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McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC

The most time-consuming part of personal injury litigation falls under the broad category of “discovery.” Once a lawsuit has been filed and preliminary motions are addressed, the attorneys must begin the process of literally discovering how strong or weak each party’s case is. In order to do that, your attorney has to do a considerable amount of factual research.

The first step of this phase is to issue written discovery. Written discovery consists of four primary types of documents: (1) written interrogatories; (2) requests for production of documents; (3) requests for admission of facts; and (4) third party subpoenas. These documents are requested and generated with the purpose of finding out any and all relevant information, and in particular, any evidence that may support the other party’s position by presentation at trial. The duration of the written discovery phase can range from months to more than a year, depending on the complexity of the litigation and the willingness of the opposing sides to cooperate with one another. Although the length of this process may be extremely frustrating to litigants, thorough discovery is an important step to assembling a winning case, or to help the parties reach a reasonable settlement.


The most common question I am presented with when meeting with a new Illinois DUI client is:  “Should I have blown (provided a breath sample to the arresting officer)”?

My initial advice is always the same, “Do not put yourself in a situation where you have to choose!”  Use a designated driver, a ride share service or a taxi. Each of these alternatives is safer and cheaper than defending a DUI.


The Illinois legislature has amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, effective June 1, 2018.  Specifically, the Act’s maintenance (or alimony) provisions have been modified.

The maintenance provisions are now applicable to marriages in which the total gross income of the parties is less than $500,000.  This provision replaces the previous maximum amount of $250,000.


Generally speaking, In Illinois, property owners are not responsible for natural accumulations of rain, ice or snow which cause a fall resulting in injuries.  A simple slip and fall on a snowy sidewalk, for example, may not create a valid cause of action for damages.  However, a property owner can be liable for negligently maintaining its property where an unnatural accumulation is created. An unnatural accumulation can be due to defective construction or improper or insufficient maintenance of the property.  For example, an owner may be responsible for injuries caused by a hazardous accumulation created by poorly constructed or maintained drainage, such as a gutters or drain spouts.  In winter weather, liability may be created by the negligent placement of snow or ice in areas that create hazards after piles begin to thaw and melt.

Because “natural accumulation” is often a successful defense for a property owner, and because the nature of a hazard from precipitation can change quickly with changes in weather and temperature, it is important to gather information and evidence at or near the time of your fall.  If you believe someone may have created the hazard that caused you to fall, take photos of the area immediately, and speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can, so that your claims may be properly evaluated.


Beginning in 2019, maintenance payments will no longer be tax deductible.  Pursuant to the newly passed federal tax bill, maintenance payments, which were for decades tax deductible by the payor and charged as income to the payee, will no longer be deductible as of January 1, 2019.

This creates a significant problem in the calculation of maintenance awards in family court, because deductibility is a major factor in the calculation.  For this year, it is still possible to finalize a divorce where maintenance payments are tax deductible, but the clock is ticking.  If you are in a situation where maintenance is to be paid by you, it is to your benefit to conclude your divorce before December 31, which will ensure that your divorce decree expressly addresses the issue of deductibility.  If your divorce is not finalized by the end of this year, then you should consult an accountant or other tax professional before negotiating or advancing a proposed maintenance payment.

Will County Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association Lions Minooka AV 2019 Rotary DuPage County Bar Association
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