The law blog of Aurora attorney Mike Huseman, featuring practice updates authored by Northern Illinois University College of Law alumni, as well as guest contributions from non-NIU lawyers and law students.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Keep up the good work Officer!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Is Cheerleading a Sport?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
In brief, the article is about an Australian lawyer who convinced the courts to allow him to service a couple via facebook! After many unsuccessful attempts at serving the couple properly, the lawyer came across the woman's facebook page. The Judge granted permission, stipulating that the service was only to be given via their private emails such that the private matter would only be seen by the intended parties. It's not the first time the Australian courts gave permission for service in these ways (emails, text, etc.) The idea reminds me of what i learned in Civil Procedures in terms of proper service. Yet another way technology has opened a new chapter in the legal realm. I wouldn't be surprised if this method is attempted by attorneys in the U.S. in the near future?!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
iPhone application helps DUI offenders find lawyers
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Judge hits police car, gets DUI
Friday, October 10, 2008
Forensic Loan Reviews
These companies will scour loan documents looking for errors in, among other things, the truth in-lending (TIL) statement the lender or the lender's annual-percentage-rate (APR) calculations. If the TIL statement doesn't match up with the HUD-1 closing-cost sheet, a borrower might have cause for legal action against the lender.
Typically, forensic loan audits are ordered by mortgage investors to determine what kind of legal liability confronts them in the pools of loans they already own or are considering buying. As a so-called "business-to-business service," they are not generally available to individual borrowers.
Fees for this service could be as high as $3,000, depending on how much is owed on the mortgage. But if an error is found, it could provide great leverage when trying to negotiate with the banks.
One particular company says that well over 80 percent of the recent audits performed by their company have revealed major truth-in-lending violations, errors in the good-faith estimates required under the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act, illegal predatory lending practices or even fraud.
My question: Do these companies employ lawyers? If not, is this the unauthorized practice of law?
Will County documents available electronically
"Our office believes this service is another way we serve the public's best interest. For those who utilize the courts, this ability can save a trip to the courthouse, fuel and parking," McGuire said. "The fees for the electronic documents are consistent with our normal paper copy fees pursuant to statute. In the very near future we hope to be able to process certified copy requests as well."
To obtain documents electronically, visit http://www.willcountycircuitcourt.com/, select E-Documents and follow the instructions.
Requests can be submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the convenience of one's office or home. Upon confirmation of payment, the documents will be electronically sent in a portable document format. Payments can be made by credit or debit card on the site. All document requests will be processed during normal business hours.
"The office of the Will County circuit clerk continues to look for convenient ways through technology to serve the public and utilize the clerk's office," McGuire said. "We hope you find this new service useful and cost effective."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
$325,425 seems lower than $325,000
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Man intentionally passes gas in face of police officer, gets charged with battery.
I think the officer would have a better chance filing a civil suit for battery.
What the Heck is Elder Law Anyway?
As usually comes to mind first, elder law does encompass the area of elder abuse. This includes not just situations of neglect in the medical sense by nursing homes or in-home caregivers, but also financial abuse by those who convince Seniors to invest in various inappropriate financial instruments, or maybe even a family member with financial powers of attorney. There was a recent article on an Elder Law website about a case where the surreptitious taping of a husband in the wife's nursing home room violated the husband's Fourth Amendment rights. There was a complaint of sexually inappropriate contact by the husband, and nursing home officials reported it to authorities. They obtained a search warrant to install a hidden video camera in the room and the husband was subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault for having intercourse with his wife while she was unconscious. The circuit court suppressed the videotape evidence, ruling that the husband had a reasonbale expectation of privacy in his wife's nursing home room. That article was WAY more interesting than the ones on tax that are also on the website! :^)
Encroaching upon the elder abuse arena is the area of Elder Rights. Some of the elements of Elder Rights include nursing home transfer or discharge rules, contract rights when one is dealing with Assisted Living or any Continuing Care-type community, issues related to receipt or purchase of long-term care insurance, housing issues such as discrimination or reverse mortgages, pension and retirement issues, or age discrimination in employment. Just by this short list describing two areas of elder law, you can see that this is a vastly varied field that encompasses all manner of different areas of law, as well as various arenas where one would practice. An elder law attorney could find themselves not just at the courthouse, but before an Administrative Law Judge, working with various public Commissions such as the Equal Rights Commission or the Department of Human Services, and even working in a mediating fashion with private entities such as long-term care facilities and banks!
