The Illinois Supreme Court held on September 22, 2016 in Kakos v. Butler, 2016 IL 120377, that the right to trial by jury includes the right to demand a 12-member jury. The change to Illinois’ jury system to reduce the size of juries in civil cases was proposed by the plaintiffs’ bar and had passed the Illinois legislature without much real debate in the waning days of former Gov. Patrick J. Quinn’s time in office, and became effective June 1, 2015. The Court held PA 98-1132 which reduced civil juries to only six members, and the statute it amended, 735 ILCS 5/2-1105(b), was facially unconstitutional. Because the provision regarding jury size could not be severed from the Act, the Court held the entire Act invalid. The 5-0 decision was authored by Justice Garman, with Justices Thomas and Kilbride taking no part. Read More »
On September 12, 2016, Ed Matushek spoke at Perrin Conferences’ Asbestos Litigation Conference in San Francisco, California on “Settlement Dynamics and Negotiation Strategies: Ethical Considerations and Effective Strategies for Finding Middle Ground.” This highly acclaimed annual event assembled leaders in U.S. asbestos litigation, including many of the most prominent plaintiff and defense attorneys, judges, in-house counsel, insurance professionals, risk managers, and scientific and medical experts. Matushek Nilles LLC was a co-sponsor of the conference, which was attended by nearly 600 registrants.
Partners Brent Eisenberg and Amy Callaghan and associate Mike Martinez were recently named Rising Stars by Illinois Super Lawyer, a distinction given to only the top 2.5% of lawyers.
The firm of Matushek Nilles LLC has again been rated AV Preeminent by its peers in Martindale-Hubbell, as have all of the firm’s partners individually. AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
Brent Eisenberg joined the partnership at Matushek Nilles LLC on July 1, 2016. Previously, Mr. Eisenberg had more than seven years experience as an associate with Matushek Nilles LLC, successfully defending manufacturers in asbestos litigation throughout the State of Illinois and Missouri. Mr. Eisenberg has achieved the highest rating, AV-Preeminent, from Martindale-Hubbell.
In a victory for the asbestos defense bar, Randy Smith and Mike Martinez of Matushek Nilles LLC secured summary judgment for Brand Insulations, Inc. in the case of Rex Hill (Morgan County, Illinois, Case No. 13 L 21). Randy and Mike convinced Judge Christopher R. Reif to reject a novel attempt by the plaintiff to circumvent and nullify the effect of Folta v. Ferro Engineering by pursuing claims of secondary exposure between coworkers. Read More »
The Court applied the ten-year statute of repose applicable to all product liability plaintiffs, and restored as controlling precedent Covalt v. Carey Canada, Inc., 543 N.E.2d 382 (Ind. 1989), finding the Act unconstitutional as applied to asbestos plaintiffs. Read More »
A new decision may herald a flood of asbestos claims in the Hoosier State. The Indiana Supreme Court declared the Indiana Product Liability Act statute of repose unconstitutional as applied to asbestos claims, essentially overruling the court’s prior decision in AlliedSignal v. Ott, 785 N.E.2d 1068 (Ind. 2003). Read More »
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on November 4, 2015 granted our motion to dismiss defendant Blain Supply, Inc. for lack of personal jurisdiction. This is a significant victory not only for our client, but for the entire defense bar. We argued that the court lacked general jurisdiction under Daimler AG v. Bauman because Blain Supply was a Wisconsin corporation with its principal place of business in Wisconsin. In response to our motion, the plaintiffs had argued that Blain Supply consented to jurisdiction because it was registered to do business in Illinois and had an Illinois registered agent for service of process, and therefore could not avail itself of our due process argument. We replied that such an analysis was irrelevant post-Daimler and Judge Kocoras agreed with our position and ruled that the fact that a non-resident corporation that is merely registered to do business in Illinois and has a registered agent here does not subject that corporation to general jurisdiction in Illinois. Read More »
The Illinois Supreme Court has reversed the recent decision of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, which had created unlimited tort liability for Illinois employers of asbestos plaintiffs. In Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 2015 IL 118070, released November 4, 2015, the Court held that it was the responsibility of the State Legislature, not the courts, to modify the language of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, and restored the exclusive remedy defense to Illinois employers of asbestos plaintiffs. Ed Matushek had joined in an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of three of our employer-clients and we are pleased to report that their cooperation contributed to our success in overturning a very dangerous decision by the appellate court that had adopted the reasoning of the Pennsylvania courts in Tooey. Read More »