Dan Voelker acts as judge at American Bar Association’s Negotiations Championships

Dan Voelker just completed acting as a judge in the American Bar Association’s Negotiations Championships as well as its National Appellate Advocacy Championship. Dan considers it an honor to have been asked to judge such prestigious competitions and mentoring some of the finest law students in America.

ABAForLawStudents.com: Negotiation Competition…

ABAForLawStudents.com: National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) Moot Court Competition…


Voelker Litigation Group wins a reversal in landmark decision on the award of punitive damages in Illinois!

Download the Decision… (PDF)

On November 18, 2021, the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois reversed the decision of the Appellate Court to reduce punative damages in the Parillo vs. Doe case from $8 million to $1 million and reinstated the $8 million judgement.

Some excerpts from the decision follow:

In Circuit Court, Judge Varga characterized the defense’s conduct as “the most audacious attempt to undermine the judicial process which this Court has seen in over twenty-four years.”

Judge Varga revisited his conclusion that [Parrillo’s attorneys] abandoned the case:

“Did Ms. Muth or Mr. Holstein seek to participate during the trial, despite standing in the hallway and looking through the glass doors? Participation during trial means opening statements, examination of witnesses, and closing arguments. The only act Ms. Muth or Mr. Holstein did through the trial was file and argue a motion for mistrial after the jury entered the jury room to begin deliberations. The Court denied the motion. *** Did Ms. Muth and Mr. Holstein make a conscious decision not to participate during trial? Did they abandon the trial? The Court pressed them: after the Emergency Motion to Continue Trial was not presented and the case remained for trial in [Judge Varga’s courtroom], what were they going to do? The Court concludes that they walked away from the trial and abandon[ed] it.”

Judge Varga then summarized his impressions:

“[T]he defendant lied in an affidavit to seek a trial continuance, the defense attorneys failed to follow a well-known and well-understood circuit court rule ***, and the defense attorneys and defendant abandoned the trial. In conclusion the title of defendant’s attempt should read, ‘A Conspiracy to Undermine the Integrity of the Judicial Process—or— How Not to Get a Trial Continuance in the Law Division.’ First, lie; second, don’t follow rules; and third, if the first and second don’t work, don’t show up for trial.”

In 2020, The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision in every respect, except as to punitive damages.

The appellate court further held that Judge Varga’s decision to proceed with the trial in Parrillo’s absence did not violate due process. He and his attorneys had notice of the trial, but Muth and Holstein abdicated their ethical obligations to their client.

The court reasoned:

“Counsel refused to participate in jury selection or trial or take steps to properly present the motion for a continuance to the presiding judge. Parrillo filed an untruthful affidavit. Together, this appears more like a tactic to secure a continuance than a series of unfortunate events. We do not know when Parrillo learned of his counsel’s refusal to participate in the trial, to walk away and take their chances. Either Parrillo chose to rely on (and perhaps participate) in his attorneys’ decision or laid low to conceal his falsehoods.”

The appellate court then rejected Parrillo’s contention that the amount of compensatory damages was excessive.

“Based on the evidence in the record, we cannot say the amount awarded exceeded the range of fair and reasonable compensation or was so large as to shock the judicial conscience.”

Finally, the appellate court addressed Parrillo’s argument that the jury’s $8 million punitive damages award violated due process. The appellate court… identified three guideposts to determine whether punitive damages pass constitutional muster. The appellate court found Parrillo’s arguments on each guidepost uncompelling…The court concluded that punitive damages eight times the amount of compensatory damages crosses that line. Accordingly, the court reduced Doe’s punitive damages to $1 million.

This court allowed Doe’s petition for leave to appeal.

The Illinois Supreme Court considered Doe’s case…Regarding reprehensibility, it instructed reviewing courts to consider several factors, including whether “the harm caused was physical as opposed to economic; the tortious conduct evinced an indifference to or a reckless disregard of the health or safety of others; the target of the conduct had financial vulnerability; the conduct involved repeated actions or was an isolated incident; and the harm was the result of intentional malice, trickery, or deceit, or mere accident.”

