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Punish Frivolous Lawsuits? OK. How About Frivolous Defenses?

courtroom-898931_1920.jpgOne of the surest topics on which to get agreement is that we should punish the filing of "frivolous" lawsuits. There are legitimate debates to be had over the definition of "frivolous", who decides what is "frivolous", and what the punishment (usually called a "sanction") should be. For years, and for very good reason, there has been wide agreement that it's best to leave these decisions to the judge on the case. Because he/she is in the best position to know whether a lawsuit is so lacking in merit (so "frivolous") that it does not deserve to be in a court room, and if so, what the sanction should be for the party and/or lawyer who filed it.

Illinois' New Laws for 2017

Every year, the General Assembly of Illinois passes new state laws which the Governor signs and approves. This year Illinois will have approximately 200 new laws on the books that could affect a wide range of citizens. A few of the most interesting and important new laws of 2017 are described below.

6 Secrets Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know About Your Personal Injury Claim

(1) Insurance adjusters are paid employees of the insurance company. They are skilled at negotiation, and are advised by experienced insurance company lawyers who know the law. Together, they know all the strategies to keep you from hiring a lawyer, and to get you to settle your claim quickly for as little money as possible. They are not your friend. They are working against you, actively trying to see if they can get you to accept little to no money at all to settle your claim. They may tell you things that are not true, and even pretend that you are not entitled to compensation, to see if you will fall for it. You should not be talking to them.

Time Constraints on Wrongful Death Suit Loosened

The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided a case that directly affects the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a wrongful death suit after the death occurs. Prior to the case, the statute of limitations proscribed a two year window for filing of a lawsuit after a death caused by negligence. After the Supreme Court's decision in Moon v. Rhode, plaintiffs now have two years after discovering that the death was wrongfully caused to file suit. This distinction could be the difference between having your case dismissed for being untimely and being able to successfully prosecute a claim for damages.

NURSING HOMES NO LONGER ALLOWED TO FORCE RESIDENTS INTO ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS

A shift in power and control has returned to those who most need it - nursing home residents and their families. In a recent ruling, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) prohibited mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements between federally funded nursing homes and their residents. Prior to the new ruling, many nursing homes required residents to sign an arbitration agreement which forced residents to solve any dispute that may arise between them and the nursing home outside of court. These agreements heavily favored the nursing homes and took away a resident's power to use the court system for injuries caused by a nursing home's wrongful conduct.

How Important is a Warning?

The national spotlight has recently shifted its attention to Disney World and the awful tragedy that transpired at one of its resorts when an alligator attacked and killed a small child. While there are many questions, and much more to be learned, the most immediate question is how could this happen? While it is too early to assign legal blame, it is natural to look at the facts and ask if Disney provided proper warnings prior to this tragedy.

MEDICAL ERRORS REPORTED TO BE THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN U.S.

The third leading cause of death in the United Sates may come from those you trust the most. A new study published in The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) found that medical errors may cause over 250,000 deaths a year in the United State alone. Topped only by heart disease and cancer, these errors by medical professionals include diagnostic errors, surgical errors, infection, medication errors, communication breakdowns, failure to perform the necessary tests and even healthcare worker fatigue. The findings were created from studies done at Johns Hopkins Medicine starting in 1999.

New Algorithms Promise the Ability to Predict Police Misconduct

It may sound like something out of a science-fiction movie, but researchers, part of the White House's Police Data Initiative, are working at the University of Chicago to try to build a better early warning system that predicts when officers will commit police misconduct against civilians. Using over a decade of data from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, researchers say their algorithm-based early warning system can predict misconduct between police officers and civilians and suggest preventive measures by looking for police misconduct warning signs in the data. The algorithm-based early warning system's sensitivity and accuracy holds great promise for serving as a method for preventing police misconduct. However, algorithm-based early warning systems to predict police misconduct have been tested before and often met with opposition.
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