Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Courts (and Litigants) Should be Concerned about the Meteoric Rise in Collection Lawsuits

In a recent post, I discussed the practice of lawsuit lending, where private lending institutions fund the lawsuits of litigants whose claims are unrelated to the interests of the lending institutions. An article in today's Wall Street Journal describes a similar development in the legal industry whereby investors are buying bad consumer debt obligations from creditors for pennies-on-the-dollar and then suing the debtor for the judgment, profiting from the difference in price between what the investor bought the debt obligation for and the amount of the judgment rendered. So instead of private investors lending to litigants, now private investors are effectively buying "standing" to sue by purchasing consumer debt obligations from creditors and thereby assuming the "harm" suffered by the creditor.

The effect is that "there [has been] a surge in lawsuits against people who aren't paying their bills, driven by the debt-buying industry that has boomed in the past three years as a sea of souring loans and credit-card obligations have become cheaper and cheaper to buy amid hard economic times," says the article. The escalating number of collection lawsuits is now clogging court dockets. According to the WSJ article, Cook County Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly said that he "has heard as many as 400 cases a day, filed by debt buyers, debt collectors and their attorneys who have often lugged their filings to his courtroom in crates." Furthermore, "A growing number of cases brought by debt buyers are plagued by sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation of debts." Sound familiar?

Last month, the New York Times reported that "A recent sample of foreclosure cases in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida showed that 20 percent of those set for summary judgment involved deficient documents." This, in Florida, where "in the second quarter, 20.13 percent of its mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure" and where the 471,000 pending foreclosures cases in Florida forced the state to create foreclosure courts to prevent foreclosure cases from clogging the civil docket. The creation of foreclosure courts was necessary because Florida law requires financial institutions to prove to a judge that it owned the underlying note secured by the mortgage. Because the note had sometime been sold, divided, sub-divided, and pieced back together many times, this became difficult to do, and the resources of the court were drained in the meantime while litigation over the ownership of the notes continued.

Because consumer debt obligations are packaged and sold in much the same way as mortgage obligations, it appears that the same ownership issues of the underlying debt that brought foreclosures to a halt a few weeks ago might provide a similar stumbling block in collection cases. If these ownership issues, in fact, do present a legal problem, it is likely to drain the resources of the court in much the same way that the increase in foreclosure litigation has. This could have a catastrophic effect on accessibility to the courts at a time when state and federal budgets are actually eliminating judges instead of elevating more to the bench.

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 26, 2010

The Community Caretaking Exception to the Fourth Amendment

The Illinois Supreme Court invoked a seldom-used exception to the Fourth Amendment to reach its recent decision in People v. McDonough, No. 109489, slip op. (Ill. November 18, 2010). In McDonough, a state trooper encountered a car parked on the shoulder of a busy highway during a routine evening patrol. Id. at 2. The officer, deciding to inquire whether the car’s occupants needed assistance, pulled behind the stopped car and activated his emergency lights “for his safety.” Id. The officer approached the car, and the driver rolled down the window to answer the officer’s questions. Id. at 2-3. The trooper detected alcohol on the driver’s breath and asked the defendant to submit to a field sobriety test, which he failed, and a Breathalyzer test, which he declined. The driver was arrested for and charged with DUI. Id. at 3. The defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence and quash arrest, which the trial court granted. Id. The appellate court reversed the trial court on appeal. See McDonough, No. 109489, slip. op. at 3. At issue was whether the defendant was “seized” in violation of the Fourth Amendment when the officer pulled behind his vehicle and activated his emergency lights. Id. at 4.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const., amend. IV. “Generally, stopping a vehicle and detaining its occupants constitute a “seizure” within the meaning of the fourth amendment, even if only for a brief period and for a limited purpose.” McDonough, No. 109489, slip. op. at 5 (internal citations omitted). Therefore, the vehicle stop must be reasonable. Id. at 6 (citing Whren, 518 U.S. 806, 810 (1996). Normally, an officer needs probable cause that a traffic violation has occurred in order for the stop to be reasonable. Id. (citing Whren, et al). But the U.S. Supreme Court has carved out several exceptions to the probable cause requirement. Id. (internal citations omitted). One of these exceptions is the “community caretaking exception,” which the U.S. Supreme Court created in Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973). Community caretaking “refers to a capacity in which the police act when they are performing some task unrelated to the investigation of a crime, such as helping children find their parents, mediating noise disputes, responding to calls about missing persons or sick neighbors, or helping inebriates find their way home.” Id. at 7. In order for the community caretaking exception to apply, 1) officers “must be performing some function other than the investigation of a crime” and 2) the search and seizure” must be reasonable because it was undertaken to protect the safety of the general public.” Id. at 10 (internal citations omitted). If these elements are met, such searches and seizures made in the officer’s community caretaking capacity are deemed reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. See McDonough, No. 109489, slip. op. at 10.

