Traditionally, every April our organization holds a board meeting in Springfield. This year, as in years past, we used that board meeting as an opportunity to schedule several events with state legislators to both socialize and discuss issues important to our organization. On April 17th, a group of 20 ITLA leaders spent the afternoon at the capital meeting with important house members and senators. Later that night, ITLA hosted a dinner for the legislators.
Uber settles with victim’s family
Uber and the family of Elaine Herzberg have reached a settlement which “appeared to forestall a potential legal showdown in the case.” The settlement will likely delay courts from having to answer “many of the substantive legal questions” surrounding liability in self-driving vehicle accidents. (Washington Post – 3/29/18)
Judge preliminarily approves $16.8M settlement in Kellogg overtime case
A “federal judge in Washington State has preliminarily approved a $16.8 million settlement to resolve a wage-and-hour lawsuit accusing Kellogg Co. of failing to pay certain managers and retail store representatives the overtime wages they were owed.” (Reuters – 3/29/18)
Since January, the change or possible change to two court rules has been the topic of much discussion. The first of those involved a proposal by the Illinois Civil Justice Committee. The Illinois Civil Justice Committee is made up of judges appointed by the Supreme Court and the purpose of the Committee is to consider changes to our court system. Earlier this year, the Illinois Civil Justice Committee submitted a proposal that would fundamentally change Supreme Court Rule 212. In essence, the proposed change would do away with the distinction between evidence and discovery depositions and instead replace the old rule with a rule that would be substantially similar to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32. This proposed rule was scheduled for a public hearing on March 26, 2018.
ITLA President John P. Scanlon: Insurers taking advantage of Illinois employers
The following op-ed by ITLA President John P. Scanlon was published in the Alton Telegraph on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. The op-ed was also published in the Moline Dispatch on February 20, 2018 titled “Insurers drive up worker comp costs.” Visit the ITLA website to read more op-ed’s and letters to the editor.
The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a non-profit, non-partisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance, recently released a report documenting substantial reductions in the cost of Illinois workers’ compensation. And it is clear that the insurance industry is taking advantage of employers in Illinois.
The NASI study examined the trend that followed a 2011 overhaul of workers’ comp in Illinois. At the urging of the state’s leading business organizations, bipartisan majorities of Illinois lawmakers acted at that time in an effort to reduce costs for Illinois employers. The resulting legislation forced workers to forfeit longstanding rights in exchange for insurance companies being transparent with pricing and passing savings along to employers in the form of rate reductions. Unfortunately, the insurance companies are not holding up their end of the bargain.
News & Notes
Majority of Americans worried about sharing roads with driverless cars
Sixty-four percent of Americans recently surveyed “said they are concerned about sharing the streets with driverless vehicles, according to a poll from Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.” Last year the U.S. House “passed the bipartisan Self Drive Act, meant to speed up the development of driverless vehicles and provide a set of federal laws for the technology.” A bill in the Senate has been pushed to 2018. Seventy-three percent of those polled “also back Transportation Department safety standards for driverless vehicles. Nearly a quarter of Americans, 23 percent, oppose the department’s mandated safety features.
This winter we will be publishing the 20th volume of our Trial Journal magazine. To commemorate that noteworthy milestone, the cover for the Winter 2018 Trial Journal will contain a collage of past covers that may bring back some memories. Over the past 19 years, our Trial Journal has grown in size and significance. Because of this, it seems like a fitting time for us to look back on the history of the Trial Journal.
For those who have been practicing for 30 or more years, you may recall that there was an earlier version of our journal known as the Illinois Trial Lawyers Journal. That journal was published between 1978 and 1989. Robert Heckenkamp and James Demos were the ITLA presidents at the time the original journal was conceived of and published. For some reason lost to history, the original journal ceased publication in 1989.
In Illinois, Total Workers’ Compensation Benefits Paid Drop Sharply Compared to Rest of U.S.
Press release from the National Academy of Social Insurance – October 5, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In Illinois, workers’ compensation benefits paid dropped sharply in recent years compared to the rest of the U.S., according to a new report from the National Academy of Social Insurance (the Academy).
In 2015, workers’ compensation benefits paid in Illinois were $2.4 billion. Between 2011 and 2015, Illinois experienced a 19.3 percent decrease in benefits paid, the second largest decrease across the country. Total benefits paid in the rest of the U.S. increased by 2 percent over the same period (Table 1). According to the report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, the large decrease in total benefits paid in Illinois is most likely attributable to a number of changes implemented in 2011 that regulated the medical delivery system.
Our days are getting shorter and our nights cooler. As much as I love summer, I always get a little excited at this time of year because vacations are over and those scheduled trials are coming up fast. The same is true with our organization. A lot will be going on in the next month. We will be hosting our annual Cook County Judicial and Legislative night on September 18th at the Union League Club. On September 28th, we will have a seminar at the Westin in St. Louis followed by a Board of Managers meeting, a Women’s Caucus reception and, most fun of all, we will be hosting a party at the Cubs/Cardinals game that same night. On October 20th, we will be holding our Update and Review Seminar at the Westin River North in Chicago.
I wanted to take a moment as we start this new ITLA year to thank all of you who helped make our June 9th convention a success. I also wanted to summarize the major topics of interest that were discussed at the convention for those of you who were not able to attend or stay throughout the whole day.
First, we are very excited to announce the formation of the Women’s Caucus. Margaret Battersby Black, Kate Conway and Sarah King worked hard this past year to develop the framework for this new group within our organization. Due in large part to their diligence, vision and effort, this Caucus is now part of our organization after its unanimous approval by the Board of Managers. The goals of the Caucus will be threefold. The Caucus will provide educational opportunities, social events and perhaps most importantly, an environment which encourages networking and membership growth. The Women’s Caucus this year will be led by Chair Margaret Battersby Black, and Vice Chairs Sarah King and Sara Salger. Let’s all do everything we can to support this vital new part of our organization.