Clifford Law Offices PC
Get Your Free Case Review
312-899-9090
Main Menu Email Us

March 2014 Archives

Cook County Judge Dismisses Petition Against Boeing Filed by Chicago Law Firm

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.

Bob Clifford Speaks to Chicago Tribune Reporter about Malaysia Airlines Premature Legal Action

Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, was quoted in Sunday’s Tribune (March 30, 2014) about possible legal action involving the mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.In a story by reporter Jason Meisner, the Chicago Tribune reported about a petition being filed by another Chicago law firm against Boeing Corporation, which is based in Chicago.  Clifford criticized that action given that at the time of the filing, no parts of the missing plane have been found or identified.In fact, that same firm filed a similar action in the Asiana Airlines San Francisco crash of last year and a Chicago judge dismissed it.  Clifford predicted that the same would occur here regarding the “premature filing.”Clifford went on to talk about any litigation surrounding the Malaysia Airlines tragedy would occur in federal, not state, court because more than 75 victims are involved.  “‘The harm here is now you have families reading about this in China or Malaysia and saying, “Wow, a judge in Chicago is going to get us some answers here,”’” Clifford said.  ‘That just isn’t going to happen.’”Clifford also appeared yet again on the Gil Gross radio show in San Francisco on Monday (March 26, 2014) where he spoke to the popular radio host for more than 10 minutes on this same topic.  A podcast of his appearance on KKSF radio can be heard here.To see the online version of the Chicago Tribune story, click here. 

Bob Clifford Writes About Data Breaches

Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, wrote his monthly column for the Chicago Lawyer on examining the latest data breaches suffered by consumers, including the massive breach by Target and that of Advocate Medical.  In an article entitled "Time to take data breaches to court," Clifford talks about how companies should be taking precautions to protect consumers, and how Americans may expect more problems unless Congress crack down on cybersecurity and the measures companies need to start enforcing.By Robert A. CliffordMy 93-year-old mother does not communicate by e-mail. She doesn’t use a computer.  She pays her bills by check.  She doesn’t have a cellphone.  However, when stores such as Target or medical providers such as Advocate Medical report a data breach, she still worries that someone may steal her identity.Names, addresses, credit card numbers, card security codes, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and, in some instances, Social Security numbers are believed to have been stolen in various breaches.  The chaos has everyone asking, “How do I protect my identity?”  And the worst of it is the American public isn’t even being informed of what is really going on.  One has to follow Brian Krebs, the “cybersecurity blogger the hackers love to hate,” who is credited with breaking the story on the Target data breach.The 41-year-old former Washington Post reporter told Business Week in January he received a bag of feces in the mail.  He says he’s not satisfied with reporting the breaches, he wants to find out the hackers who are behind it.  He’s also credited with discovering the malware that allegedly infected point-of-sale systems at Target checkout counters through memory scraping that allowed the data to be stored on magnetic stripes to create cloned cards.One wonders why Target itself wasn’t immediately forthright with the data breach.  First, it was reported that 40 million people were affected.  Then, 70 million.  Now it’s up to 110 million.  And that number may still grow.Krebs was one of the first to report the story of a possible security breach of customers of Michaels, an arts-and-crafts chain with stores in the Chicago area.  And then comes word that Coca-Cola is reporting that data of 74,000 employees, vendors and contractors was exposed from unencrypted stolen computers.  This data included names, Social Security numbers and addresses as well as financial compensation and ethnicity. When will this end?A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego found at least 619 data breaches last year, which equated to 57.8 million customer records.  That’s compared to fewer than 200 data breaches in 2005 and just more than 400 in 2011.It has been known for many years that hackers had the ability to steal information, and standards exist so that retailers may protect against breaches.  So I find it unacceptable that major stores or medical providers did not take reasonable security measures to protect their customers' or patients' information -- while being more than willing to take their personal information and then store it for many years, mostly for marketing initiatives.Credit-monitoring services and identity-theft insurance can be of minimal help once the thief has your information.  The credit-monitoring service does not detect all fraudulent uses of your credit information.A credit-monitoring service, for example, will alert the customer when someone is trying to open new lines of credit, but it doesn’t reveal when someone uses a credit card to make fraudulent charges.  Many rely upon their credit card companies to alert them of suspicious activity.The Wall Street Journal article offers tips to consumers about what they can do to protect their identities – from alerting credit card issuers to tell you by phone if a charge goes beyond a certain dollar amount to placing a “fraud alert” on your credit report with one of the credit bureaus that will require extra steps of the person to confirm his or her identity when applying for credit.But that still doesn’t help the millions who have suffered from medical data breaches or the Coke employees who learn their private information has been compromised.It will be interesting to see how the courts handle these cases that involve millions of people.  Certainly a class-action process is necessary, but ensuring that everyone is kept informed throughout protracted legal proceedings may prove onerous as people move, change their contact information and pass away.  And although many may not suffer actual identity theft, isn’t there something to be said of the distress in worrying about what is happening to one’s credit and in going the extra lengths to pay for credit monitoring protection and insurance?Or what about the fact that the price of every product or service you purchase, from a book to medical care, includes a cost component passed along to the consumer that is allocated for the technical systems and security that retailers say is necessary for handling your sensitive personal and financial information? Why does a retailer charge consumers for that purported technical security to protect consumers’ privacy if the retailer does not intend to supply adequate security?Although Congress is working on stronger cybersecurity measures, it just may be the courts that define the accountability of a company for a data breach that may ultimately make companies more responsive and more responsible.In the meantime, look for that Hollywood movie on Krebs. Reprinted from The Chicago Lawyer, April, 2014

