Firm News - Part 4
We are delighted to welcome Len Hudson to the Firm. Before joining us, Len practiced for nearly a decade at the Chicago office of a large international law firm, where he focused on complex commercial disputes and regulatory litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in courtrooms and boardrooms across the country. Len joins us after completing a career sabbatical during which he voyaged on a sailboat in the Caribbean with his wife and three young daughters. Len will focus on our "high stakes" litigation practice.
Business Litigation Results
The Firm obtained a very successful result on behalf of our client, a well-known business with locations throughout Illinois and Indiana, in a shareholder dispute. The plaintiff sued our client and demanded more than $2.5 Million just before arbitration based upon claims of ownership in the company and its intellectual property. The Plaintiff also claimed he was owed money for wrongful termination. The result of the arbitration was a complete defense verdict in favor of the Firm's client and an award of $0.
The Firm continues to work with our lending clients and national businesses, helping them in their acquisition and financing needs. This past month the Firm's Jinah Hong documented more than $20,000,000 in loans for our clients, including for a national chain of fitness locations, a new suburban industrial center, and the expansion of a chain of rental properties in Chicago.
The Firm is pleased to have successfully completed all project documents for the new $5,000,000 buildout of a what has been a widely reported cloud-based kitchen concept, which is being made famous by its new owner, the former CEO of Uber. The Firm's Jinah Hong represented the General Contractor for the entire project and documented all the construction documents.
Personal Injury Settlements
The Firm settled a case on behalf of a client who suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken leg when she was struck by multiple vehicles while crossing the street. The Firm was able to settle the case for the total available insurance of $200,000.00 pre-suit.
Welcome New Attorney Timothy Collins
We are happy to welcome Tim Collins to the Firm. Prior to joining the Firm, Tim worked for a mid-size insurance defense firm in Chicago, Illinois focusing his practice on title insurance defense, commercial litigation, and real estate law. Tim has extensive experience representing financial institutions and individuals in complex matters, including mechanic's lien foreclosures, quiet title proceedings, breach of contract claims and eviction proceedings. Tim's background also includes representing developers, investors and individuals in residential and commercial property transactions. Tim attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned an undergraduate degree in History. He graduated from The John Marshal Law School in Chicago with a Juris Doctorate in 2013.
Opinion | Shawn Collins: It's on us to fight for safe environment
Over the last 10 years, the budget of Illinois' Environmental Protection Agency has been so deliberately slashed by both political parties that the state has effectively announced to its citizens who hope to breathe clean air and drink clean water, "You're on your own."
The severe cuts mean the state is effectively out of the business of making polluters obey the law. Those few remaining staffers at our shriveled EPA can't hope to even learn about violations, let alone punish them, because the agency has been stripped of the money and staff necessary to do inspections and enforcement. Consequently, as the Chicago Tribune has reported, Illinois ranks among the 10 most polluted states in the nation, and state residents face some of the nation's highest risks for serious illnesses linked to industrial chemicals.
Though the state is a haven for environmental lawbreakers, precious few of them are ever referred to the Attorney General's office for prosecution. That means our so-called "tough" anti-pollution laws scarcely matter - because nobody is enforcing them.
That the poor, and especially poor children, face the greatest risk from toxic exposure should surprise no one. They are routinely mistreated because they are so defenseless. They live in Chicago's lead-infected Pilsen neighborhood, its manganese-contaminated Southeast Side, and in the shadows of rural hog and cattle farms, where our impotent EPA can't prevent repeated manure spills into waterways.
This is what happens when a government abandons its people, and trusts the safety of its citizens to profit-driven industries who rely on the slowly creeping pace of toxin-based diseases like cancer to obscure their culpability.
The wickedness of this strategy is in the very DNA of Trump's federal EPA, which is led by polluters who rig science to make chemicals believed to be very dangerous just three years ago seem far less so today. Also, in a devastating work of cynicism, Trump's EPA shifts to state agencies the job of policing the air and water, but then strips away the federal funding states need to do that job, guaranteeing that it doesn't get done at all.
At the state level, as environmental dangers have grown exponentially, Illinois has cut its EPA inspection and enforcement workforce by almost 50%, treating the budget once devoted to protecting citizens' health like a piggy bank to be raided whenever a pork barrel project needs extra cash.
Though tempting, hopelessness is not the proper response to this. We first must recognize that government no longer has the money or will to protect us. So we must protect ourselves. How? By shaming and suing polluters until they clean up the environment, and by threatening legislators with forced retirement unless they stop serving their patron-polluters, and start working for citizens.
The shutdown of the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook proves that this strategy works. When families there learned that the company had been spewing a human carcinogen into their backyards, they formed a citizen brigade that trained a white-hot spotlight on the company's violations and the state EPA's failings.
