Defending Your Rights
Auto and RV Dealer Fraud
The auto industry is a multi-million dollar industry, which unfortunately makes it all too tempting for some dealers to scam unsuspecting buyers. Forms of fraud used against people looking to buy a new car or RV range from misinformation regarding pricing or a car’s history to accessing your credit history without your permission. You can find out more about auto and RV dealer fraud here.
The Illinois New Vehicle Buyer Protection Act, also known as the “Lemon Law,” protects buyers of new cars in the state of Illinois. Buyers of pre-owned vehicles are not protected by the Lemon Law, but they are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which applies to warranties and disclaimers by all merchants, including auto dealers. You can learn more about the different types of auto fraud and your rights as a consumer here.
Billing fraud happens any time a vendor adds extra fees that the consumer did not agree to pay. Hotels have been known to do this at times, as well as health clubs and dating services, which sometimes make such illegal charges as inappropriate initiation fees. You can read more about the different types of billing fraud here.
Illinois Consumer Fraud Act
The Illinois Consumer Fraud Act was passed to protect consumers from businesses that might otherwise try to take advantage of them. It prohibits business practices that are fraudulent, unfair or deliberately deceive consumers. It also protects consumers’ right to file a class action consumer lawsuit. You can find out more about your rights as a consumer in Illinois here.
Class action lawsuits allow consumers with similar claims against the same business to combine all their claims into one lawsuit. This provides them with leverage against businesses that generally have more resources. It also has the added benefit of giving consumers with small claims the opportunity to bring their grievances to court. Find out more about Class Actions here.
Class Action Procedures
Consumer lawsuits need to meet a few requirements before they can qualify for a class action and you can learn more about them by visiting this page.
Consumer Fraud Class Actions
The relationship between manufacturers/merchants and consumers is vital to our economy, but it comes with an inherent imbalance of power. Consumers have to trust they are buying what the manufacturers and merchants are telling them they are buying and when businesses break that trust, they could be held liable for consumer fraud. Class actions are an integral part of holding businesses responsible when they violate the trust of their customers, because they allow consumers with small claims to bring their grievances to court. They also provide consumers with leverage against businesses, which is necessary when the businesses generally have access to significantly more resources than their consumers. You can read more about consumer fraud class actions here.
Discrimination Class Actions
Federal and Illinois labor law give all employees the right to work for any company in any position they are qualified for, and to work in a safe environment without harassment, discrimination, or retaliation based on religion, sex, and race, among other things. A discriminatory practice that is widespread in a company to the point where it can be considered part of the company culture (i.e. not the actions of just one person) can be liable for a discrimination class action in which all employees who were subjected to similar forms of discrimination can combine their claims into one lawsuit. You can find out more about discrimination class actions and how we have represented employees here.
Employment and Labor Class Actions
There are a number of federal and local laws that protect the rights of workers, including providing a minimum wage, defining overtime, and requiring premium compensation for overtime worked. When employers violate any of these laws on a company-wide basis that affects many workers, those workers have the option to combine their claims into one employment class action lawsuit, which you can learn more about here.
Mesothelioma and Asbestos Class Actions
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, which is a building material that was commonly used for electrical and building insulation until the health hazards of asbestos exposure became known. Use of the material in new buildings has fallen out of favor, but many people are still suffering from the effects of living and working in older buildings with asbestos. When many people are exposed to asbestos in the same location, they can file a class action lawsuit containing all their claims. You can read more about mesothelioma and asbestos class actions here.
Misclassification Class Actions
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. It also requires employers to pay all their hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they spend working. The FLSA does allow certain types of workers to be held exempt from the overtime requirement, but the law is very specific about the duties and responsibilities employees need to fulfill in order to qualify for the overtime exemption.
Any time an employee is misclassified as eligible for the overtime exemption, even when they don’t meet the requirements, they can file a misclassification lawsuit against their employer to recover the wages they lost by working overtime without the proper compensation. When a whole group of employees is misclassified as overtime exempt, they can combine their claims into one misclassification class action, which you can learn more about here.
Securities and Antitrust Class Actions
Securities laws protect investors by prohibiting influential people in large companies from using any practices that might give them an unfair advantage in their industry and potentially harm unwitting investors. Antitrust laws have been put in place to prevent larger businesses from taking advantage of their greater resources to prey on smaller businesses and drive them out of the market. When a business violates one of these laws in such a way that it can be called a widespread practice that affects many investors, consumers, or small businesses, those affected have the opportunity to file a securities or antitrust class action lawsuit, which you can read more about here.