Aviation Victims’ Attorney Criticizes Premature Filing of Action Against Boeing in Malaysia Airlines Mystery

Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago which has been involved in nearly every commercial aviation crash in American in the last three decades as well as many international aviation tragedies across the world, is criticizing the filing of any lawsuit or action against any parties yet in the mystery surrounding Malyasia Airlines Flight 370.  Already a Chicago law firm has filed a discovery petition in Chicago against Boeing, which is based there.That same Chicago law firm filed an identical petition in the Asiana crash that was dismissed for cause in August, 2013, by Cook County State Court Judge Kathy Flanagan.Clifford has spoken to Associated Press on the issue of deployable recorders and assets trackers, technology improvements that could have helped to avoid the tragedy that is unfolding, but to go to the extent of filing an action against Boeing or any other potential defendant without any clear evidence “is premature and headline-grabbing,” Clifford said.Clifford’s op ed piece on the issue of upgrading technology appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, March 20, 2014, which can be read here.He can speak to the issue of “tombstone technology” – the fact that after enough deaths and frustration, the technology improvements find their way into airlines’ fleets voluntarily and finally by FAA regulation. He also can speak to the issue of the likelihood of the retrievability of the black boxes on the plane.Certainly the families deserve answers, but to file a discovery petition against Boeing gives the families false hope of an answer coming from potential parties who don’t have all of the answers yet, Clifford said. CLIFFORD IS AVAILABLE TO SPEAK TO THE PRESS ABOUT THE LEGAL ISSUES SURROUNDING MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370.He currently is preparing for trial as the lead counsel for the families of five victims in the Colgan air crash in Buffalo, New York, five years ago when a Continental Connection flight crashed killing everyone on board.  He also represented 17 families who lost loved ones in the Turkish Airlines crash at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport five years ago._________________________For further information or to arrange an interview with Robert A. Clifford or his aviation team of attorneys, please call Clifford Law Offices’ Communications Partner Pamela S. Menaker at 847-251-4877 or 847-721-0909.Pammenaker@cliffordlaw.comwww.CliffordLaw.com

Craig Squillace to Speak About the Prompt Pay Statute at Trial Lawyers' Seminar

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.

