RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TORT LAW

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1 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TORT LAW Presented and Prepared by: Matthew R. Booker Springfield, Illinois Prepared with the Assistance of: John D. Hoelzer Springfield, Illinois Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen PEORIA SPRINGFIELD URBANA ROCKFORD EDWARDSVILLE CHICAGO 2014 Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen J-1

2 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TORT LAW I. JOHNSON V. JOHNSON AND BELL, LTD.... J-3 II. RYAN V. GLEN ELLYN RAINTREE CONDOMINIUM ASSOC.... J-3 III. MORRIS V. INGERSOLL CUTTING TOOL CO.... J-4 IV. NIDA V. SPURGEON... J-5 V. COX V. US FITNESS, LLC... J-5 VI. WILKINS V. WILLIAMS... J-6 VII. KILBURG V. MOHIUDDIN... J-7 VIII. GAREST V. BOOTH... J-8 IX. POWELL V. AMERICAN SERVICE INSURANCE CO.... J-8 X. HARRIS V. ONE HOPE UNITED, INC.... J-9 XI. WILLIAMS V. ROSNER... J-10 XII. SMART V. CITY OF CHICAGO... J-10 XIII. ABRAMS V. OAK LAWN-HOMETOWN MIDDLE SCHOOL... J-11 XIV. GREEN V. PAPA... J-11 The cases and materials presented here are in summary and outline form. To be certain of their applicability and use for specific claims, we recommend the entire opinions and statutes be read and counsel consulted. J-2

3 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TORT LAW I. JOHNSON V. JOHNSON AND BELL, LTD. Johnson v. Johnson and Bell, Ltd., 2014 IL App (1st) In a prior case, the plaintiff brought suit against Target based on a slip-and-fall in one of Target s stores. Target removed the case to federal court. In preparation for trial, all of the parties, including the plaintiff, prepared and signed a joint final pretrial order. The order, which was entered into the district court s electronic filing system, had appendices containing all of the exhibits that the parties planned to use at trial. The case then proceeded to trial, resulting in a verdict for Target. During the pendency of the plaintiff s appeal, the plaintiff purportedly discovered that, unbeknownst to her, certain documents were attached to the final pretrial order that included her social security number, date of birth, financial information, medical information, and references to G.J., a minor. The plaintiff then brought the instant action against Target and its attorneys, alleging invasion of privacy, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of written and oral contracts based on the failure to redact her personal information. The defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff s claims were barred by the absolute litigation privilege. The privilege generally provides absolute immunity against a defamation claim where the allegedly defamatory statement was made by an attorney or private litigant in anticipation of, or during, a judicial proceeding. Applying prior precedent, the appellate court held that the absolute litigation privilege in defamation actions also applies to invasion of privacy actions. The court also held, as a matter of first impression, that the privilege bars the plaintiff s remaining negligence and breach of contract claims. The court noted that the privilege would be meaningless if a simple recasting of the cause of action could void its effect. The court also held that, because the alleged misconduct occurred in a separate federal action, that prior case was the proper venue for the plaintiff s arguments regarding the defendants alleged misconduct. II. RYAN V. GLEN ELLYN RAINTREE CONDOMINIUM ASSOC. Ryan v. Glen Ellyn Raintree Condominium Assoc., 2014 IL App (2d) The plaintiff slipped and fell on ice outside the entrance of a condominium building. She brought suit against the condominium association, the business responsible for maintaining the property, and the business responsible for snow and ice removal. The plaintiff alleged that a patch of ice had formed because of water dripping from an overhead awning and then freezing on the walkway below. According to the plaintiff, the defendants were negligent for (1) failing to correct a design flaw in the awning, and (2) voluntarily removing snow and ice, but failing to clear the patch of ice at issue. J-3

