As predicted, the Petition for Discovery that was filed against Boeing in the Malaysia Airlines crash was dismissed Friday on the court's own motion on the grounds that "the petition exceeds the scope of allowable discovery." Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathy M. Flanagan, also the judge who dismissed two similar petitions last year filed by the same Chicago law firm, again dismissed this action against Chicago-based Boeing. Judge Flanagan, Supervising Judge of the Motions Section of the Law Division in the Circuit Court of Cook County, is assigned all aviation cases. Robert A. Clifford, veteran aviation attorney who has handled numerous international and national aviation crashes, has been speaking out the past week against the "premature filing" by the law firm in Chicago that again filed a Petition for Discovery on March 25 despite no remains of the wreckage of the missing aircraft. Boeing manufactured the 777-200ER airplane on which the 239 passengers were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that has gone missing for more than three weeks. Several countries, including the United States, have been conducting an intensive search for the vanished aircraft, and although rescue workers have sighted and retrieved what they call "suspicious items," at this writing nothing has been proven to be debris from the missing plane. The plane went missing March 8 during a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital. In Judge Flanagan's four-page Memorandum Opinion and Order, she based her ruling on Illinois Supreme Court Rule 224 which "permits discovery for the sole purpose of ascertaining the identity of one who may be liable in damages (emphasis supplied)." She went on to write that, "The Supreme Court Rule 224 petition exceeds the allowable scope of the rule, and must be dismissed." Supreme Court Rule 224 is a procedural tool that has very limited application and Judge Flanagan points out that it is inappropriately used in a case such as this when one of the potential parties already is known. "Once there is sufficient information to identify at least one potential defendant, then the correct procedure is to file an action at law for damages...," Judge Flanagan wrote. The Judge also points out in her Order that the appointment of a special administrator under Rule 224 is inappropriate and unnecessary. Judge Flanagan also took issue with the law firm that brought yet another improper petition in an aviation crash; she noted that she dismissed "similar Supreme Court Rule 224 petitions" against respondents in fatal airplane crashes involve Lao Airlines and Asiana Airlines. Lao Airlines Flight QV301 crashed into the Mekong River last year killing all 49 aboard on its way to Laos on Oct. 16, 2013. It was a turboprop ATR-72-600. Asiana Airlines Flight 214 slammed into a seawall at San Francisco's airport killing three people and injuring 181 others last year involved a Boeing 777-200ER. "Both of those petitions were assigned to this Court and on each occasion, this Court entered memorandum opinions and orders dismissing those petitions as having been improperly brought. Despite these orders, the same law firm has proceeded, yet again, with the filing of the instant petition knowing full well that there is no basis to do so. Should this law firm choose to do so, the Court will impose sanctions on its' own motion," Judge Flanagan wrote.
Craig Squillace, associate trial attorney at Clifford Law Offices, will be a featured speaker at the Illinois Trial Lawyers' Association (ITLA) all-day seminar on Settlements, Liens and Technology, which will be held April 5th at the Oak Brook Hills Resort in Illinois.
Answer: Yes. Effective January 1, 2014, the Illinois Workplace Violence Prevention Act enables employers to petition the court for an order of protection, which is similar in most ways to the order of protection provided in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. The new law describes when an employer may obtain the order and how law enforcement is required to respond.
Partner at Clifford Law Offices, Robert Clifford gives his personal opinion on using the UberX vehicle delivery services. Clifford warns that the service is unsafe for a variety of reasons including: drivers are not professional drivers, they are not trained, drivers are not vetted, no background checks being done and the drivers are not registered with any state or local governmental agency.
Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, was quoted by Associated Press reporter Scott Mayerowitz in a story that appeared March 16, 2014, entitled, "Will Missing Jet Prompt Change in Aviation System?" AP wrote, "Numerous experts have said it is time to update tracking abilities and use satellite links to provide real-time feeds on the operation of planes and conversations within the cockpit." Clifford told AP, though, "If such information were to be streamed live, there would be major concerns about privacy. 'Once it's broadcast, the data from a plane would essentially be considered public access material - something that aircraft manufacturers, pilot unions, operators and even accident investigators don't want,' Clifford said." The reporter also raised the issue of who would receive and control that data and what would be done with it. To read the entire story, that was picked up by media outlets around the world, including ABC News, go to: Story ABC NEWS Anchorage Daily News US News
Question: How can voters learn about the candidates for judicial office?
Bob Clifford is speaking with Mara Georges, former City of Chicago corporation Counsel, and now partner at Daley & Georges, a Chicago law firm that concentrates on governmental issues. Among her clients includes the taxi cab companies in Chicago. She and Bob Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, were invited to testify on a panel Thursday, March 13, 2014, before the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee on the safety and insurance issues of UberX cars. Read about the event in this coverage provided by the Chicago Tribune. Watch this video interview with Bob Clifford where he gives his opinion on using UberX car services.