Parrillo asserts that reprehensibility is “impossible” to consider given the absence of a trial record. We disagree. As evidenced by the photographs introduced as trial exhibits, her injuries were undoubtedly physical. Further, Parrillo’s conduct showed not simply an indifference or reckless disregard for Doe’s health, but actual intent to harm her on five occasions. On one of those occasions, December 12, 2015, Parrillo apparently told Doe that he would “ruin” her and that “things” would “get worse” for her while they would “get fun” for him. Then he advised her to “look over her shoulder” and “flee.” Judge Varga, while acknowledging that he was not the trier of fact, stated that he listened to Doe’s testimony that she was “the victim of sexual assault—in the old days, it was more descriptive, it was rape,” as well as the victim of physical and psychological assault. He described the evidence: “The facts were, they were intentional acts. It was a physical act. You know, scars. I remember that. *** I mean, it was mental, it was sexual abuse, which was physical.” When Neville mentioned reprehensibility and maintained that the jury could not make that determination because Parrillo did not testify and “they didn’t hear both sides,” Judge Varga responded quickly: “Reprehensible conduct? She said he sexually assaulted her. Ain’t that reprehensible?”

In conclusion, the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois reversed the appellate court’s judgment as to punitive damages and affirm that judgment in all other respects, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment. Appellate court judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part. Circuit court judgment affirmed.

Link to full transcript…

Download the Decision… (PDF)

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Ill. Justices Urged To Restore Abuse Suit’s Slashed $8M Award

By Lauraann Wood

An Illinois woman urged the state Supreme Court on Thursday to reinstate a jury’s $8 million punitive damages verdict against an ex-boyfriend who didn’t appear in court to defend himself against her abuse claims at trial, arguing an appellate panel slashed her award against precedent and its own reasoning.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe, told Illinois’ justices during oral argument the intermediate court improperly substituted its own judgment for the jury’s when it found her punitive damages award unreasonably excessive and reduced it to $1 million. The panel’s decision contradicts 175 years of Illinois precedent stating juries should receive great latitude with their verdicts, and failed to even follow a bright-line reasonableness test it cited from Third District appellate precedent, her attorney, Daniel Voelker of Voelker Litigation Group, told the justices.

… Voelker asked the justices, “respectfully, how would the court know that’s enough?”.

“They didn’t hear the evidence. The jury heard the evidence,” he said. The jury only heard from Doe before awarding her a total of $9 million in 2019 because Parrillo failed to defend himself against her allegations of physical, mental and sexual abuse. The trial court observed the abuse as rape, and indicated in later proceedings that Parrillo’s counsel had engaged in one of the most egregious examples of gamesmanship it had ever experienced, Voelker told the state high court.

Voelker argued Parrillo’s failure to defend himself at trial should “absolutely not” factor into the state high court’s review because punitive damages don’t reflect the quality of a defendant’s representation. Whether the jury considered Parrillo and his counsel’s trial behavior during deliberations is something “we’ll never know, but that’s the predicament he created for himself,” he said.

Voelker also slammed Neville’s representation that Parrillo’s trial counsel had been improperly blocked from participating in a post-trial jury instruction conference. The trial court had “bent over backwards” to give Parrillo a fair trial, and his counsel has no foundation to submit legal documents characterizing events from a courtroom she wasn’t in, he argued.

Part of the issue with determining a punitive award’s reasonableness is that Illinois doesn’t have a bright-line test on the issue, Voelker told the justices. The lower appellate panel seemed to interpret appellate precedent in Blount v. Stroud to find that punitive damages awards shouldn’t total more than four times a compensatory award, but that contradicts state precedent, he said.

If the justices agree with that interpretation, however, they should at least raise Doe’s punitive damages to $4 million, Voelker argued. The intermediate panel’s 1:1 reduction was arbitrary and capricious, and “after spending their time and reviewing the jury instructions and reaching a unanimous verdict, that verdict … should be sustained,” he argued.

