News

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Successful Illinois Municipal League Conference

Thanks to those individuals and municipalities who participated in the recent IML Conference.  ZRFM conducted five sessions:

  • FOIA & OMA in the Internet Age: Ruth Schlossberg
  • Municipal Law & Order: Sgt. Andrew Doles (Algonquin P.D.), Jennifer Gibson, Brad Stewart
  • Effective Operations and Governance: David McArdle, Ruth Schlossberg
  • Redeveloping Distressed Properties: Ryan Farrell, David McArdle
  • Administrative Adjudication: Kevin Chrzanowski, Jean Headley (City of McHenry)

If you were unable to attend any of the sessions but would like the presentation handouts or other information, please contact our office.


zrfm

Monday, October 14th, 2013

ZRFM Lawyers to Address Illinois Municipal League Conference

Several lawyers from Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle will be featured presenters this week at the 100th Illinois Municipal League Annual Conference, to be held Thursday, Oct. 17, through Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Ave.

Topics that ZRFM lawyers will address include the following:

  • Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act in the Internet Age — Ruth Schlossberg will speak on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 2:15 p.m.
  • Municipal Law and Order – Sergeant Andrew Doles of the Algonquin Police Department speaks alongside ZRFM attorneys Jennifer Gibson and Brad Stewart in this session moderated by Lake in the Hills Village President Paul Mulcahy on Friday, Oct. 18 at 2:15 p.m.
  • Effective Operations and Governance — David McArdle and Ruth Alderman Schlossberg speak on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 9:15 a.m.
  • Redeveloping Distressed Properties — Ryan Farrell and David McArdle address this topic on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Administrative Adjudication – ZRFM attorney Kevin Chrzanowski and Jean Headley of the City of McHenry speak on Saturday, Oct. 19, also at 10:30 a.m.

If you plan to attend the IML conference, please contact Brad Stewart so someone from ZRFM can meet with you. Although pre-registration for the Illinois Municipal League Annual Conference has ended, detailed information and instructions on how to register on-site appear online.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

ZRFM’s Illinois State Bar Association Articles Now Available

More than 20 articles published in Illinois State Bar Association newsletters and authored by Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle lawyers can be viewed now on zrfmlaw.com. ZRFM is the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois.

The articles address topics involving labor and employment, local government, administrative law, and antitrust and unfair competition. Individual newsletter articles can be located by linking from the titles listed in the publications section of each attorney’s Web site biography. They also appear below chronologically:

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Person Sending Text to Driver May Be Liable for an Accident

Brad StewartDavid J. Loughnaneby David J. Loughnane and Brad Stewart

If someone texts an individual while knowing that the person is driving a vehicle, the text sender may also be responsible for any injury or damages if the driver gets into an accident while reading or responding to that text. The texter may be held liable even when using a cell phone or electronic device far away from the place of the accident.

In an opinion handed down August 27, 2013, a New Jersey court stated, “We hold that, when a texter knows or has special reason to know that the intended recipient is driving and is likely to read the text message while driving, the texter has a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time.”*

This, apparently, is the first time a court has announced that someone participating in texting, even though not driving, can be held legally liable for the damages a victim of a vehicular accident received. This decision is likely to stir much debate among lawyers and judges. Also, the idea of imposing responsibility on someone knowingly involved in a distraction to the driver of a vehicle may increase public discussion of the hazards posed by texting and cell phone use while driving.

While the New Jersey court was careful to note that it would impose liability on a texter only under special circumstances where the texter knew or should have known the person receiving the text was driving, it is not hard to imagine many situations where a texter should know that the text recipient is likely to be driving.

For those who are the victim of a vehicular accident due to the other driver being distracted by a text or the use of an electronic device, you should try to obtain (through the police, directly from the other driver, or through your own personal injury attorney) the following information:

  • the cell phone number of the other driver
  • the name of the cell phone service provider
  • the name of the person or company who owns the account
  • the identity of any person the driver was communicating with
  • any details about that person’s cell phone account.

* Linda Kubert v. Kyle Best, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, Docket # A-1128-12T4 http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a1128-12.pdf

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Holstine to Speak at Landowner Educational Seminar

Andrew W. HolstineAndrew W. Holstine will speak on July 31, 2013, at a landowner educational seminar in Morris, Illinois. He will address the topic of “New Tax Legislation: Estate and Succession Planning” from the perspective of a farm landowner or operator.

Holstine’s presentation begins at 1:20 p.m. and concludes at about 3:15 p.m. The full program for the day begins at 8:45 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. Other topics to be addressed by speakers include the impact of Genetically Modified Organism (“GMO”) crops, grain markets, farm leases, land trends and values, and client services.

The landowner educational seminar is sponsored by Hertz Farm Management, Inc., a farm asset management company which represents landowners to help them meet their goals and objectives. The event will take place at the Quality Inn at 200 Gore Road.

