Antitrust laws, also referred to as “anti competition laws,” are statutes developed by the U.S. Government to protect consumers from predatory business practices by ensuring that fair competition exists in an open-market economy. We bring over 40 years of experience in dealing with complex antitrust and trade regulation matters. We have been counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of antitrust cases involving allegations of price-fixing, monopolization, price discrimination and patent misuse. Our experience covers both trial and appellate matters, including a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. These cases involve many industries such as petroleum, insulation, snack foods, milk, heavy equipment, transportation rates and tires.
In simple terms, patent litigation is the legal process that unfolds when someone who owns the patent for a particular invention enforces their right by suing another for manufacturing or selling the invention without permission. Lustig & Wickert brings real trial experience to patent trial litigation. Often intellectual property lawyers have the technical knowledge but become bogged down in the technical aspects of the case. As trial attorneys, we can often simplify technical issues so a jury can understand them. We have even been engaged by intellectual property attorneys as co-counsel to handle the trial of patent matters. Our lawyers have been involved in patent cases including the fields of software, ceramic welding, and folding chair design.
If you are paid on a commission basis in Illinois, or are a company in Illinois which pays its vendors or employees on a commission basis, you need to know about the Illinois Sales Representative Act.
The Illinois Sales Representative Act, 820 ILCS 120, is a little known law which states that a principal (see definition below) who fails to pay commission to a sales representative is liable for the commissions due, plus punitive damages up to 3 times the amount of the commissions owed to the sales representative, plus the sales representative’s reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.
Definitions Under The Act
A “Sales Representative” is defined as a person who contracts with a principal to solicit orders and who is paid, in whole or in part, by commission, but does not include a person who places orders or purchases for his own account for resale or a person who qualifies as an employee of the principal under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.
A “Principal” is defined as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other business entity whether or not it has a permanent or fixed place of business in Illinois and which:
- Manufactures, produces, imports, or distributes a product for sale; and
- Contracts with a sales representative to solicit orders for the product; and
- Compensates the sales representative, in whole or in part, by commission.
If you meet the definition of a sales representative and are owed commissions, we are highly experienced and can help you collect any unpaid commissions and enforce the Act so as to recover any attorneys’ fees and punitive damages. If you are an employer who has been sued by sales representatives, call us and ask how we have successfully asserted defenses available under the Act and to see how you can benefit from our many years of experience in this area.
As the economy improves, many businesses are finding that conflicts between shareholders and business partners that had been simmering beneath the surface for years are finally coming to a head. The previously laggard economy helped to mask those problems, since there was less of a reason to act on them while no one was making money. As a result, such disputes are becoming more common.
Shareholder disputes and business partner disputes can arise at any time. Consider that these shareholder and business partner disputes almost always arise amongst business partners who once trusted each another. Whether they are family members, or simply people who once worked together to build a company, it highlights the fact that no one is immune from becoming involved in such disputes.
And when litigation arises over a shareholder being terminated, a situation involving something as sinister as embezzlement, or simply results from an uncontrollable “power trip” by the majority shareholders, there is a common theme to all such cases: Everyone attempts to re-write history.
Sometimes the “re-creations” are founded in a genuinely-held view of how things transpired. Other times, of course, people just plain lie. Regardless of motivation, if you are involved in a shareholder or partnership dispute, is never too early to start protecting yourself from revisionist history. Since things are easier to prove when in writing, it goes without saying that you should, at the very least, start creating a paper trail once you sense a showdown on the horizon.
One of the first questions to ask is whether a Shareholders’ Agreement, or an Operating Agreement exists. A corporation’s Shareholders’ Agreement or limited liability company Operating Agreement may contain buy-sell provisions or valuation provisions that may be relevant, or even dispositive, in a dispute. These agreements frequently determine the outcome in the event of death, disability, divorce, termination of employment, or the sale of an individuals interest in the business.
Lustig & Wickert has had decades of experience resolving disputes between shareholders, business partners, LLC members and joint ventures. We are frequently called upon to provide counsel and advice to our clients and to advocate on their behalf in negotiation, mediation, alternative dispute resolution and litigation in the following areas:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Shareholder disputes
- Shareholder oppression
- Self-dealing (pursuing business opportunities for one’s self that conflict with the best interests of the company)
- Minority ownership rights
- Executive compensation, buyout agreements and buyout rights
- Corporate deadlock disputes
- Shareholder appraisal
We also have extensive experience in shareholder litigation including chancery litigation seeking temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, permanent injunctions, accounting’s, dissolution and shareholder derivative actions. We have been successful in having minority shareholders interests valued by the court and purchased by the other shareholders.
There are many ways to protect oneself in the event of shareholder disputes or business partner litigation. Call us to schedule a consultation to see if you can benefit from our extensive experience in shareholder and partnership disputes.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to follow federal guidelines regarding minimum wage, overtime compensation, exempt workers status, and other workplace issues. Many employers fail to comply with FLSA regulations because they do not understand the FLSA or because they choose to maximize their profits at the expense of their employees.
Common Wage and Hour Violations
- Overtime compensation violations. The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay equal to 1.5 times their regular hourly pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week.
- Minimum wage violations. The federal minimum wage is $8.50 per hour.
- Illegally classifying an employee as an independent contractor
- Pre-shift and post-shift unpaid work time
- Improper paycheck deductions
- Salaried employees improperly required to work more than 40 hours per week
Consequences for Employer Violations
If an employer is subject to the FLSA’s regulations and is not paying its employees correctly, it may be liable for any outstanding wages, as well as a penalty that could be up to twice the amount of the unpaid wages plus any attorney’s fees incurred in pursuing the claim.
The following employees are exempt from overtime pay:
- executive, administrative or professional employees as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act
- commissioned employees defined by Section 7(I) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, agricultural workers
- Salesmen and mechanics involved in selling or servicing cars, trucks or farm implements at dealerships
The Illinois’ statute of limitations is 3 years, so unpaid overtime can be collected up to three years from the date earned.
The following can be deducted from employees’ checks:
- Deductions required by law, such as taxes
- Deductions that benefit the employee, such as union dues, health insurance premiums, etc.
- Deductions pursuant to wage assignments or wage deduction orders
- Deductions that the employee has given written consent for
Employers are required to furnish employees with an itemized statement of deductions for each pay period. Employees of the City of Chicago, METRA, CTA, CHA, Chicago Park District, Chicago Board of Education and Chicago City Colleges may be subject to other deductions.
Employers are required to pay employees at least semi-monthly (twice a month). Commissions and executive, administrative and professional employees may be paid once a month. Wages must be paid no later than 13 days after the end of the pay period.
We have extensive experience representing both employers and employees in FLSA litigation. This experience gives the lawyers at Lustig & Wickert a unique perspective of these types of claims. If you have been denied overtime pay or have been sued for failure to pay overtime or minimum wages, call us for a free consultation.