Ethylene Oxide/Sterigenics Updates

When You Need a Lawyer Who Will Fight for You

Firm News

January 2023

Collins Law Partner Shawn Collins is quoted in this RAW STORY article warning lawyers on the dangers of representing Donald Trump. Here are excerpts from the article:

Any attorney thinking about taking on Donald Trump as a client should think twice about the repercussions both professionally and financially after the former president and his lead attorney in a federal court case were hit with an almost million-dollar sanction on Friday.

Chicago trial lawyer Shawn Collins agreed, stating the court sanctions will weigh heavier on Trump's lawyers than on him, adding it's a "hellish price to be paid" for indulging Trump's desire to base his lawsuits on "fact-free tabloid-style theories."

Collins predicted that lawyers "will think twice about it, out of a sense of financial self-preservation, if not professionalism and decency."

Read the complete article here.

October 2022 Environmental Case Results

The Winnebago County Court has recently granted the Firm's Motion for Class Certification stemming from the Chemtool fire and explosion in Rockton, Illinois. The Court granted class certification to property owners and residents who resided within three miles of the Chemtool facility.

The explosion resulted in an enormous chemical fire that created a massive plume of toxic smoke, ash, and debris that could be seen from 100 miles away. Eighty-nine fire departments were dispatched to the site to aid in combating the fire.

Personal Injury Results

The Firm recently settled a trucking case for $900,000.00 for a client who was struck by a semi-truck and required surgical fusion on her neck.

The Firm settled a legal malpractice claim for a confidential amount pre-suit for a client whose attorney failed to timely file a lawsuit prior to the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice case.

The Firm settled a case for a confidential amount during the discovery phase of litigation for a child who sustained a broken arm while unsupervised at a tumbling facility.

The Firm settled a case for a confidential amount for a client who slipped and fell on ice when a subcontractor failed to remove ice on the sidewalk of his apartment building. The client sustained a fractured leg as a result of his fall.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm won a Motion to Dismiss as a complete defense victory in complex real estate litigation alleging that the Firm's client unlawfully backed out of a substantial commercial real estate development contract.

September 2022 Personal Injury Results

The Firm recently settled two separate and unrelated claims for the families of pedestrians who were fatally injured. The first claim settled for the policy limits for a victim hit by a drunk driver on Christmas. After the fatal accident, the driver fled the scene and attempted to destroy the vehicle in an attempt to cover up the incident. The police were able to locate the driver using videos from local businesses and Ring cameras. The second claim was for a victim fatally struck by a food delivery driver and was settled for a confidential amount.

The Firm represented an elderly gentleman who suffered mild hearing loss as a result of an airbag deploying during an auto accident. Although his medical bills were less than $1,500.00, the Firm filed suit on his behalf and negotiated a $50,000 settlement to compensate him for the loss of his hearing.

The Firm settled a claim on behalf of a client whose elderly father fell at a nursing home and sustained a broken femur, contributing to his death. The case settled as a result of mediation for a confidential amount.

Business Litigation Results

After a different firm had an unfortunate trial loss, The Collins Law Firm was hired to handle the appeal surrounding complex real estate litigation. The Firm won the appeal overturning all four separate categories of damages. This win vacated a Trial verdict exceeding Five Million Dollars.

The Firm secured a very favorable six-figure settlement for its franchise client over a dispute involving real estate and franchise documents.

The Firm completed a Seventy-Five Million Dollar credit facility for one of its national clients to help with future growth.

August 2022 2023 Best Lawyers in America

The Collins Law Firm is proud to announce that three Collins Law Firm attorneys have been chosen by peers for inclusion in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.

Partner Shawn Collins has been recognized again by Best Lawyers for his work representing plaintiffs in environmental litigation; partner Ed Manzke for his work representing personal injury clients. "I am honored to be recognized for my work on behalf of people harmed by toxic chemicals and thankful to be included among such accomplished attorneys," said Collins Law founder Shawn Collins. Partner Ed Manzke added, "It is an honor to be recognized among such a distinguished group of lawyers including some of the true legends in our profession."

Partner John Risvold has been recognized for the first time in the Ones To Watch category for his work on behalf of personal injury and medical malpractice plaintiffs. "I'm proud to be honored, alongside my partners Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke, in the annual list of Best Lawyers in America. Being recognized as one of the "Best Lawyers Ones to Watch", is especially meaningful because this recognition is based solely on peer reviews."

