Summary Judgment for National Retailer and Commercial Property Owner Upheld by Illinois Appeals Court

LGLJ attorneys John Langhenry, Andrew Stuart and Sean Rohan obtained a victory on behalf of their clients in a personal injury case filed by an elderly plaintiff against a national retailer and local property owner. Plaintiff alleged that she fell and broke both knees as a result of ice and snow outside the store and claimed both the retailer and the property manager were liable for her fall. In the trial court, LGLJ moved for summary judgment – and won – after successfully striking the affidavit and “voodoo-measurements” offered by plaintiff’s engineering expert. The plaintiff claimed error and appealed, but the Appellate Court of Illinois for the First Judicial District disagreed and affirmed summary judgment in favor of the firm’s clients.

Court Enters Summary Judgment in Favor of Township in Flooding Case

Troy Lundquist and Andrew Stuart won summary judgment in favor of a local Municipal Township after the plaintiffs claimed that the Township caused permanent flooding and water damage on their property and diminished the value of their home.  The plaintiff’s alleged both Federal and Illinois Constitution takings claims as well as state law trespass claims. At the close of expert discovery, LGLJ filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was no evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claims and no basis to take the case to a jury. The Court granted the motion and entered judgment in favor of the Township shortly before the case was to proceed to trial, resulting in a clear victory for the Township.

Jury Finds in Favor of Pediatrician

Troy Lundquist and Anastasia Hess defended and successfully tried to verdict a case on behalf of a pediatrician in Will County.  The physician was alleged to have failed to timely diagnose and treat a pediatric patient who hade a streptococcal infection. The patient went on to develop rheumatic fever and underwent surgery for mitral valve replacement in her heart. The patient had medical bills in excess of $1 million, and the jury was asked to award over $5 million.  After several hours of deliberation, the jury returned a not guilty verdict in favor of the pediatrician.

Village Prevails at Public Hearing before the Illinois Human Rights Commission

An Administrative Law Judge from the Illinois Human Rights Commission issued a recommended decision and order in favor of the Village of Hazel Crest Police Department in a retaliation claim brought by an African-American sergeant. Tom Weiler and Theresa Bresnahan-Coleman presented evidence at public hearing before the Commission proving that the deputy chief’s decisions were not in retaliation for the sergeant’s filing an EEOC charge and that there were legitimate reasons for denying the sergeant’s requested schedule change and placing him on an involuntary leave of absence. The Illinois Department of Human Rights had earlier dismissed two additional claims filed by the sergeant alleging race discrimination and disability discrimination for suspension of his police powers on motions filed by Tom.

Jury Returns Verdict for Cardiologist

Troy Lundquist and Andrew Stuart successfully defended and tried to verdict a medical negligence case on behalf of a cardiologist in Grundy County. Their client was accused of negligence after a patient died as a result of a pulmonary embolism.  The plaintiff requested in excess of $5 million in closing, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the physician.

Judge Returns Verdict in Favor of Grocery Store in Single-Car Parking Lot Accident Case

Kyle Lewis successfully tried and defended an area grocery store sued by a plaintiff who damaged his car when he drove it off the end of the store’s parking lot.  The Plaintiff drove over a curb and his car became wedged between the Defendant’s parking lot and an adjacent lot that was two feet lower in elevation.  The car’s frame was bent as a result of the accident.  At trial, the Plaintiff argued that the area of the parking lot at issue was unsafe because it appeared to be a through street that wrapped around the back of the store.  The Defendant argued that the parking lot was reasonably safe—there was an open and obvious curb that was clearly the boundary of the lot, and the Plaintiff had to cross multiple marked parking spaces perpendicular to his direction of travel that indicated he was driving the wrong way.  Following trial testimony, the presiding Judge returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Plaintiff’s Appeal of Summary Judgment For Grocery Store on Mixed Products Liability and Premises Liability Action Dismissed Pursuant to Technical Defect

John Langhenry and Chris Dunsing successfully obtained summary judgment for their grocery store client on a questionable premises liability action and products liability action based on an assumption of risk argument.  When the plaintiff appealed the ruling to the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois, John and Chris quickly identified a technical defect in the plaintiff’s  notice of appeal based on Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303 and the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Secura Ins. Co. v. Ill. Farmers Ins. Co., 232 Ill.2d 209 (2009).  They filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s appeal, which was granted by the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois.  The plaintiff consequently lost jurisdiction to appeal the summary judgment order, saving the client a substantial amount of money on an appellee’s brief.

Jury Returns Verdict in Favor of Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Suzanne Favia Gillen and Matthew Andris successfully tried and defended a medical malpractice claim pending in Cook County.  Suzanne and Matt defended an obstetrician/gynecologist in a case involving a brachial plexus injury allegedly suffered during the birth of a child.  At trial, Plaintiff claimed that the Doctor improperly ordered the application of fundal pressure during the birth of the Plaintiff, which caused the birth injury.  After two weeks of trial testimony, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Doctor.

Seventh Circuit Affirms Judgment for Village on Reverse Discrimination Claim

On June 12, 2014, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of the former chief of police and mayor of the Village of Hazel Crest in a reverse discrimination claim brought by two former white sergeants. Tom Weiler and Kristen Cemate successfully argued that the sergeants presented insufficient evidence that they would have been chosen for the position. The ruling by the Seventh Circuit ends  eight years of litigation over the selection of the deputy chief position in Hazel Crest. The full Seventh Circuit opinion can be read here:  Peers v. Vill. of Hazel Crest, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11087 (7th Cir. Ill. June 12, 2014)

Motion to Dismiss Granted in Dog Bite Case Against Pet Adoption Organization

Steve Johnson and Kyle Lewis filed a successful motion to dismiss on behalf of a Defendant Pet Adoption Organization.  Plaintiff, one of the Dog Adoption Organization’s volunteers, was bitten on the nose when the dog she was handling at a pet adoption show became spooked.  Plaintiff filed claims against the Organization under the Animal Control Act and for negligence.  Plaintiff had signed a ‘waiver and release,’ which the court agreed was enforceable, as the Plaintiff who was a current dog owner and had experience with dogs, understood and accepted the risk of being bitten by a dog while volunteering for the Organization.  The court also agreed that the Animal Control Act count had to be dismissed on the additional ground that the Plaintiff could not bring suit under the Act where she was the one handling the dog at the time of the incident, and was not an ‘innocent bystander’ that the Act intended to protect.