Bringing a used car fraud case under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA) can be a complex process, but it’s essential to protect your rights as a consumer. If you believe you’ve been a victim of used car fraud in Illinois, here are the steps you should consider taking:

1. Gather Documentation: Start by collecting all relevant documents related to the used car purchase. This includes the sales contract, any warranties or guarantees, repair records, communications with the seller, and any advertisements or representations made about the car’s condition.

2. Understand the ICFA: Familiarize yourself with the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, which is designed to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair business practices. The ICFA prohibits false statements, misrepresentations, knowing omissions of material fact (such as knowing concealing that the frame is rusted out and the car is dangerous to drive or that it has been in a bad accident and no proper repair work was performed), and other fraudulent actions in the sale of goods and services, including used cars.

3. Consult an Attorney: It’s highly advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in consumer fraud and automotive fraud cases. They can assess your situation, determine if you have a valid case, and provide guidance on how to proceed.

4. Prove Deception or Unfair Practices: To bring a successful used car fraud case under the ICFA, you generally need to prove that:

  • The seller made false statements, knowingly failed to disclose material facts or engaged in deceptive practices.
  • You relied on those statements, omissions or practices.
  • You suffered damages as a result.

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Shareholder and LLC member disputes can be complex and contentious, especially when one party attempts a “freeze-out.” A freeze-out refers to the exclusion of a shareholder or member from the decision-making process or the benefits of ownership. In Illinois, recent court decisions have shed light on the legal principles surrounding these disputes. In this blog post, we will explore some of these notable cases and the lessons they offer for those facing or involved in freeze-out situations.

1. Ritchie Capital Management, LLC v. Gerard (2019 IL 124741)

In Ritchie Capital Management, LLC v. Gerard, the Illinois Supreme Court addressed the issue of “squeeze-outs” in limited liability companies (LLCs). The court emphasized that LLC managers owe fiduciary duties to the members, and a manager’s attempt to squeeze out another member for personal gain can lead to a breach of those duties. This decision underscored the importance of fairness and transparency in LLC operations and clarified the standards for assessing fiduciary duty violations.

2. Hagan v. Quinn (2020 IL 124989)

Hagan v. Quinn involved a shareholder dispute in a closely held corporation. The Illinois Supreme Court in this case held that shareholders in a closely held corporation owe each other a duty of utmost good faith and loyalty. The court emphasized that majority shareholders must act fairly and reasonably toward minority shareholders and avoid oppressive conduct. This decision reaffirmed the principles of fairness and equitable treatment among shareholders. Continue reading ›

There’s a reason most survivors of sexual assault never report the crime. Many of those who do report it go by Jane Doe to protect their identity and avoid some of the abuse and death threats that get aimed at anyone who claims they were sexually assaulted.

Regardless of what the survivors of sexual assault are made to endure, society is generally more sympathetic towards the accused and the possibility that the accusation will follow them around for the rest of their life.

The latest example of this is the recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court to allow a former Yale undergraduate student who was accused of rape to sue his accuser for defamation.

When he first filed his lawsuit against his accuser, who is going by Jane Doe to protect her identity, an attorney representing Doe said she was protected by absolute immunity under Title IX, which is the law under which she made her accusation.

But the former Yale student insisted he had the right to sue her, and the case made its way up the court system until it reached the Connecticut Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor.

According to the state supreme court, Doe had qualified immunity, which allows the defamation lawsuit to go to trial, but requires the plaintiff to prove the defendant knew their statement was false or did not care that it was likely false at the time the alleged defamation occurred.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that Doe would only have been granted absolute immunity if the Title IX proceedings had been quasi-judicial.

To qualify as quasi-judicial proceedings, they would have had to include Doe testifying under oath; the cross-examination of witnesses in real time; providing both parties the opportunity to present witnesses; allowing the accused to consult with an attorney; and providing the accused with a transcript or some other record of the hearing afterwards.

The problem with these requirements (especially the first two) is that it can be extremely difficult for survivors of sexual assault to relive their trauma by explaining it again and again on the stand. Continue reading ›

Bankruptcy allows people and businesses to “discharge” some of their debts. But representatives for the families of the children involved in the Sandy Hook massacre are asking Judge Christopher Lopez to make the settlement money Alex Jones owes them “non-dischargeable.”

The families sued Alex Jones, who repeatedly called the Sandy Hook massacre a hoax on his website and podcast, InfoWars. His rhetoric prompted many of his followers to harass the families and survivors of Sandy Hook, both in person and online. Some families were forced to move to a different neighborhood, and many still do not feel safe as a result of the harassment and death threats to which they have been subject by Jones’s followers.

In the fall of 2022, Jones was ordered to pay close to $1 billion to the families of Sandy Hook for defaming them for years on his website and his podcast. That was after defamation trials in Texas and Connecticut ordered Jones to pay $1.4 billion in damages to the families of 10 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Continue reading ›

People who already have wealth and power are increasingly using defamation lawsuits as a weapon against their enemies. Even when the lawsuits are found to be baseless, they’re still having the desired effect of silencing the plaintiff’s opponents.

Newspapers have increasingly been targeted by defamation lawsuits. While large, national newspapers, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have the resources to fight these lawsuits, small, local newspapers do not.

