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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) October 24, 2014 – Illinois state troopers are cracking down on motorists using cellphones in an effort to curb distracted driving, a major cause of car accidents. Statistics from the Illinois State Police show that distracted driving citations in the first half of 2014 increased by 193 percent compared to the same period last year. The crackdown comes after a statewide ban on the use of cellphones went into effect in January. Prior to that, texting while driving was already prohibited statewide, and Chicago and several other municipalities had banned cellphone use entirely while driving. […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) October 24, 2014 – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is applicable to all state, local and federal government and private employers with at least 50 workers who live within a 75-mile radius. “For employees to be eligible for leave, they must have worked for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours prior to starting leave. Many workers do not know that by law, employers are not required to provide paid sick leave. However, they are in certain situations mandated to permit employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave,” Timothy Coffey, […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) October 16, 2014 – According to a new study, even mild cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can affect the cognition and brain matter of patients. Past research has focused extensively on severe cases of TBI, but there have been fewer studies completed on moderate to mild cases. However, mild and moderate cases make up about 90 percent of the total number of brain injuries caused by trauma, and the new research shows that even mild cases can have lasting effects. “Brain injuries are different from other types of injuries that one may sustain as […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) September 30, 2014 – Personal grooming choices are not considered “protected” characteristics. “It is not against federal employment law for a company to decline to hire someone whose appearance does not appeal to them. Companies may base their hiring and work choices on an individual’s personal characteristics, and they may legally treat them differently according to their attributes,” explained Chicago employment attorney Thomas C. Coffey. Nationwide, an employer may not discriminate against an individual because of disability, race, color, nationality, age, sexual orientation or religion. Those classes are referred to as “protected” classes or groups. […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2014 – Employers in some states may legally refuse to hire a smoker. Some employers will screen job candidates during the hiring process, and some include a nicotine test. At such companies, a positive result will disqualify a candidate. This practice is allowable under federal law. However, if a person is hired, many states forbid employers from firing the worker after a negative drug test or if the worker becomes a smoker while employed. “For the most part, an employer may ban smoking in the workplace. Demanding a smoker step outside to smoke […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) September 12, 2014 – The number of fatalities caused by defective ignition switches in General Motors vehicles may be much greater than the 13 that GM itself has linked to the problem.  A Reuters analysis of government data on fatal crashes indicates that there have been at least 74 deaths in GM cars with key similarities to the deaths already attributed to the faulty switches. “It’s unsurprising that an independent observer is finding more deaths caused by the ignition switch defect than GM found,” said Paul Greenberg, a Chicago wrongful death attorney. “There is a […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) September 5, 2014 – A wrongful death lawsuit over last year’s construction accident on the Northwestern University campus, which resulted in the death of an iron worker, is pressing forward. Michael Kerr, 57, was killed on May 16, 2013 when a crane knocked a 70-pound beam off the sixth floor of a new building being constructed on campus. Kerr was standing on the ground floor when the 16-foot beam struck him in the head and chest. He was pronounced dead two hours later at Evanston Hospital. Kerr’s son, also named Michael Kerr, has filed a […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 29, 2014 – In an at-will employment arrangement, an employer may terminate a worker any time for a wide number of reasons. An employee may also quit any time for any reason, but he or she should do so with respect and courtesy if possible. “If you are thinking about quitting your job, make certain you know if you live in an at-will employment state, such as Illinois,” suggested Chicago employment attorney Timothy Coffey. “In virtually all states (with the exception of Montana), workers are presumed to be at-will employees unless the employment terms […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 22, 2014 – Most states hire workers “at-will.” Even though employees may usually be laid off at any time without notice, state and federal laws protect workers in some circumstances. “It is good common sense to understand whether or not you are employed at-will in your state. It affects how any labor disputes may be handled. Illinois is an employment-at-will state,” explained Timothy Coffey, a respected Chicago employment lawyer. State and federal laws protect workers in some circumstances. For instance, if a worker in Illinois has an employment contract, they do not have at-will […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 8, 2014 – At-will employment means an employer may terminate a worker any time for many reasons. An employee may also quit any time for any reason, but should do so with respect and courtesy if possible. “If you are thinking about quitting your job, make certain you know if you live in an at-will-employment state, such as Illinois,” indicated Chicago employment attorney, Timothy Coffey. “For instance, in virtually all states, with the exception of Montana, workers are presumed to be at-will employees, unless the employment terms fit an exception to the prevailing rule, […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 7, 2014 – A personal injury lawsuit has been filed against the Chicago