4 The defendants argued that they had no duty to remove natural accumulations of snow and ice, and alternatively, the Snow and Ice Removal Act (745 ILCS 75/1 et seq. (West 2012)) shielded them from liability. Under the Snow and Ice Removal Act, a defendant s acts or omissions in the course of removing snow or ice cannot give rise to liability, absent willful or wanton misconduct. The plaintiff argued that the Act did not apply because she did not allege that the ice was due to the defendants efforts at snow removal, but rather that the ice was due to the defective awning. The appellate court rejected the plaintiff s argument, noting that, while the ultimate cause that the plaintiff alleged was a defective awning, the more immediate cause she alleged was a lapse in the defendants voluntarily undertaken snow and ice removal efforts. Because the plaintiff attributed her fall to the consequences of the defendants failed snow and ice removal efforts, the Act had prima facie application to her claim. The appellate court left unanswered the question of whether contracting for snow and ice removal equates to an effort under the Act, such that immunity would apply. The court noted that a sister district had held that merely contracting for snow and ice removal does not constitute removal efforts under the Act, see Greene v. Wood River Trust, et al., 2013 IL App (4th) , but the court deemed that holding to be unsupported and unpersuasive. III. MORRIS V. INGERSOLL CUTTING TOOL CO. Morris v. Ingersoll Cutting Tool Co., 2013 IL App (2d) The plaintiff truck driver parked his semitrailer in the defendants loading bay. As he disembarked from the vehicle, he stepped back and caught his foot on a crack in the asphalt, causing him to fall and sustain injury. The plaintiff knew about the crack and had previously informed the defendants about it. The plaintiff s expert described the defect as a depression in the asphalt, measuring 2½ feet long, 1 foot wide, and 1½ inches deep. The expert also described an adjacent depression, measuring 1 foot long, 6 inches wide, and ¾ inch deep. The trial court refused to consider any measurements beyond the 1½ inch height discrepancy, as the plaintiff s deposition testimony did not indicate that anything beyond the height led him to trip. The trial court held that the defect was de minimis and therefore not actionable. The appellate court noted that the de minimis rule generally forecloses claims based on defects less than 2 inches tall, absent aggravating circumstances. In considering whether the defendants owed the plaintiff a duty and the scope of any such duty, the court noted that the defect did not pose an unreasonable risk of harm because it was located in a nonsidewalk area. The court explained that nonsidewalk areas are held to a lesser standard due to the infrequency of pedestrian traffic. The court also concluded that the risk to the plaintiff did not outweigh the economic burden of requiring the defendants to repair every 1½ inch defect in the loading bay. Accordingly, the defect was de minimis. J-4

5 The plaintiff argued that, even if the defect was de minimis, there were aggravating factors, namely: the width and length of the defect, its proximity to the ingress and egress from the plaintiff s semitrailer, and the facility manager s training that a 1 inch difference in elevation could be a trip hazard. The court rejected the plaintiff s arguments, finding that they might apply if the crack were located on a sidewalk, but not in the context of a loading bay. Also, the facility manager s training did not equate to a policy of repairing defects over an inch. Simply put, the plaintiff could not expect sidewalk conditions in an industrial parking lot. IV. NIDA V. SPURGEON Nida v. Spurgeon, 2013 IL App (4th) The plaintiff leased a home from the defendant. At the time that she signed the lease, the defendant s son told her that he was going to patch or replace the driveway, which had broken pieces of asphalt. The defendant and her family continued to use the driveway during the plaintiff s tenancy, and the plaintiff complained several times about the driveway. One day, the plaintiff walked to the mailbox via a zigzag route in the driveway to avoid broken pieces of asphalt. A piece of asphalt about the size of a football broke under her step, causing her to fall and sustain injury. In a negligence action, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to warn her about the condition of the driveway, failed to repair the driveway, and permitted the driveway to exist in a state of disrepair. The appellate court held that the plaintiff, as the party in possession of the home, had the duty of providing safe means of ingress and egress, not the defendant. The fact that the defendant and her agents used the property during the plaintiff s tenancy did not establish that the defendant maintained control over the driveway; rather, the plaintiff maintained control by operation of the lease. Even assuming that the defendant promised to repair the driveway at the time that the plaintiff signed the lease, the defendant did not owe the plaintiff a duty because the danger was open and obvious. Although the plaintiff argued that the piece of asphalt that gave way was unbroken and, thus, not an open and obvious danger, the issue was whether the driveway as a whole was an open and obvious danger. Because the poor condition of the driveway was open and obvious, the defendant did not owe a duty to the plaintiff. V. COX V. US FITNESS, LLC Cox v. US Fitness, LLC, 2013 IL App (1st) The plaintiff sued her fitness club and personal trainer after she fell and injured her wrist during a training session. She alleged that the defendants negligently instructed her to perform a dangerous exercise and used certain equipment in an unsafe manner, among other claims. J-5

