Publications

Articles on Tort Law

The high court bars a suit filed against dead defendant

By Adam W. Lasker
December
2013
LawPulse
Page 606
After the defendant died, the plaintiff in a car-accident case failed to sue the estate's "personal representative." That meant the court lacked jurisdiction, the supreme court ruled.

The Myth of the Rebuttable Presumption for Loss of Society in Wrongful Death Cases

By Michael P. Cogan
November
2013
Article
Page 582
A recent case illustrates that in claims for loss of society in wrongful death cases, the rebuttable presumption of a substantial pecuniary loss is sometimes illusory.

‘Wrongful Birth’ Plaintiffs Can Recover for Emotional Distress

By Christopher T. Hurley and Mark R. McKenna
November
2013
Article
Page 580
A recent Illinois Supreme Court decision holds that parents can recover for emotional distress if they win a claim for negligent genetic counseling, even if they suffered no direct physical injury.

Lawlor: A Roadmap for Limiting Punitive Damages

By Eric J. Muñoz
June
2013
Article
Page 298
A recent Illinois decision makes it easier for businesses only vicariously liable to limit punitive damages awards.

Suit barred for plaintiffs who ‘came to the nuisance’ of fly-infested cattle farm

By Adam W. Lasker
April
2013
LawPulse
Page 170
The Illinois Supreme Court held that the Farm Nuisance Suit Act barred recovery for plaintiffs who acquired a house across the road from a fly-infested cattle farm.

Applying Other-State Law to Illinois Tort Actions

By Jacob D. Sawyer
December
2012
Article
Page 652
When does the law of, say, New York apply to an Illinois tort lawsuit? Find out the Illinois approach to deciding the question.

Governmental tort immunity for ice and snow on recreational property

By Adam W. Lasker
December
2012
LawPulse
Page 626
Plaintiffs can't recover from a local government for injuries caused when they slip on snow and ice on recreational property, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled recently.

Court Approval of Minors’ Settlements

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2012
Column
Page 613
Should judicial approval be required for even small damage awards for minors?

Railroads owe no duty of care to children who climb on moving trains

By Adam W. Lasker
November
2012
LawPulse
Page 574
The supreme court rules that moving freight trains pose an open and obvious danger to child trespassers.

Tort liability for school districts that hide former teachers’ sexual harassment

By Adam W. Lasker
October
2012
LawPulse
Page 514
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a school district breaches its duty of care when it gives false information to another district about a teacher's sexual misconduct.

Insurer’s substantial prejudice claim is negated by judgment-proof tortfeasor

September
2012
Illinois Law Update
Page 464
On June 27, 2012, the second district appellate court held as a matter of law that an automobile insurer cannot refuse to pay underinsured motorist ("UIM") coverage to its insured on the grounds that the insured violated a cooperation clause by settling with a judgment-proof tortfeasor.

Insurance companies and P-I plaintiffs will share recoveries if governor signs bill

By Adam W. Lasker
August
2012
LawPulse
Page 398
HB 5823 would require insurance companies to proportionally share plaintiffs' recoveries in personal injury lawsuits.

The Illegal Immigrant as P.I. Plaintiff: Determining Lost Wages

By Douglas A. Wolfe
June
2012
Article
Page 312
Is an undocumented immigrant plaintiff entitled to recover future lost wages at a U.S. rate of pay? No Illinois court of review has decided, but here’s a look at what other jurisdictions are doing and what Illinois might – and should – do.

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking: The “Voluntary Undertaking” Theory after Bell v Hutsell

By Martin A. Dolan and Karen Muñoz
March
2012
Article
Page 140
It's hard to sue a hands-off social host in Illinois who merely allows underage drinking. But if he or she voluntarily undertakes to prevent it, it might be a different story.

Unregistered employee leasing company retains protection of exclusive remedy provision of Workers’ Compensation Act

January
2012
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
An injured employee cannot recover additional tort damages beyond the exclusive remedy of the Workers' Compensation Act merely because the defendant employee leasing company failed to comply with the registration requirement of the Employee Leasing Company Act, according to the fifth district appellate court.