Answer: An employer is under no obligation to pay a fired employee for remaining sick days, but Illinois law requires that the former employee be paid for accumulated vacation days earned up to the day of termination unless there is a contract or collective bargaining agreement. Also, the employer must pay wages to the employee up to the time of firing.
Question: My ex-spouse refuses to pay court-ordered child support. What recourse do I have?
Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com/legal-faqs
Question: I am getting married this year. Do I need a prenuptial agreement?
Personal injury and aviation accident attorney at Clifford Law, Kevin Durkin was featured in Chicago Lawyer Magazine in an article called The Durkin 5. Of the eight Durkin brothers, five of them have become respected legal professionals in Illinois.
Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, appeared on a number of radio shows on the West Coast - from San Francisco to Los Angeles - speaking about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. In particular, Mr. Clifford spoke on the issue of deployable recorder technology that he said should be on every commercial flight. The "live black box," as it is sometimes called, would be ejected from the aircraft upon impact and remain on the top of the water, sending out an electronic signal so that rescuers could find the wreckage in minutes or hours. This type of device is used on many military aircraft today. Mr. Clifford said, "The opportunities for speculation here are endless," when he spoke with Gil Gross, popular live radio show host KKSF in San Francisco, on this issue. Fear is a vicious thing to all of us." A podcast of this show can be heard here: http://bit.ly/NaHSRt He also spoke to Sherry Brown at KGO Radio in San Francisco on the vanishing aircraft and the need for the deployable recorders on every flight so that families do not have to go through the terrible wait of what is happening with Malaysia Flight MH370. Mr. Clifford also spoke to the CBS radio affiliate in Los Angeles (KFWB) on March 11, 2014, with his insights that ran several times in news stories throughout the day. He also had the opportunity to speak with Chicago's veteran reporter John Cody on the popular all-news radio station, WBBM-AM, on this subject that ran over a two-day period (March 11-12). Kevin Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices who has handled numerous airline crash cases in the past three decades, also spoke to radio listeners of KFBK Radio in Sacramento, California, in a live wide-ranging interview on the questions surrounding the jetliner's disappearance.
Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the need for every commercial jetliner to be equipped with what are called "live black boxes" that jettison from the aircraft upon impact and put out an electronic signal that allows search and rescue teams to find the record and wreckage location in minutes or hours. Mr. Clifford spoke to Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal for a story entitled, "Missing Malaysia Jet Adds Fuel to 'Live Black Box' Debate," March 9, 2014. In that story written also by reporter Jon Ostrower, it was reported that "Regardless of what caused a Malaysia Airlines jet to disappear from the sky over the weekend, air safety experts predict it will reignite debate over new technology designed to provide immediate clues for investigators in the event of a crash." "'It's a terrific idea, and the Air France crash certainly taught us that,'" Clifford told the reporter, referring to the June 1, 2009 crash of Air France 447 where discovery of the plane's remnants took nearly two years and an estimated $50 million to recover. In quoting the "Chicago-based veteran plaintiff's attorney," The Wall Street Journal story goes on to quote Clifford as saying, "'If we have a repeat' of the long and difficult recovery process in that accident, he said, 'the drive to install new technology is certainly going to escalate.'" As Clifford said in a statement issued on his firm's website,"To ask families to again go through that pain-staking time with no answer is inexcusable."
Time and again, the question has come up during this harsh Chicago winter as to whose responsibility it is to shovel the sidewalk in front of your home or business. In 2008, Robert Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, wrote a column on "To Shovel or Not to Shovel," in the January issue of the Chicago Lawyer magazine. http://cliffordlaw.com/to-shovel-or-not-to-shovel-that-is-the-question/ With the near recordbreaking snow totals for the winter of 201314 and up to six more inches of snow falling in the area over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune asked that question in a frontpage story on March 1, 2014. Reporter Michelle Manchir wrote that the rules are different from municipality to municipality, as is the rigor with which the rules are enforced. "For the most part, in Chicago, if you own property near a public walkway, grab a shovel. The responsibility is yours." She goes on to say there is a threat of a $50 fine if you don't clear a public way within three hours after the snowfall. Business establishments face stiffer penalties. Those who need help to clear their walkways because of age or health can call 311 to request that a Snow Corps volunteer do the work, the story goes on to report. To read the entire story in Saturday's Chicago Tribune, visit http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-01/news/ct-sidewalk-shoveling-met-20140301_1_sidewalks-snow-and-ice-property-owners
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal ("Target Staff Had Warning," Feb. 15-16, 2014), it was reported that Target Corp.’s computer security staff "raised concerns about vulnerabilities in the retailer’s payment card system at least two months before hackers stole" what turned into some 110 million credit and debit numbers of customers.