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected guide to the legal profession. This year's list recognizes the professional excellence of the top 5% of private practice lawyers based on millions of peer-review evaluations.

Business Litigation Results

After a full-day trial involving numerous witnesses and complicated evidence, the Firm's Katy Ebbesen won a trial verdict on 100% of all damages sought and also received a complete defense trial verdict victory on six-figure claims.

The Firm obtained a complete defense victory for our national bank client in a Federal regulatory action.

In out-of-state Federal Court litigation, the Firm secured a very favorable result in defending an international client wrongly accused of seven-figure damages in complex real estate litigation. The Firm negotiated a new location agreement for a national franchise.

April 2022 Chemtool Plant Explosion Update

Since the June 14, 2021 fire and explosions at the Chemtool plant in Rockton, Illinois, the Firm has filed class action lawsuits that are currently being pursued in both State and Federal courts. The Firm is actively engaged in the discovery phase of the lawsuits and expects a ruling on its Class Certification Motion this year.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm resolved a matter on behalf of a national client in a New Jersey case. The plaintiff sought eight-figures in damages, and the firm secured a very favorable settlement of far less than what plaintiff sought.

The Firm closed another franchise purchase and sale in Texarkana, AR.

The Firm secured a favorable settlement on behalf of a national hotel client against an insurance company for very significant claim for business interruption.

Robert Dawidiuk was admitted to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to represent a client with a federal appeal.

After very highly contested federal court litigation, the Firm secured a very favorable result for our client in eight-figure bank litigation involving international borrowers.

The Firm won DuPree Productions LLC v. RDE Inc, et al. 21 cv 01548 (N.D. IL) including unpaid advertising for a national television show and attorney fees.

Welcome, Patty Walz, Legal Assistant

Patty joined the Firm in February 2022. She is a licensed Physical Therapist and supports the personal injury group as a Legal Assistant. Patty obtained her B.S. in PT from Northwestern University in 1987 and has worked in inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, and home health therapy services for over 30 years until joining the Firm. Patty's interests include travel, home rehab projects and spending time with her husband and five children.

January 2022 Collins Law Firm Results for 2021

In 2021, our Personal Injury Practice recovered $5.4 Million in total verdicts and settlements for our injured clients.

Our Commercial Practice secured over $115 Million in commercial financing; over $90 Million in commercial transactions; successfully resolved disputes totaling over $200 Million and litigated cases in 8 separate states as well as 2 international cases. In total, we recovered over $6 Million for business clients.

Collins Law Firm Blog Named in Top 50 Law Blogs

Our blog has been named by Feedspot as one of the Top 50 Law Blogs in Illinois!

Feedspot has a team of over 50 experts whose goal is to discover and rank blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels in several niche categories. The best Illinois Law blogs are chosen from thousands of blogs on the web ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness.

Welcome Legal Interns

The Collins Law Firm is also pleased to announce that two third-year Vermont Law students are joining the firm as legal interns.

Serena White is a first-generation law student at Vermont Law School with an interest in Environmental Justice law. Prior to law school, Serena majored in Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida. Serena hopes to continue fighting for clean water, air, and soil as a basic human right for all communities regardless of race, income, or other marginalizing factors.

Matt West earned a B.S. in Zoology from Missouri Western State University's acclaimed wildlife conservation program. After a couple of years in conservation research and education, Matt headed to Vermont Law School, where he worked with the Environmental Advocacy Clinic. Matt hopes to advocate for those that need it most through environmental litigation.

December 2021 Personal Injury Results

The Firm settled a case for a confidential amount involving the hazing, bullying and sexual assault of a minor at an Illinois high school. The case was resolved at mediation without subjecting the Plaintiff to testifying at a jury trial as to the trauma he endured. It is the largest known settlement of its kind in Illinois.

Business Litigation Results

Katy Ebbesen gets arbitration win! In a highly contested arbitration involving numerous witnesses, valuations and exhibits, Katy Ebbesen successfully won 100% of what her client sought in damages together with the fees and costs in bringing the suit. The case involved a complex dispute over work performed to restore two high-end vintage luxury vehicles. Katy was further successful in getting a complete win - judgment in her client's favor - as to the defendant's six-figure counterclaim for damages based upon an alleged breach of contract.

