Dealing With Regulators


Every US business has to deal with a wide variety of not so silent partners – the federal, state, and local agencies that govern entity organization, pricing, permitted lines of business, owner educational qualifications, antitrust rules on pricing or business combinations, location, and many other rules based decisions. Our clients have used us and related professionals to help understand, comply with, and fight regulators of all kinds. So have some regulators.

Case Study 1:

A Swiss chemical company sales office in Naperville received OSHA notices of noncompliance for having hazardous materials product samples. We referred an industrial hygenist, who worked with them to produce Material Safety Data Sheets and the required safety training and compliance program needed to avoid large penalties.

Case Study 2:

A Chicago, Illinois law firm with a casino permit applicant (an $800 million/year business opportunity) retained Bill Price to help with Illinois Gaming Board hearings and appeals, in and out of court. The permit was not granted – sometimes the fix is in, political or legal – but the Board was required to reveal the secret evidence it had used as a basis for action, and the state was prevented from permitting competitors to get licenses for more than a year.

Case Study 3:

The new Chairman of the Illinois Pollution Control Board hired Mr. Price to draft procedural rules for the Board and to produce information on statutory and other mandates the Board would have to comply with through new regulations and other hearings for her first year.

Governor James R. Thompson appointed Mr. Price as Small Business Utility Advocate, and he was confirmed in that position by the Illinois Senate for 1990-93. During that time, he represented the small business class of customers in telecommunications deregulation legislative debates, Commonwealth Edison rate increase discussions (opposing more than $100 million of interclass subsidies that made business pay for consumer utility charges),  Department of Revenue attempts to impose Illinois retailers occupation tax on deliveries of steel rails to out of state customers, and many other oil, gas, electric, telecommunications, and water law questions. He appeared or commented before Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, state appellate court, state supreme court, state circuit court, and Illinois Commerce Commission panels and hearing officers.

Case Study 4:

When environmental organizations tried to get lawyer’s fees from a small Chicago-area steel company for past violations that had already been cured, Bill Price, then staff general counsel for the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, worked with the Mid-America Legal Foundation to organize groups representing thousands of companies, and wrote a friend of the court brief whose reasoning was closely followed by the US Supreme Court in Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83 (1998).

Case Study 5:

When an Aurora, Illinois chiropractor’s client complained to the Illinois Attorney General’s office and the Illinois Department of Professional Responsibility, Mr. Price worked with the chiropractor to prove his contract was valid, his treatment choices were scientifically and professionally appropriate by both medical and chiropractic professional standards, and his charges were not unreasonable. The Department investigator agreed and recommended rejection of the complaint.

Case Study 6:

When a Barrington, Illinois auto repair shop needed a Cook county general business license, we obtained all needed health, building, zoning, and other compliance certification, and helped prepare the paperwork that resulted in license issuance.

If your business needs regulatory advice, write us at or call 1-800-630-4780.