Read the full story from Law 360…

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Dan Voelker of Voelker Litigation opens $100 for 100 Project to benefit essential workers

Dan Voelker of the Voelker Litigation Group opened the $100 for 100 Project, which allows lawyers and law firms to give back and express appreciation for the essential workers who are working to keep us fed, safe, healthy and everything else during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $100 for one hundred concept is for lawyers and law firms throughout the United States to give back to the essential workers who have so selflessly and tirelessly provided them with essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each donor lawyer or law firm will hand-out 100 $100 dollar bills to those who have helped in their neighborhood or community.  With each $100 bill will be a business card with a message of thanks and appreciation – and a link to the $100 for 100 website where recipients can post a comment of thanks in return.

Are you an attorney or law firm who would like to say thank you to essential workers?

Lawyers sign up here…

View Attorneys and Law Firms who have signed up to provide $100 to each of 100 essential workers

View lawyers and law firms here…

View thank you notes from Recipients

View thank you notes from recipients here…


Voelker Represents Bettor in Suit Against FanDuel

Dan Voelker of Voelker Litigation Group is representing Andrew Melnick, who brought suit March 9, 2021 against the online sports betting company FanDuel, accusing their gambling app of delaying scores to entice losing bets.

For more information, please read the news excerpts below – and check back soon for updates.

FanDuel Accused of Delaying App Scores to Entice Losing Bets

Peter Hayes, Reporter. March 2, 2021

FanDuel was sued in federal court Tuesday by a user of the gambling app, who says the platform delays real-time scoring data and causes bettors to lose more money.

“While purporting to provide its customers with real-time, live sports game data, FanDuel regularly understates the time remaining in live sporting events to induce its customers to make wagers they are more likely to lose” than if they were being provided accurate, real-time information, the complaint alleges.

The proposed class action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges the online gambling company engages in unfair and deceptive trade practices. The complaint alleges violations of various states’ consumer protection laws.

Andrew Melnick alleges he made a number of wagers that the combined score of two competing men’s college NCAA basketball teams would be less than a given number based on the information provided on the FanDuel platform, known in gambling parlance as the “under.”

Although the time remaining in the game is “critical to the determination of the risk and reward associated with a given wager,” he later learned that the time is “frequently materially understated on the real-time display on the FanDuel platform,” the complaint alleges.

Read the full story at BloombergLaw.com…

Class Action Claims Online Sports Betting App FanDuel Deceived Users

by Christina Tabacco March 3, 2021

On Tuesday, Andrew Melnick sued Betfair Interactive US, LLC, doing business as FanDuel Sportsbook, for allegedly providing inaccurate information to customers while they made wagers on live sporting events on FanDuel’s digital platform.

The complaint explained that FanDuel operates an on-line sports gaming platform with a membership in excess of 6 million people across Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan, where such betting is legal.

On Feb. 28, Melnick began placing wagers on the FanDuel platform focusing on men’s NCAA college basketball. Reportedly, he made live wagers on “Over/Unders,” a sportsbook wager that predicts a number in a given game, usually the combined score of the two teams. The bettor will prevail if the actual game total is either higher or lower than the platform offered over or under, the complaint explained.

Melnick made wagers after the sporting events had begun based upon FanDuel’s allegedly false reporting of the game’s remaining time and, in some cases, the current scores of the live events. After discovering the inaccuracies, Melnick purportedly contacted FanDuel customer service to notify the company and seek a refund, but to no avail. The lawsuit reported that FanDuel frequently understates the time remaining in live sporting events between 5 and 35%, causing the plaintiff and putative class members to lose money on bets that they would not have made or would have made differently had the defendant’s app reported the information accurately.

The filing claims that through its deceptive practices, FanDuel violated state consumer protection laws, committed breaches of contract, and was unjustly enriched.

Read the full story at LawStreetMedia.com…


by Brad Allen, MARCH 3, 2021

The suit reads in part:

“After placing a number of the live Wagers, made after the start of the particular sporting events, and losing over $50, Plaintiff discovered that the purportedly real-time information provided to him on the FanDuel platform was repeatedly false and materially so.”