Bob Clifford Pens Article on Malaysia Airlines Mystery in San Francisco Chronicle

An op ed piece written by Robert Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, was published in the March 20, 2014 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.In the opinion piece, Clifford wrote about "Two Essential Tools Would Prevent Repeat of Malaysian Mystery."  He goes on to explain the way deployable recorders and asset trackers would have led investigators to where the plane is, sparing devastated families the unbearable anguish they have been suffering for more than a week.To read his article, click here.

Bob Clifford Speaks with Popular Radio Show Host in San Francisco about what may have happened to the Malaysia Airlines Plane

Bob Clifford, aviation attorney and senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, again was on KKSF Radio’s “Gil Gross Show” Thursday (Marcy 20, 2014) for more than 10 minutes discussing the fire theory of the vanishing Malaysia Airlines aircraft. He then got into why asset tracking devices are needed and criticized the airline industry for not spending the money to add them. Bob said, “You’re going to see a push for those two technologies (including deployables).” He added, “This incident will shift the discussion of modernization.” He also noted that, “The people inside the NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] are so good that they were looking at this area of Australia from the beginning.” He then described the politics involved between various countries. Bob called for better agreements between nations. He explained that there is a big issue here about transparency. “Things seem to be moving in the right direction.”Gil suggested that cell phones will be important to recover and Bob agreed. Anyone who might have left anything on their smart phone would provide important clues as to what happened. To hear the whole conversation, click on this podcast: Bob Clifford on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 

Selecting a Name for your Business - The ISBA Advises

Question: How can I be sure that the name I select for my new business is not already being used?Answer: When selecting a name for a business, it is important to ensure that the business name is not already a trademark-protected name. You or your lawyer should conduct a trademark search on the uspto.gov website. Once you decide on a name, you should protect it with a trademark of your own.

For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

Orders of Protection Against an Employee - The ISBA Answers

Question: Can employers seek orders of protection against an employee?

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.

Boeing to Investigate Possible Wing Defect in 787 Dreamliners

Boeing, together with one of their key suppliers, reportedly have launched an investigation into 43 defective 787 Dreamliner jets that are still in Boeing’s possession, according to a story by The Wall Street Journal in an article titled “Boeing to Inspect Wings of Undelivered Dreamliners for Cracks,” published March 7, 2014.  The investigation is geared toward examining hairline cracks in the wings caused during the manufacture of the jets, according to the Wall Street Journal story by reporter Jon Ostrower. Delays for inspections are nothing new for Boeing, who just last year had to halt deliveries of their Dreamliner models for about three months due to problems with the plane’s lithium-ion batteries, the Wall Street Journal reported.Boeing reportedly still plans to ship these Dreamliner jets out within the year, but the inspections have delayed delivery to some major airlines. The Wall Street Journal identified that the wings are made by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which recently informed Boeing that a change in its manufacturing process is causing the cracks, and ensuing investigations have, in fact, revealed a number of wing cracks. The change in manufacturing reportedly pertains to fasteners on the wings being over-tightened, which compresses the wing to the point it may crack, according to the Wall Street Journal article.Boeing stated that each plane will take about one to two weeks to investigate, and to this point about 17 jets have completed inspection, with seven undergoing pre-delivery flight tests, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Robert Clifford Weighs in on UberX Car Services

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.