Collins Law Firm - Best Law Firm for 2022

We are pleased to announce that The Collins Law Firm has been recognized as a Best Law Firm for 2022 by Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report. Firms included on the Best Law Firm list "are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers". The Collins Law Firm is proud to have received the following rankings from Best Lawyers:

National Tier 3:
Litigation - Environmental
Mass Tort / Class Actions - Plaintiffs

Metropolitan Chicago Tier 1:
Litigation - Environmental

Metropolitan Chicago Tier 2:
Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiff

Metropolitan Chicago Tier 3:
Commercial Litigation
Mass Tort / Class Actions - Plaintiffs

"It's a great honor and a compliment to everyone who works here that we have been recognized among the very best law firms in the Chicago area," said partner Shawn Collins. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. Firms that receive a ranking from Best Lawyers have earned the highest level of respect from clients and other leading lawyers in the community.


October 2021 Personal Injury Results

The Firm settled a premises liability case on behalf of a senior citizen who sustained injuries to her knee after the store failed to clean up a spill, causing our client to slip and fall. Due to her advanced age, surgical intervention was not an option.

The Firm settled a case on behalf of a minor who was injured in an ATV accident. The driver lost control of the ATV and it rolled over and onto our client. He sustained a crush injury to his leg as a result of the accident.

The Firm settled a case on behalf of a client whose spouse was killed when a driver ran a red light in Cook County. The Firm recovered the full policy for the at fault driver as well as a One Million Dollar settlement from the Underinsured carrier. The matter was able to be resolved prior to filing suit.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm reached a very successful resolution to multistate litigation involving a national manufacturer in litigation over a Thirty Million Dollar supply contract.

The Firm represented its franchise client in purchase sale of three locations in Texarkana.

The Firm documented Twenty Three Million Dollars in loans for our bank clients in new development projects throughout Illinois.

Shawn Collins Presentation for Vermont Journal of Environmental Law

Partner Shawn Collins gave a presentation this month for the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law symposium "The World of Waste in a Wasteful World". Shawn discussed how the government lost its willingness to enforce environmental laws and has broken its promise to help clean up contaminated sites in communities around the country though the CERCLA program, which was initially funded by taxes on polluters. However, the government has allowed the program to be so underfunded that it no longer has the money to clean up contaminated sites. Shawn's full remarks can be heard at 7:50:52.


September 2021 Personal Injury Results

The Firm settled a case for a confidential amount involving the sexual assault of a disabled minor at a Residential Treatment Facility. Our lawsuit alleged the facility failed to monitor the child and failed to secure the facility, allowing the child to be sexually assaulted. After the assault, the facility discharged the child from their care, which we alleged interfered with the child's treatment for the abuse she suffered.

In addition to the monetary settlement, and more importantly to the family of the victim, the facility agreed to make changes to their security system to ensure that similar incidents are not allowed to happen to again.

The case settled weeks before trial was scheduled to commence.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm was retained to document over $35 Million in commercial loans this past month on commercial and industrial properties.

The Firm was successful in winning summary judgment in a seven-figure real estate litigation matter.

The Firm successfully resolved several millions of dollars in litigation across several states involving an international manufacturer.

The Firm was successful in getting its clients dismissed out of the mass-Juul litigation ongoing across numerous states.

Firm Partner Guest Lectures for Environmental Law Class

This month, Firm partner, Ed Manzke had the privilege of speaking to law students at Northern Illinois University College of Law. Ed addressed an Environmental Law class and discussed the plaintiff lawyer's perspective of litigating environmental class action cases.

August 2021 Personal Injury Results

In the month of August alone, the personal injury team recovered over Two Million Dollars in personal injury settlements.

These cases include a one-million-dollar settlement for a rear end trucking accident, nursing home negligence/wrongful death, two premises liability cases and an automobile accident case.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm's Rob Dawidiuk was admitted to practice in Michigan to defend a national client in a product liability case.

The Firm won a victory on an appeal before the federal 3d District Appellate court arising from conspiracy claims.

The Firm obtained summary judgment on two separate leasing actions and recovered and collected amounts due to our landlord clients.

The Firm successfully resolved trade secret litigation on behalf of our national client in the medical field, recovering and collecting the favorable settlement amount.

The Firm obtained a dismissal with prejudice for our client being sued by a Florida resident on conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty allegations.

The Firm successfully completed several multi-million dollar transaction this past month, including sales of franchise enterprises on the east coast, shopping centers in Indiana, Rockford, and commercial buildings in Highland Park and Melrose Park.