The organizing principle of the "Stop Sterigenics" movement was a relentless lack of faith in government as the people's protector. By sheer force of will and energy, they forced the politicians who had previously been coddling Sterigenics to shut the plant down.
Illinois citizens, are you prepared to lead your own fight for your families' right to a safe environment? Because there's no longer a government agency willing or able to do it for you.
- Shawn Collins: It's on us to fight for safe environment
- Spotlight: Illinois citizens are on their own to protect the environment
Million Dollar Personal Injury Settlement
Our client suffered catastrophic leg injuries as a result of a drunk driving roll-over crash of a recreational vehicle, a UTV, while on a fishing trip in Wisconsin. The client underwent four surgeries and had permanent scarring, pain and numbness. The Firm was hired as co-trial counsel. After being hired, we were able to defeat the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. The case settled shortly after a contested mediation for a million dollars.
Environmental Lawsuits Filed Against Sterigenics
The Firm has filed 12 lawsuits against Sterigenics alleging that our clients contracted cancer after being exposed for years to Sterigenics' ethylene oxide emissions. Ethylene oxide, classified by the EPA as "carcinogenic to humans", is a chemical with mutagenic properties that has been linked in studies to multiple cancers and an increased risk of miscarriages. The lawsuits, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, were brought on behalf of our clients who have suffered from, or lost a loved one to, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, and T cell lymphoma.
The lawsuits allege that Sterigenics knowingly emitted cancer-causing ethylene oxide starting in 1985 and continuing through 2019. And as a result, our clients, who lived or worked near Sterigenics for years, were exposed to a carcinogen that-- according to a government report--raised their cancer risk many times above the national average. To see recent media coverage featuring two of our clients, Yasmeen Harrison and Jeanne Hochhalter, click on the links below:
- CBS Chicago - Family Blames Sterigenics For Teen Girl's Battles With Cancer
- Daily Herald - Lawsuit blames Sterigenics for teenager's bouts with cancer
- Cook County Record - Lawsuits vs Sterigenics surge in Cook County court following federal judge ruling
- ABC / Chicago - 32 new lawsuits filed against Sterigenics linked to cancer causing chemical
- NBC 5 Chicago - 32 New Lawsuits Filed Against Sterigenics
Commercial Litigation Jury Trial Verdict
On July 12, 2019, a DuPage County, Illinois jury returned a verdict in our client's favor in a breach of contract claim that also sought to pierce the corporate veil under and alter ego theory. The Plaintiff requested approximately $2.75 million. Our client, an Indiana-based healthcare company and its alleged alter ego, stuck to their guns before a 12 person jury. After a week of testimony, the jury found in our client's favor. The jury also rejected third party claims for fraud and aiding and abetting the breach of a fiduciary duty.
Personal Injury Settlements
The Firm has recovered a confidential settlement for a client who sustained injuries as a result of negligence at a residential treatment facility. The case was settled prior to filing suit.
Personal Injury Settlements
The Firm has recovered approximately $300,000 for personal injury clients during the month of June. Cases include an elderly woman struck as a pedestrian and two auto accident cases where our clients were involved in crashes on Interstate 88.
Business Litigation Results
The Firm won an appeal on behalf of a national auditing company. The appellate court upheld the significant summary judgment ruling entered in DuPage County. In affirming the order, the Second District held that our position as to the hotly contested municipal contract were correct, and our client was entitled to the relief sought.
The Firm was successful in obtaining a dismissal of a claim against our client, an international publishing company. After previously winning on a similar motion, this time the dismissal was "with prejudice".
The Firm was successful in obtaining a very favorable result in defending class action litigation in Cook County. The case, which involved multiple jurisdictions and numerous related lawsuits was concluded this past month on terms very favorable to our client.
The firm completed $51 Million in M&A deals including national and franchise sales.
The Firm obtained a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a client wrongfully sued in Illinois by a well-known national motivational speaker. The circuit court agreed with our motions that our clients were not subject to Illinois jurisdiction, resulting in a dismissal of the claims against them.
Welcome New Law Clerk, Katy Ebbesen
We are excited to welcome Katy Ebbesen to the firm as our new law clerk. Katy is currently in her 3rd and final year at Northern Illinois University College of Law where she is at the top of her class. She will be working with our Commercial Litigation and Business Law Department. Katy comes to us with extensive paralegal experience and we believe she will be a big asset to the firm.
Environmental Contamination Case Against Ford
The Firm continues to pursue Ford on behalf a group of Michigan residents whose neighborhood has been contaminated by groundwater contamination from a nearby Ford manufacturing plant. The case is scheduled for trial in September. Recent media coverage of the case can be found in the following links.