The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court that the defendant was “seized” when the officer pulled behind defendant’s car and activated his emergency lights. Id. Because this constituted a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, the question that the Court had to decide was whether such a seizure was performed in the officer’s community caretaking capacity. The Supreme Court held that the seizure fell within the community caretaking exception because 1) the officer was not performing an investigative function because he approached the defendant’s car to render aid to a driver in distress and 2) that it was reasonable to render such aid when a motorist was stranded on the side of a remote stretch of highway after dark. Id. at 11. Therefore, the seizure of the defendant was a valid Fourth Amendment seizure, and therefore the subsequent discovery of alcohol on defendant’s breath could not be barred by the exclusionary rule. Id. at 12.

Though the community caretaker exception is used infrequently in court, it probably occurs just as often as the other Fourth Amendment exceptions (i.e., exigent circumstances) because police officers perform such functions as checking on stranded motorists more often than chasing individuals in hot pursuit. Therefore, drivers who have been drinking should be mindful that the Fourth Amendment probable cause requirement does not apply when those drivers are doing something that, while perhaps not illegal, nonetheless presents a danger to themselves or the community (such as parking on the side of a busy highway at night) that would warrant an officer to check on the driver or the other occupants of his vehicle.

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.

Why Do Airline Passengers have Less Constitutional Rights than Criminal Suspects?

I. Introduction
The implementation of new screening procedures at airports has recently drawn protest among both civil liberties groups and airline passengers, sparking a national debate over whether the Department of Homeland Security’s new screening methods violate an individual’s right to privacy. As a recent article in the New York Times describes, a passenger going through an airport security check point is met with the option of passing through a scanner that creates an image of the passenger’s nude body or submitting to a full-body pat-down by security officials—this, in contrast to the former method of merely passing through a stationary metal detector. While there may be sound public policy reasons for heightening security to protect passengers against terrorist threats, does the need to protect against an unknown and remotely possible threat provide sufficient justification for abrogating the privacy rights of ordinary, everyday citizens? If so, to what extent are we willing to tolerate this invasion of privacy to protect against the threat of terrorism? To the extent that criminal suspects have more constitutional rights than everyday airline passengers?

