Michael D. Martinez
- Named to Illinois Super Lawyers as as a Rising Star among the top 2.5% of Illinois attorneys who practice in the area of personal injury/product liability and mass torts.
Michael D. Martinez is a partner with Matushek Nilles LLC. He concentrates his practice in the defense of asbestos litigation by simplifying sophisticated legal arguments for the successful persuasion of trial courts in cases of first impression, and prevailing on appeals which attempt to overturn our favorable defense rulings. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.
Legal Experience: Mr. Martinez possesses impressive experience in the defense of asbestos personal injury claims, including appellate practice. He is bolstered in his background with a valuable history in the defense of construction defect, product liability, premises liability, and bad faith litigation, as well as in the prosecution of civil rights employment discrimination cases.
Asbestos Trial Experience: Mike Martinez has provided invaluable back-bench trial assistance in recent McLean County, Illinois jury trials, resulting in a defense verdict for an industrial insulation contractor on claims of asbestos exposure and spoliation of evidence. Significant cases include:
- Estate of Charles Goodwin v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, McLean County, IL No. 08 L 14 (provided back-bench trial support throughout the jury trial brought by estate of pipefitter on exposure and spoliation claims, resulting in defense verdict for our client; drafted jury instructions and all trial motions, and the response to plaintiff’s post-trial motion; helped draft outline of closing argument; helped preserve issues for appeal relating to court’s denial of motion for directed verdict on spoliation claim).
- Estate of John McGowan v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, McLean County, Illinois No. 08 L 12 (drafted all pre-trial motion, trial briefs and post-trial motion response) (defense verdict on exposure and spoliation where plaintiff alleged our client installed asbestos-insulation at the railroad where plaintiff worked, and destroyed evidence that would have allowed him to prevail on the exposure claim) (directed verdict granted on exposure claim; defense verdict entered on spoliation claim).
- Joseph Sondag v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, McLean County, Illinois No. 08 L 17 (drafted all pre-trial motions, trial briefs and post-trial motion and reply brief; motion for directed verdict granted on claim of direct exposure but denied on spoliation claim; post-trial motion sought reversal of judgment on spoliation claim.)
Asbestos Appellate Experience: Mr. Martinez also has considerable appellate experience. He authored the appellate brief for our client in the Fourth District Appellate Court, and established precedent on an issue of first impression — whether expert testimony is required to assert a sole proximate cause defense. Holloway v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, 2014 IL App (4th) 131118, 23 N.E.3d 597 (first Illinois appellate decision on spoliation of evidence in the asbestos context, affirming defense verdict, and casting doubt on the merits of plaintiffs’ expert’s “each and every fiber” theory). Another notable appeal includes Myers v. Crouse-Hinds Div. of Cooper Industries, Inc., et al., No. 49S00-1502-MI-119, 2016 WL 825111 (Ind. 2016) (lead appellate counsel in constitutional challenge to Indiana Product Liability Act statute of repose as applied to asbestos claims).
Dispositive Motion Practice: After substituting as defense counsel, Mr. Martinez obtained a dismissal without indemnity payout for a power generator premises defendant by developing a construction statute of repose defense in case where the prior counsel had overlooked the defense and requested $90,000 in settlement authority. Another significant dispositive motion includes Surita v. AM General, LLC, et al., No. 15 CV 7164 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 4, 2015) (granting Blain Supply’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, and establishing that a nonresident corporation does not consent to general, all-purpose jurisdiction by merely registering to do business in the state and appointing a registered agent to accept service of process in the state).
Professional Memberships: Mr. Martinez is a member of the Chicago Bar Association.
Publications and Presentations: “Recent Developments and Emerging Trends in Asbestos Premises Liability,” The National Forum for Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues, 24th Annual Conference, October 5, 2017; Where There’s a “Will,” There Should Be a Way: Why In re Salvino Unjustifiably Restricts the Application of Sec. 523(a)(6) to Exclude Willful & Malicious Breaches of Contract, 29 N. Ill.U.L.Rev. 441 (2009).
Education: Michael D. Martinez earned his Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude, from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 2009, where he was Notes & Comments Editor for the Northern Illinois University Law Review. During law school, Mr. Martinez received the “Top Mentor” Award from the NIU Latino Law Student Association. Prior to law school, Mr. Martinez graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric: Professional Writing from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.