Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Damages

Holland v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.: Proof of “termination” and further consideration of the applicable standard for punitive damages in retaliatory discharge cases By Richard L. Turner Civil Practice and Procedure, July 2013 In a lengthy 92-page decision, the Fifth District Appellate Court, in its recent decision in Holland v. Schwann’s Home Service, Inc., upheld a jury verdict of $4,260.400, including a punitive damages award of $3.6 million dollars, finding that the jury was properly allowed to consider the issue of whether the plaintiff was truly “terminated” and that the punitive damages award was not excessive.
Slovinski and Lawlor: An examination of remittitur when punitive damages exceed compensatory damages By Matthew J. Adair Tort Law, June 2013 The author takes a look at the cases of Slovinski v. Elliot and Lawlor v. North American, the Court’s two most recent opinions addressing remittitur of punitive damages, and explains why the Court reduced punitive awards in each case to an amount equal to the compensatory damages awarded.
Don’t call it a crisis: Examining the issue of medical malpractice tort reform and damage caps in Illinois By Damon Ritenhouse Tort Law, January 2013 A comprehensive look at medical malpractice tort reform in Illinois.
Illinois Supreme Court holds that no punitive damages are allowed for survival action in violation of Nursing Home Act case By Stephen C. Buser Tort Law, October 2011 The Illinois Supreme Court made it clear in Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor that it was up to the Illinois legislature and not the Illinois judicial system to determine whether punitive damages should be available for violations of the Act in actions based on the Survival Act.
In a wrongful birth action, the Illinois Supreme Court curtails the available remedies finding that no damages are available for the care of a disabled, dependent child after the child reaches the age of majority By Jessica A. Hegarty Civil Practice and Procedure, October 2011 The court’s analysis hinged upon whether Illinois law imposes a “duty” or “obligation” on parents to support disabled, dependent children after the age of majority. Absent such a duty, the court reasoned that the costs and expenses associated with caring for a disabled, dependent adult child are not “legal harms” that parents suffer but are expenses that are “voluntarily” and “willingly” assumed. The court relied on the general common law rule established in 1896 that parents are not legally obligated to support an adult child as the basis for its ruling.
$1 nominal damages award in civil rights case nets plaintiff’s attorney zero attorney fees By Michael D. Bersani and Zrinka Rukavina Local Government Law, September 2011 The recent Seventh Circuit case of Frizzell v. Szabo may undercut the ability of civil rights plaintiffs to leverage larger-than-deserved settlements.
Damages available for breach of fiduciary duty By Lawrence E. Varsek and Roman R. Okrei Trusts and Estates, August 2011 There are multiple remedies available for breach of fiduciary duty in Illinois, and it is clear that one remedy alone may not be sufficient to compensate an injured party.
Colella v. JMS: A good review of evidentiary issues, jury instructions and damages at trial By Dennis M. Lynch and Matthew M. Gannon Tort Law, May 2011 A look at the case of Colella v. JMS Trucking Co. of Ill., Inc., 403 Ill.App.3d 82 (1st Dist. 2010).
Scope of arbitrator’s authority limits authority in rewarding damages By Margaret Nunne Alternative Dispute Resolution, October 2010 In Prate Installations, Inc., v. Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, the court found that an arbitrator cannot award damages or remedies for periods of time after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
Establishing actual damages in legal malpractice cases By Kenneth J. Ashman and Neal D. Kitterlin General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm, July 2009 What happens when the attorney has been retained to defend a lawsuit and, due to malpractice, misses a defense that results in a judgment being entered against the client? Assuming the client does not have the funds to pay the judgment, has the client suffered actual damages as a result of the attorney’s malpractice? A look at the recent case of Fox v. Seiden.
Clark v. Children’s Memorial Hospital: Expanding recoverable damages in wrongful birth actions By John J. Driscoll Civil Practice and Procedure, June 2009 A look at the First District Appellate Court case of Clark v. Children’s Memorial Hospital, et. al.
Punitive damages: The current unsettled state of constitutional limitations on the permissible ratio of punitive damages to actual damages By Joseph G. Bisceglia and David W. Austin Civil Practice and Procedure, March 2004 In the past decade, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized the existence of constitutional limitations on the amount of punitive damages awards that may be exacted from unsuccessful defendants.