Publications

Articles on Law Pulse

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.

Initial consultations - satisfaction or your money back?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
Should lawyers provide free consultations to prospective clients? Discounts to new clients? Refunds of a consult fee to clients who ask for one? ISBA lawyers offer their opinions.

Mental suffering now compensable in wrongful death cases

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
Illinois becomes the 24th state to allow wrongful-death plaintiffs to recover for their grief, sorrow, and mental suffering at the loss of their loved one.

New DUI bill replaces JDPs with “monitoring device driving permits”

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
A major overhaul of DUI law doubles the summary-suspension period and requires offenders to submit to alcohol monitoring devices in return for driving permits. Critics charge that it will produce unintended consequences, including fewer guilty pleas.

Can lawyers patent their legal techniques?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
A patent issued on an estate-planning technique has that bar buzzing.

Collateral source rule and med bills - plaintiff’s, defense bar each win one

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
Two districts of the appellate court construe Arthur v Catour, holding that plaintiffs can recover only what Medicare and Medicaid paid the provider - not the larger, undiscounted amount billed - and allowing a physician's expert testimony that a medical bill was reasonable.

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.

Preserving the right to appeal an ambiguous ruling

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
What can you do to preserve your client's right to appeal when the trial court issues an order of ambiguous finality? The Waddick case may provide some lessons.

So you wanna be a child rep…?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
How do you get appointed? How much can you earn? What about appointees who don't do the job?

The Illinois Supreme Court OKs advance payment retainers

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
LawPulse
Page 286
The court last month approved lawyers' use of the advance payment retainer, cautioning that more familiar retainer agreements will be the preferred option in most cases.

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