Publications

Articles on Tort Law

Illinois leads the pack in dog-bite claims

By Matthew Hector
June
2017
LawPulse
Page 12
State Farm paid out $14 million for dog-related claims in Illinois in 2016, second only to California. The Illinois Animal Control Act is part of the reason why.

No willful and wanton conduct in physical education class injury

June
2017
Illinois Law Update
Page 18
On March 23, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed a directed verdict in favor of defendants on supervisory immunity, holding there was no willful and wanton conduct involved in a school injury.

From the Newsletters - High Court Limits Liability Limits

May
2017
Article
Page 39
Landowners are protected by statute against suits for negligent snow removal, but the liability shield doesn't extend to everything snow and ice related, the Illinois Supreme Court rules.

Pitfalls in Proving Proximate Cause

By Judge James M. Varga
April
2017
Article
Page 44
A p.i. plaintiff's path to proving proximate cause is rarely a cakewalk. Other possible causes and potential tortfeasors pose challenges for plaintiffs and create opportunities for defendants.

Trial court properly ruled on summary judgment for city where plaintiff failed to establish constructive notice of parkway’s defective condition

March
2017
Illinois Law Update
Page 28
Plaintiff's suit for negligent property maintenance was properly decided by the trial court on summary judgment because no genuine issue of fact existed since plaintiff failed to satisfy the burden of proving constructive notice.

‘Direct impact’ still required in claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress

By Matthew Hector
February
2017
LawPulse
Page 14
The Illinois Supreme Court rules that a direct victim suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress must allege physical impact, surprising those who thought the rule had been abrogated.

Residential property owners can be liable for injuries sustained on icy sidewalks if ice resulted from negligent maintenance

February
2017
Illinois Law Update
Page 20
The Snow and Ice Removal Act (745 ILCS 75/0.01 et seq.) does not immunize property owners from claims of liability for injuries allegedly caused by icy sidewalks due to an otherwise negligent failure to maintain the premises or premise defects.

New law addresses limitations on liability for service providers who remove snow and ice for private parties

January
2017
Illinois Law Update
Page 20
With no retroactive effect, the Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act aims to void contracts that are deemed against public policy for indemnifying service providers who remove snow and ice for private parties.

Summary judgment affirmed when plaintiff’s testimony is inadmissible under the Dead Man’s Act and no other proof of negligence available

December
2016
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
The second district affirmed a summary judgment ruling for the defendant over the plaintiff's claims that the pleadings established a question of material fact.

Litigating Sports Brain Injuries: The New Ball Game

By Owen Blood and John-Michael Poerretta
June
2016
Article
Page 28
As public concern over concussions in sports grows, lawsuits and legislation addressing the issue are springing up in Illinois and around the country.

Medical Bills in Illinois - What’s ‘Fair and Reasonable’?

By Thomas N. Osran
May
2016
Article
Page 30
Only "fair and reasonable" medical bills are admissible as evidence in Illinois. But what does that mean in a world where hospitals and doctors charge far more than they routinely accept?

High court abandons the ‘public duty rule’

By Matthew Hector
March
2016
LawPulse
Page 20
The supreme court recently abolished the "public duty rule," which held that fire departments and like entities owed no duty of care to provide services.

A Proposal to Revise Verdict Forms for Contribution and Apportionment

By Hon. Donald J. O’Brien Jr. and Cadence Tuttle
March
2016
Article
Page 46
The authors argue that among other shortcomings, verdict forms for contribution and apportionment of liability in tort cases fail to account for a fundamental reality: contribution is a defendant's right, not the plaintiff's.

Understanding Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

By Frank Andreano
October
2015
Article
Page 30
Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, wrongful death and survival actions are anything but identical. Failing to understand the differences can cost you and your client.

Don’t let opponents bury their own experts’ testimony

September
2015
Article
Page 22
Use the "missing witness" jury instruction to smoke out helpful testimony by your opponent's expert.