Unpaid Overtime, Wage & Hour Class Actions
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a minimum wage employers can pay their workers, defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week, and requires employers to pay all their hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they spend working. In addition to the FLSA, each city, county, and state have their own labor laws governing things like minimum wage, breaks, and overtime. Whenever an employer violates any of these laws in a widespread way that affects many workers, those workers have the option to file a class action lawsuit for unpaid wages and/or unpaid overtime. You can read more about the qualifications for unpaid overtime and wage and hour class actions here.
A non-compete agreement is an agreement included in a contract that protects a business from competitors poaching their employees. They were originally used to prevent executives and high-level employees from taking their information, trade secrets, and client relations to a competitor, but some companies have started including them in employment contracts with all their employees, even low-level hourly workers without access to sensitive information. When these agreements place too many restrictions on the employees, it can make it unreasonably difficult for them to find new employment. We have decades of experience representing workers whose employers try to hold them to non-compete agreements that are too restrictive to be enforceable. Contact us today if you or someone you know has been victimized by an overly restrictive non-compete agreement.
When companies sell defective products, not only does the consumer lose the money they spent on a brand new item but, depending on the item and the defect, it can cause serious injuries and even death. There are federal and local laws in place to protect consumers from manufacturers and merchants who sell products that either don’t work as advertised or are defective and you can find out more about these protective laws here.
Defective Products Class Actions
When businesses make and/or sell defective products that are inexpensive, the money lost by the consumer is often not enough to justify the costs of filing a lawsuit. That’s when class actions are indispensable to consumers because they allow many consumers who bought the same defective product to combine their claims into one lawsuit. You can learn more about defective products class actions here.
Defective Medical Products Class Actions
All sorts of products can be defective, but few are more frightening than medical products that don’t work the way they should. Because they’re meant to help us heal, defective medical devices have more opportunities than almost any other products to cause serious injury, illness, and death. When one medical product harms many patients, they can combine their claims into one defective medical product class action lawsuit, which you can read more about here.
Defective Prescription Drug Class Actions
The prescription drug industry is one of the largest in America. Few citizens aren’t on some sort of prescription drug, all of which have to submit to rigorous testing by the FDA before they can enter the market. Nevertheless, mistakes happen, whether intentionally or otherwise, and the results can be disastrous for large portions of the population who take a defective prescription drug. All those affected can combine their claims into one defective prescription drug class action lawsuit, which you can learn more about here.
Defective Household Products Class Actions
As technology continues to evolve, we are always coming up with ways to improve every aspect of our lives. All sorts of appliances and utilities have become available to make our home lives easier – from washing machines to bathroom fixtures – but those same appliances can go from helpful to disastrous, and even dangerous, if they’re defective. Defective household products class actions are an important way for consumers to combine their claims for the same defective product, and you can read more about them here.
Defective Auto Products Class Actions
We all have to get a license to be able to drive and be careful not to drive when under the influence of any drugs, but if there’s something wrong with the vehicle we’re driving, we could find ourselves in serious danger even when we do everything right. When there’s a widespread issue with any auto products, all the consumers who were affected by it can file a defective auto product class action, which you can read more about here.
Excessive Late Charges
Charging an extra fee for paying your bill late can be a way for companies to motivate their customers to pay on time, but sometimes it’s just a way for them to extort more money from consumers, especially if they’re not upfront about their charges. If you think you may have been charged excessive late charges that qualify as fraudulent and/or illegal, you can find more information on common excessive late charges here.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Debt collectors have struck terror into the hearts of many consumers for centuries, but the FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers from debt collectors who go too far. You can learn more about your rights and protections under the FDCPA here.
Healthcare Product Fraud
These days there’s no end to the different options you have to cure absolutely anything that ails you, regardless of whether those options actually work. Everyone is looking for different ways to deal with different health problems, which unfortunately leaves the healthcare industry ripe for plenty of snake oil salesmen making unsubstantiated claims on the health benefits of their products. When they do, they are committing healthcare product fraud, and if you suspect you or someone you know might have been a victim of this type of consumer fraud, you can find out more about it here.
Supplements We are Investigating
You can go here to see a full list of healthcare products we are currently investigating for possible false advertising and/or illegal business practices.
Infomercials and Deceptive Advertising
Advertisements are supposed to convince you to buy things and not all merchants are above making false or misleading claims to lure you into buying their products or services. This is illegal and if you suspect you or someone you know has bought a product as a result of deceptive advertising, you can learn more about it here.
Insurance Fraud – Bad Faith
We all pay our insurance bills on a regular basis so we’ll have that safety net if anything goes wrong, but sometimes the insurance companies don’t want to pay up, no matter how faithfully we paid our bill. That’s when we might want to consider suing them for acting in bad faith, which you can read more about here.
