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Heyl Royster

 

Practices

TRUCKING

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Companies in the trucking and transportation industries are faced with many challenges running their business due to the vast number of laws and regulations governing their operations. An incorrect decision today may cost a tremendous amount of time and money in the future. Our Trucking Practice spans all six of our offices and combines a teamwork approach in providing advice prior to important decisions involving litigation and transactional matters.

Our attorneys defend trucking and motor carrier companies in state and federal court and before administrative agencies with respect to all areas of civil litigation. We handle all aspects of a case including investigation, witness preparation, administrative agency proceedings, pre-trial, trial, and appellate work.

A prompt and detailed investigation after an accident is necessary in today's legal environment. Our attorneys are available to immediately respond to an accident situation in order to preserve valuable evidence, conduct interviews of witnesses and law enforcement, and coordinate any additional investigation that may be needed. Our attorneys can promptly retain highly qualified accident reconstructionists and other necessary experts to assist us in investigating the accident scene and vehicles.

Through our extensive experience and industry focus, we provide clients with the most current legal advice. Our attorneys have extensive trial and appellate court experience. The attorneys in our Trucking Practice are members of various organizations that support the trucking industry, including the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA). We work closely with industry professionals, taking full advantage of their scientific and technical expertise for the benefit of our clients. We develop extensive defense strategies which emphasize resolving litigation in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Listed below are some of the areas where we represent trucking and motor carrier companies:

  • Administrative Agency Processes and Procedure
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Illinois Department of Human Rights
  • Illinois Human Rights Commission
  • Illinois Educational Labor Board
  • Illinois Public Labor Board
  • Illinois Department of Labor

Representative Clients

ABF Freight System, Inc.

American Trucking & Transportation Insurance Company ("ATTIC")

Baldwin & Lyons, Inc./Protective Insurance Company

Canal Insurance Company

Carolina Casualty

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc.

Comcar Industries

Cottingham & Butler/SISCO

Day & Ross, Inc.

Gemini Transportation Underwriters

G&D Transportation

Great Dane Trailers

Great West Casualty

Midwest Coast Transport

National American Insurance Company

Navajo Express, Inc.

Occidental Fire & Casualty of North Carolina/IAT Specialty

Prime, Inc.

RLI Transportation

Roadrunner Transportation Systems, Inc.

Tyson Foods

U.S. Xpress, Inc.

U.S.A. Truck

XL Catlin

Significant Cases

  • Hammond v. System Transport, Inc. 942 F.Supp.2d 867 (C.D. Ill. 2013) Rural intersection accident involving post-impact fire. Double fatality with admitted liability. Prior to trial, court ruled that evidence of any negligent acts  leading up to the accident were irrelevant. However, the manner of death was within the scope of damages allowable for grief, sorrow and mental suffering under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Despite no evidence suggesting either decedent survived the impact, plaintiffs' counsel argued various facts regarding the subsequent fire was relevant.  Despite some of the aggravating evidence associated with the fire post-occurrence, court ruled that it could not exclude all evidence associated with the manner of death or the events surrounding the accident. This was an issue of first impression in Illinois.
  • Jeramie Morris as special administrator of the Estate of Kimberly Gregorich, deceased and the Estate of John F. Parrett, IV deceased and Elizabeth Johnson, Individually and as special administrator of the Estate of Inara Parrett, deceased v. Nathan E. Merrill and Martin Co. Excavating Truck driver ran stop sign resulting in deaths of 18 month old child, child's father and child's grandmother. The child's mother survived, but suffered various injuries. Retained by insurance carrier to help navigate through potential bad faith issues. Complex pre-suit investigation with numerous issues explored, ultimately resulting in favorable settlement at mediation within our case evaluation.
  • Eagan v. Murk Represented a trucker who rear-ended plaintiff who was stopped waiting to make a left turn. Following the accident, plaintiff engaged in extensive pain management treatment (multiple injections, radiofrequency denervation, etc), saw a number of physicians, and sought chiropractic care. At the conclusion of the week-long trial, the plaintiff asked for $560,000, and the jury awarded 94,990.00.
  • Knight v. Smithway Motor Xpress, Inc. Case No. 08-4046 Trucking accident litigation involving serious injuries with a complicated recovery. There were multiple parties involved with claims for punitive damages and spoliation of evidence. We represented the bailee of the trailer involved in the accident, a concrete pre-cast manufacturer. It was alleged that the trailer involved had various brake problems arguably contributing to the accident. Complex case with a favorable settlement reached for our client through mediation.
  • Barrick v. Grimes 308 Ill. App. 3d 306 (4th Dist. 1999) Affirming jury verdict for truck driver in vehicular collision lawsuit.
  • Miller et al. v. Koch (1993), Madison County, four week trial of multi-party death and serious injury claim.
  • Jalel Hanafi v. Tri-Hi Transportation, Inc. McLean County, 03 L 200 Jury trial of a trucking accident with chronic pain claims involving testimony from fourteen physicians. Verdict for plaintiff was in line with case evaluation and less than the offer of settlement prior to trial.

Publications

  • "The Truck Driver: The Cornerstone of the Defense," Heyl Royster Trucking Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • "#Evidence: Social Media In Trucking Cases," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter of the Trucking Law Committee (2017) – Read Article
  • "Dakter v. Cavallino: An Anomaly or the New Normal?" DRI, For The Defense (2015) - Download Article
  • "The Truck Driver: Keeping Your Most Important Witness Engaged," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2015) - Download Article
  • "Review of Broker Liability," For The Defense (2014) - Download Article
  • "Evidentiary Issues Involving Grief, Sorrow and Mental Suffering," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2014)
  • "Punitive Damages in Trucking Litigation: Recognizing Risk and Assessing Exposure," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2012) - Download Article