6 The issue before the appellate court was whether the liability release in the plaintiff s membership agreement foreclosed her claims. The plaintiff s membership agreement stated that she would assume all risks of personal injury, including risks associated with equipment and fitness advisory services. The plaintiff did not read the waiver, and the employee who enrolled the plaintiff did not receive any training or instructions about the waiver. The plaintiff argued that the waiver was inapplicable because her injury was not foreseeable at the time of her enrollment in that she later expanded her gym services to include personal training sessions. The court disagreed, holding that parties need not predict the exact occurrence and injury when executing a liability release. Furthermore, the fact that the enrolling employee may have lacked a subjective understanding of the waiver was irrelevant because contractual interpretations focus on the objective manifestations of the parties, including the language in the contract itself. The appellate court also dismissed the plaintiff s arguments that the waiver was unconscionable and against public policy. The court noted that the release was located just above the plaintiff s signature line, and it was labeled Liability Agreement in large bold letters. Although the plaintiff had little bargaining power, she was still capable of making a meaningful choice. Furthermore, the plaintiff s public policy argument failed because the waiver was not manifestly injurious to the public welfare. VI. WILKINS V. WILLIAMS Wilkins v. Williams, 2013 IL The plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident with the defendant s ambulance. At the time of the accident, the defendant, an employee of a private ambulance service, was transporting a patient on a nonemergency basis, and was not using emergency lights or sirens. In the ensuing negligence action, the defendant argued that she was immune under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act ( EMS Act ) 210 ILCS 50/3.150(a) (West 2006). The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the EMS Act immunized the defendant from negligence with regard to third parties. The Act provides, in pertinent part, that any person who in good faith provides nonemergency medical services in the normal course of conducting their duties shall not be civilly liable as a result of their acts or omissions in providing such services, unless such acts or omissions constitute willful and wanton misconduct. The Supreme Court held that, under the plain terms of the Act, immunity applies to claims by patients as well as nonpatient third parties. The Supreme Court also considered whether the EMS Act conflicted with certain provisions of the Vehicle Code imposing a duty on drivers of emergency vehicles to drive with due regard for the safety of others. The Supreme Court noted that the Vehicle Code was not directly on point because it addressed duties owed by public employees and drivers using emergency lights and sirens, neither of which was present in the instant case. Furthermore, the duty of care imposed J-6

7 by the Vehicle Code would still apply in cases where the ambulance was not providing medical services or was being operated with willful and wanton misconduct. The plaintiff s negligence claim was therefore barred by the EMS Act. VII. KILBURG V. MOHIUDDIN Kilburg v. Mohiuddin, 2013 IL App (1st) The plaintiff, a taxicab passenger, was injured when the taxi struck a tree. According to the driver, the taxi unintentionally accelerated without warning. The plaintiff subsequently filed a negligence and spoliation of evidence action against the driver, the taxi owner, and various entities involved with operating and storing the taxi. As to the spoliation claim, the plaintiff alleged that the taxi s event data recorder disappeared while in the defendants possession, thereby preventing her from pursuing a product liability lawsuit. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff s spoliation claim, finding that the defendants did not have a duty to preserve the recorder. On appeal, the appellate court noted that, as a general rule, there is no duty to preserve evidence. However, an exception to this general rule exists if (1) an agreement, contract, statute, special circumstance, or voluntary undertaking gives rise to a duty to preserve evidence on the part of the defendant, and (2) a reasonable person in the defendant s position would have foreseen that the evidence was material to a potential civil action. As to the driver and owner of the taxi, the appellate court found that special circumstances gave rise to a duty to preserve because the plaintiff s attorney sent them a letter three days after the accident, demanding that the taxi be preserved. Additionally, a few days later, the plaintiff filed a complaint and obtained a protective order from the trial court, requiring the preservation of evidence. The court noted that the duty arose when the driver and owner received the letter, and not, as the plaintiff argued, when the accident occurred. Because the plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the driver and owner may have removed the data recorder after the duty arose, the court held that the plaintiff s spoliation claim could proceed as to those defendants. As to the entities involved with the operation and storage of the taxi, the appellate court found no duty to preserve evidence. Mere possession and control of the taxi did not constitute a special circumstance giving rise to a duty to preserve it without some showing that these defendants segregated the taxi for the plaintiff s benefit or knew of the plaintiff s request to preserve the evidence. These defendants did not receive the attorney s letter, nor were they served with the complaint or the protective order. Accordingly, the appellate court held that they did not owe a duty to the plaintiff. J-7