In the case of lemon laws, “lemon” refers to any vehicle with a defect that significantly reduces its value or impairs its productivity or safety. Lemon laws exist at both the federal and local level to protect consumers against those who sell defective automobiles. You can learn more about lemon laws and the protections they provide here.
Nationwide Used Car Lemon Law Protection
Even used cars sold to new owners can (and should) come with some sort of warranty. All car dealers are bound by law to abide by the warranty they provide so consumers know what to expect when they buy a used vehicle. You can find out more about your protections under nationwide used car lemon law protection here.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that establishes requirements and standards for warranties on various products. You can learn more about this act and the protections it offers here.
We are currently investigating several different companies regarding a variety of possible law violations. You can view the full list of our investigations here.
Illegal Business Practices
We are currently investigating several different companies regarding a variety of possible forms of illegal business practices. You can view the full list of the types of violations we investigate here, and contact us if you have been victimized by any of these practices.
With today’s emerging technology, it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep your personal information private, but there are still federal and local laws in place to protect your privacy. Find out the different ways businesses might try to violate your privacy and what you can do about it.
Wage and Hour Overtime Violations
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a federal minimum wage and defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. It requires employers to pay all their hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they spend working. Any employer that pays their workers less than the legal minimum wage and/or refuses to pay overtime can be subject to a wage and hour lawsuit. Find out more about your rights under the FLSA here.
Overtime Without Pay
Anytime a worker spends time on a task that directly benefits their employer, they should be paid for that time. Many employees are unaware of all their rights under the law, but you can educate yourself on the various tasks you deserve to be paid for, even if they were outside your regular shift.
Wage and Overtime Class Actions
When an employer has a widespread practice that denies groups of workers minimum wages or overtime compensation, those employees can combine their claims into a wage and overtime class action, which you can learn more about here.
Whistleblower and Qui Tam Lawsuits
Employees of a business or institution are often the first to know if their employer is committing fraud, but they might avoid reporting them for fear of retaliation. Whistleblower and Qui Tam laws have been put in place to protect those who speak out on the illegal practices within their own companies. Find out more about your rights under whistleblower and Qui Tam laws here.
ATM Fee Fraud
The federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act prohibits ATMs from charging customers hidden or exorbitant fees and governs a wide range of other financial activities and transfers. States also have their own laws to govern ATMs and other forms of electronic transfers in their own jurisdiction. You can learn more about your protections under these laws here.
Defamation, Libel, Slander and Cyber Smear
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to free speech, but within limits. If someone deliberately makes a false statement that damages a person’s reputation, business, and/or career, it could be considered defamation. “Libel” is any defamation that is spoken, while “slander” refers to any defamation made in print. Cyber smear is the newest form of defamation as online forums and blogs have gained prominence. You can find out more about the various forms of defamation and what, exactly, is protected under the First Amendment here.
Cybersquatting is when someone purchases a domain name that is identical or very similar to the name of another person, company, or anything that has been trademarked by someone else. People sometimes do this to post defamatory information about the domain name’s rightful owner, to exploit the domain, especially if it’s a well-known name, or just hold the domain hostage to sell to the rightful owner of the trademark for a steep profit. Learn more about the different types of cybersquatting and what you can do to combat them here.
Defamation of Character
People can make defamatory statements about other people or about a business in an attempt to dissuade people from buying that business’ products or services. For example, they might accuse them of illegal and/or unethical business practices. If these claims are false, they would be considered defamation of character. Find out more about the elements of defamation of character as well as how to defend against allegations of defamation here.
If someone makes negative remarks about a person that are not necessarily false, but are misleading and emotionally harmful, they could qualify as false light. You can read more about false light requirements and how to defend against false light allegations here.
Protections against defamation are almost as old as our country, but the internet has provided entirely new challenges when it comes to defamation. You can find out more about the unique challenges of internet defamation here.
Nationwide Consumer Rights – Commercial Defamation and Trade Libel
Commercial defamation happens when someone makes a defamatory statement about a company or business, or the owner or officer of a company, whereas trade libel is when someone makes defamatory statements about a specific product. You can learn more about commercial defamation and trade libel here.
First Amendment Considerations
Every defamation case has to walk a fine line between punishing defamation and protecting the speaker’s right to free speech, as granted by the U.S. Constitution. You can read more about the fine line between defamation and free speech here.
Public vs. Private Figures
The right to free speech was founded on the idea that it’s in the best interest of the public to be able to freely discuss public figures without fear of retaliation. As a result, public figures have a higher burden of proof to bear when filing a defamation lawsuit than private individuals. Find out the kinds of people who qualify as public figures and the different requirements needed to qualify as defamation against a public vs. private figure here.
