Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Law Pulse

Are e-mail disclaimers really necessary? By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2008 Lawpulse, Page 66 They really are, some lawyers say. In fact, you should put them at the beginning, not the end, of your messages, other lawyers say.
No psych-record access for “garden variety” employee emotional distress claims By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2008 Lawpulse, Page 66 A recent ruling explains when employer-defendants can and cannot get access to employee-plaintiffs' medical and psychological records when employees sue for emotional distress cause by illegal discrimination.
The perils for employers of hiring private investigators By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2008 Lawpulse, Page 66 Employers who retain companies to investigate employee malingering or misconduct need to hire carefully and monitor appropriately.
Tax sales: the court helps taxpayers who help themselves By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2008 Lawpulse, Page 66  Here's how not to win compensation after losing your house for failure to pay taxes.
Contacting, deposing employees of opposing parties: a how-to By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2008 Lawpulse, Page 10 Don’t just call up your opponent’s employees, even if they’re working elsewhere. Consider first whether doing so might violate legal or ethical rules.
Court upholds $1 million penalty arising out of $12,000 support debt By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2008 Lawpulse, Page 10 The supreme court ruled that a $1 million-plus penalty for an employer’s failure to timely pay a $12,000-plus child support obligation was not unconstitutional on the facts.
Custody conundrum By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2008 Lawpulse, Page 10 Your client’s ex-husband, who moved to Texas and had custody of the children, dies. Your client wants the kids, her ex’s Texas relatives say no. What do you do?
Illinois Supreme Court oral arguments go online By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2008 Lawpulse, Page 10 The court is making video and audio of oral arguments available on the Web. 
Supreme court upholds parent’s refusal to allow grandparent visitation By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2008 Lawpulse, Page 10 A grandmother failed to show that denying her visitation was harmful to her grandchild’s physical, mental, or emotional health.
Administrative decisions: smoothing the path to review By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Lawpulse, Page 622 The law should be amended to remove impediments to seeking review of agency rulings, ISBA leaders say.
Drafter beware By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Lawpulse, Page 622 When it comes to drafting agreements for deed in lieu of foreclosure, you can’t be too careful.
Illinois supremes reject pre-existing debt rule By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Lawpulse, Page 622 Under the rule, A’s promise to pay B’s debt is enforceable even if A didn’t put it in writing if it’s made before the debt was incurred. The high court says that’s not the law in Illinois.
Small-trust-termination amendment gets mixed reviews By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Lawpulse, Page 622 It’s good to allow trustees to terminate small trusts when fees are consuming income. But should income, rather than remainder, beneficiaries automatically get the proceeds?
Three flavors of federal e-filing By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Lawpulse, Page 622 Effective last month, all three federal district courts accept electronically filed complaints – but each has different procedures.
Ex post facto Medicaid “planning” By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 May an agent or guardian shift the principal's assets for Medicaid planning purposes after the principal has become disabled? Yes - but doing so can be expensive.
Frye-ing the HGN test By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 The Illinois Supreme Court rules that a Frye hearing must be held to decide whether the horizontal gaze nystagmus test reliably indicates alcohol impairment.
No duty to warn, Illinois high court holds By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 The court reaffirms the rule that Party A has no duty to warn Party B about a threat posed by Party C unless there's a special relationship between A and B.
Rule 216 requests to admit: no more “gotcha” games By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 With its Vision Point ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court gives trial courts the power to allow late or otherwise deficient answers to Rule 216 requests to admit.
New law expands video appearances by prisoners By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 Public defenders opposed the law's passage, arguing that it gives inmates second-class justice.
POD and TOD accounts and your estate-planning arsenal By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 Payable/transfer-on-death accounts are handy probate-avoidance tools that can even be used to transfer real estate. Or can they?
Station adjustments: not-so-rough justice for kids By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 For juveniles who break the law, "station adjustments" can mete punishment without creating a criminal record. Here's how to help clients make the most of the opportunity.
Time to update the Rules of Professional Conduct? By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee is considering a proposal to do just that.
What court reporters want By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510  At depositions, they want you to say out loud who is in the room. And to speak slowly. And not to interrupt other speakers. And...
Court upholds support-arrearage payments at 60 percent of income By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 The third district upheld a ruling requiring an obligor to pay 60 percent of his income to pay off a child-support/maintenance arrearage totaling more that $200,000.
Legal aid groups would benefit from cy pres statute By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 A bill would make it more likely that legal aid and other charitable organizations will end up with leftover class-action settlement proceeds.
New law allows Human Rights Act plaintiffs to file in circuit court By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 Complainants under the Illinois Human Rights Act can now file in circuit court instead of with state agencies. This brings Illinois into line with federal practice and that of 38 states.
New law on attorney modification clauses in real-estate contracts? By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 Has the second district made it easier for a party to a real estate contract to make a counter offer disguised as a mere "modification"?
SLAPP suits take a hit By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 A new bill would discourage developers and others from suing - and thus trying to silence - opponents of their subdivisions, landfills, and the like.
Bill would make involuntary commitment easier By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 But critics of the legislation say lack of resources, not a too-high commitment standard, is the problem with Illinois' mental health system.
Employers win pay-disparity case in Supreme Court By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 In Ledbetter, the Supreme Court rules that Title VII's filing deadline bars employment discrimination claims based on decisions that occurred outside the limitations period, even if the employee's current pay is lower because of the decisions.