Another area of elder law, where most of the action takes place in probate court, is guardianship. Many times a family member -- usually a child -- consults an elder law attorney when their parent can no longer handle their affairs and more than just a power of attorney is needed. A growing area within this particular segment is in voluntary guardianship. As Seniors live longer with specific long-lasting diagnoses (such as Alzheimer's), some of them are seeking the services of an elder law attorney to do a voluntary guardianship. These voluntary guardianships are usually done on a springing basis, so that as the Senior progresses in their journey of decline they have their affairs in order -- not just for a distribution to heirs at death -- but for their long-term care needs. Which brings me to another area of elder law -- assisting clients with long-term care planning. This area encompasses all manner of services one can provide to a Senior looking at possible long-term care in the future. This ranges from helping the Senior with long-term care placement at a facility or with in-home care, voluntary guardianship or other planning tools for someone to manage the Senior's affairs after they are no longer able, doing estate planning to help the Senior pay for their long-term care costs, advising about or planning for any future public benefits, such as Medicaid or Veterans Benefits, that the Senior may be or become eligible for, to providing referrals or information for caregiver stress or other sources of support for the family.
As you can see, the elder law attorney needs to be well-versed in a vast array of legal areas. In addition to the above, the elder law attorney may also do normal estate planning, estate administration, trust administration, financial planning, tax, or even family law. (Believe it or not divorce is a Medicaid-planning strategy, although not a common one). Although it doesn't seem likely, elder law could even encompass criminal law should one of your elderly clients run afoul of the law! So, in a nutshell, just what the heck is elder law? Anything and everything!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Defendant Tosses Excrement at Markham Courthouse Judge
Murder wasn't the only thing most foul at the Markham Courthouse on Friday.
Cornell Tyler, 37, of Robbins was hauled away after he announced his name was "Self Destruction" and flung human excrement around the courtroom.The incident took place shortly after noon as Tyler appeared before Circuit Judge Kathleen Panozzo during a routine status hearing. He is charged in the 2005 slaying of Ghada Elayyan in Robbins.
"He was in the back prior to his appearance before the judge, and he was given some lunch and then used the bathroom and used one of the lunch baggies to store the excrement," said Penny Mateck, a spokeswoman for the Cook County sheriff's office.
Assistant State's Atty. Ted Lagerwall, who is handling Tyler's case, said the defendant appeared disheveled when he was led into the courtroom."The judge said, 'Is your name Cornell Tyler?' " Lagerwall said. "He said, 'My name is Self Destruction, but you can call me Smitty—well, I mean [expletive].'
"Tyler then quickly reached down the front of his pants and pulled out the baggie but the deputies beside him pounced on him."In that scuffle, he did throw the excrement toward the front of the courtroom," Mateck said. "The judge was not injured, but unfortunately our deputies were . . . adversely affected."After Tyler was removed, the judge finished the court call in a back hallway.
"The courtroom stunk to high heavens," Lagerwall said. Mateck said charges were expected to be filed next week.
Can Binge Drinking Save Social Security?
A 2004 study by Frank Sloan and Jan Ostermann at Duke University found that heavy drinkers contribute slightly more to Social Security, through their higher average lifetime earnings, than nondrinkers do. What’s more, since alcohol abusers tend to die sooner than moderate or nondrinkers, they draw less money, over time, from the Social Security trust fund.
Their conclusion: the elimination of heavy drinking (three or more drinks a day) from each successive group of American 25-year-olds would cost the Social Security trust fund $3 billion over the cohort’s lifetime.
According to the authors:
From the vantage point of society as a whole, heavy drinking redistributes wealth from heavy drinkers to others. Thus, if public health programs were to succeed in reducing the rate of heavy drinking, [Social Security’s] future financial status would be even worse than has been projected.
The study drives home the health cost of irresponsible drinking, but with a twist: in this case, binge drinking can have positive externalities.
