Monday gave it life,
Taught it joy from strife,
And both the edges of the knife.
The demise of the former power firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf has again surfaced in the news. The former chairman of the collapsed law firm, along with three other partners, are together facing criminal charges in an alleged scheme to defraud the firm's creditors. Apparently, the attorneys have been charged in an alleged scheme to falsify the law firm's business records and defraud the firm's lenders and bond investors. Most notably, the lawyers also face accusations of grand larceny. Although I have not seen the indictments, it appears the phrase "cooked books" appears through the documents. In this regulatory and economic environment, both judges and prosecutors alike take these allegations very seriously.
The Illinois Supreme Court recently announced that news cameras and microphones will be allowed in trial courtrooms in the 10th Judicial Circuit, which includes Peoria and Tazewell Counties. Before now, the best visual images of trials seen on the local news were sketches performed by some of Peoria's best artists looking to make some extra cash. For a few nice compliments, they were even known to shave a few pounds here or there and add a little hair on top of the head if needed. Those days are gone now, and our local versions of high-profile trials will now be taped live leaving no room for press-conference embellishment.
Regular readers, please rest at ease! Every entry in our new Poetic Justis blog format will not consist of a poem. We will still blog on current legal topics just as we always have. For instance, once again this week Dan Webb is in the news, and his story is worthy of comment.
Some choose verse and others prose;
Which outflanks tomorrow knows,
And followers shall come to see
How this Poetic Justis goes.
In case you haven't heard, local Federal Judge Joe Billy McDade was tapped to hear the notorious drug and corruption case involving crooked lawyers and judges down in St. Clair County. It came as no surprise when all the local judges in that region recused themselves. Even after Judge McDade was appointed, the local lawyers got together and crafted a quick and lenient plea deal for their former colleague, but in a controversial ruling Judge McDade took the high road and refused to accept the terms of a plea agreement. This deal would have sent former St. Clair County Judge Michael N. Cook to prison for only 18 months on his drug-related charges, with numerous other counts being dismissed.
This month, Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks was beaten down in a public battle of wits with a local neighborhood bar owner in a small town in Missouri. Apparently, a formal lengthy cease-and-desist letter full of confusing legalese was delivered to the bar owner by high-priced lawyers from the national intellectual property firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn. According to reports, the letter accused the tavern of willfully violating Starbucks' "frappuccino" brand name. It seems the bar had given one of its less popular droughts the same name, and Starbucks didn't like it. The bar owner's response went viral after the owner drafted a brief sarcastic response that included a $6.00 check as a refund for the profit he made from the beer's limited sales. The bar owner was not represented by counsel at the time he sent the letter.
Clients often experience anxiety at the end of a lawsuit when facing the task of actually collecting from the opposing party after obtaining a favorable judgment. It is unlikely that any concrete knowledge has been obtained prior to this point regarding whether the defendant has any money, property, or other liquid assets easily accessible to satisfy the judgment. During the typical underlying litigation process, questions about net worth and the location of assets are often deemed irrelevant and objectionable by the Court.
Choice-of-law provisions are one of the most misunderstood provisions in contracts. For starters, rarely will a standard choice-of-law provision cover all foreseeable claims and issues. Care should be taken to understand the nature of the contract to draft an appropriate clause.
Limited Liability Companies continue to be a living, breathing, and evolving entity in Illinois. An interesting recent development occurred when an Illinois court allowed a member of an LLC to enforce a mechanics' lien against property owned by the LLC.
Many of the blog icons on this page have been created by Joe’s three children. They are so excited to see their artwork on Dad’s work website!