8 VIII. GAREST V. BOOTH Garest v. Booth, 2013 IL App (1st) Planning to attend a funeral service, the plaintiff found herself walking at night toward a building, which she mistakenly thought was a funeral home. While walking down a sidewalk adjacent to the building, the plaintiff fell into a basement stairwell and sustained injury. At the time of the accident, the light in the stairwell was turned off. The plaintiff brought suit against the builder and the owner of the building. The plaintiff s expert opined that the accident was caused by inadequate lighting around the stairwell. Specifically, the stairwell had lighting that could be turned off, as opposed to lighting that remained on at all times. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal, the builder argued that the plaintiff was a trespasser, and, as such, the only duty that he owed was to refrain from willfully and wantonly injuring her. The appellate court held that, because the builder had completed construction years before the accident and had no other ties to the building, he was not an owner or occupier of the building. Because he was not an owner or occupier, the builder could not rely on the plaintiff s status as a trespasser, and the trial court correctly determined that he owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care. Furthermore, because the builder did not own or occupy the building, he could not assert premises liability defenses, such as the open-and-obvious doctrine. The appellate court further held that it was foreseeable to the builder that its failure to install adequate lighting would cause the accident. The fact that the owner may also have been negligent for not turning on the light did not mean that the builder could avoid liability. The owner argued on appeal that a new trial was warranted because the jury, in response to a special interrogatory, declared that the plaintiff was an invitee, rather than a trespasser a conclusion contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. The owner also took issue with the trial court instructing the jury on the duty owed to an invitee by a landowner. The appellate court agreed with the owner, finding that the plaintiff was a trespasser and that the jury should have been instructed accordingly. The appellate court therefore ordered a new trial for the owner, but not the builder. IX. POWELL V. AMERICAN SERVICE INSURANCE CO. Powell v. American Service Insurance Co., 2014 IL App (1st) Following an automobile accident, the plaintiff brought a negligence action against the other motorist. The motorist s insurer, American Service Insurance Company (ASI), defended the motorist in accordance with the motorist s policy, which had an indemnity limit of $20,000 per person. The plaintiff offered to settle for the full policy amount, but ASI rejected the plaintiff s offer. J-8

9 A jury subsequently determined that the plaintiff was 40% at fault, netting the plaintiff an award of $47, After the motorist assigned her rights under ASI s policy to the plaintiff, the plaintiff brought suit against ASI, alleging bad-faith failure to settle within the policy limits. Under Illinois law, an insurer has a duty to settle in good faith when a claim has been made against the insured and there is a reasonable probability of recovery in excess of the policy limits and a reasonable probability of a finding of liability against the insured. In this case, even if the plaintiff pled sufficient facts to show a reasonable probability of recovery in excess of the policy limits (a debatable point because the plaintiff merely alleged that ASI was aware of the potential damages, but not how or when ASI became aware), the plaintiff failed to allege a reasonable probability of liability on the part of the motorist. The circumstances of the accident, as pled by the plaintiff, indicated that the plaintiff may have been partially at fault. Thus, the plaintiff showed at most a reasonable possibility of liability by the motorist, not a reasonable probability. Furthermore, the mere fact that the insurance company lost at trial, and the fact that the jury found the motorist to be more than 50% at fault, were irrelevant because any duty on the part of ASI to settle arose at the time of the plaintiff s pretrial demand. X. HARRIS V. ONE HOPE UNITED, INC. Harris v. One Hope United, Inc., 2013 IL App (1st) The estate of a deceased child sued One Hope United, a contractor for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, after the child was returned to the mother s custody and thereafter drowned in a bathtub. The estate argued that One Hope should not have allowed the child to be returned to the mother because the mother had an unfavorable history and had failed to complete parenting classes. Following the child s death, One Hope conducted a Priority Review, which analyzed the soundness of, and gaps in, One Hope s services. When the estate sought the report during discovery, One Hope objected, arguing that it was protected under the self-critical analysis privilege. The appellate court held that the self-critical analysis privilege, which is intended to encourage companies to engage in candid and oftentimes critical internal investigations of their own possible wrong doings, has never been embraced in Illinois. The court further noted that the overriding need to determine the truth with respect to the cause of death of an infant overrides the desire of One Hope to keep its self-evaluations confidential. Accordingly, One Hope s report was discoverable. J-9