On another note, one of the puzzling underlying findings in this paper is the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and increased lifetime earnings. For men and women alike, people who report downing two or fewer drinks a day earn slightly more than teetotalers do, on average. Heavy alcohol use tends to negatively impact earnings, as you might imagine, but not as much as abstinence. Sloan and Ostermann aren’t clear on the mechanics of this relationship, but the science seems solid."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I wonder why they went bankrupt.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
What would the cops actually do?
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Jewish Clause
I need some help here. I am not an estate planner. I did take Trusts and Estates about six or seven years ago, but I think I sold that text for pizza money about two days after the final. First of all, this wasn't the public's money. It was Max Feinberg's money. So how can the court overrule his wishes based on public policy considerations. Three judges think they can dictate how this guy can divy up the money that he spent seventy years saving. That's ridiculous. I don't think this has any public policy implications whatsoever. He didn't say "My descendants must marry Jews." He said "You can marry whoever you want, but if you want my money, you must marry a Jew." How are these kids automatically entitled to any of his money??? He built his own fortune. He should be able to do with it as he chooses.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Affair with former client's wife costs attorney $1.5 million
A Mississippi attorney must pay $1.5 million for having an affair with a former client's wife.
Affirming a jury verdict in Rankin County Circuit Court, the Supreme Court of Mississippi found Ronald Henry Pierce liable to his former client, Ernest Allan Cook, who, along with his wife Kathleen Shorkey Cook, had hired Pierce to represent them and their son in a medical malpractice action. The appellate court found Pierce, a solo practitioner, liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and alienation of affection.
Pierce began having an affair with Kathleen Cook in September 2000 after her husband had moved to California to pursue a film career. Ernest Cook discovered the affair and hired a private investigator. The Cooks terminated Pierce as their attorney in the medical malpractice action in December 2000 and were divorced in June 2002 on the grounds of Kathleen Cook's uncondoned adultery. Ernest Cook then filed a lawsuit against Pierce.
In June 2006, a jury granted Ernest Cook $300,000 for alienation of affection, $200,000 for breach of contract and $1 million for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Mississippi Supreme Court on Aug. 14 rejected Pierce's argument that the statute of limitations had expired on the alienation and emotional distress claims and his argument that the breach of contract claim was actually a legal malpractice claim requiring an expert witness.
Reached by phone, Pierce said he expected an unfavorable outcome because the Supreme Court had denied his bid to present oral argument on appeal. "I knew I was going to get screwed," he said.
Pierce said that he planned to file a motion to reconsider.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Felony conviction overturned because prosecutor's law license was suspended
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
NCAA Class Action Settlement
Friday, August 8, 2008
Ya, that sounds about right.
Wow. Have a nice weekend!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Civil liability for retail theft
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
ISBA Young Lawyers Division - Day at the Races
It is a Networking and Social Event, Co-Sponsored with the Northwest Suburban Bar Association which benefits of go towards the Illinois Bar Foundation/YLD Children’s Assistance Program. **IBF/YLD Children’s Assistance Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable entity**
When: Saturday, September 20, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Arlington Park Racecourse, Miller Party Deck. Arlington Hts, IL.
Tickets are available online at https://secure.isba.org/sections/yld/races.html and at 11:30 a.m. at the Grandstand Entrance (east Side off of Wilke Road Entrance) at the ISBA Ticket Booth.
NOTE: That there are a limited number of tickets and there is a possibility of the event being sold out.
Tickets include the following: admission; daily racing guide; private party deck; soft drinks, beer, wine and appetizers from 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $50.00 per person (Children 4 - 17 must have a ticket. Please contact Meghan O'Brien for child ticket prices)
NIU Post-Bar Exam Event
Monday, July 21, 2008
Please stay tuned.
Any new contributors out there please contact me for instructions to begin posting.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Law Blog featured in ISBA Bar News
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Court supervision for minors
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Duke won a lawsuit because it has a bad football team
Imagine, however, if Duke was a more competitive football team. Then the substitution clause would be more difficult to fulfill. Or, in a legal nightmare scenario, imagine that Duke's football team was as good as its men's basketball team! Needless to say, situation would be far more difficult.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Property owner has to pay twice for subcontractor's work.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
BREAKING NEWS: The Big Ten Network is coming to Comcast
Why can't we get Wisconsin law licenses without taking their bar like Wisconsin law students do?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Defending homeowners in foreclosure cases
Wrong date fatal to judgment lien
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Lawyer rating service seeks names of all licensed lawyers in Illinois
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Discovery deposition of deceased plaintiff excluded from trial
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Are out-of-state witnesses always "unavailable to testify"?