II. The Body-imaging Scan
The airline passenger is first met with the option of passing through a body scanner, where an image of the contours of a passenger’s nude body appears on a Homeland Security official’s computer screen. The purpose behind the body scanner is to reveal weapons that may be beneath the passenger’s clothing. However, civil liberties advocates have criticized this procedure as being an invasion of the passenger’s privacy and some are now suing. The Supreme Court, in Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001), grappled with a similar invasion of privacy in the context of one’s home. In Kyllo, police officers used a thermal imaging device to determine that the defendant was using high-powered lights to grow marijuana in his home. See id. at 29. The defendant challenged the search as being unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. See id. at 30. The Supreme Court held that where “the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a “search” and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.” Id. at 40. The Court reasoned that one has a reasonable expectation of privacy in one’s home, and that by using the thermal imaging device to circumvent the warrant requirement normally needed to search one’s home, the search violated the defendant’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his home. See id. at 34. The body scanning device at airport checkpoints and the thermal imaging device used in Kyllo have similar purposes: the body scanning device penetrates the passenger’s clothing to reveal the intimate contours of the body; the thermal imaging device penetrates the walls of the house to reveal the intimate activities of the home. The Supreme Court has consistently condemned, most notably in Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186, 207 (1986), the intrusion of the government into the privacy of one’s home. Why then, is it constitutionally unacceptable to use a thermal imaging device to penetrate the walls of the home but constitutionally acceptable to use a body-scanning machine to penetrate clothes on the body? Several Circuit courts, including the Sixth Circuit in Daughtery v. Campbell, 33 F.3d 554, 556 (6th Cir. 1994) have condemned the similar practice of strip searching prison visitors because of the severe violation of their personal privacy (“A strip search, regardless of how professionally and courteously conducted, is an embarrassing and humiliating experience…Consequently, reasonable suspicion must exist before a strip search is authorized for prison visitors.”). The Daughtery decision rests on the principle that a strip search offends our most basic expectations of privacy. Most would agree that we have a greater expectation of privacy in our body than we do in our homes. Any passerby could peer through a window into one’s home, yet most only reveal their bodies to spouses or loved ones. Yet where it is unreasonable to use a thermal device to penetrate one’s home, it is currently “reasonable” when the Department of Homeland Security uses a device that is even less available to the general public than a thermal imaging device to penetrate the area in which we have perhaps the greatest expectation of privacy—the flesh beneath our clothes.

III. The Full-Body Pat-down
If the passenger declines the body-imaging scan, she must submit to a full-body pat-down search. Even though this is now a routine procedure at airport check-points, outside of this context, the full-body pat-down is usually only employed by police officers in pat-down searches of criminal suspects. The 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), squarely addressed the constitutionality of pat-down searches of individuals in public. In Terry, police officers observed three individuals pacing up and down the street and peering into a specific store window twenty-four times. Id. at 23. Suspicious that the individuals were casing the store to rob it, the officers approached the men and patted them down for weapons. Id. at 6-7. During the frisk, the officer felt a lump in the defendant’s coat and removed a pistol and arrested the man for unlawful possession of a weapon. Id. at 7. The defendant challenged the admissibility of the weapon into evidence, arguing that the officer’s seizure and search was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. Id. at 8. The Supreme Court agreed with the defendant that the Fourth Amendment was implicated, reasoning that the stop by the officers constituted a seizure because the defendant was not free to walk away, and the pat-down constituted a search because “it is nothing less than sheer torture of the English language to suggest that a careful exploration of the outer surfaces of a person’s clothing all over his or her body in an attempt to find weapons is no a ‘search’.” Terry, 392 U.S. at 16-17. A search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment must be reasonable to be constitutional. See U.S. Const. amend. IV. A balancing test is employed to determine the reasonableness of the search, weighing “the need to search (or seize) against the invasion which the search (or seizure) entails.” Terry, 392 U.S. at 21. In balancing these two factors, the court held that the search was valid under the Fourth Amendment because an officer’s need to protect himself from a suspect’s weapons outweighed a suspect’s right to privacy. Id. at 26. However, the court narrowly crafted its rule to require the officer to have “reason to believe that he is dealing with an armed and dangerous individual” before seizing and searching the individual. Id. at 27 (emphasis added).

In Terry, the Court determined that the casing of the store by the suspects provided a basis for a reasonable belief that the individuals may commit an armed robbery of the store, thereby giving officers the reasonable belief that the suspects were armed and dangerous and therefore rendering them subject to a pat-down. Id. at 23. In contrast to the men in Terry who appeared to be casing a store for an armed robbery, airline passengers are simply moving through the terminal on a business trip or on the way to see loved ones. They are typically not exhibiting any of the suspicious behavior that the suspects in Terry were exhibiting. Yet they are required to submit to a pat-down for contraband, despite the Homeland Security Officials having no “reason to believe that [they are] dealing with an armed and dangerous individual.” So while the Supreme Court has determined that an officer on the street must have some reason to believe that he is dealing with an armed and dangerous individual before he can stop and frisk him, a Homeland Security Officer need not possess this belief in order to subject a passenger to a pat-down in the airport. Why does a young criminal suspect on the street, then, have greater constitutional protections against invasions of privacy than an elderly airline passenger?