Commercial litigation attorney Len Hudson filed a breach of contract action on behalf of a franchisor against a former franchisee and, in less than three months, recovered a substantial settlement that was more than 15 times the costs of litigation.

Environmental Litigation News

Partner Ed Manzke has been named to the Plaintiffs Steering Council for the Chemtool class action litigation in Illinois state court in Winnebago County. The appointment was approved by Winnebago County Judge Donna Honsel on July 20, 2021.

The Chemtool facility in Rockton, IL exploded and caught fire on June 14, 2021, sending a toxic plume of dust and smoke out into nearby neighborhoods and triggering an almost week-long evacuation of residents within 1 mile of the plant. The extent of the damage to the community from the explosion and subsequent fire is still undetermined.

Collins Law founder, Shawn Collins commented on Ed's appointment: "This is a very important case, and I'm proud that my partner, Ed, has been chosen for this responsibility and honor. The families affected by this tragedy are fortunate to have him as their lawyer."

July 2021 Personal Injury Results

The Firm settled over $2.5 Million in personal injury cases in the first half of 2021.

The Firm's personal injury clients sustained significant injuries in premises liability and auto accidents.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm recovered and collected 100% of amounts due plus all attorney fees for Illinois bank client in downstate litigation. The recovery was high six-figures.

In highly contested fraudulent conveyance litigation involving multiple cases and appeals, the Firm recovered and collected 100% of amounts owed to client, in excess of seven-figures.

The Firm won a highly contested summary judgment motion on claims exceeding seven-figures in Cook County litigation.

The Firm successfully collected a seven-figure tax reimbursement payment owed to its client, located in Florida.

The Firm successfully obtained a full dismissal of all claims of wrongdoing made against it client, an international religious organization.

The Firm's Rob Dawidiuk was admitted to practice before the Iowa Supreme Court and in the Southern District of Iowa federal court in order to defend a national client in Iowa litigation.

Maggie Galka featured in Vermont Law School Alumni Magazine

Collins Law environmental attorney Maggie Galka was recently featured in the Vermont Law School alumni magazine for her work with a non-profit--the Environmental Justice Community Action Network ("EJCAN")--that she helped found in 2020 with five other Vermont Law School alumni. EJCAN works directly with low-income and communities of color to give them a fighting chance when confronted with toxic contamination and injustice. As Maggie explains, "EJCAN is focused on...your right to a clean and healthy environment and how that right might be affected by racism, sexism, and classism, because they are linked. We want to help communities find solutions on all sides of the problem, not just environmental solutions." Kudos to Maggie for her hard work and recognition!


June 2021 The Collins Law Firm Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Chemtool for Explosion

The Collins Law Firm, P.C. has filed a Class Action lawsuit against Chemtool Incorporated for the explosion that occurred at their Rockton, Illinois plant onJune14,2021. The explosion resulted in an enormous chemical fire that created a massive plume of toxic smoke, ash, and debris that could be seen from 100 miles away. Eighty-nine fire departments were dispatched to the site to aid in combating the fire.

As a result of the fire, the Winnebago County authorities issued an executive proclamation of disaster emergency and ordered a mandatory evacuation of residents living within a one-mile radius of the plant. The affected residents were directed not to return home even for medication, technology and communication devices, or other personal items.

Authorities also advised residents within three miles of the plant to wear masks for protection against the potentially toxic and harmful chemicals released by the fire, and to remain indoors without using their air conditioning. Residents were further warned not to touch any of the debris on their property but to have it removed by professionals with experience working with hazardous materials.

The lawsuit seeks property damages for nuisance, trespass, and the loss of use and enjoyment of their homes. The plaintiffs allege that Chemtool was negligent and failed to exercise the reasonable care that would have prevented the explosion, fire, and smoke, and dust plume that inundated the community.

"We look forward to representing the residents and business owners who have been severely impacted by the explosion at the Chemtool plant and hope to recover for them everything that they have lost as a result of this disaster." said attorney Ed Manzke. The residents will be represented by Mr. Manzke and attorney Shawn Collins of The Collins Law Firm.

About The Collins Law Firm: The Collins Law Firm represents families against polluters throughout the United States, fighting for clean air, soil and water, and compensation for injury to property and health caused by dangerous chemicals dumped and spilled into the environment. For more information on The Collins Law Firm please visit: .