The Wausau Pilot & Review is a local newspaper reporting on local events in Wausau County, located in north-central Wisconsin. When they got a tip from a reader that someone at the August 12th meeting of the Wausau County board used an anti-gay slur, they acted on the tip and reported on it in their newspaper. Continue reading ›

Destroying someone’s reputation is easier than ever. Rather than spreading rumors amongst their friends one at a time, all you need now is access to the internet and you can spread lies and unflattering photos of them all over the world. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s legal.

One method of online harassment affecting women more than men is former partners posting nude photos and videos of them online when the relationship ends. In one recent case, a woman’s ex-boyfriend created fake email and social media accounts so he could share nude photos and videos of her online.

The woman, who is only listed as D.L. in the lawsuit to protect her privacy, started dating Marques Jamal Jackson in 2016 and was living with him in Chicago in early 2020 when their relationship began to fall apart. According to the lawsuit, the process of ending the relationship was long and drawn out. Continue reading ›

You would think someone who has been a public figure for as long as Donald J. Trump has would know what a high bar public figures have to meet when it comes to suing for defamation, especially given the number of defamation lawsuits in which Mr. Trump has already been involved.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump filed yet another defamation lawsuit against the Cable News Network (CNN) for allegedly comparing him to Adolf Hitler and Nazism.

The statements at the center of the lawsuit include repeated references to Mr. Trump’s “big lie,” meaning his insistence that he won the 2020 presidential election, and Biden and the Democrats cheated to steal the presidency from him. The lawsuit also claims that CNN’s alleged defamation has increased lately amid the network’s fears of Mr. Trump running for reelection in 2024.

Mr. Trump’s defamation lawsuit asked for $475 million in damages, but the case was dismissed by Judge Raag Singhal, who was nominated to the District Court by then-President Trump in 2019.

Singhal pointed out that CNN’s statements about Mr. Trump did not meet the defamation threshold of being false. Singhal denied the conclusion made by the lawsuit that CNN’s statements suggested Mr. Trump supported the persecution or genocide of Jews. Continue reading ›

Any contract you’ve signed with a company (including the “Terms of Service” most of us don’t read before clicking the box next to “I agree that I have read and agree to the terms”) has included a clause about where you and that company can resolve legal disputes. In some cases, it’s in a certain state, or even a specific county, but increasingly courts have been forcing their customers, vendors, and employees into arbitration.

Arbitration was originally designed as a way for companies to settle legal disputes with other companies outside of court so they wouldn’t flood the court system. But several years ago companies started including arbitration clauses in their contracts with individuals, often without those individuals realizing they were signing away their rights to a fair trial.

As the issue of companies getting out of control when it comes to their arbitration clauses has become more widespread, judges and legislators have started taking measures to curb companies’ use of arbitration agreements with individuals – especially when it comes to their customers and employees.

So far, Pennsylvania is the only state to pass a law requiring all corporations doing business in the state to consent to being sued in Pennsylvania court by anyone, for conduct the corporation engaged in anywhere. Continue reading ›

The debate over what separates inspiration from copying is as old as art itself. Creative professionals of all kinds are constantly taking themes and elements from others’ works to use them in their own creations. But when do they cross the line from borrowing themes and elements to outright copying someone else’s work? That line isn’t always easy to define, and the recent Supreme Court ruling against the estate of Andy Warhol has just made the line blurrier.

If you’re unfamiliar with the case, Lynn Goldsmith sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for allegedly infringing on her copyright.

Goldsmith is a photographer who took the photo of Prince that Warhol used to create his Prince series. Goldsmith licensed the photograph to Vanity Fair, which hired Warhol to create a silkscreen based on the photo. The licensing agreement they had with Goldsmith allowed them to use her photo as reference for an illustration. The terms of the agreement stated that the photo would be used only once for an artistic illustration.

Goldsmith assumed the purple silkscreen portrait of Prince used in Vanity Fair’s November 1984 issue was the only illustration created from her photo. Then Vanity Fair’s parent company, Condé Nast, approached the Andy Warhol Foundation about reusing the purple silkscreen of Prince in 2016 for an article about the musician after his death. That was when the magazine company realized there was a whole series of Prince paintings. They offered to buy the Orange Prince instead, which is when Goldsmith realized there were other artworks based off her photo, which she alleges violated her agreement with Vanity Fair. Continue reading ›

Among the many legal battles involving Donald Trump these days is a recent lawsuit in which Trump sued his niece, Mary Trump, along with the New York Times for reporting on his tax records in 2018. The series of articles accused Trump of engaging in tax schemes and cast doubt on his claims of being a self-made millionaire. The reporting earned a Pulitzer Prize, but Trump alleges it was all part of a plot to uncover confidential records. The lawsuit was filed in 2021 and is seeking $100 million in damages, but the judge dismissed the legal action against the newspaper.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to free and open discussion, especially when it comes to public figures. The founding fathers wanted to encourage the public release of information around public figures with the idea that it would give the public access to more information about the people they were electing to represent them.

It’s a critical ingredient to our democratic system, which is why it’s more difficult for a public person to successfully sue for defamation, especially when they’re going up against a news organization. That’s why New York Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed dismissed Trump’s claims against the newspaper, saying they had no basis in constitutional law. He added that the reporting in question was nothing more than routine newsgathering, and as such, is protected by the First Amendment. Continue reading ›

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