Friday, May 30, 2008
Northern Law Blog Sponsors Hole At Alumni Golf Outing
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Illinois Supreme Court makes plans for statewide e-filing
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Time to look for a new advertising agency
NIU Golf Outing - June 27, 2008
I'm surprised we don't see more of this...
Friday, May 23, 2008
Another trip to the Appellate Court?
Monday, May 12, 2008
Great tip from Justice Scalia
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Class Action Lawsuits
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Making Your Case
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Growing our Blog
Saturday, April 26, 2008
REMINDER: ISBA/YLD Party May 3rd
When: Saturday, May 3, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Durkin’s, 810 W. Diversey, Chicago, IL
What: Pizza and domestic beer, house wine, mixed well drinks and soft drinks
Cost: $30.00 per person per wristband or $100.00 for entrance fee for Bean Bag Tournament for a team of two with two wristbands. You must be 21 years old and older to participate.
Deadline: Thursday, April 24, 2008
The Bean Bag Tournament is a fundraiser for the IBF/YLD Children's Assistance Fund. The YLD raises funds that are used for grants for child-related programs. The main funding is for establishment and ongoing support, supplies, toys, etc, for Children's Waiting Rooms in Courthouses throughtout the state. These waiting rooms provide children a safe space while their parents or guardians have business with the Court.
Prizes will be given to the first and second place teams. Questions? Email Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to enter the tournament, but do not have a teammate, let me know and I will try to team you up with someone.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Great and Mighty Secretary of State
Subsequently notices of Revocation were sent out to the people whose records were sent. Now realize some of these people knew this was a potential as their record had never been sent and their license never revoked. However, for other people who had already had their license revoked and had already had gotten their license reinstated it was quite a surprise. Not to mention, there was no warning - just a letter stating that their license was effectively revoked as of the date in the letter. Now the kicker to this whole scenario is that the application process to have your license reinstated can take quite a while. Also, in order to apply to have your license reinstated you need to have your original alcohol evaluation, a new evaluation, etc..... - well for those who did not keep good records, they were unable to get a copy of their original alcohol evaluation (the circuit clerk microfilmed the files and alcohol evaluations were not microfilmed and the main evaluator in 1998 for DUIs had since closed, etc...).
Now comes the question for the attorney, did the attorneys violate ethics or potentially liable to a malpractice claim for not making sure the ADR record was sent by the circuit clerk? And the most often question asked by the clients is there anyway around this? Well the simple answer I found is no - not really.The Circuit Clerk is required by statute to send the ADR conviction record within 5 days of the conviction. However, since there is no punishment for if they do not send it, they can send it at any time without repercussions. The Secretary of State by statute is allowed to impose a suspension or revocation of a driving license on the date it receives notice of the conviction. NOTE: date it receives notice of the conviction, NOT date of conviction. Thus, the Secretary of State could theoretically revoke a 90 year olds license for a DUI he/she received when they were 16.
How do you resolve the problem? Still to be determined, but if it is not alcohol related, I can tell you it takes a lot of calls to the Secretary of State before you will get any kind of answer. The answer I finally found after being told there was nothing they could do, was that when considering revocations and suspensions traffic ticket convictions over 7 years old cannot be considered (Lucky for me and my client).Will this issue come up again - Most definitely - previous to the Champaign County event, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) found boxes of records that had not been sent to the Secretary of State in another County, and promptly made sure they were sent causing many similar revocation letters to be sent out.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Lawyer Sentenced to 90 days for Contempt
No More Internet in Class
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The Home Repair & Remodeling Act
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Commercial Driver's License Cheat Sheet
The Motor Vehicle Code states that CDLs shall be suspended if the holder is convicted of:
- One “major offense,” or
- Two "serious traffic violations," arising from separate incidents, occurring within a three year period.
“Major offenses” all involve alcohol, controlled substances, or death.
