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Showing posts from August, 2011

The Value of a Well-Drafted Release or "Hold Harmless" Clause for Non-Profits

The legal "Release" is a document by which one agrees to "release from" or waive liability from another, potentially even if the liability results from the released party's own negligence.  A broader contract will often contain a release provision, sometimes called a "hold harmless" clause.  The Release is an essential part of countless contractual documents.  In fact, one could argue that a Release should at least be considered as a part of any contract.

Two recent Illinois appellate cases (both out of the First District) provide good examples of how courts analyze a Release, both in the context of personal injury claims involving not-for-profit, charitable activities in which an accident occurred.  The cases are sobering reminders that without the proper legal documents, charitable organizations and other parties involved in an event can be held liable  for injuries that occur despite the best of intentions or the unquestioned good of the cause supp…

New Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act Requirements Added for Catastrophic Loss Repairs

Earlier this month Governor Quinn signed into law Public Act 97-235.  The Act takes effect on January 1, 2012, and is aimed at protecting consumers faced with a catastrophic loss from contractor abuses at a time when they are most vulnerable.  Here's a summary of the changes:

1.  The Illinois Roofing Industry Licensing Act, 225 ILCS 335/5, et. seq, is amended by new Section 5.1 to require roofing contractors to post their license number and licensee's name on all commercial vehicles (see previous Section 5(b), a violation for which carries a $250 civil penalty.  The section also authorizes local government "code enforcement officials" to enforce this provision.

The Home Repair and Remodeling Act, 815 ILCS 513/1, et. seq, (the "HRRA") is amended as follows:

2.  Added new Section 18, "Repairs following damaging weather," providing requirements for contractors offering home repair and remodeling services to consumers who have suffered a "catastr…

Updates and Social Media - It's Still All About Real People Interacting

We have been on a bit of a summer hiatus on this page, while contemplating possible changes to the blog for the future.  I recently had the privilege of speaking at the @Midwest social media and business conference in Bloomington, Illinois, on the topic of social media and the law.  My presentation was very well received, but beyond that, I have been blessed to meet and get to know many great and down-to-earth people who really know social media.  The fact is that for all the technological bells and whistles, social media is still merely a fancy, convenient way for real people to interact.  It's all about the people.  The lessons and ethical implications of that reality for how social media should be (and should not be) used are huge, and at the same time are perhaps as simple as the Golden Rule.

With regard to the law, the legal issues of social media are perhaps as broad as the law itself, and the ramifications of that are very much still evolving and developing.  There are some…