To learn more about Holstine’s professional credentials, please view Andrew W. Holstine’s biography. For more information about the seminar and his talk, e-mail Andrew Holstine or telephone 815-459-2050.

Friday, June 14th, 2013

New Illinois Law Bans Handheld Device Use While Driving

by David J. Loughnane and Brad Stewart

Brad StewartDavid J. Loughnane

Starting Jan. 1, 2014, it will be illegal throughout Illinois for any driver, regardless of age, to use a handheld device – cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or mobile computer – while driving.  This legislation, HB 1247, was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on Aug. 16, 2013.  The new law is contained in 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2.

Currently, drivers under age 19 are prohibited from using cell phones for any purpose while driving, and all drivers, regardless of age, are prohibited from texting while driving. In addition, at least 70 municipalities (including Chicago and several suburbs) have enacted their own ordinances banning the use of handheld devices while driving. The bill just passed by the Illinois Legislature will now expand the prohibition on using handheld devices to all parts of the state.

The focus of this new legislation is on banning the use of handheld electronic devices while a vehicle is not parked. Note that the new law provides the following exceptions:

  • Hands-free or voice-activated phones or devices, including the use of a headset
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) or navigation devices
  • Two-way or Citizens Band (CB) radio services
  • A device that can be activated or terminated by pressing a single button
  • If the vehicle is parked on the shoulder of a roadway, or stopped due to normal traffic obstruction, and the vehicle’s transmission is in neutral or park
  • Reporting an emergency situation and the continued communication with emergency personnel during the emergency situation
  • Use by law enforcement or emergency personnel in the course of official duties
  • Certain commercial motor vehicle devices
  • Two-way mobile radio transmitters or receivers for licensees of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the amateur radio service.

A more ambiguous exception indicates that it’s OK to use devices capable of performing “multiple functions,” other than communication purposes; among the functions specifically mentioned are fleet management systems and music players. It’s unclear if the law means that it’s OK, while driving, to be using your handheld cell phone to set up a music playlist or audio book, just so long as you’re not making a call or texting. Or perhaps it refers to other devices that have multiple functions, and you can do absolutely nothing with a handheld device while driving.

For violation of the new law, the first offense is not considered a “moving” offense, and therefore the violation should not affect car insurance premiums or driving privileges. The penalty for the first violation results is a maximum fine of $75; the second offense is $100; the third offense is $125; and the fourth or subsequent offenses are $150.

The new law also has implications for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists injured by drivers who are using electronic devices in violation of the law. In some cases, the new law may offer a personal injury victim a statutory basis to support a claim that the driver who violated the law was acting negligently when texting while driving, or when committing similar violations of the new law.

David J. Loughnane practices civil litigation, personal injury, healthcare law and employment law at Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois. For more of his professional credentials, please view David J. Loughnane’s biography. Brad Stewart focuses his practice primarily on civil litigation and local government law. For more of his professional credentials, please view Brad Stewart’s biography.

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Seminar for Newly Elected Illinois Officials Set for May 4

Newly elected officers, administrators, managers and long-standing elected officials may want to attend a half-day seminar on the ABCs of local government. The May 4 event is designed to give newly elected officials a jump start and to offer seasoned officers a refresher on the fundamentals of local government law, duties, and procedures.

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Turnberry Country Club, 9600 Turnberry Trail, Lakewood. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the day concludes with lunch once the program ends at 1 p.m.

You've-been-elected-2011Topics covered include local government meeting practice and procedures, Illinois “sunshine laws,” contracts, ethics and conflicts of interest rules, personnel, land use, finance and budget, and practical skills to increase effectiveness. The experienced team of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle municipal lawyers will be available to field your questions. A representative from the McHenry County Council of Governments also will discuss the benefits of intergovernmental cooperation.

All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Congratulations! You’ve Been Elected: Now What Do You Do? This book, now in its second edition and published by the Illinois Municipal League, serves as a useful handbook and resource for new and experienced officials.

To learn more about the seminar, please view the invitation on ZRFM’s local government law blog. To learn more about Congratulations! You’ve Been Elected: Now What Do You Do?, please view ZRFM’s books and publications page.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Northwest Herald Quotes ZRFM’s ‘Municipal Ten Commandments’

You've-been-elected-2011A cover story appearing in the March 29, 2013, edition of the Northwest Herald includes excerpts from a well-known section of the Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle book You’ve Been Elected! Now What Do You Do? A Practical Guide to Local Government

The print and online article by Emily K. Coleman titled “What to expect when you’re elected” referenced the guide to local government’s “Municipal Ten Commandments,” described on p. 48 of the book as the top practical tips for local government officials.