- Michigan Radio - Livonia residents demand Ford Motor Co. clean up contamination from nearby plant
- Fox 2 Detroit - Livonia families claim Ford's clean up of cancer-causing chemicals has failed
- ClickOnDetroit - Residents near Ford's Livonia plant claim they've endured years of toxic chemicals
- WXYZ-TV Channel 7 - LIVE: Livonia residents voice concern over alleged chemical contamination by Ford Motor Company
- Hometown Life - Alden Village residents still seeking help from Ford on polluted groundwater
- Ford Authority - Livonia Residents Frustrated With Ford Pollution Testing
Personal Injury Settlement
The Firm has recovered $150,000 for a client hit by a semi-truck, causing a fracture of her right foot and soft tissue injuries to her shoulder. The claim was settled pre-suit.
Personal Injury Settlements
Within the past month, the Firm has recovered $500,000.00 for its personal injury clients. The cases include a motorcyclist struck by a young driver, a woman who was injured at a local car dealership, and an intersection collision where a husband and wife were both injured.
Super Lawyers 2019
The Collins Law Firm is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers has once again named four attorneys at the firm to the Super Lawyers list. Attorneys Shawn Collins, Edward Manzke, and John Sopuch have been named as 2019 Super Lawyers, and attorney John Risvold has been named as 2019 Rising Stars. This honor is only granted to the top five percent of lawyers in the state based on performance and peer recognition. Attorneys are selected from over 70 practice areas after a rigorous selection process conducted through peer nomination, independent investigation and evaluation. We would like to congratulate these attorneys for being recognized as Illinois Super Lawyers in 2019.
John Risvold attends Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyers College Jury Selection Seminar
This past weekend in Chicago, John Risvold attended the Trial Lawyer's College regional Voir Dire Seminar. Over the course of three days, John trained with trial lawyers from around the country and was led by lawyers who have tried hundreds of cases before juries. The seminar was put on by lawyers trained by famed trial lawyer Gerry Spence and the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College. Gerry Spence's Methods of Voir Dire introduce students to a method of jury selection in which they learn how to identify the danger points in their cases, to reframe them into points of power, and how to approach potential jurors as an inclusive, rather than exclusive, process. "This seminar changed the way I look at cases, and how I handle jury selection. The skills I learned at the TLC seminar will improve every aspect of my cases and will help my clients tremendously," Risvold said of the program.
Three Million Dollar Trial Verdict
The Firm obtained a $3,000,000.00 jury verdict after a seven day trial in the Northern District of Illinois. More than 15 fact and expert witnesses testified, and the jury deliberated just three hours before returning a verdict in favor of the Firm's client. The case involved litigation in multiple venues before the Firm was able to secure this victory for its client.
Personal Injury Settlements
Within the past month, the Firm has recovered $500,000.00 for its personal injury clients. The cases include a slip and fall, a bicyclist struck by a car, and a minor who sustained a fractured arm at an indoor play center for children.
John Risvold named to Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Executive Board
John Risvold was selected to serve on the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Executive Board for 2019-2020. John will serve as the Young Lawyers' Section Project Officer, overseeing the bar association's special projects and events. He is one of only 10 lawyers selected to serve on the executive council.
Neighbors upset as proposed annexation marks 'first step' toward expanding Zion landfill
The Collins Law Firm's Zion Landfill case made the news recently with an article in the Lake County News Sun. Advanced Disposal, which owns and operates the Zion Landfill, has applied to annex another 110 acres to expand the landfill. Neighbors, who are negatively affected by the stench, the dirt and the garbage coming into their neighborhood from the landfill, are opposing any expansion plans. They are currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Advanced Disposal over the impact that the existing landfill has had on their quality of life. The Collins Law Firm is representing these families against the garbage company which is aware of the negative impact their landfill has had on the community but is pushing to expand anyway. In the article, attorney John Risvold stresses how the city of Zion has a moral obligation to protect their residents from Advance Disposal's reckless behavior and should require the company to compensate nearby property owners for the damage the landfill is inflicting on them. To read the full article, click on the link below.
Collins Law Firm Attorney John Risvold Represents Family in Lost Ashes Case
Four siblings are suing a funeral home, a delivery company and UPS after an urn containing their father's ashes was lost. After their father died of pancreatic cancer last year, the four siblings decided to share his remains. Three of them received their urn, but a sister in Indiana learned her package had been damaged in transit and thrown away. "There are guidelines specifically designed to prevent this kind of tragedy," said the family's attorney, John D. Risvold. "If they had been followed, it would have been prevented." For more coverage of this story click on the links below.
