June 2010

Q&H Suburban Office Attorneys Complete Not Guilty "Hat Trick"

Congratulations to Q&H's suburban offices for scoring three trial wins in recent weeks. In the first case, Wheaton office shareholder Lissa Hamer obtained a not guilty verdict for client who rear-ended the plaintiff at a stop sign. The plaintiff subsequently underwent a cervical fusion with specials of approximately $98,000. Lissa was able to successfully cross-examine the treating surgeon that the plaintiff had prior complaints before the accident, even though he testified that the accident aggravated her condition to the point of surgery being needed. Lissa's expert witness testified there was no evidence of acute injury. The plaintiff asked for a verdict of $180,856 and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than 10 minutes.

In the second case, Joliet office shareholder Janet Farmans obtained a not guilty verdict representing defendant/home owners in a premises liability case where the plaintiff, a woman contracted to provide cleaning services at their home, fell down a flight of stairs when exiting the residence. Plaintiff's expert contended that the defendants were negligent in placing a non-slip resistant rug at the landing to the stairwell, providing poor lighting conditions and failing to install a hand rail to the stairwell. Plaintiff suffered injuries to her right elbow, requiring four surgeries, ultimately resulting in a complete elbow replacement. Plaintiff's disclosed medical specials totaled over $230,000 and wage loss over $34,000. Plaintiff's sought over $850,000 at the arbitration hearing.

Last, but not least, Wheaton office shareholder Jim Jendryk recently concluded a trial in Lake County before Judge Dunn involving a "he-said/she-said" dispute at a four-way stop intersection. No independent witnesses were of any assistance. Plaintiff was a 69-year-old man on a motor scooter who claimed that defendant turned left in front of him, causing him to lose control and "lay down" his motor scooter, crushing his right ankle. He suffered a fracture/dislocation of his right ankle with $24,128 in medical bills. Defendant testified that the plaintiff rolled through the stop sign and when she began her turn, she expected that he would stop. The verdict was "not guilty".

Q&H Successful in Coverage Fight Involving Religious Order

Michele Oshman of our Chicago office obtained two favorable rulings for the Chicago branch of a large religious order in a longstanding coverage dispute with two of the order's primary insurers. The order was sued in several cases asserting negligent supervision and other acts and omissions relating to a priest accused of certain improper conduct.

One of the primary insurers sold eight years of coverage to the order, which included coverage for the alleged improper conduct, and another primary insurer sold six years of general liability coverage. Those insurers denied coverage to the order and filed suits in the Chancery Court of Cook County, Illinois, each seeking a declaration of no coverage.

The two cases were related and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the order on the first insurers' primary coverage, finding that the insurer has a duty to defend the order under the current pleadings in the underlying cases. The judge also denied summary judgment to the second primary insurer, finding that the pleadings alleged potentially covered claims. The order's motion for summary judgment seeking an affirmative declaration of a duty to defend under the second insurer's primary insurance coverage is pending.

Walkup Completes Two Collective Bargaining Sessions

Chicago shareholder April Walkup had a busy April, successfully negotiating two collective bargaining agreements. The first was on behalf of an Elgin company in negotiations with the Teamsters and the second with the employees of a funeral supply company. Both agreements were ratified by majorities of the respective companies' employees.

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