Querrey & Harrow Obtains Dismissal On Behalf Of Police Officer Who Pepper Sprayed An Intoxicated Judge

Through strategic and aggressive discovery, Chicago office shareholders Paul O'Grady, Dan Gallagher and Brandon Lemley convinced the plaintiff in a high-profile excessive force case to abandon the litigation altogether and dismiss the case with prejudice. The plaintiff was a judge in Lake County, Illinois, who was pulled over by a police officer and arrested for driving under the influence. During the traffic stop, the plaintiff reached for the ignition and began to roll the window up, prompting the officer to use pepper spray in an effort to prevent the plaintiff from fleeing.

After aggressive discovery by Querrey & Harrow, the plaintiff decided to dismiss the case with prejudice, bringing about an early, cost-effective end to a high-profile case.

Querrey & Harrow Obtains Important Victory of Taxpayers In Seventh Circuit Antitrust Decision

On March 14, 2011, the Seventh Circuit issued an important victory for municipalities across Illinois. In Active Disposal v. City of Darien, No. 10-2568, the Court held for a group of municipalities represented by Querrey & Harrow shareholders Paul Rettberg, Christopher Keleher and Brandon Lemley. The case was brought as a class-action on behalf of several waste haulers as well as a class of customers who used the haulers. The catalyst for the suit was municipal ordinances granting exclusive contracts to a single waste hauler to provide roll off dumpsters. Such dumpsters are a common sight in residential areas, typically used for home remodeling and construction projects.

The exclusivity ordinances facilitated the health and safety of the municipalities because, inter alia, they required waste haulers to demonstrate and abide by safety requirements. Nevertheless, the class claimed the municipalities' exclusive contracts violated federal antitrust law. The municipalities prevailed in the district court. The district court held that the exclusive contracts fell within the state-action exception to antitrust law and dismissed the complaint. The state-action doctrine, as its name suggests, allows municipalities to engage in conduct that would otherwise violate antitrust law when the conduct is authorized by the state. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The appeals court determined the state-action doctrine applied to the municipalities' contracts for trash disposal. It reasoned that anti-competitive effects were a foreseeable result of Illinois's authorization for municipalities to make contracts for the collection and disposition of roll off waste.

The Seventh Circuit's decision reflects the notion that municipalities need freedom and flexibility in dealing with waste issues. The Active Disposal decision preserves the ability of municipalities across Illinois to streamline how they contract with waste haulers and other vendors.

Burden and Turiello Obtain Summary Judgment for Homeowners Association

Chicago shareholders Ernie Burden and Jennifer Turiello were successful in obtaining a summary judgment ruling on behalf of their clients, a homeowners association and a real estate management company. Plaintiff, who is a member of the homeowners association, brought a lawsuit after suffering severe and permanent injuries when she slipped while attempting to ascend a stainless steel ladder in the deep end of the Association's pool. The plaintiff alleged that at the time of the accident, the pool's ladder was in a state of disrepair and it lacked sufficient slip resistance surface on the ladder's rungs.

The plaintiff disclosed a park recreational expert who testified that the ladder was substandard. On behalf the defendants, Q&H retained a former U.S. Naval Academy mechanical engineer, who tested the ladder and opined that it met industry standards for sufficient slip resistance.

The plaintiff demanded $1.5 million dollars to settle. In granting defendants' motion for summary judgment, the circuit court opined that, as a matter of law, the defendants could not be held liable for the plaintiff's injuries because they did not have prior knowledge of any alleged defective condition of the pool's ladder.
Hat Trick of Success in Joliet Office

Joliet shareholder Janet Farmans and associate Aaron DeAngelis recently received a favorable jury verdict for a rear-end automobile accident. The impact was substantial in that it caused the plaintiff's vehicle to strike the vehicle directly in front of her. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of the accident she suffered severe pain in her head, neck and right elbow, and underwent multiple surgeries on her right elbow. The defendant admitted negligence, but disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff's injuries. At the conclusion of trial, the plaintiff sought nearly $200,000 in damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. A Will County jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for only $30,000.

Janet and Aaron also recently obtained summary judgment in a case alleging that their client negligently renovated her former residence prior to moving out and relinquishing control and possession of the property to her ex-husband/co-defendant. In the case, the plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury, which required several brain surgeries, when he fell down the stairwell at the former residence. Ultimately, summary judgment was granted on the basis that the client could not be held liable for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff subsequent to her transfer of possession and control of the property. The plaintiff sought damages in excess of $3 Million.

Janet also obtained a very favorable settlement for her client, an owner of an apartment building. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained a fracture to his foot and other injuries, including a deformed toe, when he tripped on a seam in the carpet at the apartment complex owned by her client. The plaintiff incurred over $30,000 in medical expenses. The case settled on the eve of trial for only $10,000.

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