The Collins Law Firm Has Been Named to the 10 Best Law Firms List for Outstanding and Exceptional Client Service in 2018-2019 by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys Attorney Shawn Collins Talks to Dave Savini at CBS 2 About the Sterigenics' Lawsuits
Recently, investigative reporter Dave Savini did several in-depth segments on CBS 2 about Sterigenics and their behavior in emitting a cancer causing chemical called ethyelene oxide into the Willowbrook community. In the pieces, he interviews Collins Law Firm attorney Shawn Collins--who is fighting to make this company take responsibility and for justice for his clients--and our client Jeanne Hochhalter who has been at the forefront of the battle against Sterigenics' toxic emissions. Thank you to Dave Savini and CBS 2 for giving a voice to people whose cancer may have been caused by the recklessness of this company and for continuing to raise awareness of this very real health threat in our communities. For the complete story click the links below.
- Sterigenics Allegedly Covered Up Toxic Emissions, Operated Secret Plants, Former Workers Say
- Pritzker, Raoul Vow Probe Into Allegations Against Sterigenics
Collins Law Firm Represents Family of Hazing Victim
Collins Law Firm attorneys, Shawn Collins and John Risvold, are representing the family of hazing victim Anthony Brookman, a high school student from Braidwood. Anthony’s parents say he was assaulted by teammates during a hazing ritual at a summer football camp at Reed Custer High School. After Anthony reported the attack, Allison and Richard Brookman say, their son was bullied and harassed by fellow students for almost a year while school administrators did almost nothing to his attackers. Check here for more news coverage of the lawsuit.
CBS News Stories:
- Hazing Victim Speaks Out About Brutality At High School Football Camp
- Former Will County High School Head Coach Allegedly Told Players To “Unleash Their Inner Rapist” During Pre-Game Pep Talks, Lawsuit Says
ABC News Story:
- Braidwood teen sexually assaulted during Reed-Custer High School football team's hazing ritual, parents say
NBC News story:
The story also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Journal, USA Today, BBC Press and other outlets:
- Parents of former Reed-Custer student file lawsuit against district over hazing incidents
- Culture of hazing led to boy being sexually assaulted by player at Reed-Custer football practice, lawsuit alleges
Robert Dawidiuk Has Been Nominated as AIOLC's 10 Best in Illinois For Client Satisfaction in Real Estate Law
The American Institute Of Legal Counsel has recognized the exceptional performance of Collins law Firm Attorney, Robert Dawidiuk, as a 10 Best Legal Counsel for Client Satisfaction.
The American Institute Of Legal Counsel is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Legal Counsel in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the "10 Best" list must pass AIOLC's rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOLC's independent evaluation.
AIOLC's annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process.
Selection criteria, therefore, focuses on attorneys who demonstrate the highest standards of Client Satisfaction.
We congratulate Robert Dawidiuk on this achievement!
Personal Injury Recovery
The Firm obtained a six figure settlement on behalf of a woman who fell at a restaurant on an unmarked step, fracturing her leg and both arms. Suit was filed and resolved at mediation.
U.S. District Court Rules in Plaintiff's Favor
The Firm represents a disabled minor who was assaulted in a group living home. The defendant-group living home asked the Court to dismiss the case, arguing that our client could not show the home to be responsible for the assault. The Court disagreed, and refused to dismiss the case. It will now go to discovery where we will obtain the defendant's documents and sworn testimony concerning our allegations that it failed to protect our client.
Personal Injury Recoveries
This month the Firm resolved three cases on behalf of car crash clients for the total policy limits. All three were settled while in the middle of litigating the cases. After taking depositions of the parties and establishing the clear fault and the severity of our clients' injuries, the insurance companies all agreed to turn over the full policy limits in order to settle these cases.
The Firm also resolved a wrongful death case involving allegations of premises liability and negligence. The case was settled after expert discovery for a confidential amount.
Commercial and Banking Litigation
The Firm was recently successful at trial in a case involving a dispute over real estate. Our client was wrongfully sued as a party to a real estate contract. All attempts at resolution failed, necessitating the trial, where we prevailed. The Firm also expects to get full reimbursement of our client's defense costs based upon the fee shifting provision contained in the real estate contract.
Personal Injury Investigations
The Firm is currently investigating several potential wrongful death, medical malpractice claims involving the failure to diagnose life threatening conditions.
Personal Injury Recoveries
The Firm recovered a six figure settlement for a mother and daughter who were injured in an intersection auto accident in Naperville. The collision took place when the defendant driver made a left turn in front of our clients’ vehicle. The case was pending in Will County and was resolved in less than a year.
Commercial and Banking Litigation
The Firm obtained a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a defendant alleged to owe $500,000 on a fully executed note. The Firm also closed on $6,000,000 in loan documents on behalf of local lender clients for commercial real estate development.More Press Coverage for Family's Lawsuit Against Chaddock
Local press coverage of our most recent lawsuit. In this case, The Collins Law Firm is representing the family of a developmentally disabled teenage girl who was sexually assaulted after being led away from Chaddock, a supposedly secure facility in Quincy, IL. The family is suing Chaddock for emotional distress and negligent supervision.
See the WGEM news coverage here.
Read the Herald-Whig news story here.