Trial Notebook


Judge rejects argument on open and obvious defense in negligence suit

A line of Illinois Appellate Court opinions supported Steven Liss’s argument that the open and obvious defense didn’t apply to his tort claim against TMS International for an accident at its scrap metal facility because he alleged “pure negligence,” not premises liability. But those decisions didn’t survive close scrutiny by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison.

For the Defense

Patrick Eckler-6-29-22,ph01

Bad recent run for medical defendants in Illinois Supreme, appellate courts

Three recent cases from Illinois courts of review all favored plaintiffs on a range of issues worth noting for defense practitioners.

Realty Check

Erica Minchella-6-28-22,ph01

Guarantor’s death may imperil business, but insurance can help

As lawyers and counselors, it seems that we have a special obligation when representing small businesses buying real estate. I have read so many residential loan packages that I can probably recite the provisions in my sleep.

Prosecution and Procedure

David Robinson-6-28-22,ph01

Evidence of other crimes, typically barred, is OK for domestic violence

The general rule in Illinois is that evidence of other crimes is not admissible in a criminal jury trial because we fear that a jury may base its verdict, in part, on propensity. Put another way, we fear a jury may convict under the following train of thought: “If the defendant committed this crime once, he probably committed it again.”

Cotter’s Corner

Daniel Cotter-6-27-22,ph01

Troubled court of the United States: Roe falls, as does body’s reputation

The whiff of stench we experience as we draft this column while in Monmouth for school business is not from the meat packing plant that existed in the town where I played football nearly 40 years ago, when the scent during double sessions and heat like we are experiencing was stifling. No, presently, it comes from the United States Supreme Court, where a majority has become untethered to history or text or originalism.

Be That Lawyer

Steve Fretzin-5-24-22,ph01

Winning in legal business development: Lessons learned on the paddle court

Did Charlie Sheen ruin the word “winning” for us all? I hope not, because I love to win. I can’t help it, that’s just how I’m built.

Opening Statement


‘Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not’ plays it safe at Second City

Here we are again at the beginning of a lazy, hazy hot summer where the hours and minutes can play tricks on your mind.

Sports Marketing Playbook

Masters Rose-6-14-22,ph01

Sports world rushing to trademark NFT ventures, but legal questions remain

Rob Gronkowski made a big splash in April 2021 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end became the first professional athlete to launch his own non-fungible token (NFT) trading cards.

Opening Statement


‘Skates’ kicks off new era for renovated Studebaker Theater

Although it took a few negative hits from local theater critics, there are a number of reasons to see “Skates,” a new musical playing through Aug. 28 at the renovated Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Ave.

Opening Statement


Steppenwolf is perfect venue for Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’

The expression “you’ve come a long way, baby,” was a popular Virginia Slims advertising campaign in the early 1970s, designed to entice women to smoke the brand’s cigarettes.

Opening Statement


Jeff Daniels, Richard Thomas star in Nederlander Theatre’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Aaron Sorkin’s play “To Kill a Mockingbird” was adapted from Harper Lee’s novel depicting the inhuman and prejudicial way Blacks were treated in the South during the 1930s.

Opening Statement


‘Last Hermanos’ delves into brotherly love, sibling rivalry

There’s an old joke about two brothers lined up before a firing squad, about to be executed as prisoners of war.
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