Media Coverage:

WIFR TV 23: Residents file lawsuit against Chemtool after fire *

Chicago Tribune: Rockton homeowners pursue class-action lawsuit over massive chemical fire *

Union Bulletin *

WREX: Rockton residents file civil suit against Chemtool and Lubrizol  *

Class action lawsuit filed against Chemtool following massive fire

Rockford Register Star: Rockton neighbors file class action lawsuit against Chemtool over explosion  *

3 lawsuits filed over Rockton Chemtool explosion, fire that forced residents to evacuate

WBBM 780: Class action lawsuit filed against chemical plant for Rockton explosion

WGN 9: Rockton residents suing Chemtool and parent company over damages caused by chemical plant fire

My State Line: Rockton residents suing Chemtool and parent company over damages caused by chemical plant fire

ABC 7: Class action lawsuit filed against Chemtool, parent company over Illinois chemical plant fire

Law 360: Chemical Co. Slapped With Class Action Over Plant Explosion

WKOW: Class action lawsuit filed against Chemtool following massive fire

WSIL: Class action lawsuit filed against Chemtool following massive fire

KCRG TV: Residents file lawsuit against Chemtool after fire

WTVO: Rockton residents suing Chemtool and parent company over damages caused by chemical plant fire

Yahoo News: Rockton homeowners pursue class-action lawsuit over massive chemical fire

Daily Legal Press: Rockton homeowners file class action lawsuit against Chemtool, Lubrizol Corporation over chemical plant explosion, fire

Fox 32: Homeowners in Rockton filed class-action lawsuit Chemtool

Bloomberg Law: Chemical Fire at Buffett-Owned Illinois Plant Prompts Lawsuit

Top Class Actions:

Chemtool Blamed for Explosion, ‘Massive Toxic Smoke and Dust Plume’ in Homeowners’ Class Action Lawsuit

Link: The Collins Law Firm Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Chemtool for Explosion

May 2021

We are pleased to announce the Collins Law Firm family has grown over the last few months!

Congratulations to attorney Katharin Ebbesen on the birth of her daughter, Alexandra and congratulations to attorney John Risvold on the birth of his son, Theodore.We know the future holds great things for these new additions!

We also welcome two new summer associates this year:

Danielle McNamara is a 2020 graduate from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she studied Political Science. She just finished her first year of law school at Loyola University Chicago School of Law this May.

Bridget Bryck attends the University of Washington School of Law and received her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Bridget plans to become an environmental attorney when she finishes law school.

We would also like to congratulate attorney Dayna Smith on receiving the Learned Hand Award for Academic Excellence for 2020. Each year, it is awarded to the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average. Danya also received the Mark Mihaly Environmental Leadership Award for 2020 for demonstrating leadership in the field of environmental law. Dayna graduated law school from the Vermont Law School, the most prestigious environmental law school in the country.

Congratulations to Dayna on her accomplishments- she is a wonderful asset to the Firm!


April 2021 Personal Injury Results

The Firm settled over $1.5 Million in personal injury cases in the first quarter of 2021.

The Firm's personal injury clients sustained significant injuries in the following types of cases: nursing home neglect; premises liability, and auto accidents.

Business Litigation Results

The Firm won a complete dismissal with prejudice on behalf of our national security organization.

The Firm won summary judgment on behalf of an Illinois lender client in a significant contested multiparty multistate litigation.

The Firm successfully resolved Michigan litigation on behalf of our national manufacturing client.

The Firm successfully resolved Indiana litigation on behalf of a national deal of machinery.

The Firm won a judgment on 100% of amount claimed at arbitration against an insurance carrier denying coverage.

The Firm won a arbitration on behalf of a national television production for the sale of commercial space for 100% of amounts due plus all attorney fees.

The Firm successfully resolved Mississippi litigation on behalf of a national client falsely accused of alter ego liability with our client paying $0 on the seven figure damages demand.

The Firm recovered all sums due and owing within weeks of filing suit in Colorado on behalf of a nation health organization client.

The Firm completed over $20 Million in new financing for banking clients for business loans in Illinois and Florida.


Client Reviews
Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
Rob has been our out-side General Counsel for ten years. As a business with a global presence, it is important that we have the very best legal representation. Rob and the team have guided us through litigation battles, negotiating and drafting our important business contracts, and advising us in our business strategies. He has a great team of lawyers working with him. M.F.