"Serious traffic violations" are defined in 49 C.F.R. 383.51 and include only the following offenses:
- Speeding excessively (15 mph or more over the limit);
- Reckless driving:
- Making improper or erratic lane changes;
- Following too closely;
- Violating any state or local law in connection with a fatal accident; and
- Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL in the driver’s possession.
I have a guy involved in an accident while driving a tractor-trailer on I-90. He was ticketed for Failure to Reduce Speed and Following too Closely.
According to the CDL Cheatsheet, he can take the hit for Failure to Reduce Speed, if it comes to that, without any consequences to his CDL. Looks like all I have to do is get rid of the Following too Closely.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Donald Trump is an Idiot
The quote that is making all the headlines is where the Donald says that he has "a Ph.D. in legal fees," and that he "knows when fees are fair and when they're not." The quote that I found interesting, however, is where he says "We won the case because I am a great witness."
On a side note, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog points out that the firm that Trump is suing employs Joshua D. Saviano, the former child actor who was once known as Paul, Kevin Arnold's best friend on the Wonder Years. Check out his profile on the firm's website.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Only in Cook County
So I apply for the exemption online and everything is going smoothly and quickly. There is a code to enter along with the PIN. It asks you to verify your informaiton and certify that you owned the house as of Jan 1. At the bottom of the page I hit SUBMIT. It opens a new page where it says "YOUR EXEMPTION IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL YOU PRINT THIS CERTIFICATION, SIGN, AND MAIL IT TO THE ASSESSOR."
What?!? Huh? Only in Cook County could some wizard on high decide that we are going to make things for the taxpayer easier, quicker, cheaper, and smoother by turning a one step process into two. I could have just mailed in the original paper form, rather than doing all the hoopla online and then having to mail it anyway.
Hopefully Todd Stroger's third cousin twice removed will personally handle my exemption in the fourteen hours he works this month.
Friday, April 4, 2008
There should be an exception
What do the readers think? Let me know by posting your comments below.
"Unless provision is made in the will for a child of the testator born after the will is executed or unless it appears by the will that it was the intention of the testator to disinherit the child, the child is entitled to receive the portion of the estate to which he would be entitled if the testator died intestate and all legacies shall abate proportionately therefor."
So, unless Heath expressly disinherited after-born children in his Will (or it appeared that was his intention), Matlida would inherit and the other legacies (in this case to his parents and siblings) would abate. Michelle would not be so lucky, as the legislature affords no special protection to ex-fiancee's, so hopefully she has some of that Dawson's Creek money stashed away.
Why would anyone disinherit after-born children you may ask? Anna Nicole did...but did she mean to? For an excellent discussion on that topic from the Death and Taxes Blog, click this link.
So, how does one avoid this problem altogether? It's quite simple actually, careful drafting. Instead of leaving my estate to my son Daniel (as in Anna Nicole's case), how about "I leave my entire estate to my descendants who survive me, per stirpes" or "I leave my entire estate to my children who survive me, per stirpes." A little planning and forethought go a long way.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
More than 25% of top law firms have blogs
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Be careful whose car you drive
Upon learning that the owner of vehicle has a suspended license, most police officers will execute a traffic stop without any further inquiry as to whether the owner of the vehicle is actually the person driving. Remember that citizens in Illinois have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and other possessions against unreasonable searches, seizures, and invasions of privacy. Oftentimes, the owner’s gender and physical description are made available to the officer as part of the notification that the owner’s license is suspended. If the officer’s records indicate that a male owns the car, but a female is pulled over and gets arrested, was that a good stop?
Absolutely, says the Illinois Appellate Court. See People v. Barnes, 152 Ill.App.3d 1004 (4th Dist. 1987). See also Village of Lake in the Hills v. Lloyd, 227 Ill.App.3d 351 (2nd Dist. 1992). The Courts have ruled that a police officer can make a reasonable inference that the owner is driving the vehicle, and has no duty to inquire otherwise. That inference amounts to probable cause sufficient to pull over the vehicle and question the driver.
Of course, if you don't mind dealing with police officers, and have nowhere important to be for the next twenty minutes after you get pulled over, this shouldn’t bother you. For everyone else, be careful of whose car you drive.