Chicago Legal Blog

Business tenants, leases and eviction: Things you need to know

When you sign a lease for your business, you hope that the relationship with your landlord remains strong until the day you decide to leave. While this is your hope, things don't always work out this way. It's possible you could find yourself in a dispute with your landlord, which complicates your lease and relationship.

If you run into trouble as a tenant, the best thing you can do is review your lease in great detail. This will give you a clear idea of what's expected of you, and what you can and can't do.

Are you the victim of tortious interference?

Tortious interference refers to the intentional interference in a contractual or other business relationship with the motive of inflicting economic harm to one or more of the parties in that relationship. It's considered an economic tort because the damage to the plaintiff is financial in nature.

Tortious interference can come in many forms. A common example is when one party (the defendant, if the case goes to court) forces or tries to persuade another party to violate a contract with someone else. This could be done, for example, by offering a product or service involved at a below-market price as an inducement. Blackmail or even threats, however, could also be used.

Defining probable cause, wrongful arrests and false imprisonment

A false arrest is simply an arrest made without the legal authority to do so. When a person is taken into custody without the legal right for such an act, this is called false imprisonment. A person who is falsely imprisoned or falsely arrested can file a claim against those who violated their civil rights.

Also known as a wrongful arrest, it's important to know what to do after you have been through a false arrest. The federal anti-discrimination law states that a person arrested without probable cause is able to sue for the violation of their rights based on the Fourth Amendment.

Why does Illinois have so many exonerations?

Illinois ranks third among all states in the number of people wrongfully convicted of a crime and then exonerated. Over the past three decades, 225 people in our state have been cleared of the crimes they were convicted of. Last year alone, the National Registry of Exonerations reported that 21 people were cleared of convictions for murder, robbery, drug possession and sexual assault. All but one are men.

Just last month, 18 men were exonerated because their convictions were linked to a former Chicago police officer who was found to be corrupt. The sergeant and his tactical unit operated on the city's South Side for a decade. One attorney said that members of the unit "put cases on people who didn't cooperate with their corrupt schemes, took bribes, stole money and drugs from drug dealers, and really ruined the lives of dozens -- maybe hundreds."

Why you need carefully crafted nondisclosure agreement

Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), sometimes known as confidentiality agreements, are widely used by businesses of all sizes. They help business owners protect their proprietary information and ideas as well as sensitive information about the company, its customers and employees.

These agreements derive their power from their ability to hold people legally and financially responsible if they share information they've agreed not to. That means that an NDA has to stand up in court if it's challenged. Therefore, NDAs have to be drafted and executed correctly.

Study: Civilian complaints are a predictor of serious misconduct

Police departments in Chicago and around the country can better identify officers who are more likely to commit serious acts of misconduct, e.g., wrongful shootings. They can avoid costly civil lawsuits by paying attention to citizen complaints. That's the conclusion of a study by researchers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law.

Researchers reviewed over 50,000 complaints from 2002 through 2014. They examined how many of the officers who had a significant number of complaints during the first half of that period engaged in serious misconduct in the second half. They estimate that if the Chicago Police Department (CPD) had taken the officers who were in the top 1 percent when it came to civilian complaints off the streets, the city would have saved over $6 million from 2009 through 2014.

What is a false arrest?

An arrest can be a very scary experience. It can leave a person deeply worried about their well-being and future. Thankfully, this is not something that police can subject individuals to for just any reason. There are rules police are supposed to follow when it comes to the making of arrests.

Unfortunately, these rules aren’t always followed. Sometimes, police make arrests without proper grounds for doing so. Such unlawful arrests are referred to as false arrests. Victims of false arrests may have legal actions they can take in response to what they were subjected to.

You have to let law enforcement inside if they have a warrant

In some situations, police will knock on your door and ask if they can come inside. Many times, they do this while fishing for evidence.

It is generally not a good idea to allow law enforcement officers into your home, even if you don't think you are breaking the law. They might be looking for something so obscure that you would have no idea it could put you in legal jeopardy. Usually, you can ask to speak to police outside without much issue.

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