Matters of Public Concern
More freedom is generally granted to people making statements about public figures (politicians, celebrities, companies, etc.) because the issues are considered to be matters of public concern. As a result, anyone wishing to file a defamation lawsuit over a matter of public concern has a much higher burden of proof to bear than an individual suing over a private matter. You can learn more about what constitutes matters of public concern and the doctrine governing them here.
Class Actions for Property Damage Due to Dumping of Polluted Materials
There are proper ways to dispose of hazardous chemicals, but some companies don’t want to invest the time and money involved. They choose instead to dump them in the most convenient location and, depending on the substance they’re dumping, this can cause serious health hazards to the residents nearby and/or damage to private property. When dumping becomes common practice, especially by a large corporation, it can affect whole neighborhoods, in which case the residents might want to file a class action lawsuit against the company for the loss of and/or devaluation of their property. You can read more about these types of class actions here.
In most lawsuits, plaintiffs sue for damages and then the court rules in either the plaintiff’s favor or the defendant’s. The court can then award damages that might be more or less than the plaintiff asked for, but sometimes a court can issue judgment on a plaintiff before a plaintiff has incurred any damages. This is known as declaratory judgment, which you can learn more about here.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
The internet and the ability to transfer money electronically have made our lives immensely easier, but they’ve also made it increasingly easy for criminals to steal our information. The FACTA is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that was designed to protect consumers from identity theft. It protects consumers’ privacy by, among other things, limiting the ways in which consumer information can be shared.
Many companies try to avoid this by having consumers sign away their rights in things like their terms of service contracts, which consumers notoriously never read all the way through before signing. But consumers cannot legally sign away the rights granted them by federal law, so if you think you or someone you know may have had their rights under the FACTA violated, contact us today.
Arbitration is a way of settling legal disputes without the hassle and expense of going through a court trial. It was originally designed as a way for businesses to handle their disputes with other businesses, but lately more and more companies have been including arbitration agreements in their contracts with their consumers and their employees. These are agreements that require both parties to settle their disputes in arbitration. Because these agreements usually unfairly benefit the large companies, they are often unenforceable in contracts with individuals. If a company is holding you to an illegal arbitration agreement, contact us today.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
A benefit many employers provide their workers is a pension plan. It’s a plan that puts away money with the intention for it to be available for the workers to live on after they retire. But the money must be managed by professionals in order to protect the workers’ investment, so the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was put in place as a federal law to protect the participants of pension plans and their beneficiaries. The ERISA does this by granting participants and beneficiaries access to their financial information regarding their plan, providing standards of conduct for those managing the pension plans, and allowing plan participants and beneficiaries access to the federal courts in the event they have a dispute regarding the management of their pension. If you think you or someone you know may have been a victim of an ERISA violation, contact us today.
Certified Fraud Examiner
There are all types of fraud happening in all different areas of business and the complex nature of many different types of financial transactions happening today make it increasingly difficult to trace fraud back to the criminal. A certified fraud examiners (CFE) is certified by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, an anti-fraud organization that provides anti-fraud education and training. CFEs combine their knowledge of complex financial transactions with their understanding of law and forensic methods to investigate allegations of fraud. They are trained to understand, not only how fraud happens, but why. If you think you may have been a victim of business fraud, contact us today.
As with just about everything, the internet has changed the way criminals commit fraud. Internet fraud can include anything from stealing someone’s identity to distributing rogue security software. If you think your security may have been compromised by internet fraud, contact us today.
We trust that, when we hire an attorney to represent our best interests, they’ll do just that, but that’s not always the case. As in any profession, there are always going to be a few who are more interested in taking our money than doing a good job for us. But legal malpractice can cost much more than just the attorney’s fees. When our attorney fails to do right by us, the results can be disastrous and cost us our business, our reputation, our real estate, etc. If you think you or someone you know may have been a victim of legal malpractice, contact us today.
Mediation is a way of settling legal disputes outside of court. It’s defined as the two parties coming together to settle the dispute as amicably as possible with a neutral third party to mediate. This process is much less expensive than going to court and it can benefit individuals and companies equally. Attempts to mediate disputes don’t always work out, in which case the parties can still choose to take the matter to the courts. In addition to our extensive experience with litigation, we also handle mediation. If you need a mediator to help you resolve your legal disputes, contact us today.