The answer to that question, some may argue, is found in Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990). At question in Sitz is whether a highway sobriety checkpoint program is a constitutional search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court, applying the balancing test devised in Terry, weighed the public safety need to keep drunk drivers off the highway against the intrusion into the personal privacy of passing motorists. Id. at 455. The court held that keeping drunk drivers off the road justified the minimal intrusion into a motorist’s travel. Id. Furthermore, the court held that the sobriety checkpoint was the most effective way of advancing the public interest in keeping drunk drivers off the road, based on empirical data which showed that such roadblocks usually led to anywhere from 1.6% of drivers being drunk in the instant case to 1% of drivers being drunk in other roadblock cases. Id. The roadblocks in Sitz are very similar to airport security checkpoints. Whereas the purpose of the sobriety checkpoints is to discover drunk drivers travelling on the highway, the purpose of airport security check points, similarly, is to discover individuals with dangerous contraband travelling on the nation’s airways. Both drunk drivers and terrorists pose a serious threat to public safety, and, according to the reasoning in Sitz, the public safety need to keep drunk drivers off the road and terrorists off airplanes justifies the intrusion into all passengers’ privacy. But does it?

Even if it were conceded that the protection from potential terrorists justifies the intrusion into the privacy of all airline passengers—terrorists or not—the number of potential terror attempts that would be thwarted by the screening and body pat-downs weighed against subjecting hundreds of millions of innocent passengers to the most intrusive search methods at hand might change the analysis. While there may be no publicly available data showing the percentage of potential terrorists discovered at security checkpoints, it is safe to assume that that number is, if not 0% up to this point, infinitesimally small compared to the millions of passengers who fly each day—at any rate, much smaller than the 1-1.6% of drunk drivers found during road blocks. So not only is the percentage of terrorists passing through airports exponentially smaller than the percentage of drunk drivers on our roads, the body scan and pat-down are much more intrusive than peering into the window of a car during a roadblock. Airport checkpoint searches and seizures are therefore distinguishable from the sobriety checkpoints in Sitz, calling into question whether the means used to search all passengers used at the airport is too invasive to justify the extremely remote possibility of discovering a potential terrorist.

Proponents of the new screening procedures would argue, however, that it only takes one terrorist to kill many through an act of terror. And that because we have no way of identifying that terrorist in a mass of passengers, we should treat every passenger as a potential terrorist; we should suspect every passenger of being a future criminal. However, if we suspect every passenger of being a future criminal, we are treating every passenger as a criminal suspect. And if we are going to treat every passenger as a criminal suspect, then, why should we treat them any differently from the criminal suspect lying in wait to rob a store just because they are in an airport and not on the street? If we are to treat all passengers as criminal suspects, we should hold the Homeland Security officers to the same standard as the police officers were held to in Terry. That is, Homeland Security officers at airports should not be able to perform full-body pat-downs of passengers unless those officers have an articulable “reason to believe that [they are] dealing with an armed and dangerous individual.”

IV. Conclusion
The federal government cannot have it both ways. If the government has no reason to believe an airline passenger is committing, or is about to commit, a crime, it cannot treat a passenger as a criminal suspect. If, as is the case now, the government chooses to treat all passengers as criminal suspects, despite no evidence that they are committing, or will commit a crime, it must afford those “criminal suspect” passengers the same Fourth Amendment protections that criminal suspects have on the street. To treat passengers as criminal suspects without affording these passengers constitutional protections is akin to holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without the constitutional right to due process. While it may be (questionably) legal to ignore the rights of criminal suspects in Guantanamo Bay, the constitutional rights of Americans on American soil must be observed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is Lawsuit Lending Good for Clients?