Creditors Are Not Freeloaders: The Common Fund Doctrine Does Not Apply to Hospital Lienholders

By Robert D. Kreisman
November
2011
Article
Page 568
Wendling holds that hospital lienholders are creditors, not third-party beneficiaries of the plaintiff's lawsuit, and thus not required to pay attorney fees under the common fund doctrine.

Retaliatory-discharge claim against town not time-barred by Tort Immunity Act

October
2011
Illinois Law Update
Page 496
On July 22, 2011, the 4th District Appellate Court reversed the lower court's decision granting the Town of Normal's motion to dismiss plaintiff Mary Collins' retaliatory-discharge claim. Since Collins' claim was brought under the Workers' Compensation Act, there is an exception to the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act), and her claim is not time-barred by the one-year statute of limitations in section 8-101(a).

Post-Pueblo: Liability During Administrative Dissolution

By Owen R. Burgh and Terrence J. McConville
September
2011
Column
Page 476
LLC members and managers are protected from personal liability even after the LLC is involuntarily dissolved. Here's a call for change.

Using Requests to Admit to Prove Medical Expenses

By Christ S. Stacey
September
2011
Article
Page 456
Plaintiffs use requests to admit to establish the reasonableness of medical bills. A recent appellate case holds that defendants must either admit or deny the request or explain why they can't.

The Demise of the General Willful and Wanton Exception to the Tort Immunity Act

By Michael D. Bersani
July
2011
Article
Page 348
In Ries v City of Chicago, the Illinois Supreme Court held that willful and wanton conduct does not create a general exception to the Tort Immunity Act's blanket immunities.

Hutsell: Parents not liable for death of underage DUI driver

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2011
LawPulse
Page 330
The high court held that parents who hosted a party did not voluntarily undertake the duty to prevent underage drinking.

Supreme court okays emotional distress claims for wrongful birth

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2011
LawPulse
Page 330
But the court held in the same case that parents cannot recover the costs of caring for a disabled adult child.

Avoiding Legal Malpractice After Union Planters

By Matthew S. Dionne
June
2011
Article
Page 306
In Union Planters, the Illinois Appellate Court held that a legal malpractice plaintiff need not prove a "case-within-a-case" in an action arising out of transaction-based legal malpractice.  

Good Samaritans at building evacuation scenes not subject to civil liability absent willful and wanton misconduct. PA 096-1169

May
2011
Illinois Law Update
Page 228
Illinois lawmakers have amended the Good Samaritan Act to exempt from civil liability persons who provide free emergency care at building evacuation scenes. (745 ILCS 49/71 new).

Sole Proximate Cause: The “Empty Chair” Defense in Illinois

By Hon. William J. Haddad
March
2011
Article
Page 152
Was someone or something other than your client - perhaps someone who isn't a party - the "sole proximate cause" of the plaintiff's injury? Defense lawyers should explore the possibility.

Exceptions to open and obvious danger rule not on point for shopper injured on store property

February
2011
Illinois Law Update
Page 72
 On December 2, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District, upheld a decision of the Circuit Court of Tazewell County, finding no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the distraction or the deliberate-encounter exception to the open and obvious danger rule applied in the present case.

The preclusive effect of summary suspension hearings in subsequent adjudication

December
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 616
On September 23, 2010, the Supreme Court of Illinois held that the Circuit Court of Champaign County's finding of probable cause at the hearing on plaintiff's petition to rescind his statutory summary suspension, pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1, did not bar the issue of probable cause from re-litigation in a civil suit for malicious prosecution.

Unhappy SLAPPers: more muscle for the Citizen Participation Act

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2010
LawPulse
Page 610

Dramshop Act does not block respondeat superior claim for employee drunk driving

November
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 564
On August 18, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, overturned a grant of summary judgment by the Circuit Court of Cook County, finding that the Dramshop Act does not preempt claims based on legal theories independent from the defendant's provision of alcohol.

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