10 XI. WILLIAMS V. ROSNER Williams v. Rosner, 2014 IL App (1st) Following the birth of a child with sickle cell disease, the mother received a sterilization procedure from the defendant physician. However, the physician left one of the mother s fallopian tubes and ovaries intact, resulting in the birth of a second child with sickle cell disease. On behalf of their second child, the parents sued the physician and his employer for negligence and wrongful pregnancy. The parents sought damages large enough to raise the child to the age of majority (i.e., extraordinary damages). The physician argued that any damages should be limited to the costs of the unsuccessful operation, pain and suffering, any medical complications caused by the pregnancy, the costs of the child s delivery, lost wages, and loss of consortium (i.e., general damages). The appellate court held that, where the pleadings establish that the birth of a diseased child is a foreseeable consequence of a negligently performed sterilization procedure, wrongful pregnancy plaintiffs can seek extraordinary damages. In this case, the court found that the parents had alleged the requisite link between the physician s negligence and the child s condition; namely, that the parents communicated their need to avoid conception of another child with sickle cell disease to the physician. The plaintiff s injury, the birth of a second child afflicted with sickle cell disease, was of such a character that an ordinarily prudent person should have foreseen it to be a likely consequence of a negligently performed sterilization procedure. The physician also argued that proximate cause was lacking because he did not cause the child to have sickle cell disease. The appellate court rejected this argument, holding that proximate cause was satisfied because, as alleged, the birth would not have occurred but for the negligently performed sterilization procedure. Accordingly, the plaintiffs could proceed with their claim for extraordinary damages. XII. SMART V. CITY OF CHICAGO Smart v. City of Chicago, 2013 IL App (1st) The plaintiff bicyclist rode through an intersection that was in the process of being resurfaced. A shallow trench abruptly stopped his bicycle, causing the plaintiff to fall and sustain injury. There was no construction crew onsite at the time of the accident. The plaintiff subsequently brought a negligence action against the City of Chicago, alleging that the City had left the street in an unsafe condition. One of the issues on appeal was whether the trial court should have instructed the jury on general negligence, as the plaintiff wanted, or on premises liability, as the City wanted. The City argued that the negligence instruction should be given when the plaintiff alleges that an activity caused the injury, and that the premises liability instruction should be given when the injury is caused by a condition of the property. The appellate court held that the City s resurfacing J-10

11 activities, although not ongoing at the time of the accident, were nonetheless activities for purposes of the negligence instruction. Although the City construed the plaintiff s claim as alleging premises liability, the appellate court reaffirmed that, where a landowner s conduct in creating an unsafe condition precedes the plaintiff s injury, the plaintiff may elect to pursue a negligence claim, a premises liability claim, or both. XIII. ABRAMS V. OAK LAWN-HOMETOWN MIDDLE SCHOOL Abrams v. Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, 2014 IL App (1st) The plaintiff, a middle school student, tripped and fell in the school s combined cafeteria and auditorium, or cafetorium. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was participating in an after-school ceremony for the honor society. In the ensuing negligence action, the school argued that it was immune under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. 745 ILCS 10/3-106 (West 1994). The Tort Immunity Act shields public entities and employees from liability arising from the condition of any public property intended or permitted to be used for recreational purposes, except in cases of willful and wanton misconduct. Thus, the issue in this case was whether the cafetorium was a recreational area, as opposed to an educational area. The appellate court considered all of the uses for the cafetorium, which included: lunch services, student assemblies, school club meetings, induction ceremonies, performances by the school band and choir, and school plays. The appellate court held that all of these purposes were educational or incidental to educational uses. The court noted that school performances and plays occurred primarily to instruct the students rather than provide recreation to them, their friends and families, or the community. Although the space was also used occasionally for parties and ceremonies for the sports teams and for meetings convened by local taxpayers, those uses did not change the educational nature of the cafetorium. Because the school did not use the cafetorium for recreation in the past and did not encourage recreational uses there, the court held that the school was not entitled to immunity under the Tort Immunity Act. XIV. GREEN V. PAPA Green v. Papa, 2014 IL App (5th) The plaintiff brought a legal malpractice action against her attorney based on his representation of her before the Court of Claims. The plaintiff s underlying case arose from an automobile accident between the plaintiff and a truck owned by the Illinois Department of Transportation. About six months after the accident, the plaintiff fell from a chair at work, but she testified before the Court of Claims that the character and content of her pain did not change following that fall. Also during that J-11