The commandments are:

  • Commandment 10: Don’t believe anyone who says, “Your predecessor promised . . .”
  • Commandment 9: We are all in relatively small communities so remember, almost everyone is related — be careful what you say and who you say it to. Watch out for foot and mouth disease: “Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on!”
  • Commandment 8: Don’t forget, the walls of the city/township/village hall have eyes and ears. Everything you say or do will be spread far and wide and subsequently posted on Facebook or shared with the media.
  • Commandment 7: Do your homework — For goodness sake at least read the packet! You don’t want your community to look dumb or unprepared — same for yourself. If an issue involves a physical site in your municipality (e.g., a zoning change) visit the site.
  • Commandment 6: Listen to the public, staff, and other elected officials. There are two sides to every story. Don’t create a policy in response to one person’s mistake.
  • Commandment 5: No surprises! Keep everyone informed.
  • Commandment 4: Communicate! Communicate! Communicate — with the public, each other, and staff.
  • Commandment 3: Don’t get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel! Make friends with the media and stay friends with the media! Don’t stonewall or withhold information, otherwise they will make it up, and you can’t retract it once it’s in print.
  • Commandment 2: You can’t do it by yourself! You are a part of a TEAM of elected officials and staff.
  • Commandment 1: Don’t make promises you or your municipality cannot keep! “Your city/township/village manager can do ANYTHING you want; he/she just can’t do EVERYTHING you want.”

To learn more about the second edition of ZRFM’s book, which is published by the Illinois Municipal League, or to order a copy, view the books and publications page of our website. To learn more about the authors, view the professional biographies of Richard G. Flood and Ruth Alderman Schlossberg.

 

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Wakeman, Farrell to Serve as Mentors in MCBA Program

Ryan P. FarrellElizabeth Felt WakemanElizabeth Felt Wakeman and Ryan P. Farrell will participate this year in the McHenry County Bar Association’s “Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program.”

The program is a partnership between the MCBA and the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

Mentees must complete the program within their first three years of practice. To participate, mentors must have been admitted in Illinois to practice law for six years.

They cannot participate if any formal disciplinary complaints are pending against them or if they have ever been suspended or disbarred in any jurisdiction.

Mentors and mentees who complete a comprehensive, yearlong, structured mentoring program may earn their six Continuing Legal Education credits in professional responsibility, the minimum required in a two-year reporting period. CLE credits are allowed only if the mentoring plan is preapproved by the Commission on Professionalism.

Programs require an orientation, an agreement, at least eight face-to-face meetings, and the completion of the action items in the mentoring plan.

Mentors and mentees must complete an action item in professionalism, legal ethics, civility, diversity and inclusion, and wellness, mental health, and addiction.

The program aims to help new lawyers develop the needed judgment and practical skills to practice law competently and ethically. For more information about the program, contact Margaret Bengtson at the MCBA.

For more information about Liz Wakeman and Ryan Farrell, view their full biographies.

Friday, February 1st, 2013

NIU Valedictorian Begins ZRFM Practice

Brad StewartBrad Stewart, the valedictorian of the class of 2012 at Northern Illinois University College of Law, has entered practice at the Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle law firm. Stewart focuses primarily on local government law, civil litigation and corporate law.

Stewart is the attorney editor of the new Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle blog and e-newsletter titled Local Government Law Bulletin. On Jan. 13, 2013, he most recently authored an article for the Northwest Herald titled “Defense of Marriage Act ruling relevant to employers.” Stewart has received several writing awards and most notably was one of 10 finalists for the National Scribes Contest, selected among the top submissions by each school’s law review in 2011.

Stewart joined Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle in May 2011 as a law clerk and 711 Licensee. He also clerked for Justice Susan F. Hutchinson of the Illinois Appellate Court’s 2nd District.

Prior to attending law school, Stewart was a director and branch manager at two credit unions based in the Chicagoland area, both with a presence in McHenry County. At one point, he managed 18 business development officers across the country. He also was an executive at a chemical manufacturing company serving the dry cleaning industry. During that time, he was a columnist and contributing editor for the American Dry Cleaner publication. Stewart earned two bachelor’s degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

Stewart, a resident of Wonder Lake, has been an active member of the McHenry County community. From 2007 to 2011, he served on the board of Home of the Sparrow, a non-profit organization that provides transitional services for homeless women and children. In 2007, Stewart received the Unsung Hero Award for McHenry County through Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital for a series of fundraising events he performed for Home of the Sparrow and for diabetes research.

With a total of 21 lawyers, ZRFM is the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois. Three of the firm’s attorneys have been named Illinois Leading Lawyers by their peers, a designation that ranks them among the top 5 percent of lawyers in their practice. ZRFM’s offices are located at 50 Virginia Street in Crystal Lake and in Chicago and Oak Brook.

For more biographical information about Stewart, please view his full profile.