A mortgage is the largest loan most people will ever take out and the number of people who will need at least one mortgage in their lifetime is always going up as the number of homeowners continues to rise. Mortgage fraud happens when someone misrepresents or omits important information on a mortgage loan application with the intention of getting a loan, or a larger loan, than they would have gotten if they had been completely honest about all the facts involved. Mortgage fraud is not the same as predatory mortgage lending, but the two often go hand in hand. If you think you or someone you know may have been a victim of mortgage fraud, contact us today.
Pay Day Loans
Pay day loans are notorious for their ridiculously high interest rates, which often leave the borrower much deeper in debt than they were to begin with. It doesn’t help that these institutions prey primarily on low-earning workers who usually don’t have the knowledge or resources to effectively battle these predatory lending practices. We are committed to helping everyone get the relief they need from institutions that take advantage of the disenfranchised. If you or someone you know has been a victim of predatory Pay Day Loans, contact us today.
Predatory High Interest Rate Loans
Predatory lending happens in all industries and takes a variety of forms. One of the most common forms is charging an unfairly high interest rate on the loan, especially if the lender increases the interest rate after providing the loan. A loan with a variable interest rate can be an asset as finances fluctuate, but it can also be an opportunity for predatory lenders to jack up their interest rates unexpectedly. If you think you or someone you know may have been a victim of predatory high interest rate loans, contact us today.
Prerecorded Telephone Call
Phone calls with a prerecorded message on the other end of the line have been a feature of our daily lives since phones became available in every household and companies got the technology to call us using prerecorded messages, but they’re not always legal. It was usually nothing more than obnoxious when everyone paid only for the calls they made, but cell phone contracts often require people to pay for the calls and text messages they receive as well as the ones they make. When companies send prerecorded telephone calls to consumers with cell phones, they might be in violation of one or more consumer protection laws. If you think you may have received illegal prerecorded telephone calls, contact us today.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
The TCPA makes it illegal for companies to contact consumers’ cell phones in a non-emergency situation, unless the consumer had previously agreed to receive such messages from the company. Some companies have been known to hide agreements to receive such messages in their contracts with their consumers, so be careful what you sign. If you have been made to pay for promotional calls and/or text messages to your phone, contact us today to see if you are eligible for relief under the TCPA.
Advertisers are constantly coming up with new ways to reach their target audiences and their methods continue to evolve with technology. Telemarketers have been around ever since telephones became common household appliances – the telemarketers call the consumers and try to convince them to buy whatever product or service they’re selling. Unfortunately, this creates an opportunity for fraudsters to make similar phone calls to consumers. They pretend to be selling something, take the person’s credit card information, and make all sorts of illegal charges on the card. If you or someone you know has been a victim of telemarketing fraud, contact us today.
Telephone fraud happens anytime someone calls a consumer’s telephone number and tries to get the consumer’s personal and/or financial information. There are a wide variety of tricks they use to try to get consumers to hand over their information, including pretending to be from a well-known company or even the IRS. They can be friendly to try to get consumers to trust them or they might try to intimidate consumers into giving up their financial information and/or Social Security number. If you or someone you know has been a victim of telephone fraud, contact us today.
Landlords have a reputation for being tough and unyielding. Since they own the property, it can seem like they have all the leverage in the relationship, but that’s not true. The renter’s agreement is a contract in which the renter agrees to pay the landlord in exchange for space and possibly furniture, utilities, appliances, etc., depending on the agreement. The renter makes their share of contributions to the relationship, and as such, they are entitled to certain rights. Contact us today if your rights as a tenant have been violated.
The government officially discourages discrimination, including discrimination based on a person’s gender. The government therefore has to make sure it is not funding any institutions in which sexism in any form is practiced or tolerated. This includes educational institutions and Title IX specifically prohibits any educational institutions that receive federal funding from practicing or tolerating any forms of sexism, including sex-based harassment and single-sex education. It also protects individuals from retaliation when they speak out against unfair or illegal laws. If you think you or someone you know has had their Title IX rights violated, contact us today.
- Auto and RV Dealer Fraud
- Billing Fraud
- Illinois Consumer Fraud Act
- Class Actions
- Defective Products
- Excessive Late Charges
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- Healthcare Product Fraud
- Infomercials and Deceptive Advertising
- Insurance Fraud – Bad Faith
- Lemon Law
- Pending Investigations
- Privacy Violations
- Wage and Hour Overtime Violations
- Whistleblower and Qui Tam Lawsuits
- ATM Fee Fraud
- Defamation, Libel, Slander and Cyber Smear
- Class Actions for Property Damage Due to the Dumping of Polluted Materials
- Declaratory Judgments
- 1 Free Consultation
- 2 Years of Experience
- 3 Track Record of Success