Douglas Sinars is a founding partner with SST and has nearly 30 years of experience in civil litigation and appeals. He concentrates his practice in product liability, construction defect, professional liability, and toxic torts, including asbestos and talc litigation.
In the last several years, Doug has tried four asbestos personal injury cases to verdict in Illinois. He also secured a directed verdict after a thirteen-day jury trial in the City of St. Louis on behalf of a local industrial supply company and successfully resolved two consolidated NYCAL cases as lead counsel after an eight-week trial. Recently Doug conducted a three-day Frye hearing in Cook County, Illinois on the issue of genetics and potential causation of cancer.
Doug has also defended medical and nursing malpractice, sexual abuse, automobile, fire, employment law, including age discrimination claims, and has prosecuted property damage subrogation claims, including a claim that resulted in the then largest settlement in the history of Livingston County, Illinois.
Doug’s practice has evolved to include the implications of genetic and genomics in the courtroom, and the ability to determine whether there is a genetic explanation for an alleged toxic tort injury. Genetic testing can provide evidence that an inherited genetic mutation may be a more likely cause of a certain medical condition than exposure to a particular toxicant.
Doug was the co-chair of the committee responsible for amending all consolidated discovery in Cook County asbestos litigation and has tried asbestos cases to jury verdict in Cook County, McLean County and Madison County, Illinois. Doug was the first attorney in the state of Illinois to convince a judge to dismiss a wrongful death claim under the amended Product Liability Statute of Repose which was enacted as part of tort reform legislation in Illinois.
Doug has significant appellate experience. He was successful in upholding a judgment on behalf of his client in Costa v. Dresser Industries, Inc., 268 Ill.App.3d 1 (3rd Dist.1994). He won a rare appellate victory for an indigent criminal defendant on a pro bono appointment by the Illinois Appellate Court. He persuaded the Fifth District Appellate Court to transfer a case from Madison County on forum non conveniens grounds, Burns v. A.P. Green Industries, Inc., 761 N.E.2d 380 (Ill. App. 2001), the first successful appeal there on that issue in several years.
In an issue of first impression, on appeal, he was successful in upholding summary judgment on behalf of his client in a take-home household exposure case, by convincing the court that based on the lack of relationship between the parties, no legal duty was owed to a third party who never visited the client’s premises. Nelson v. Aurora Equipment Co., 391 Ill.App.3d 1036 (2d Dist.2009).
Doug has obtained several benchmark rulings which have shaped the course of asbestos litigation in Cook County, including imposing strict disclosure requirements on plaintiffs’ evidence. He has also appeared before the Indiana Supreme Court for the landmark decision involving the constitutionality of the Indiana Product Liability Act Statute of Repose in Myers v. Crouse-Hinds Division of Cooper Industries, Inc., 53 N.E.3d 1160 (2016).
Publications and Presentations
"Medical & Scientific Literature Update on Asbestos & Mesothelioma" Moderator, Perrin National Asbestos Litigation Conference (2023)
"Household and Secondary Exposure." Lecturer at National Asbestos Litigation Conference (2010).
"Civil Practice: Opening the Case" Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Chapter 12, "New Parties" (2009)
“The Case For and Against Premises Owners” Presenter at Mealey’s Trial Skills Conference (2008).
“Boot Camp Basics,” used by Federal Defender Program Offices Nationwide
"No Vested Right to Nursing Home Treble Damages.", Co-author. Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly 9 (1999).
Notable Cases and Trials
Vaccaro v. ABB, Inc., et al., Supreme Court of the State of New York, NYCAL Index No. 190378/2014, Rossi v. ABB, Inc., et al., Supreme Court of the State of New York, NYCAL Index No. 190411/2014
Donna Lee Harrison and Jerry Harrison v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc, et. al., Circuit Court of City of St. Louis, No. 1522-CC09759
Joseph Sondag and Phyllis Sondag v. Pneumo Abex Corporation, Circuit Court of McLean County, No. 08 L 17
Judy McGowan, Individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of John McGowan v. Illinois Central Railroad, et al., Circuit Court of McLean County, No. 08 L 12
Jana Frank, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Charles Goodwin v. Honeywell International, Inc., Circuit Court of McLean County, No. 08 L 14
Roby Whittington v. United States Steel Corporation, Circuit Court of Madison County, No. 02 L 1113
Clousteen Jackson, Guardian of the Person of William Jackson, Disabled v. A&M Insulation, Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 99 L 14822