It said the platform frequently understated the time remaining in NCAA basketball games by 5-35%. That made live unders appear to be a far better bet than they actually were, Melnick said.

“As a result of the above-mentioned deceptive, dishonest and unfair pattern and practices of FanDuel, Plaintiff and, upon information and belief,
hundreds of thousands of other members of FanDuel, have lost millions of dollars in wagers.”

Is there any evidence?
As evidence, the suit includes two screenshots of the New Orleans v. Incarnate Word college basketball game on FanDuel on March 1, 2021. The first image at 8:52 pm shows six minutes left in the game. The second image, taken one minute later, shows eight minutes left in the game.

What does Melnick want?
The class-action suit calls for unspecified damages and wagers to be repaid to Melnick and “thousands” of others. It was filed by Chicago-based attorney Voelker Litigation Group. The filing also calls for FanDuel to stop operating until its app accurately reflects the time remaining in a given live sporting event.

The Flutter-owned brand is the largest US sportsbook in the market, with about 40% online share. That included more than than $6 billion in stakes at FanDuel Sportsbook in 2020.

Quick data is key for betting industry
Sports law professor Ryan Rodenberg said the suit highlighted the importance of accurate real-time data for the integrity of the betting market.  “This lawsuit also shows why a single source of real-time information has huge integrity risks,” Rodenberg said.

The NCAA of course does not have an official betting data partner. That means data scouts are likely “scouting” off the TV feed or a stream rather than being in-stadium. That can bring significant delays. COVID has arguably worsened this issue, with no fans and therefore scouts in stadiums.

What next for FanDuel case?
As for the case, the first hurdle for Melnick will be whether he can avoid the mandatory arbitration clause in the FanDuel terms of use.

“There are a lot of interesting aspects to this case,” Rodenberg said. “But FanDuel will focus on the arbitration clause to try to make sure the interesting aspects never proceed.”

Saiber attorney Jeremy Kleiman also said it was difficult to predict an outcome. “This could have been a one-time glitch with the data feed, rather than a pattern and practice of intentional deception,” Kleiman said. “It’s hard to say where this goes.”

The Illinois sports betting market began using mobile apps in 2020.

Read the full story at LegalSportsReport.com…

Bettor alleges FanDuel understated time remaining on in-game wagers

By Michael Bartlett, March 3, 2021

Class action lawsuit seeks millions in damages across 10 states.
A sports bettor in Illinois filed on March 2 a class action lawsuit against Betfair Interactive US, LLC, dba FanDuel Sportsbook alleging it misstated the time remaining in games.

In the suit, a copy of which was obtained by Gaming America, Andrew Melnick said he downloaded the app for FanDuel on his Android smartphone on 26 February and deposited $100 into his account the same day. On 28 February, Melnick began placing bets on college basketball games. His wager of choice was live wagers on under bets, meaning the actual final score of a given game would be less than the over/under number posted by the sportsbook.

The suit notes FanDuel’s betting platform purports to display on the user’s phone the time elapsed, score and the odds of a given wager in a given sporting event on a real-time basis.

But Melnick alleges the supposed real-time was “repeatedly false and materially so.”

The suit includes screen shots of the New Orleans v. Incarnate Word NCAA men’s college basketball game on 1 March; the first at 8:52pm and the second a minute later at 8:53pm. The first shows six minutes remaining in the second half of the game, while the second shows eight minutes remaining in the second half of the same game.

Melnick is represented by two attorneys based in Chicago: Daniel J. Voelker, Voelker Litigation Group, and Randall B. Gold, Fox & Fox.

Gaming America reached out to FanDuel but the company declined to comment. FanDuel has yet to file an official response.

Read the full story at GamingAmerica.com…

FanDuel Misleads Bettors With False ‘Real Time’ Info, Class Action Lawsuit Asserts

By Christina Davis, March 3, 2021

Online sports betting company FanDuel has been hit with a class action lawsuit claiming it provided bettors with inaccurate scores and game times, inducing wagers based on false information.

