks, relating to any investment decision.
  • Duty of Authorization for Trading – Brokers are only to execute trades with permission from investor.

If a financial advisor or stockbroker has not fulfilled his or her obligations and that breach of duty to any of the above examples has caused a loss of money, then compensation through a claim can be pursued.

But how do you tell if you’ve been a victim of investment or securities fraud? It’s not always easy to determine, but here are some telltale signs of investment fraud:

  • An excessive number of stock trades
  • Sudden and unexplained losses
  • Withdrawals from your accounts without explanation
  • Trades not authorized appearing in your account
  • Brokers or firm not responding to calls or emails

When the financial market climate goes bad, investment fraud and stockbroker misconduct and negligence become obvious more than ever. Whether it’s recommending unsuitable investments, making false statements, omitting material information or simply just negligence, when a broker fails to comply with the laws and regulations that govern their conduct and responsibilities, causing you to lose money,  there is a right to file a claim against them and the firm that supervises them.  If you want a FREE consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss your losses, please contact us at any time.