Latest from HeplerBroom Blog

This post was written by HeplerBroom Summer Associate Sarah Jolley. A supervising partner also contributed to the post.
In Abo-Saif v. Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of Illinois, 2022 IL App (1st) 211091, the Illinois Court of Appeals, First District affirmed the Circuit Court of Cook County’s holding that sovereign immunity extends to contract disputes involving formerly private institutions that have since been purchased by the State.
Case Background
Plaintiff Bishoy Abo-Saif, a disabled student at John Marshall Law School (“JMLS”) was dismissed from his juris doctor program on academic grounds. Abo-Saif v. Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of Illinois,
Continue Reading Sovereign Immunity Extends to Formerly Private Entities Now Owned by the State

by Kathleen Hamilton
After a more than twelve-year court battle and three separate appeals, the Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District has ruled that the plain language of Missouri Statute Section 34.057 (the Prompt Pay Act) calls for a penalty of simple interest computed solely on the principal. (The Prompt Pay Act allows courts to impose late payment interest of 1.5% per month on top of payments found to have been withheld from a contractor in bad faith.) The Court of Appeals held that Missouri’s Prompt Pay Act did not provide for compound interest and that the trial court erred in
Continue Reading Missouri’s Prompt Pay Act Provides for Simple Interest as Penalty for Failure to Pay

by Emilee M. Bramstedt
It is longstanding law in Illinois that a possessor of land does not owe a duty of care to an adult trespasser on his land except to refrain from willfully and wantonly injuring that trespasser.[1] For example, a railroad operator is not expected to keep a lookout for persons on a railroad track that’s away from populated areas and public crossings, where persons are not expected or anticipated to be.[2] Similarly, it has long been held that a possessor of land is not required to foresee an injury caused by an open and obvious
Continue Reading Quiroz v. Chicago Transit Authority: An Illinois Supreme Court Analysis Regarding the Duty of Care

by Charles Insler
The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA or Act) is the litigation gift that keeps on giving. Hundreds, if not thousands, of BIPA lawsuits have been filed across the state and federal courts of Illinois. Some BIPA lawsuits have even made their way out-of-state,[i] with some settling for enormous sums.[ii] With so many BIPA lawsuits being filed, across all industries, an important question emerges: Is there insurance coverage for these BIPA lawsuits?
 
WHAT IS BIPA?
BIPA establishes safeguards and procedures relating to the retention, collection, disclosure, and destruction of biometric data.[iii] Passed in October
Continue Reading Insurance Providers & BIPA Litigation: Are Insurers Obligated to Defend Their Insureds in BIPA Litigation?

by Katie A. Fulara Vinge
On May 28, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an amendment to 735 ILCS 5/2-103 allowing for prejudgment interest of 6% for personal injury cases. Since that time, Illinois attorneys have pondered how best to navigate these new waters and how exactly this amendment will impact their clients going forward. In response to the amendment, many legal defense committees drafted a variety of motions and other pleadings that attacked the constitutionality of the amendment. Every county in Illinois has approached these issues differently. Depending on the county, some judges have entered and continued motions until
Continue Reading The Illinois Prejudgment Interest Statute: Is It Unconstitutional?

This blog post was written by HeplerBroom Summer Associate Caitlin Jarman. Partner Elizabeth Dyer Kellett also contributed to the post.
The Takeaway
The Seventh Circuit’s decision on the distinction between “treatment” and “diagnosis” determined its application of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.
Case Background
Glen Lash presented to Sparta Community Hospital District (“Sparta hospital”) with complaints of shortness of breath and chest discomfort. Lash v. Sparta Cmty. Hosp. Dist., 38 F.4th 540, 541 (7th Cir. 2022). Upon arrival, Lash’s vital signs were taken and were determined to be “abnormal.” Lash, 38 F.4th at 541. An EKG, blood work, and chest
Continue Reading To Err is Human: Seventh Circuit Holds that Hospital is Immune from Liability Related to Misdiagnosis

by Isaac R. Melton
Most home and auto insurance policies contain one or more clauses implicating the coverage afforded based on the residency of a named insured or someone seeking coverage under the insurance policy. Although determining one’s place of residence may seem like a straightforward issue, it can require a very fact-intensive analysis under a variety of circumstances. Such an analysis is one of the main focuses in a 2022 Supreme Court Rule 23 Order from the Fifth District Appellate Court. In addition, through the Order, the Fifth District Appellate Court discusses issues involved with the presentation of claims
Continue Reading How and When to Present Residency Evidence Can Be Key to Trial Success

This blog post was written by HeplerBroom Summer Associate Jocelyn Andersson. Partner Elizabeth Dyer Kellett also contributed to the post.

In Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. v. Godwin, the insured was in a car accident while driving his father’s car. Defendant Farmers denied coverage, arguing that the insurance policy’s exclusion clause applied because insured’s father’s car was not listed on the relevant insurance policy and either insured’s father was a member of insured’s household or he provided his car to insured for regular use.  The Illinois Appellate Court for the Third District found that insured’s father was not a resident of
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Rules Policy Exclusion Clause Does Not Apply: Insurer Had Duty to Defend and Idemnify

by Eric Rosser
Our product liability clients are seeing an uptick in plaintiffs’ requests to depose their corporate representatives. More and more, these requests are directed to clients who rarely, if ever, have had to put a corporate representative up for deposition.
Whom should your client select? It’s a big decision. This individual will be the “face of the franchise,” so to speak; his or her testimony will become binding on the company and potentially be used in litigation for years to come. For best results, consider these key factors:
Key 1. Choose a corporate representative now.
Key 2. Choose
Continue Reading 3 Keys to Preparing for Corporate Representative Depositions

In a recent blog (which can be read here), HeplerBroom attorney Stephanie Weiner highlighted the First District Appellate Court’s recent ruling in Alave v. City of Chicago and its impact on the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. In Alave, the First District created a narrow exception to the Tort Immunity Act for bicycle riders near Divvy stations in Chicago. The First District did not wait long to limit this new exception when it issued its ruling in Babic v. The Village of Lincolnwood, 2022 IL App (1st) 210929.
Case Background
 In June 2018, Plaintiff rode
Continue Reading Local Governments and Cyclists Take Note: First District Limits Recent Exception to Tort Immunity Act

by Ali A. Ayanaw
Does your Illinois business have or use PFAS in its products or operations? If yes, then you may need to pay close attention to a recent law that bans disposing of PFAS by incineration.
PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in various industrial and household products for decades. PFAS have often been referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their long-enduring composition.  Although knowledge about the possible adverse health effects of PFAS is relatively limited, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences notes there are studies
Continue Reading Illinois Bans Incineration of PFAS

by Timothy P. Collins
It’s now officially summer, the busiest time of year for the residential real estate market in Illinois. That makes it a great time for sellers and buyers to take note of recent changes to the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act (the “Act”), 765 ILCS 77, which was signed into law earlier this spring. All parties to residential real estate transactions entered into after May 13, 2022, must comply with the new provisions of the Act, including a seller’s obligation to provide an updated Residential Real Property Disclosure Report (the “Disclosure Report”).
Original Provisions that
Continue Reading Illinois Residential Real Estate Sellers Take Note: Your Obligations Have Changed

by Jamie Rein
As this last long winter season has finally come to an end, it’s time for contractors to revisit their snow and ice removal contracts for next winter. Illinois law regarding snow and ice removal contractors’ liability seems to have quietly changed, so take a hard look at what you’ve agreed to perform on behalf of a property owner.
Natural Accumulation Rule for Property Owners
Illinois winters can be brutal and unpredictable. Therefore, the Illinois Supreme Court has held that a landowner or possessor of real property has no duty to remove natural accumulations of ice and snow
Continue Reading Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Contractors Beware! It’s Time to Revisit What Snow and Ice Services You’ve Agreed to Perform

by Stephanie Weiner

A recent ruling by Illinois’ First District Appellate Court has carved out a narrow exception to the Tort Immunity Act.
Case Background
In 2019, Plaintiff was riding his bicycle within a crosswalk on a Chicago city street when he hit a pothole and fell, sustaining injuries. The area where he fell was 100 feet from a Divvy bike rental location (a place where the general public can rent bicycles), although Plaintiff was not riding a Divvy bike at the time of his fall. Plaintiff filed a complaint of negligence against the City of Chicago (Alave v. City
Continue Reading First District Creates Narrow Exception to Tort Immunity Act

by Eric Moch and Ryan Chancellor
America is in the grips of a lethal opioid epidemic, and law enforcement and insurance claims departments are on the front lines of the fight. Thechallenge is to ensure physicians have the freedom to prescribe necessary and responsibly priced medications while simultaneously ensuring that bad actors do not take advantage of the system to endanger the public with unnecessary and over-priced medications that pose real risks to public health while driving increases in insurance premiums. This column highlights a recent civil lawsuit by the United States of America and a case study, with a
Continue Reading Prescription Medication Fraud: A New Federal Civil Suit and a Case Study to Highlight Real Dangers

by Weston T. Stoddard

In Bensenberg v. FCA US LLC, Donna Bensenberg (“Decedent”) filed suit to recover damages on a theory of strict product liability for injuries she sustained from an auto accident after her vehicle’s front airbag did not deploy. 31 F.4th 529 (7th Cir. 2022). While litigation was pending, Decedent passed away from unrelated causes. Id. at 533. Her son, Bradley Bensenberg (“Plaintiff”), then stepped in as Plaintiff. Id.
Case Background
On the day of the accident, Decedent was driving a 2008 Chrysler Aspen sport utility vehicle on a two-lane highway when she suffered a medical incident that
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Gets Specific about Non-Specific Defect Theory