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Cook County Circuit Court Finds Illinois Prejudgment Interest Statute Unconstitutional
Jennifer Hyland v. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corporation d/b/a Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, et al (Cook County Circuit Court Case No: 2017-L-003541)
A circuit court memorandum order, entered by Cook County Judge Marcia Maras on May 27, 2022, held Illinois’ prejudgment interest statute (735 ILCS 5/2-1303) unconstitutional for infringing upon a defendant’s right to a jury trial and violating the prohibition against special legislation. In her ruling, Judge Maras declares the amendments to section 2-1303 invalid less than a year after the effective date (July 1, 2021) of Public Act 102-0006, the controversial legislation signed into law as SB 72 ... Read More.
SST Wins Summary Judgment in Marion County, Indiana
Owen Blood, a partner at SST’s Chicago office, has successfully obtained summary judgment in an asbestos case case filed in Marion County, Indiana. Mr. Blood brought the motion before the Court, arguing that there was insufficient evidence that Decedent's illness was caused by his exposure to products manufactured by SST’s client. Plaintiff had presented evidence that Decedent worked with and around phenolic molding compounds such as those manufactured by the client. ... Read More.
Illinois Governor Signs Bill Entitling Plaintiffs to Recover Prejudgment Interest on Tort Damages
On May 28, 2021, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 72, a bill that amends Section 2-1303 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure by allowing plaintiffs to recover prejudgment interest on most damages in wrongful death and personal injury actions. ... Read More.
United States Supreme Court Broadens Bases for Finding Specific Jurisdiction Over Non-Resident Defendants; Finds Ford Can be Sued in States Where Accidents Occurred
In a recent 8-0 decision, the United States Supreme Court made it easier for plaintiffs to bring product liability actions in the state where the injury occurred even if the defective product was designed, manufactured, and sold elsewhere. ... Read More.
Illinois Governor Vetoes 9% Prejudgment Interest Rate Bill but Legislature Passes Compromise Bill for 6%
On March 25, 2021, the Illinois legislature passed SB 72 as a compromise measure in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s veto of HB 3360. Like HB 3360, SB 72 would allow plaintiffs to recover prejudgment interest on court-awarded judgments in personal injury and wrongful death actions. ... Read More.
Iowa Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment
On March 17, 2021, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming the District Court’s ruling in favor of an insulation contractor defendant represented by SST. A three-judge panel consisting of Presiding Judge Daniel May and Judges Sharon Greer and Julie Schumacher heard oral argument in the case on February 25, 2021 and Judge May wrote the opinion on behalf of the Court. ... Read More.
Illinois Legislature Passes Bill Setting Prejudgment Interest Rate at 9% in Tort Cases
Fundamental changes to the law governing prejudgment interest could soon take effect. HB 3360 passed both houses of the Illinois legislature on January 13, 2021, and now awaits Governor Pritzker’s signature. If enacted, HB 3360 would have serious ramifications for defendants, defense attorneys, and insurance carriers. Specifically, it would nullify Illinois’ longstanding common law rule barring recovery of prejudgment interest in personal injury and wrongful death suits. As a result, case values could rise to account for prejudgment interest awards, giving plaintiffs’ attorneys additional leverage during settlement negotiations and ultimately increasing the cost of coverage. Another concerning aspect of HB 3360 is that the legislature seemingly ignored the foundational differences between economic and non-economic damages. Unlike economic damages, which are tangible and subject to precise calculation, non-economic damages are speculative, discretionary, and cannot be objectively quantified, especially where the plaintiff’s pain and suffering levels fluctuate throughout the litigation. The degree of pain and suffering is even more speculative post-judgment because future non-economic damages, by their very nature, cannot be objectively determined. Further, because HB 3360 allows plaintiffs to recover prejudgment interest on all damages, defendants would have to pay for the interest assessed on expenses paid by third parties, such as health insurers. ... Read More.
SST Obtains Summary Judgment in McLean County
On February 4, 2019, Judge Rebecca Foley of the Circuit Court of McLean County, Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of a defendant-manufacturer of laundry equipment in Est. of Gerald Kessinger v. Honeywell International, et al. based on lack of causation under the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in Thacker v. UNR Indus., Inc. ... Read More.
Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Cumulative Exposure Theory of Causation
In a landmark opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court held that plaintiffs may no longer rely on the “cumulative exposure theory” to establish causation in cases alleging asbestos-related injuries. Specifically, the Court held that a theory of causation based only upon the cumulative exposure to various asbestos-containing products does not meet Ohio’s “substantial factor” test. Instead, plaintiffs must prove that the conduct of each particular defendant was a substantial factor in causing the disease based on specific evidence of the manner, proximity, frequency, and length of exposure. See Schwartz v. Honeywell International., Inc., Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-474 (opinion will open in a new window). ... Read More.
Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Exercise of General Jurisdiction
In an opinion filed earlier today, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed the standard for personal jurisdiction established in the United States Supreme Court case of Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014). See Aspen American Insurance Company v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc., 2017 IL 121281, ¶ 3. This case arose following an ammonia leak at the defendant’s storage facility in Michigan. Aspen American Insurance Company v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc., 2017 IL 121281, ¶ 3. The plaintiff—who had insured the goods stored within the facility—had previously paid a claim for the loss and in doing so obtained subrogation rights. Id. The plaintiff subsequently brought suit against the defendant, Interstate Warehousing, Inc., in Cook County, Illinois alleging, inter alia, breach of contract and negligence. Id., ¶ 4. ... Read More.
Illinois Appellate Court Grants Defendants’ Intrastate Rule 187(b) Motion to Dismiss for Re-Filing in Winnebago County Court
In a Rule 23(e) opinion, a First District appellate court reversed the trial court and granted the defendants’ rule 187(b) motion to dismiss pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens. See Rohl v. Borg Warner Corporation, 2017 IL App (1st) 162398-U. ... Read More.
SST Successfully Asserts Corporate Dissolution Defense in Madison County
Sinars Slowikowski Tomaska partner Megan Slowikowski was successful in arguing that Special Electric Company, Inc., a fiber supplier defendant, was a dissolved corporation that no longer has the capacity to be sued. ... Read More.
US Supreme Court Rejects Exercise of Specific Jurisdiction
In a June 19, 2017 opinion, the United States Supreme Court held that a California court did not have specific jurisdiction over nonresidents’ claims against a foreign corporation when their alleged injury did not occur within the state. In doing so, Justice Alito, writing for the majority, rejected the California Supreme Court’s “sliding scale” approach to jurisdiction and affirmed that “[i]n order for a court to exercise specific jurisdiction over a claim, there must be an “affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy.” ... Read More.
Missouri Supreme Court Decision on Personal Jurisdiction
The plaintiff, Russell Parker, sued his former employer, Norfolk Southern Railway Company (“Norfolk”), in the state of Missouri, seeking damages for cumulative trauma sustained during his years of employment in the state of in Indiana. Norfolk initially filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, which the trial court overruled. Norfolk then filed a petition for a writ of prohibition or, in the alternative, a writ of mandamus with the Missouri Court of Appeals. When the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s ruling, Norfolk sought the same relief in Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, reversed, and held that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over Norfolk. The oral argument can be heard here. The full decision can be found by clicking here. ... Read More.
Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Right to Jury of Twelve
In a 5-0 opinion, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the right to a trial by jury includes the right to demand a 12-member jury. Kakos v. Butler, 2016 L 120377. The Court held that Public Act 98-1132, which sought to limit the size of a civil jury to 6 persons, was facially unconstitutional. The court further held that because the provision regarding jury size could not be severed from the remainder of the Act, the statute was entirely invalid. ... Read More.
Unanimous Illinois Supreme Court Applies the Discovery Rule to Wrongful Death and Survival Actions Alleging Medical Malpractice
On September 22, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the discovery rule found in section 13-212(a) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure applies to medical malpractice actions brought under both the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1, et seq. (West 2012)) and the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6 (West 2012)). See Moon v. Rhode, 2015 IL App (3d) 130613. ... Read More.
SST Obtains Directed Verdict in City of St. Louis
On August 31, 2016, Sinars Slowikowski Tomaska partner Doug Sinars secured a directed verdict after a thirteen-day jury trial in the City of St. Louis on behalf of a local industrial supply company. In this “take home” exposure case based on negligence and strict liability, Donna and Jerry Harrison alleged our client sold asbestos-containing automotive brakes and gaskets to a nearby car dealership where Jerry worked as a mechanic. They further alleged that Jerry transported asbestos fibers to his home causing Donna Harrison’s mesothelioma. ... Read More.
Illinois Appellate Court Holds that Plaintiff with Asymptomatic Asbestosis Cannot Maintain a Products Liability Claim
June 20, 2016, a divided panel of the appellate court held that physical changes to the lungs, such as asbestosis and pleural plaques, do not afford a cause of action for product liability unless accompanied by clinical symptoms. See Sondag v. Pneumo Abex Corp., 2016 IL App (4th) 140918. This brings Illinois law into line with a number of other jurisdictions. ... Read More.
Illinois Supreme Court Issues Supervisory Order On Personal Jurisdiction Appeal
On May 25, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a supervisory order requiring the Fifth District Appellate Court to take an appeal from Judge Stephen Stobbs’ recent denial of Ford Motor Company’s personal jurisdiction motion in Est. of Dale E. Jeffs (15 L 533), an asbestos case brought by Florida plaintiffs. Dale Jeffs worked as an insulator at various locations from 1968 to 1995, including at Ford’s plant in Michigan. Ford is incorporated in Delaware and its principal place of business is in Michigan. ... Read More.
SST Wins Summary Judgement in McLean County, Illinois
Sinars Slowikowski Tomaska partner Owen Blood recently prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of J.P. Bushnell Packing Supply Company, a supplier of gaskets and packing, in a products liability case in McLean County, Illinois. The motion and oral argument before Judge Rebecca Foley focused on lack of causation evidence under Thacker v. UNR Industries, Inc. 151 Ill. 2d. 343 (1992). ... Read More.