Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Settlements

Discretionary bonus accrued during marriage but issued after dissolution of marriage is not marital property November 2013 Illinois Law Update, Page 560 On August 16, 2013, the First District Appellate Court held that a nonvested discretionary bonus accrued during a marriage, but received after entry of a judgment of dissolution of the marriage, was not marital property.
Bill requires timely executed settlement releases in most civil cases By Adam W. Lasker September 2013 Lawpulse, Page 446 The law helps plaintiffs get timely settlement payments from "substandard" insurance companies, the chair of ISBA's Tort Section says.
Three Rules for Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements in Anticipation of Bankruptcy By Matthew Benson September 2013 Article, Page 474 These three rules can help keep your work for a divorcing client from being undone when one of the parties files for bankruptcy.
Custodial parent entitled to percentage of lump-sum workers’ compensation settlement as child support August 2013 Illinois Law Update, Page 392 Howard Mayfield ("Mayfield") and Shannon Dykes ("Dykes") divorced in 2003. Dykes received primary custody of their two children, and Mayfield was ordered to pay $158.50 per week in child support.
Unsettled Settlements: Understanding Mediation Agreements By Jonah Orlofsky August 2013 Article, Page 418 Mediation is an alternative to litigation, but parties sometimes end up disagreeing about the mediation itself. Mediation agreements can help resolve those disputes.
Protecting Settling Plaintiffs When a Defendant Goes Bankrupt By Christopher B. Lega April 2013 Article, Page 200 Most settlement agreements ignore an important risk - that the defendant will file for bankruptcy shortly after settlement. Here's how to protect plaintiffs.
Valuing Property in Lengthy Divorce Proceedings By Jenna C. Patchen April 2013 Article, Page 198 When the valuation hearing comes after the dissolution judgment, is marital property valued on the judgment date or the hearing date? The supreme court recently settled the question.
Marital property should be valued as close as possible to the trial date in a bifurcated hearing January 2012 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 he appropriate valuation date of marital property in a bifurcated dissolution hearing is the date of trial under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act, according to a November 9, 2011, Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court ruling.
Any settlement between a plaintiff and a defendant/ agent must also extinguish the principal’s vicarious liability June 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 292 On March 19, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County, granting the defendant's motion to dismiss an entire action stemming from a car accident, on the basis that the settlement between the plaintiff and the agent extinguished the alleged vicarious liability claims against the other named defendant.
Medicare and Future Medical Expenses: Does the “Super Lien” Apply? By Bradford J. Peterson January 2010 Article, Page 26 It's common to accommodate Medicare liens in personal injury liability claims. But must litigants also protect Medicare from future medical expenses? The author explores the issue.
Correspondence from Our Readers October 2009 Column, Page 486 Dressing for distress - nylons and sandals;  Settlement agreements: do the release first.
Make Settlement Agreements a Centerpiece, not an Afterthought By Hon. Ron Spears August 2009 Column, Page 422 Careful planning for settlements can prevent bad results.
Marital and Nonmarital Property: Calculating Reimbursements Under the IMDMA By Roman J. Seckel August 2009 Article, Page 412 A spouse's nonmarital estate can be reimbursed for contributions to the marital estate - and vice versa - but determining the value of those contributions can be tricky.
The Ready answer: Settling Defendants’ Fault Can’t Be Used to Determine Joint Liability By David E. Mueller and Jennier L. Wolf June 2009 Article, Page 294 The Illinois Supreme Court held in Ready that settling defendants are excluded from the joint-and-several-liability equation, leaving nonsettling defendants at risk of higher payout.
Plaintiffs win big in Ready By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2009 Lawpulse, Page 64  The supreme court holds that good-faith settling tortfeasors can't be included in apportioning fault after verdicts to determine joint and several liability.
Settlements: The Limits of Same-Case Enforcement By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness December 2008 Column, Page 642  Lessons from the A and A case.
Correspondence from Our Readers November 2008 Column, Page 546 Two takes on two-tiered billing.
Two-Tiered Billing in Illinois Divorce Cases - a Critique By James H. Feldman September 2008 Article, Page 452 Illinois divorce lawyers typically charge a higher hourly rate for court than for office time. It's time that changed, the author argues
Court affirms that ex-wife entitled to her percentage share of disability benefits August 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 390 On May 28, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Peoria County denying petitioner's request for attorney fees and granting petitioner's rule to show cause and to enforce judgment.
Does your order of dismissal do the job? By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 Case law from the United States Supreme Court and the seventh circuit interpreting the federal rules can make it hard for settling parties to draft orders of dismissal that allow the judge to retain jurisdiction.
Evidence of settling defendants’ culpability admissible for apportionment of fault November 2006 Illinois Law Update, Page 584 On August 23, 2006, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for a retrial where the Circuit Court of Cook County held that settling defendants to a personal injury action were not to be considered during the jury's apportionment of fault.
“You Have the Right to Avoid Litigation…” By Hon. Ron Spears August 2006 Column, Page 438 Should judges advise clients of their right to resolve their dispute before trial?
Correspondence from Our Readers June 2006 Column, Page 274 Settlement conference judges; parents aren't "visitors."
Playing the Rule 68 card By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2006 Lawpulse, Page 222 FRCP 68 can encourage settlement, but it also confronts counsel for plaintiffs and defendants with some high-stakes challenges. 
Making the Most of Settlement Conferences By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2006 Article, Page 178 Judges and lawyers discuss how to avoid costly mistakes and best promote your clients' interests in judge-conducted settlement conferences.
Danger lurks in p.i. confidentiality clauses By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2006 Lawpulse, Page 110 A recent case – involving none other than Dennis Rodman – holds that plaintiffs must pay tax on the portion of a settlement award deemed payment to a p.i. client for his or her silence.
Tax Issues in Employment Discrimination Settlements By Ralph A. Morris and Heather R.M. Becker December 2005 Article, Page 638 Every lawyer who negotiates an employment discrimination settlement should understand the implications of these tax issues.
Settlement agreements only rescinded by substantial non-performance or material breach November 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 564 On August 18, 2005, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County denying the plaintiff's motion to reconsider the trial court's decision to vacate a previous judgment. 
Making settlement appealing By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2005 Lawpulse, Page 62 On appeal, opponents rarely meet face to face and thus have little opportunity to explore settlement. A new program seeks to make settling easier at the appellate level.
The 2004 Allerton House Conference: Balancing Economy, Efficiency, and Fairness By Jeffrey A. Parness November 2004 Article, Page 590 This year's conference addressed court funding, litigation expenses, settlement talks, and more.