Pointers for Proving Future Damages

By Judge James M. Varga
August
2015
Article
Page 40
To successfully argue for or against future damages, lawyers must understand the meaning of "reasonable degree of medical certainty" and know when expert testimony is and isn't required.

Suicide remains an unforeseeable event that breaks the causal chain in an intentional tort

August
2015
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
On May 21, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the general rule that, as a matter of law, suicide is an unforeseeable event that breaks the causal chain in both negligent and intentional torts

Navigating Concurrent Personal Injury and Divorce Cases

By Michael Alkaraki and Andrew Vaughn
July
2015
Article
Page 32
Lawyers representing clients who are both divorcing and bringing a p.i. claim should work together.

Slips, Falls, and the Natural Accumulation Rule

By Jason G. Schutte and Eric Waldman
June
2015
Article
Page 28
Owners are not liable for falls caused by a natural accumulation of ice, snow, or water on their property. But what is a "natural accumulation"? This article looks at the law.

A Guide to the Loss of Chance Doctrine in Illinois

By Jason L. Hortenstine
February
2015
Article
Page 26
This overview of the loss of chance doctrine discusses applicable IPI Instructions, looks at recent precedent, and offers practice tips.

The ‘Seller’s Exception’ Defense to Product Liability Actions

By Nicholas Owen McCann
January
2015
Article
Page 40
Retailers and other nonmanufacturers in Illinois can seek dismissal under the so-called "seller's exception" to strict products liability. Here's how it works.

Merely looking elsewhere does not satisfy the distraction exception to the open and obvious rule

December
2014
Illinois Law Update
Page 572
On September 18, 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court held that a woman who tripped on a sidewalk crack while looking ahead to her destination did not satisfy the distraction exception to the general rule that premises owners are not liable for harm caused by open and obvious dangerous conditions.

Tort legislation medley

By Matthew Hector
October
2014
LawPulse
Page 466
The governor recently signed laws affecting UI/UIM arbitration, statutes of limitations for disabled plaintiffs, and service of process in gated communities.

Blaming the Patient: Medical Malpractice and Contributory Negligence

By Robert P. Vogt
June
2014
Article
Page 288
What constitutes contributory negligence in the med-mal context? This article explains the basics.

Choosing an Economist for Your Personal Injury Case

By Scott Gilbert
May
2014
Article
Page 232
How can you tell whether economist-experts' damages estimates will help or hurt your case? You'll find important clues by looking at how they make a few key calculations.

Good Samaritan Act doesn’t shield on-duty emergency doctors

By Janan Hanna
May
2014
LawPulse
Page 214
A lawyer who was disciplined for posting a YouTube video of police buying drugs from his client has filed a federal lawsuit challenging his suspension.

Preserving the Peer Review Privilege in Med-Mal Cases

By Margaret J. Lowery
April
2014
Article
Page 176
Properly performed peer review is not subject to discovery in med-mal litigation. But health care providers sometimes learn the hard way how the privilege can be lost.

Proximate Cause: Limiting Liability Along the Chain of Causation

By Amelia S. Buragas
February
2014
Article
Page 88
Illinois courts have struggled with defining the limits of proximate cause. Multi-car collision cases present an interesting case study of the evolution of proximate cause jurisprudence.

Plaintiffs’ Secret Weapon: The Illinois Respondent in Discovery Statute

By Kaitlyn Anne Wild
January
2014
Article
Page 24
This little-known statute enables plaintiffs - but not defendants - to take discovery from a non-party respondent and provides a six-month "grace period" from statutes of limitations.

Temporary employee injured in office parking lot sustained injuries in the course of and arising out of her employment

January
2014
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
On November 14, 2013, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District held that a temporary employee who is assigned a parking space in a parking lot designated for employees, and is then injured in that parking lot on her way to work, has sustained injuries that arose in the course of and out of her employment.

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