Melnick, an Illinois resident, claims that he and others were duped into thinking they were placing much more advantageous bets based on the false information provided by FanDuel on its sports betting app that purports to provide “real time” information to bettors.

He says that he made an “over/under” bet in February of this year on FanDuel concerning a men’s NCAA college basketball game. Melnick says that he placed a bet based on the remaining game time information provided on FanDuel; however, he later found out that the game time information provided by the online betting company was off by up to 35 percent from the actual time.

Read the full story at TopClassActions.com…

The FanDuel False Information Class Action Lawsuit is Melnick v. Betfair Interactive US, LLC, Case No. 1:21-cv-01178, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

How Sports Betting Impacts State Budgets

A Bloomberg Law video


Alternative Dispute Resolution During the Pandemic

Have a dispute that needs resolution? Call Dan Voelker, mediation services lawyer, at (312) 870-5430 - IL Super Lawyer for Commercial Litigation and Mediation.Notwithstanding the fact that many Courts around the country are closed indefinitely, there are still a steady stream of disputes that need resolution. In addition to the closure of courts, with current social distancing guidelines in place, it is difficult, to say the least, to effectively communicate and even attempt to resolve a dispute. Jury trials have been postponed indefinitely and judges are reluctant to conduct lengthy evidentiary hearings until the virus is under control or eliminated.

Mediation is an alternative

But there are effective methods of alternative dispute resolution that are available to the litigant under the current circumstances. One such method is known as mediation. Mediations, in contrast to arbitrations, are voluntary and the goal is to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. This is a process where the parties in a dispute agree to allow a neutral third-party to assist them in arriving at a solution to the problem. The mediator is usually a lawyer with experience in the area of the dispute. This might be a familiarity with the applicable law and/or the industry at issue. The most important attribute of the mediator is that he or she be someone the parties and their attorneys respect.

How mediation works

Once selected, the mediator can arrange to hear the given matter in a fashion that protects the health and safety of the participants. Hearings can be held informally and virtually by computer. The process is much less costly than litigation, and eliminates appeals and issues with collection. The results are swift and must be arrived at with the agreement of the parties. This is a process that is well-suited for the unique environment that the pandemic has thrust us into currently.

Have a dispute that needs resolution?

Dan has been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Mediation for several years running.

For your mediation needs, contact Daniel J. Voelker and the Voelker Litigation Group at (312) 870-5430.


Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information Are at Risk As a Result of the Pandemic

Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information Are at Risk As a Result of the Pandemic. Call Voelker Litigation Group at (312) 870-5430.One significant concern to businesses is the risk of inadvertent disclosure of their trade secrets and proprietary information in the wake of the pandemic. When they say that we are currently operating in uncharted waters, this is no understatement. What were once heavily-guarded trade secrets and proprietary information are now spread across the kitchen table and being communicated via unsafe internet connections. This risk of hacking and actual disclosure of the same is significant.

Safeguard breakdowns lead to protection lapses

Under the law in most jurisdictions, the protection afforded to trade secrets and proprietary information is a function of the safeguards the employer asserts over the protected information. This includes the manner in which the information is gathered, stored, accessed, used, shared and otherwise guarded.  Once the safeguards begin to breakdown, so too do the protections granted to the information under the law. Lapses in the exercise of the safeguards will give your competitor a defense to your claim in the event that a dispute arises over the use and ownership of such information.

Non-standard employee severances can leave employers at risk

Additionally, as a result of financial hardship, employees are being severed from their employment in a sometimes less than normal manner, leaving the trade secrets and proprietary information of the business more vulnerable than in the usual setting where exit interviews, references and severance payments are discussed and agreed-upon. This creates an opportunity for carefully-guarded trade secrets to be shared in another setting by your ex-employee with your competitors. The employer should reinforce to human resources the need to continue to conduct exit interviews and related separation activities at least virtually until face-to-face discussions may resume safely, and to, therein, stress to the departing employee the importance of protecting the sanctity of the trade secrets and proprietary information of the business.

