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Adam Carter was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, the state’s preeminent community of defense attorneys.  On June 24, Adam attended the IDC’s annual meeting and awards banquet where he was installed as a new Board member.  He will serve a three-year term.

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Daniel Cray and Benjamin Beringer successfully defended the actions of a neurologist and his employer in a medical malpractice suit brought on behalf of a patient rendered a quadriplegic by post-surgical complications.  The injured plaintiff’s wife also sued after giving up her job to be her husband’s 24 hour a day attendant care giver.

Plaintiff argued the neurologist failed to appreciate and act upon an emergency situation where plaintiff’s blood pressure was not perfusing his spinal cord.  The Cray Huber attorneys argued that the lower blood pressure was not an emergency and was due to medications, including two narcotics.  The defense also argued that the proximate cause of plaintiff’s quadriplegia was a rare and unpredictable reperfusion injury occurring after an acute decompressive laminectomy.

The jury deliberated nine hours before rendering its verdict.  Plaintiffs had asked for $40,000,000, including almost $10,000,000 in past and future medical and $2,000,000 in future salary and benefits.  After the verdict, the following testimonials were received from the neurologist and the president of the neurology clinic:

“Dear Dan:

You (most especially you), Ben and Rodney, not only restored my trust in the justice system, but also made me appreciate your profession in its pursuit of the truth.  Your going out of your way to meet with me at various odd times demonstrated your professionalism and was very reassuring.  I must say you stand out among the lawyers I have ever met.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Dear Dan and Ben:

I hope you were able to get a few days of rest after the enormous and exhausting work you put in defending me.  I do not believe I had anyone ever fighting for me as hard as you did.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart not only for your exceptional expertise and professionalism, but especially for the genuine respect, trust and compassion toward me.  I truly felt being among friends from the first minute to the last.  I want you to regard me as your friend as well.  And I want you to know that I would be honored to do a good deed for you someday too.  I would also like to offer my personal thanks to Rodney for his dedicated work on this case for many years.”

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On June 16, Jeff Siderius conducted an online WebEx client training session on Illinois target tenders and how they are used.

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On May 23, Stephen W. Heil participated in an Athletic Trainers Concussion Panel that focused on concussion evaluations and return to play policies.

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Adam C. Carter co-authored the new Monograph for the IDC Quarterly entitled, “Just When You Thought You Knew Who You Represented:  A New Decision May Upset the Law Regarding Attorney Liability to Third Parties.”  Monograph, IDC Quarterly, Volume 26, Number 2.

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On May 23, the Cray Huber appellate department won an important choice-of-law issue in the First District Appellate Court. Under the Illinois Supreme Court’s opinion in Bridgeview Health Care Center, Ltd. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, 2014 IL 116389, Illinois courts cannot undertake a choice of law analysis unless they first determine that an “actual conflict” exists between the laws of two of more states. After Bridgeview, courts have struggled with defining when an “actual conflict” exists. This is important, because if no “actual conflict” exists, Illinois courts are not authorized to undertake a choice-of-law analysis, which means that the law of the forum state automatically applies by default.

This case presented the question of whether an “actual conflict” exists when one state has a statute on a topic but another state does not have such a statute. In this case Illinois had a statute that required 30 days prior notice of exclusions that are added a the time of renewal of an insurance policy, but Indiana had no such statute. Cray Huber’s client (Cincinnati Insurance Company) argued that this created an “actual conflict” requiring the court to undertake a choice-of-law analysis. Cray Huber’s opponent argued that there can never be an “actual conflict” when a state has no law on a topic, because the absence of law in a state means there is no law in that state, not that there is conflicting law. The Appellate Court adopted Cray Huber’s side of the argument, holding that an “actual conflict” existed between the law of Illinois (which had a statute requiring prior notice) and Indiana law (which had no prior notice statute).

The Appellate Court ordered the lower court to undertake a choice-of-law analysis rather than automatically applying Illinois law by default. On remand, Cincinnati Insurance Company will seek a ruling that Indiana law applies, which will allow it to enforce a coverage exclusion that was added to its renewal policy without 30 days prior notice of the change.