Transit Authority by a passenger in the subway train that jumped the tracks and careened up an escalator at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in March. The derailment, caught on a surveillance video, propelled the train up an escalator toward two men standing at the top. Due to the early morning hour of the accident, the platform was deserted and no one was killed. However, more than 30 passengers on the train were injured, including plaintiff Dalila Jefferson, who was on her […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 31, 2014 – As of late May, traffic fatalities in Illinois have fallen 23 percent compared to the same time period last year. There were 290 highway deaths in the state by May 23 this year, a decrease of 89 fatalities from the same period in 2013. “The decrease in traffic fatalities is welcome news, and hopefully, it is a trend that will continue,” said Paul Greenberg, a Chicago car accident attorney. The reasons for the decline in fatal accidents are unclear, but there are several likely possibilities. On January 1, a statewide ban […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2014 – In the decade after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made more than $200 million in payments to settle nearly 1,000 wrongful death claims. According to VA data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the payments have been made to the families of veterans who died as the result of misdiagnoses, neglect, suicide, botched surgeries and other negligence. “It is a tragedy any time a person’s death is caused by another’s negligence, but the government has a special responsibility to provide care for […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 10, 2014 – In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed the characterization of disability. Workers no longer need to prove they suffer from a physiological disorder and may claim obesity itself as a disability. “Obesity was thought to be a choice at one time and overweight individuals needed to prove they had a thyroid condition, diabetes or an underlying physiological disorder to claim disability. The Act was changed in 2008 by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) broadening the definition of ‘major life activities’ and substantially limits relating to how obesity affected an […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 3, 2014 – When starting new employment, all documentation relating to company policies must be read and understood. Sometimes employee handbooks form the basis of a contract. “Most new hires get a copy of the company handbook on, or prior to, the first day of work. You must read this material even though it might not make sense in the beginning. Knowing and understanding what is contained in the employee handbook is an asset that may pay off later if you have workplace issues pertaining to harassment or discrimination,” says respected Chicago employment attorney, […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) June 13, 2014 – Any agreements signed upon employment should be vetted with an employment attorney. Be on the alert for a clause indicating arbitration. Employment agreements may have a provision in them that a worker must submit to arbitration should there be a workplace dispute. If that agreement is signed without speaking to an employment attorney, the signatory is agreeing to resolve any disputes with an employer by means of arbitration. The arbitrator would be a privately hired judge. “Agreeing to arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism means you have signed away your right […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) June 10, 2014 – According to a criminal complaint filed against him, the truck driver charged in a crash that killed one person and critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan had not slept in more than 24 hours. Kevin Roper was behind the wheel of a Walmart tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike when he crashed into the back of a limo van carrying Morgan and his companions. Comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair died at the scene. Morgan was critically injured. Three other passengers, comedians Harris Stanton and Ardie Fuqua and Morgan’s assistant Jeff Millea, were […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) June 6, 2014 – Every state protects workers from various forms of discrimination. However, not all states protect transgender, lesbian, gay or bisexual workers from discrimination (LGBT). “Every state in the Union prohibits discriminating against workers based on their religion, race, national origin, gender and so forth. However, not every state offers the same kind of protection for LGBT employees,” outlines Timothy Coffey, an experienced Chicago employment attorney. Currently, there are 21 states and the District of Columbia that do offer protection to LGBT employees from discrimination. The remaining 29 states offer nothing in the […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 28, 2014 – Proponents of changes to Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws say that reforms passed in 2011 did not go far enough. Newly proposed legislation would exempt employers from paying for injuries suffered while traveling to work if the worker is not traveling specifically for work purposes. This and other changes are needed, proponents say, to reduce workers’ compensation insurance costs. Not everyone agrees. “The problem with saying that these changes will reduce insurance premiums is that it has not been borne out by the evidence,” indicates Robert Briskman, a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney. […]


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Lincolnshire, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 23, 2014 Lincolnshire, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 23, 2014 – At its Conference & Expo in Toronto this week, the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) inducted its board of directors for 2014-15. Leading the association and serving as President for 2014-15 is Paula Barnes of Burr & Forman in Nashville, Tennessee and Paul Farnsworth of Woods Oviatt Gilman, LLP in Rochester, New York continuing his service as Past President of the Board. The Board includes the following individuals: President: Paula K. Barnes Burr & Forman, LLP Nashville, TN President-Elect: Teresa Walker Waller Lansden […]


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