FDA Proposed New Food Labeling

A proposal by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to significantly revise nutrition labels for the first time in 20 years, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (“Food Labels Set for New Look,” Feb. 27, 2014).In a story by Thomas M. Burton and Annie Gasparro, it was reported that the Obama administration is looking for food labels to have larger-font calorie counts and more realistic portion sizes so that consumers can more easily understand unhealthy ingredients in packaged foods.  The new labels also would include a line for “added sugars.”  For example, ice cream lists on the label the number of calories for a half cup, when a full cup is probably considered a more normal serving size.The changes, however, are not expected to take effect for two years.  The proposal is undergoing a 90-day comment period now and some push back is expected from food companies, particularly ice cream, soda and dessert makers, who may take issue with some of the new requirements.To learn more, visit the FDA website:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htmFor the FDA’s Question-and-Answer page on the new labeling, go to:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#QATo learn more about the proposed changes and to submit a formal comment, go to the FDA’s website at:https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/03/03/2014-04387/food-labeling-revision-of-the-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels

Bob Clifford Speaks to Associated Press about Missing Jet Prompting Changes in Aviation System

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

Bob Clifford Testifies at Illinois Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on UberX Insurance Issues

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.

Bob Clifford speaks to Popular Radio Show Host in San Francisco on Malaysia Airlines disappearance

Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, spoke once again to popular radio show host Gil Gross on KKSF Radio on the latest details available Friday afternoon (March 14, 2014) on the vanishing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
 
For more than 10 minutes, Mr. Clifford spoke to Gil and his wife Rhoda, discussing the various theories that were being bandied about this "ever-changing story," according to Gil.
 
"There's nothing off the table here," Clifford said of the various and sometimes conflicting theories that have come out in the past week. "Every scenario you can think about is at play, and every time you go down a path of a given scenario, there are some inconsistencies." He went on to explain how the plane's inexplicable climb to higher altitudes is consistent with "a takeover." Mr. Clifford said more would be learned over the passage of time, and he spoke of his work on the 9/11 case and the painstaking details over a long period of time in the planning of that terrorist attack.
 
To hear the entire interview, go to: http://www.talk910.com/media/podcast-gil-gross-full-program-episodes-gil_gross/gil-gross-031414-hr1-24480520/

The ISBA Explains Employee Obligations - Sick and Vacation Days

Question: Is an employer who fired an employee obligated to pay for remaining sick days and vacation days?

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.

Considering an Estate Plan? The ISBA Advises

Question: We are a young couple with children. At what point should we consider an estate plan?Answer: Estate planning is not just for older or wealthy people. Young people, especially those with minor children, should have a will and estate plan in place in order to give instructions to their loved ones to follow in the event of a debilitating accident or untimely death. Celebrities like Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Princess Diana, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Michael Jackson all died unexpectedly, yet each had a will and estate plan.For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org

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

GM’s Massive Recall on Ignition Switches Triggers Federal Criminal Probe

In response to criticism stemming from a failure to properly investigate complaints of ignition switch failures in many of their models, General Motors has hired a private investigator to determine if the company failed to adequately respond to the dangerous condition. The New York Times reported that over the last 11 years, GM has received more than 260 complaints of cars spontaneously shutting down while drivers were on highways, in city traffic, and even on railroad tracks. These engine ignition malfunctions have been linked to 13 deaths, 1,581 injuries, and have led to over 1.6 million vehicle recalls.In the meantime, the CBS Evening News is reporting that federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of GM, most likely in regards to a federal law requiring car manufacturers “to give the Federal government timely notice of defects.” A grave question also surrounds the issue of when GM knew of this defect and many media outlets have been reporting that it was years before the company issued the recall.Further, the New York Times learned in an interview with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that since 2003, they have received roughly two complaints per month involving GM vehicles shutting off while in motion. The NHTSA told the New York Times that these complaints seemed to be isolated incidents, and therefore they never saw a need to launch a full investigation. The NHTSA had previously been criticized for failing to investigate a trend of rollovers in Ford Explorers with Firestone tires, an oversight that reportedly led to approximately 271 deaths.Victims of these ignition malfunctions told the New York Times that there is no warning when the GM vehicles are about to shut off. GM responded to these complaints by instructing car drivers to decrease the number of keys they have on their key chains, suggesting that the increased weight of the key chain can jostle the ignition switch to the off position. Fred Upton, the chairman of the US House Energy Committee, announced that he would be launching an investigation into the responses of GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the numerous complaints they received, according to the New York Times.If you think your car may be affected, this link may be used to go to Time Magazine’s article on “10 Things You Need to Know About the Massive GM Recall.”

