Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paypal Donations

A Paypal button has been added to offset the cost of publicizing and growing the Northern Law Blog. The Blog owes many thanks to the writers who have contributed their time and efforts to build the blog to what it is today, but we are currently exploring the possibility of print and digital advertising to expand our contributor and subscription base even further.

We also plan to continue our sponsorship of the NIU Law School Alumni Golf Outing, which we have done for the past two years. Of course, in lieu of monetary donations, we would also accept published articles for reprinting or new blog submissions. Thank you for your consideration.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Landmark Case in the Making.

I have been following the development of animal law in Illinois for several years. Check here and here for prior posts relating to damages for injuries to pets. This is very much an emerging area of law and one that has not received a whole lot of publicity, until now. Unless a settlement is reached quickly, there is the potential for a landmark case to come out of Arizona for the wrongful death of Target - a dog and national hero.

According to the NY Times, Target saved the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan when it and two other dogs confronted a suicide bomber that had entered the barracks. The dogs barked and snarled until the man detonated his bomb. One of the dogs died in the blast. Five soldiers were injured, but none were killed. The two surviving dogs were flown back to the U.S. by a charity and adopted by military families. Target was adopted by an Army medic who witnessed the incident and treated the wounded soldiers.

Target returned to a hero's welcome. She was on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She had her own facebook page. She was on the news on every television network. Then she wandered from her family's back yard and was captured by County Animal Control. Animal Control put the dog's picture on their website in an attempt to notify the owner. The owner immediately saw the picture and paid the pound's recovery fee online. But before the owner could come pick up the dog, a staff member mistook Target for another dog and euthanized her.

The unidentified woman has been placed on administrative leave. The County has ordered an investigation. The County has also provided grief counselors to the family. Oh ya, and the family has already talked to a lawyer. Even if a lawsuit is never filed, this case has the potential to be one of the largest settlements ever for the wrongful death of a pet.  I will be interested to see how this turns out.  If anyone hears any news in the future, please share it with me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Share Your Haiku About Life as a Lawyer or Law Student

This week, the ABA is asking for haikus related to your life as a lawyer or law student. 

A few examples...

A J.D. opens doors
To amazing adventures
Seek and you shall find

In my snuggie now
Trying to write a paper

raised hand in first class
made intelligent comment
now known as gunner

Read/share law-related poetry here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Are Completion Dates Required on Mechanics Liens?

Illinois' Mechanics Lien Act dates back at least to 1903. It's amazing that an issue as fundamental as what exactly needs to appear on the face of the lien remains unresolved. There is currently a split between the 1st and 2nd districts regarding whether the contract completion date needs to appear on the face of the lien.

The 1st District requires completion dates in mechanics liens. In Merchants Environmental Industries, Inc. v. SLT Realty Ltd. Partnership, 314 Ill.App.3d 848 (1st Dist. 2000) the court noted that a mechanics lien is not enforceable unless it is recorded within 4 months of completion of the work. The court went on to say that "while section 7 itself does not expressly require inclusion of the completion date in the lien claim, nevertheless that requirement must be inferred."

The court asserted that the primary purpose for requiring the lien claim to be filed within a specified time is so third persons dealing with the property may have notice of the existence, nature and character of the lien as well as the times when the material was furnished and labor performed, and thus be enabled to learn from the claim itself whether it was such as can be enforced. Without a completion date, the court noted, a person examining the lien claim would not know whether the four-month filing requirement had been met.

The 2nd District, on the other hand, does not require completion dates. The court recently issued its opinion in National City Mortgage v. Bergman, 02-09-0934, October 20, 2010. In that case, the court held that the Mechanics Lien Act must be strictly construed. In strictly construing the statute the court found nothing in section 7 requiring a claimant to state the date of the completion of the contract. The plain language of section 7 instructs the lien claimant only to: (1) file the claim within four months after the completion of the work; (2) verify the lien by affidavit of the claimant or an agent or employee; (3) include a brief statement of the contract; (4) set forth the balance due; and (5) provide a sufficiently correct description of the lot or lots.

The safe practice is to include the completion date. I have to assume that everyone who reads this blog already does that. I should note that the contractors in the Merchants and Bergman cases both filed their liens without the aid of an attorney.  So, if any of my clients are still reading at this point, let this be a lesson to you.  Call me the next time you need a lien prepared. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicago Bears Watch Party

Chicago Bears Watch Party
Hosted by the NIU Law Alumni Council and Student Bar Association
Sunday, November 14, 2010 (vs. Vikings)
Side Bar Grille (221 N. LaSalle, Chicago)
11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
FREE Food and Drinks. Games and Prizes!
Please RSVP IMMEDIATELY to or 815.753.9655

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Four More Home Repair and Remodeling Act Cases Petition Illinois Supreme Court for Leave to Appeal

The following is a guest post from Nathan Hinch. Mr. Hinch works at Mueller & Reece, LLC in Bloomington. He also writes at the Hinch Law Blog.

In the wake of the Illinois Supreme Court's recent decision in K. Miller Construction Co. v. McGinnis, ILSC Case No. 109156, the Court's November Docket book includes four more Home Repair and Remodeling Act cases in the Leave to Appeal Docket. This means a party in each of these cases has sought to appeal the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court, but the Illinois Supreme Court has not yet determined whether or not it will grant the appeal and hear the case. The four cases have all been discussed on the Hinch Law Blog previously, as follows:

Artisan Design Build v. Bilstrom , ILSC No. 109371, discussed here.
Fandel v. Allen, ILSC No. 109887, discussed here.
Roberts v. Adkins, ILSC No. 109909, discussed here.
Universal Structures, LTD. v. Buchman , ILSC No. 110842, discussed here.

The Court will likely announce by the end of the month whether or not it will hear appeal of these cases. Stay tuned.

Nathan Hinch
Mueller & Reece, LLC
202 North Center Street, Suite 1
Bloomington, Illinois 61701