At least one Illinois Court has interpreted the mandatory award of attorneys’ fees and costs in the event a principal fails to timely pay commissions due a sales rep. That Court found that the award of attorneys’ fees and costs was not punitive in nature but was “compensatory.” See Maher and Assoc., Inc. v. Quality Cabinets, 267 Ill.App.3d 69, 640 N.E.2d 1000 (2nd Dist. 1994). Therefore, principals beware–not only could you lose a matter brought against you for non-timely payment of commissions (and potentially be found liable for punitive, or exemplary damages, up to 3 times the amount of commissions due) but you may also end up paying the sales rep’s attorneys’ fees and costs which could, technically, exceed all commissions due!

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