Kevin Durkin Interviewed in Chicago Lawyer

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.

Bob Clifford Talks to Several Radio Reporters on the Malaysia Airliner Disappearance

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.

Target Tech Executive Resigns

Target Corp.’s chief information officer who was in charge of the chain’s computer systems resigned Wednesday (March 6, 2014) following the massive data breach over the holiday season to which the retailer recently admitted.
 
 It was reported in The Wall Street Journal (“Tech Executive at Target Resigns After Data Breach,” March 6, 2014) that Beth Jacob, the executive in charge of the discounter’s computer systems, is leaving as Target is reported to be working on overhauling its security system. Business Insider reported that changing to a more secure “data chip” and PIN system, similar to what is already used throughout Europe, could cost the retailer $100 million.
 
 Analysts have reported that costs related to the data breach (totaling some $61 million) have been mostly covered by insurance carried by Target. Lary Dignan for Between the Lines reported on Feb. 26, 2014, that $44 million was covered by insurance, but the loss in customer confidence cannot be calculated for Target’s data being hacked into through what has been said to be an air-conditioning firm it used.
 
 “Target’s security system has been criticized by experts who say the retailer’s failure to take basic steps, like walling off its payment system from the rest of its vast network, made it easier for hackers to steal data from 40 million credit-and debit-card accounts during a three-week period last year, beginning with the high-traffic Black Friday shopping weekend,” The Wall Street Journal story reported.  It also has been reported that as many as 110 million shoppers may have been affected by the data breach and had their privacy comprised.
 
 In the meantime, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said the company is looking outside Target for an interim chief information officer to guide the future efforts of the company in this area. The company is said to continue to be investigating how the data breach occurred and to map out a future plan of its security system, which may mean changing the company’s organizational structure “We are undertaking an overhaul of our information security and compliance structure and practices at Target,” Steinhafel said in an emailed statement, according to The Wall Street Journal.
 
 The story also reported that Ann Scovil, vice president of risk assurance and compliance, is leaving Target at the end of March as part of a planned retirement.

Sally’s Beauty Supply Detected Attempt at Data Breach; Wall Street Journal Reports Beauty Supply Company CEO’s Sale of Millions in Stock “Preceded Disclosure that the Retailer is Probing an Attempted Data Breach”

In the wake of The Wall Street Journal reporting that Sally’s Beauty Supply was investigating an attempt at a data breach of its customers (“Sally Beauty Detects Attempt at Data Breach,” March 6, 2014) comes a follow-up story that the company’s CEO sold $16.2 million in stock shortly before the retailer announced the investigation to the public.“Sally Beauty’s CEO Sold Stock” (The Wall Street Journal, March 8-9. 2014) reports how CEO Gary Winterhalter, 61, cut his holdings in the company by about a third in the last month – about $13.4 million in stock and vested options last month and an additional $16.2 million in company stock the first week of March.“None of the most recent sales were prearranged under the typical automatic-trading agreements that executives use to insulate themselves from insider-trading concerns,” the March 8-9 story reports in The Wall Street Journal.The story went on to say that the sales were part of the CEO’s “estate-planning strategy and were unrelated to the attempted data breach or concerns about the chain’s performance.”  The beauty supply chain operates more than 2,700 U.S. stores.“Mr. Winterhalter’s February stock sales occurred before the company knew about the attempted data breach,” the company said,” according to The Wall Street Journal story.  The company said it has hired the computer forensics unit of Verizon Communications Inc. to investigate the attempt to breach its data system.  Company representatives said they noticed unusual activity Feb. 24 this year but as yet has not reported any evidence that payment card or consumer data was taken.

Bob Clifford Speaks to Wall Street Journal Reporter About Malaysia Jet and Need for "Live Black Box"

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."  

