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COVID-19 and Families First

Coauthored by: Matin Fallahi, Law Clerk

In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused economic distress in a short period of time, the United States House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). After approval from the Senate, the President officially signed the act on Wednesday March 18, 2020. This Act and its long-term impacts are just as unknown as the virus itself.

The legislation provides free coronavirus testing and paid emergency leave for those diagnosed with COVID-19 or those caring for a family member with the virus. The FFCRA applies to any employer with less than 500 employees in hopes to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the United States while also providing a sense of hope and security for employees. As such, the Act will largely impact small to medium businesses who previously did not have to provide paid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). More »

An Examination of the Illinois Insurer-Insured Privilege: What is Protected and What is Discoverable?

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Introduction
In today’s litigation climate, cases often not only involve a plaintiff, a defendant, and their attorneys, but also insurance carriers who have vested interests in the outcome of cases involving their insured. Prior to and throughout the course of litigation, an insured will often not only communicate with their attorney, but also with their insurer. It is common, for example, that an insurer will take a statement from their insured while analyzing a potential claim. The threshold question of which components of an insurance claim file are discoverable is crucial in a litigated matter. This Article explores the Illinois Insurer-Insured Privilege. A misunderstanding of this privilege can have severe consequences, including the disclosure of material information that the parties believed, in good faith, was confidential, and would never be subject to production. More »

Judge Grants First Summary Judgment Based on Medical Causation in NY County Asbestos Litigation

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On January 31, 2019, Justice Manuel Mendez issued a decision granting the first summary judgment motion based on medical causation in a New York County Asbestos Litigation (“NYCAL”) case, Thomas Mantovi v. American Biltrite (Index No. 190055/2017). Judge Mendez held that “Amtico floor tiles did not produce breathable dust to a level sufficient to cause decedent’s mesothelioma.” More »

Illinois Appellate Court Concludes that Actual Harm is not Required under Biometric Information Privacy Act

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An Illinois appellate court’s recent opinion may very well open the flood gates for litigation arising out of alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) by eliminating the need to allege actual harm to have standing to sue. Sekura v. Krishna Schaumburg Tan, Inc., 2018 IL App (1st) 180175. More »

CYBER RISK CLIENT ALERT: What Companies can Learn from Uber’s Recent $148 Million Settlement

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On September 26, 2018, Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) reached a joint settlement with all 50 states and Washington, D.C.’s attorney generals to pay a record breaking $148 million for its 2016 data breach and subsequent cover-up. More »

LIFE SCIENCES CLIENT ALERT: Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare, Life Science, and the Next Merger

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As the world nears the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, it should not come as a surprise that Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) will continue to impact a variety of business sectors. For proper context, AI has thus far been utilized primarily within consumer goods and technological sectors by familiar corporations such as Amazon, Apple, and Google. However, less familiar corporations in other business sectors have not been standing idly by. In the March 31st, 2018, issue of The Economist, the authors reported that in 2017, companies spent $22 billion dollars, 26 times more than they had in 2015, on AI-related mergers and acquisitions. Corporations, insurers, and attorneys that work in both the healthcare and life science industries would be wise to keep an eye on the next healthcare merger. The long-term benefits of AI in healthcare may be similar to the benefits that it has had on other sectors: lowering costs to consumers, creating a more efficient stream of services, and providing people with the ability to make more informed decisions. More »

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: Physicians Beware: New Jersey Supreme Court Erodes Self-Critical Analysis Privilege

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A recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision has eroded the long held self-critical analysis privilege applicable in New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuits. Health care facilities, physicians and their insurers will likely face increased liability exposure as a result of the Court’s decision in Bugaletta v. Garcia.[1]  Conversely, this decision should benefit patients alleging medical malpractice as they now have a means to obtain a summary of facts relevant to the alleged malpractice.    More »

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: Medical Professionals and Opioid Lawsuits: Protecting Against the Coming Storm

The pharmaceutical industry and medical professionals are facing a crisis over opioid prescriptions – which have been a regular part of medical care and pain management for decades.  In 1977, the New England Journal of Medicine published an analysis of opioid medications and associated addiction which found opioid addiction and death to rarely develop from pain management with opioids. Following this publication, the medical industry began to use opioids with greater regularity throughout the 1980’s, 1990’s, and into the present day given their effectiveness in treating patients with both severe short-term and chronic pain. More »

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: The Medical Studies Act: What Happens in Peer Review Does Not Always Stay in Peer Review

Medical professionals often face a difficult balancing act when it comes to peer review.  Hindsight is truly 20/20, and it is important for medical professionals to peer review patient and resident care to improve future treatment. However, when inadequate care is provided and a patient or resident is injured, medical professionals face the specter of litigation. How do medical professionals balance between improving future care and protecting themselves from litigation? To help balance these important interests, Illinois has passed both the Medical Studies Act, 735 ILCS 5/8-2101 et seq. (2004), and the Long-Term Care Peer Review and Quality Assessment and Assurance Protection Act, 745 ILCS 55/4 et. seq. (2014) (the “Quality Assessment Act”). While the line between communications protected during peer review and those that are discoverable in litigation is not perfectly clear despite these Acts, there are certain guidelines that peer-review committees can follow to ensure the greatest possibility of protection under the Acts. More »

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