For assistance in protecting your trade secrets and proprietary information contact Daniel J. Voelker of the Voelker Litigation Group, at 312-870-5430.


Employer Liability for COVID-19 Transmission: Yay or Nay?

The SARS CoV-2 coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.

The SARS CoV-2 coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.

In the current environment, employers are biting their nails in fear of liability claims from their employees who contract COVID-19 in the workplace. Is this a risk? While no appellate court, much less a trial court, has yet to decide this issue, the answer is most likely negative.

Follow CDC and OSHA Guidelines

This, of course, presumes that, as employer, you maintain proper social distancing within the employee ranks, require protective masks and clothing, as the case may be, and follow generally accepted guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.

Company Policy on Illness

This outcome is also contingent upon, among other things, close scrutiny of the health of your workforce and an open policy that permits employees to bow out of the work place at the first symptom of an illness without fear of reprisal or demotion.

Deviating from Protocols Could Result in Devastating Liability

On the other hand, employers who allow non-essential workers to go back to work prematurely or to break social distancing guidelines, will surely face suits from sick employees and their families.  Given the harsh realities of the virus and its relatively high mortality rate, deviating from the protocols set out by the regulatory authorities and social norms could result in devastating liability to the employer. As some intentional conduct is not covered by insurance, the risk of a break-the-company verdict is a real concern as well.

In sum, employers whom exercise good judgment and put the health of their workforce ahead of profits will have little risk of liability. Those that do not, face an almost certain risk of suit and a potentially large damage award.

Have questions about employee liability claims?

Call Dan Voelker at (312) 870-5430.


Negotiated an extraordinary settlement for us

We hired Dan several years ago to assist us in a tricky situation with an Italian company that we had done business with for over a decade.  Dan was able to negotiate an extraordinary settlement for us after a lengthy mediation.  He was quick on his feet and a pleasure to work with.

— Dennis P.


Business Interruption Insurance: Savior or Sorrow?

While it may be difficult to imagine a policy that does not provide coverage for an interruption in revenue caused by a pandemic or the like, many policies have exclusions for the same.

While it may be difficult to imagine a policy that does not provide coverage for an interruption in revenue caused by a pandemic or the like, many policies have exclusions for the same.

Under the current circumstances, business interruption is an on-going reality. Until state and local governments allow businesses to reopen, loss of business and revenue will continue to grow. At the same time, many expenses continue to accrue and must be paid.

The issue as it relates to business interruption insurance, though, is whether or not you have a policy of insurance and whether or not there is coverage available to you. The question invariably comes down to the precise language of your policy of insurance. While it may be difficult to imagine a policy that does not provide coverage for an interruption in revenue caused by a pandemic or the like, many policies have exclusions for the same. Of course, under the applicable law, the language of the policy will be construed in favor of the insured (or policyholder) and against the insurer (or insurance company). A careful review of your policies is a prerequisite to a considered approach to making a claim for lost revenue.

Assuming there is coverage, the next issue will be to determine what losses in business and revenue are recoverable under the policy. While the insured will certainly want to compare the revenue/profit he was making before the catastrophic event with his business/profit revenue after the event, the insurer may argue that this is not the proper analysis. Instead, the insurer may estimate the business the insured would have done had the state and local governments not ordered a shutdown in order to use this figure as the more appropriate measure of the claim. This will, no doubt, be a matter of contention and a strong negotiation will be a must.

Daniel J. Voelker, who is both an experienced litigator and a C.P.A., can help guide you through both phases of the analysis referenced above.

Do you need help with business interruption insurance?

Call Dan Voelker at (312) 870-5430.


Class actions ask court to void workers’ comp lawsuit loans, order Oasis, E-Z Case Loans to repay borrowers

By Jonathan Bilyk
pubished January 8, 2020

Two third-party litigation financing companies have been targeted by class actions, accusing them of “loan sharking” and issuing illegal loans.