Vietnam Searchers Report Spotting Debris from Plane in Waters off Southern Vietnam

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sunday a Vietnamese search aircraft has found fragments of what is suspected to be a Malaysia Airlines jetliner that went missing Saturday with 239 people aboard.The fragments are reported to be an inner door and a piece of an airplane tail, according to media reports. Malaysia Airlines is reporting that it has not received confirmation regarding the suspected debris.It was becoming nightfall in the area and Vietnamese officials reported they would continue the identification process Monday.Foul play has not been ruled out in the wake of reports that two passengers boarded the plane with stolen passports.  The flight included passengers from more than a dozen nationalities with more than half of them Chinese nationals.  At a news conference Sunday afternoon in Beijing, The Wall Street Journal reported that a member of the airline’s crisis management team said the airline told family members of passengers to "‘expect the worst.’"The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from the United States has sent an investigation team to Asia to provide assistance.  The team reportedly includes advisers from Boeing Co, maker of the 777 aircraft, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Boeing Sending Team to Help with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370; Stolen Passports Reportedly Never Checked

Boeing Airlines, based in Chicago, has tweeted that it has assembled a team "for technical assistance" and in a separate tweet stated that the "Boeing team is now en route to assist on MH370."  The destination of the technical team was not stated in the tweets.In the meantime, concern continues to rise about the report that two passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that was headed for Beijing early Saturday were carrying stolen passports.  An ABC News story reports that "Interpol says no country checked its database that held information about two stolen passports that were used to board an ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people on board," despite the information being entered into the Interpol database on the thefts being entered into Interpol’s database of an Austrian passport in 2012 and an Italian passport last year.The Malaysian Boeing 777 jet disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur and presumably by now would be out of fuel if it were still in the air.The ABC News story goes on to report that "Interpol said in a statement it was investigating all other passports used to board flight MH370 and was working to determine the ‘true identities’ of the passengers who used the stolen passports."

Three Americans Confirmed On Board Malaysia Airlines Commercial Jet

Three Americans have been confirmed among the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that has been missing since Saturday morning after it left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, China.  People from 14 countries were on the plane.As an international search crew continues to look for the aircraft, officials have told the media that a 50-year-old long-time executive for IBM from Texas is among those on the plane.  Two small children, aged two and four, carrying American passports also were on the jet, but it hasn’t been confirmed whether they were traveling with parents from China or another country, living in the United States when they were born, or traveling with American parents with dual citizenship.It also has been reported that 20 employees of a Texas semi-conductor firm were aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines jet that abruptly vanished over the Gulf of Thailand or the South China Sea.  President and CEO Gregg Lowe of the company, Freescale Semiconductor of Austin, Texas, told the press that 12 of the employees were from Malaysia and another eight were from China.  The company serves the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets that includes microprocessors, microcontrollers and sensors that involve sales operations around the world.Rescuers at this writing are still searching for the twin-engine Boeing 777-200 plane that has triggered an international search effort, including those from the United States.  The plane apparently was in flight about two hours and was over water when it vanished from radar.

International Search for Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Continues

Six countries, including the United States, are part of the international search team for the missing Boeing 777-200 airliner that reportedly disappeared Saturday morning over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 passengers aboard.  The plane reportedly was flying at about 35,000 feet in non-threatening weather.As air and water search crews scour the Gulf as well as the South China Sea, the issue of two passengers boarding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has emerged in media reports.A team of aviation experts from the United States led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was expected to leave for the area Saturday night.  The flight left Kuala Lumpur just after midnight Saturday heading for Beijing.Oil slicks off the coast of Viet Nam have been reported, which may lead for the need for underwater recovery vehicles and tools to determine if the aircraft remains might be underwater.

