On August 28, 2015, Greg Ray and Brittany Meeker completed a week long jury trial in Clark County, Illinois, that resulted in a defense verdict in favor of the firm's client, the Executor of the Estate of Clyde Knowles, rejecting the claims of the petitioners that the probated Will of the deceased was not his valid Last Will and Testament. The Will Contest litigation involved competing claims of the petitioners, who are the daughters of the deceased, and who unsuccessfully sought to probate an earlier Will, which substantially favored them, and their brothers, who are relatively favored in the probated and sustained Will. The determining issue was whether the probated Will was signed as a result of undue influence exerted over the deceased by one or both of the brothers.
John Watson and Patrick Lee, two partners of the Mattoon office, completed a seven day jury trial in the United States District Court, Central District of Illinois, before Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins. John Watson and Pat Lee were serving as appointed counsel to a prisoner who had brought a Section 1983 action alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs under the Fourteenth Amendment as a pretrial detainee. The evidence presented was that the pretrial detainee was suffering from gallbladder disease and gallstones, but because of a lack of treatment eventually developed an acute and gangrenous cholecystitis that required an emergent transfer and eventual surgery. The jury did find in favor of all the Defendants, not being able to find deliberate indifference to his medical needs or a conscious disregard to the potential harm. John Watson and Pat Lee would like to offer their congratulations to trial counsel Raylene Grischow and Barbara Kremer Myers of Hinshaw & Culbertson who represented the Sangamon County Defendants. Also, Chris Biswell of Drake, Narup & Mead represented the physician. Defense counsel did an amazing and professional job and certainly should be commended for their hard work and skill in their representation. John Watson and Pat Lee would also like to offer their thanks to Judge Schanzle-Haskins for his outstanding work and effort serving as the presiding Judge over the matter.
Ken Werts will provide judicial training for the Arbitrators, Commissioners and staff of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission on the topic of occupational disease, in Chicago, on September 16, 2015.
John Barger and John Watson with the Mattoon office obtained a sucessful and favorable verdict in Cumberland County during the course of a three civil day trial from July 29, 2015 to July 31, 2015. Messers Barger and Watson represented Theron Kuhn in a civil jury trial in Cumberland County before Judge Millard Everhart. Civil trials in Cumberland County can be fairly rare in the last few years, but Toledo, Illinois is the County seat and the current home of John Barger. It was certainly nice ot get a verdict in his home County.
Mr. Kenneth Werts has been appointed by Workers' Compensation Commission Chairman Joann Fratianni-Atsaves to the Workers' Compensation Commission Rules Committee. It is anticipated that the Committee will review the current Commission Rules and submit proposed amendments to same to further the work of the Commission and those who appear and practice before it.
During the week of October 14, 2014, John F. Watson prosecuted a Contribution action as counsel for the Plaintiff, Kent Family Inc., under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act in Sangamon County, Illinois, case number 2008-L-272. Circuit Judge John Schmidt presided over the trial. At the conclusion of the trial the jury assessed 75% fault against the Defendant, and 25% fault against Mr. Watson’s client. Judgment was entered in favor of Mr. Watson’s client in the amount of $487,500, plus costs.
John F. Watson and R. Sean Hocking have received "AV Preeminent" Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings. Reviewers are lawyers and judges across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations and are listed on martindale.com. They are from similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated, who know or have worked with the lawyer under review, and are able to rate them on their professional ethical standards and legal ability. An AV Preeminent certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment and reflective that a lawyer's peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence.
John F Watson, Partner in the Mattoon office, has been recognized as a 2014 Member of the Leading Lawyers Network in the fields of
Mr. Watson was recommended as a Leading Lawyer in a state wide survey. Fewer than 5% of the lawyers in Illinois receive the distinction as being the Leading Lawyer.
On the recommendation of Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, Paul R. Lynch of the Mt. Vernon office of Craig & Craig, LLC, has been appointed to the Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence. The purpose of the Committee is to monitor, review and study Illinois cases and, to the extent relevant, cases from around the country, that impact evidence law generally and the Illinois Rules of Evidence specifically. The Committee will meet periodically each year to discuss relevant cases impacting evidence law, and produce an annual report to the Supreme Court at the end of each year on the status of evidence law in Illinois. The members of the Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence are Judges and practicing attorneys located in each of the five Appellate Districts of the State.