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Legislation

I had the wrong effective date for a new public act in today's E-Clips. PA 96-111 takes effect on Oct. 29, 2009. I had it down incorrectly as April 1, 2010. It does the following: Mortgage foreclosure. (1) Requires new owners of mortgaged real estate—a holder or purchaser, receiver, or mortgagee-in-possession—to give notice to known occupants of “dwelling units” of changes in ownership after a judicial sale. For mortgagees-in-possession it allows the occupant to retain possession of the rented property for whichever is shorter: (a) 120 days after the notice of the hearing on a properly served supplemental petition; or (b) the duration of the lease. If the duration of the lease is less than 30 days from the date of the order, the order must allow the occupant to stay for 30 days from the date of the order. (2) Requires a receiver to accept all rental payments from an occupant and any payments from a third party or any rental-assistance program. (3) Prohibits a receiver from increasing the rent without leave of court. The court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the increase is necessary to operate and conserve the real estate. No hearing or notice is necessary for approval for an increase in a specific unit if the occupant agrees to the increase. Makes other changes.
Public Act 96-108 took effect July 30, 2009. It amends judgeships in the following circuits: 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd. It also creates some new judgeships. Click here for more information.
If you represent a veteran or have family members who are veterans, the Governor signed about 22 bills affecting them over the weekend. They may be found at this link, Public Acts 96-79 through 96-101.
The rumor mill is spinning that effective July 1, 2009, Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) trusts are required for liability litigation as is already required in worker’s compensation. (Reimbursement by a plaintiff for previously paid benefits to Medicare is unchanged by the new law.) Although federal research is not my strong suit, I can’t find any support for this proposition. My best guess is that this rumor started because of the new § 111 reporting requirements included in the Medicare, Medicaid & SCHIP Act of 2007. (Public Law 111-173). Section 111 provisions are reporting requirements and do not mention any need for MSAs in liability cases. This new law simply requires those paying  for judgments to report to Medicare payments of settlements, awards, judgments, or other payments. An argument is being posited that the previous law still in effect already requires MSAs in personal-injury cases for future medical expenses. (Medicare Secondary Payer Act). I cannot find any clear authority supporting that proposition.
In part because of the steadfast efforts of Sen. Richard J. Durbin, $10 million was included in the Senate CJS Appropriations bill for the John R. Justice Prosecutor and Defender Incentive Act. This loan forgiveness program requires balance in awards between prosecutors and public defenders and equitable distribution across the states. This is less than the full $25 million authorized, but it's unusual for a new program to get full funding. It now goes to a joint House-Senate conference committee for final markup.
Last week the Supreme Court of Illinois issued new Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to take effect Jan. 1, 2010. New Rule 3.9 has created quite a buzz among the lawyer-lobbyists as to what it means. It may have broader applicability than those of us who lobby in Springfield to include appearances before other governmental bodies. The Rule states that “A lawyer representing a client before a legislative body or administrative agency in a nonadjudicative proceeding shall disclose that the appearance is in a representative capacity and shall conform to the provisions of Rules 3.3(a) through (c), 3.4(a) through (c), and 3.5.” The incorporation of Rule 3.5 creates the buzz. Rule 3.5 prohibits ex parte communication with an official during the proceeding. Can this be construed to prohibit all lobbying by a lawyer-lobbyist unless it is part of a scheduled public hearing? In other words, is all I can do to lobby is testify in committee? No position papers to elected members of the General Assembly? No one-on-one individual lobbying? I can’t imagine that was the intent. Rule 3.5’s title is “Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal.” Key word is “tribunal.” It is defined in Rule 1.0(m) as follows: “Tribunal” denotes a court, an arbitrator in a binding arbitration proceeding or a legislative body, administrative agency or other body acting in an adjudicative capacity.
isbaletterbudgetcutsISBA leaders have sent a letter to Gov. Quinn and four legislative leaders in a bid to prevent cuts of up to 50% for legal aid in the current State budget. Read the letter from ISBA President Jack Carey and ISBA President-elect John G. O'Brien.