Washington Post Reports Oil Slicks Spotted in South China Sea

After a Malaysia Airlines commercial jet has been missing for hours, air and water search crews from several countries were dispatched and reportedly a Vietnamese government statement was issued that said it has spotted two large oil slicks in the South China Sea.The Washington Post released a story that said Vietnamese air force planes spotted the two large oil slicks off the southern tip of its country.  It quoted Associated Press reports that these oil slicks “were consistent with the kind that would be left by fuel from a crashed jet.”The Boeing 777 jet suddenly vanished from air traffic control screens early Saturday without sending a distress signal, according to numerous media reports.  Families of victims reportedly have been notified of the incident and have been taken to a hotel in Beijing, the final destination of the plane, but Malaysia Airlines has not confirmed what happened to the plane carrying 239 people, including three Americans of which one was an infant.In February, Reuters news service reported that Malaysia Airlines was awaiting government approval to buy 100 new Boeing and Airbus planes to retire older, less fuel-efficient planes in its fleet.A Saturday morning CNN report headline reads, “Expecting the worst: Families await news of missing Malaysian airliner.”  The jet departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41 a.m. and was expected to land in China at 6:30 a.m.A world prays and waits to hear the news for the families who are suffering.

Boeing Tweets on Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

Boeing Airlines has sent out a second tweet on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that reportedly was lost somewhere over Vietnam air space heading to China overnight.  The plane was a Boeing 777-200ER, according to reports.“Our team is assembled for technical assistance on MH370.  Our thoughts remain with all on board & their families,” Boeing tweeted, as boats were rushing to try to find the plane in the South China Sea.Reuters news service reported at 1:18 a.m. EST that the plane had crashed in the sea, but Malaysia Airlines has not yet confirmed that report.  People from 14 nationalities, including Americans, reportedly were aboard the flight.

Malaysia Airlines Plane Headed to Beijing Carrying 239 People Missing

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members is missing hours after it lost contact with air traffic control and a search-and-rescue effort is underway, officials are reporting.Flight MH370 was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday after taking off from Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, but it never arrived, media reports say.  It departed at 12:41 a.m. and lost contact about two hours later, officials are reporting.Officials also are reporting that at least three Americans are on board the flight along with passengers from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, France, New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada, Russia, Taiwan, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.  China’s official news agency is reporting that the plane apparently disappeared before it reached Chinese air space.The plane reportedly was a Boeing 777, the same type of aircraft involved in the Asiana Airlines incident which crashed-landed in San Francisco last year killing three.  Chicago-based Boeing said in a Twitter fees, “We’re closely monitoring reports on Malaysia flight MH370.  Our thoughts are with everyone on board.”Those seeking information on passengers are being told to call Malaysian airlines at +60-3-7884-1234. 

More Snow? Who Should be Shoveling?

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

Target, Nieman Marcus and now Michaels

Now comes word that Michaels, the country’s largest arts and crafts store, apparently has experienced a credit card breach of its customers across its more than 1,200 stores.
Michaels issued a statement that it “recently learned of possible fraudulent activity on some U.S. payment cards that had been used at Michaels, suggesting that the Company may have experienced a data security attack.”
When will this ever come to an end? Retailers are aware that hackers are out there, yet the retailers are more than happy to accept your credit card information and use it for their own marketing purposes. Perhaps they should be more proactive in looking into the Smart Chip.
That’s a credit card technology where cards are embedded with chips requiring the cardholder to put in a pin or sign for each transaction to be approved. It also is more difficult for hackers to steal the information contained in a “Smart Chip” card because the pin number is necessary.   
Reportedly a more secure method, “Smart Chips” are already in use in Europe and other places around the world. Why not the U.S.? Too much money, too much trouble for the retailer? It is now the legal system trying to get answers for the consumers on these technology issues when instead it should be the retailers who are out in front. 
 If you have been the victim of the Target data breach, contact Clifford Law Offices to sign up for the class action lawsuit action. 312-899-9090

"Target Staff Had Warnings," Wall Street Journal Reports

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.

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.