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Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the federal courthouse in Chicago after his sentencing on federal banking charges in this 2016 file photo. Lawyers say Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday. – AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Hastert settles hush money suit

YORKVILLE — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday over Hastert’s refusal to pay the man $1.8 million — the outstanding balance in hush money that the Illinois Republican agreed to pay the man in 2010.

First ‘Varsity Blues’ trial kicks off

BOSTON — The first trial in the college admissions bribery scandal opened with defense attorneys seeking to portray the two parents accused of buying their kids’ way into school as victims of a con man who believed their payments were legitimate donations.

Barrett concerned about public perception of Supreme Court

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett expressed concerns Sunday that the public may increasingly see the court as a partisan institution.

20 years after 9/11, Americans poll less positive about state of civil liberties

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, Americans were reasonably positive about the state of their rights and liberties. Today, after 20 years, not as much.

U.S. Supreme Court to return to in-person arguments

WASHINGTON — The justices are putting the “court” back in Supreme Court.

Report: Court clerks could lose $15M when cash bail ends

A new report predicts that county circuit court clerks in Illinois will lose as much as $15 million total in fines and fees each year when the state eliminates cash bail in January 2023.

Lawyers push for removal of Missouri courthouse murals

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Two lawyers are demanding the removal of two courthouse murals in Columbia that show a white man pointing a gun at a Native American man, shirtless Black men chained by their ankles, and white men being hanged and whipped.

Oath Keeper pleads guilty in Jan. 6 riot, will cooperate

A member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has pleaded guilty and will cooperate with investigators against his fellow extremists, marking another win for the Justice Department in its major conspiracy case stemming from the attack.

Federal court cites state secrets in rejecting lawsuit against NSA

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — A divided federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of an ACLU lawsuit challenging a portion of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international email and phone communications.

Courts & Cases

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Trial Notebook


Court rules mailman provoked dog

Looking at cases from across the country for insight on what justifies a finding of “provocation” under Sec. 16 of the Animal Control Act, the 1st District Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a verdict against Kevin Claffey, a postal service employee who propped open a mail slot with his right hand so he could drop letters inside Virginia and Mark Huntley’s residence. Claffey wanted to prevent the spring-loaded flap from damaging their mail. But when he reached into the opening, one of their dogs bit his hand, causing serious injuries.

Litigation Tactics

No uniform rules about rewriting deponent errata sheet testimony

Imagine: You just deposed the opposing party and were rewarded with a significant admission, or perhaps the plaintiff was unable to articulate basic facts underpinning the claim. You receive the errata sheet expecting minor corrections, like fixing the spelling of a name, only to find that opposing counsel has rewritten the deponent’s testimony — smoothing out sentences, adding new facts, or otherwise changing the meaning of answers.

For the Defense

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7th Circuit joins the COVID-19 insurance coverage party

Following recent decisions by the 8th and 11th Circuits — and arguments last Friday in the 2nd and 9th Circuits — a panel made up of 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Diane P. Wood, David F. Hamilton and Daniel A. Manion heard argument in four cases, including one that was three consolidated cases, dealing generally with the issue of whether there is insurance coverage under property policies as a result of COVID-19 government closure orders.

Cotter’s Corner

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Shadow docket revealed, along with host of problems it poses

Over the last several years, we have often discussed the issue of the shadow docket, a term coined by University of Chicago Law School Professor William Baude to refer to the increasing use by the U.S. Supreme Court of decision-making that evades the normal appellate process and in which the court issues decisions without oral arguments or without full briefing by the parties.

Sports Marketing Playbook

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New initiatives are game-changers for unsponsored Olympic athletes

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles earned $5 million a year in corporate sponsorship deals from a slew of household names including United Airlines, Visa and Uber Eats. Swimmer Katie Ledecky nets $3 million a year from brands such as Adidas and Ralph Lauren, among others.

Opening Statement


A dark comedy with a warning at Theatre Wit

Finally, after more than a year and a half of the pandemic theater blackout, I received an invitation for a press opening night to a live stage production at Theatre Wit, 1229 W. Belmont.

Opening Statement


‘Only Murders’ stars some of comedy’s best in true-crime satire

Even with a surge of the COVID-19 delta variant dampening our hopes of finally ending the blackout on live theater, we can still look forward to an array of new streamed series filling the many available platforms.

Opening Statement


Humanities, music festivals promise an artful autumn

The legendary, affable New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra had a way with words. When he would say, “It ain’t over til it’s over,” he meant to encourage those on the brink of defeat not to give up.

Opening Statement


Field of Dreams game provides a Hollywood ending

Sports has always been a good subject for motion pictures, and baseball has certainly been at the top of the list. And that’s not only for the excitement of the game, but often for the sentimentality involved as well.

Social Scene


Program aims to provide free legal representation

Fredrick Dennis spoke Tuesday about receiving legal and social services when he was a client of Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC). Four neighborhood nonprofits — LCLC, Breakthrough, BUILD and New Life Centers — have formed Justice Rising: Project 77 to assign free attorneys to clients who have pending cases in the juvenile and adult courts of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Clients will be connected to services related to employment, school, trauma counseling, health care, violence prevention, substance use and other needs. Also pictured are (from left) Andres Alvear, chief program officer at BUILD, and Cliff Nellis, LCLC executive director. — Photo by Lindsey Tollefson

Nordic Law Club holds annual meeting

The Nordic Law Club hosted its annual meeting and summer cocktail party at The Cliff Dwellers this summer. Pictured from left are Dave Hirschey, Mary Griffin, Becky Dahlgren, club president Lynne Ostfeld, Judge Diane Larsen (ret.) and Scott Alsterda. The club will not hold its Probate Night Dinner this year because of pandemic safety measures. — Photo: Mark Dobrzycki

Kelley Drye wraps office redesign project

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP completed a yearlong redesign of its office space at 333 W. Wacker Drive. Among the changes: Work stations have more space, flexible Plexiglas walls, better lighting and adjustable seated-standing desks. “Our key goal … was to create a modern, collaborative and functional office setting” that supports the well-being of attorneys and staff, said Matthew C. Luzadder, Chicago office managing partner. — Photo courtesy of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

AABAR hosts outdoor yoga program

The Arab American Bar Association of Illinois hosted Yoga in the Park: A Physical and Mental Health Initiative on Saturday at D'Angelo Park in the Loop. Attendees included Wesam Shahed, Cook County assistant state’s attorney, from left; attorney Nura Yanaki; Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, attorney at MSD Injury Lawyers and president of the AABAR, and Robert Fakhouri, attorney at The Fakhouri Firm. — Photo courtesy of The Arab American Bar Association of Illinois

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