12 proceeding, her attorney admitted depositions of the plaintiff s chiropractor and pain management physician, and he attempted to admit the deposition of the plaintiff s treating orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon s testimony would have attributed the plaintiff s injury to the automobile accident, while noting that the accident would have made the plaintiff more susceptible to an injury from the fall at work. None of the medical providers testified that the plaintiff s fall was a superceding event with respect to her subsequent medical treatment. The state objected to the admission of the surgeon s deposition, arguing that the deposition cover designated it as a discovery deposition, rather than an evidence deposition. The Court of Claims agreed with the state and excluded the deposition. The court further held that any medical costs incurred after the plaintiff s fall at work were not proximately caused by the accident, thereby greatly reducing the plaintiff s recovery. The plaintiff argued in her malpractice action that her attorney s failure to properly designate the surgeon s deposition caused her to recover less than she deserved. The appellate court rejected the plaintiff s argument, finding that the admission of the surgeon s deposition would not have changed the outcome of the plaintiff s claim before the Court of Claims. The appellate court noted that the Court of Claims misconstrued the evidence and reached the factually and legally unsound conclusion that the plaintiff s fall from a chair at work was a superceding event that proximately caused her subsequent medical treatment. The Court of Claims did not cutoff the plaintiff s damages subsequent to the fall because the surgeon s causation testimony was excluded, but rather it erroneously believed that the state had somehow proved that the fall was a superceding event. Because the surgeon s deposition would not have prevented the court s erroneous conclusions, the failure to designate the deposition as an evidence deposition did not proximately cause the plaintiff s damages. J-12

13 Matthew R. Booker - Partner Matt has spent his entire legal career with Heyl Royster, beginning in 2000 in the Springfield office. His practice focuses on healthcare law, representing physicians, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other similar healthcare organizations. His defense of these entities involves a range of issues including licensure, discipline, fraud and abuse, risk management, staff concerns, and defense of malpractice and other civil litigation. With his extensive litigation experience, Matt has personally defended a variety of civil cases, taking more than 25 to verdict. In recent years, he has developed a special focus on long term care and nursing home litigation. Many of his cases are against top Chicago and national counsel with settlement demands often in the millions of dollars. Matt's experience in the healthcare arena is vast. He began working in a hospital at the age of 15. After graduating from college, he began work as a registered nurse in a Central Illinois emergency room. While there, his responsibilities included charge nurse positions as well as house supervisor. Working as a nurse, he obtained trauma nurse specialist certification, was an advanced cardiac life support instructor and achieved certification in pediatric advanced life support. He also was directly involved in the training of paramedics at various level one trauma centers. Matt has also presented and lectured to various healthcare groups and other educational entities involving medical record privacy, nursing practice, and long term care litigation. He has also presented courses on evidence and evidence presentation. He has co-authored Smart Evidence, Medical Malpractice, and an evidentiary guide for medical malpractice cases. Recently he has been involved in presenting information to insurers and fellow litigators on the use of evidence in the courtroom obtained from social networking websites. Public Speaking Liability Issues Training McDonough County, IL Sheriff's Office (2014) Advanced Insurance, Settlement, and Trial Issues for Accident Cases Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2013) Professional Recognition In 2012, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Publishing Company honored Matt by selecting him as one of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch." This prestigious award recognizes exceptional lawyering skills, significant contributions to the legal profession and substantial involvement in local community. Professional Associations Illinois State Bar Association Sangamon County Bar Association Adjuster's Association of Central Illinois (President Present) Defense Research Institute Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel Association of Defense Trial Attorneys Court Admissions State Courts of Illinois United States District Court, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois Education Juris Doctor (Magna Cum Laude), Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1999 Bachelor of Science-Nursing, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1995 J-13 Learn more about our speakers at

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