A recent article in the NY Times has shed some light on the burgeoning lawsuit lending industry. According to the Times article, “Total investments in lawsuits at any given time now exceed $1 billion.” The funds are primarily being used by plaintiff’s firms to bankroll large and complex lawsuits that would otherwise drain a firm’s operating capital. While there is some debate on whether lawsuit lending is a healthy development, it is sure to impact lawsuits in much the same way that the Citizens United decision will impact future political elections. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, No. 08-205, slip op. (U.S. January 21, 2010), the Supreme Court held that the government could not limit corporate expenditures on political campaigns because it restricted corporations’ free speech rights under the First Amendment. See id. at 50 (“Government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.”). The practical effect of the Citizens United decision is to now allow corporations to freely contribute to political campaigns. The Citizens United decision has already impacted the most recent elections this month, most notably in Iowa.

On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed a trial court’s decision striking down as unconstitutional a statute limiting marriage to a man and women, making gay marriage legal in the state. On November 2, 2010, three of the six justices in the majority in that opinion came up for a retention vote. All three judges were voted out of office, marking the first time that an Iowan Supreme Court justice has ever been voted out. During the campaign, several out-of-state donors spent considerable amounts of money on television advertising advocating that the three justices not be retained. Among these groups was the Washington D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, which alone contributed $200,000 to anti-retention television ads. Due in large part to the financial support from organizations outside of the state, three Supreme Court justices were removed from their positions for ruling on the legal merits of a case which came before it.

The Citizens United ruling’s impact on the makeup of Iowa’s Supreme Court foreshadows what could occur in lawsuits between private litigants. In the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in N.A.A.C.P. v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 437 (1963), the Court held that the N.A.A.C.P.’s Legal Defense Fund’s support of private litigants was speech protected by the First Amendment, much as the Citizens United court recognized that a corporation’s support of political candidates was similarly protected speech. In Button, the Court allowed the N.A.A.C.P. to participate in the litigation because its interests were aligned with the black litigant’s. Button, 371 U.S. at 429-30. If the black litigant was harmed, so was the N.A.A.C.P. However, the interests of a bank loaning money to a law firm pursuing a class action suit will rarely be so aligned with the class of litigants it is sponsoring.

This misalignment of interests could prove problematic. Let us say that there is a lawsuit where a class of litigants is suing ABC Tire Manufacturing for harm caused by its defective tires. XYZ Tire Manufacturing, which is a much larger tire manufacturer and a competitor of ABC, sees this suit as an opportunity to gain market share by knocking ABC out of the market. XYZ approaches the class’ law firm, offering to bankroll the suit. XYZ contributes vast amounts of money to hiring redundant expert witnesses, filing frivolous motions, making voluminous discovery requests, etc., to the point where ABC, who is paying its defense counsel on an hourly scale, can no longer afford the cost of litigation and goes bankrupt. Then you have a situation where XYZ benefits from the lawsuit by knocking ABC out of the market while the litigants—those who really suffered harm by ABC’s products—get nothing because ABC is bankrupt. In this case, the interests of XYZ are not aligned with the litigants whose class action suit XYZ funded because XYZ achieved its objective at the cost of the class failing to achieve its objective.

The Iowa retention election has demonstrated that corporations can not only greatly influence the political makeup of legislative and executive branches of government, but of the judicial branch, as well. Allowing corporations to fund lawsuits between private litigants will also enable corporations to affect the outcome of litigation in ways that can often be detrimental to a client’s interests. Even putting ethical complications aside, allowing corporations to freely contribute to both political campaigns and private lawsuits creates a financial arms race. Whether it is the newcomer congressman or the family-owned ABC Tire Manufacturing, a wealthier corporate financier could undo both.

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