Union Tank Car Co. relied on business records of third parties without any testimony from employees of those other companies to quantify damages caused by a breach of lease for 47 railcars.

An appeal was taken to the Illinois Appellate Court from a $1.27 million judgment entered in a Cook County bench trial. NuDevco Partners guaranteed the lease and argued that the trial court was wrong in ruling that Union Tank satisfied the requirement for the business records exception to the hearsay rule. NuDevco also claimed that the best-evidence-rule barred testimony about Union Tank’s wire transfers in payments to third parties.

The tankers were for shipping petroleum. The lessee, a subsidiary company of NuDevco, stopped paying rent and shipped the tankers back to Union Tank. To prove up freight, switching and storing charges, Union Tank presented invoices from its vendors, plus testimony from its director of fleet repair and the general manager of the lease division about receipts and payment of the bills.

Continue reading

Plaintiff Frank Russo filed a lawsuit against the defendant, Corey Steel Co., to recover damages for injuries he suffered when a crane struck a lift in which Russo was working at the defendant’s plant. Corey Steel admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to a trial before a jury to deliberate solely on the issue of damages.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Russo for a total amount of $9.9 million in damages. Corey Steel retained additional counsel, and as a result, the trial judge who presided over the trial recused himself of the post-trial proceedings.

Corey Steel filed a post-trial motion for a new trial on several grounds. The post-trial judge granted defendant’s motion for a new trial based solely on defendant’s argument that the trial judge erroneously allowed one of plaintiff’s experts to offer an opinion on plaintiff’s need for one future surgery. The trial judge had allowed the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony to stand. The post-trial judge denied defendant’s post-trial motion on the other grounds raised in the motion.

Continue reading

Vilma Marenco, 54, was driving her vehicle through an intersection when a loaded 18-wheeler operated by Rodger Jones struck her car on the driver-side door.

She suffered fatal injuries in this crash. She had been a restaurant worker earning $25,000 per year and is survived by her husband and two daughters, one of whom is a minor.

Marenco’s estate sued the truck driver and his company owners including Elisa Fabiola Lopez and R&F Quality Transportation, claiming liability for the negligent entrustment and choosing not to supervise Jones. The suit also named Jones for his failure to obey and heed a red light.  Apparently Jones ran through a red light, which was a cause of the crash and unfortunate death of Marenco.

Continue reading

In the case of Campbell v. Acme Installations Inc., highlighted in the April 2019 Illinois Bar Journal authored by Eric J. Muñoz, general jurisdiction for nonresident defendants is clarified.

In the Campbell case, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against General Electric and other companies resulting from his alleged exposure to GE-manufactured industrial furnaces located at a Chicago steel company where he worked from 1964 to 1965. At the time of the filing of the lawsuit, GE was based in New York, and its principal place of business was in Massachusetts.

GE had been licensed to conduct business in Illinois since 1897. GE employed some 3,000 employees at 30 facilities that it owned, leased, or operated throughout Illinois. It also had six business units located in the state. GE’s annual sales from its Illinois operations “exceeded $1 billion, with a claimed economic impact in Illinois of $4.8 billion.”

Continue reading

The Chicago Bar Association’s Public Affairs Committee, for which Robert Kreisman is chair, and the Administration of Justice Subcommittee, for which Mr. Kreisman is also the chair, presented a panel of three experts who dissected the Chicago Police Consent Decree at the Union League Club on April 24, 2019. The program was attended by more than 115 people, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and two other district court judges, Honorable Ronald Guzman and Honorable Susan Cox. Lawyers in attendance received continuing education credit.

The panel of experts included University of Wisconsin law professor Linda Greene; Cara Ann Hendrickson, the state’s lead consent decree negotiator, now a partner at Massey & Gail LLP; and Karen A. Sheley of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and director of the Police Practices Project at the Illinois Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The forum was moderated by Robert Kreisman who also introduced Chicago Bar Association President Steven M. Elrod. Mr. Elrod addressed the audience as did David Kohn, executive director of the Union League Club.

Continue reading

In a confidential report of this case, Mr. Doe, 47, was riding his bicycle to work in a designated bicycle lane when he was struck by a truck driven by the defendant, Roe Waste Hauling Co. The driver of Roe Waste Hauling was attempting to make a right turn into a driveway directly in front of Mr. Doe. Mr. Doe’s bicycle struck the side of the truck causing him to fall under its rear wheels. Mr. Doe died from these injuries. He had been a professor, earning approximately $85,000 per year, and was survived by his wife to whom he was recently married.

Mr. Doe’s wife sued the waste hauling company alleging that it was liable for its driver’s choosing not to avoid the collision while turning into the bike lane.

The defendant argued that Mr. Doe had been riding too fast and failed to pay attention to traffic conditions, including the garbage truck and its flashing lights.

Continue reading

On Aug. 29, 2017, the State of Illinois filed suit in federal court against the City of Chicago, alleging that the Chicago Police Department’s use-of-force policies and practices violate the federal Constitution and Illinois law. Two days later, the parties moved to stay these proceedings while they negotiated the consent decree.

Almost immediately after the State filed the complaint, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7 publicly indicated its opposition to any consent decree, citing fears that the decree might impair its collective bargaining rights. For months, the Lodge monitored the ongoing negotiations and met informally with the State’s representatives. The Lodge waited until June 6, 2018 to file a motion to intervene in the lawsuit.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the motion to intervene as being untimely. The reason given was that because the Lodge had to know from the beginning that a consent decree might impact its interests but delayed its motion for nearly a year, and because its allegations with prejudice were considered speculative, the court of appeals affirmed that order.

Danny Ruark, a machine operator, was working on track maintenance using a hydraulic drill to drill holes in rails. While at work, he clamped the drill to the rail, drilled a hole, retracted the drill bit and unclamped the rig from the rail to move it to the next spot.

However, one day while at work, after finishing a hole, as he bent down to turn off the drill, he heard a boom. Hot fluid sprayed from a broken hydraulic fluid line and onto him, including into his eyes.

He filed a lawsuit against Union Pacific under the Federal Employers Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. Sections 51-60, using the theory of res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself”), a legal shortcut in proving negligence.

Continue reading

The competition for the Kreisman Law Offices’ annual student scholarship was awarded to Sara A. Agate who is in her third year of law school attending Chicago-Kent College of Law. Sara also has a Master’s of Public Health, which she achieved at the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2014. Sara graduated in 2011 from the University of Illinois -Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in political science. She was on the “Dean’s List.”  Sara also completed academic programs in Argentina and Kenya where she promoted the advancement of reproductive rights for women and children through the Federation of Women Lawyers.

The Kreisman Law Offices scholarship of $1,000 is awarded annually to a current student in an undergraduate, JD, LLB or LLM program with a preference for individuals who are studying in the Chicago metropolitan area or have received an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited college or university in the Chicago metropolitan area or is attending a law school in the Chicago area.

Sara applied for the Kreisman Law Offices scholarship by submitting an essay on a topic related to her law school studies. It was with great pleasure that the Kreisman Law Offices scholarship was awarded to Sara Agate in January 2019.

Continue reading

John Smokes worked for a temporary employment agency, Adecco Staffing and was assigned to work at Dentsply Prosthetics. While at work at Dentsply, Smokes was trained on the operation of a rotary mold press machine.

Two weeks after starting his training, while placing a mold into the load area of the mold press, Smokes’s hand became caught in the machine’s automatic push mechanism, causing his long, ring, and index fingers to be crushed by two platens.

Although he pressed the emergency stop button, the platens did not reopen, and his hand was trapped for almost a half hour while his coworkers dissembled the press.

Continue reading