On Jan. 6, attorney Daniel J. Voelker, of Chicago, filed two lawsuits on behalf of two different named plaintiffs, taking aim at prominent lawsuit financiers Oasis Legal Finance and E-Z Case Loans.

The lawsuits center on the lenders’ alleged practices surrounding loans for people pressing workers’ compensation claims for injuries allegedly sustained while on the job.

Named plaintiffs include Jami Kaplan, against Oasis, and Dawn Wilczak, against E-Z Case Loans.

Oasis and E-Z each specialize in providing loans to people seeking to bring personal injury and workers’ comp lawsuits. The loans act as an advance on court awards or settlements the plaintiffs expect to receive from their cases.

“Behind on your bills? Waiting for your case to settle? Let EZ Case Loans help,” reads copy on E-Z’s website.

“Life won’t wait for your settlement. Neither should you,” reads copy on Oasis Legal Finance’s website.

According to the lawsuits, however, each of the companies allegedly “preys upon persons who have been injured on the job and are in the midst of a dispute with their employer” and then charges those taking out their settlement anticipation loans “outrageous and unlawful interest rates.”

“Litigation funding is one of the newest areas of loan sharking by some unscrupulous lenders … seeking to make excessive profits by making unlawful loans to vulnerable persons in need of short-term funding to survive during the pendency of litigation,” the plaintiffs assert in their nearly identical lawsuits.

According to the complaints, both Kaplan and Wilczak each took out a loan from their respective lenders for $1,000, with an annual interest rate beginning at 36%.

“However, as the loan was due upon the settlement of the underlying workers’ compensation claim or action if the proceeds or payment was made (by the plaintiffs) sooner than one year, the interest rate charged (by Oasis or E-Z) could potentially be as high as 13,140%, or as low as 36%,” the plaintiffs said in their complaints.

According to the lawsuits, the litigation lenders require borrowers to sign over an amount equal to the loan, plus interest, of any award they may receive from their workers’ comp actions.

Read the full article at CookCountyRecord.com…


Force Majeure is the Term Du Jour!

The SARS CoV-2 coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.

The SARS CoV-2 coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.

A force majeure clause in a contract relieves the parties from performing their contractual obligations. Many contracts contain such a provision. Given our current environment of local, state, national and global emergencies as a result of COVID-19, this long-forgotten provision may provide a salvation for a party unable to perform through no fault of her own.

Force majeure provisions are frequently drafted to include valid excuses for non-performance in the event of, among other things, a hurricane, tornado, medical epidemic, labor unrest, acts of war or “acts of God.” Such provisions are generally narrowly-construed, meaning that only a listed event will act as a valid excuse from performance.

In the absence of a force majeure provision, the age-old common-law defenses of “impossibility of performance,” “frustration of purpose” or “impracticability” may provide a defense. These defenses are, however, more difficult to sustain and prove.

A carefully worded force majeure clause is an important tool in drafting a contract under the current circumstances. Taking appropriate precautions at the outset of a contractual relationship will give you the safety, security and flexibility you need in today’s unsettling and unknown environment.


Do you have a business problem caused by a force of nature or other events outside your control? Talk to a commercial lawyer who is knowledgeable about force majeure.

Call (312) 870-5430.


The Highest Moral Character and Integrity

I met Dan years ago. He has consistently assisted us in many legal issues. He is of the highest moral character and integrity. His familiarity with the law and creativity is incredible.

— William M.


Thoughtful and Creative Legal Assistance

Dan has represented me for a number of years. I made a few regretful business decisions and investments. But, Dan has jumped in and recovered my investments. I recommend him to anyone looking for thoughtful and creative legal assistance.

— Ingrid A.


Got me trust funds I had been denied for over a decade

No one else would touch my case. Mr. Voelker took it and ran with it. He was able to get me the trust funds that I had been denied for over a decade. I highly recommend him to anyone in need of the services of a litigator and trial lawyer.

— Scott S.