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Heyl Royster

 

Attorneys

Brad Keller (Associate)

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Brad concentrates his practice on civil litigation defense in the areas of trucking/transportation, professional liability, premises liability, product liability, auto, and commercial litigation. He is actively involved in all stages of litigation and has been responsible for drafting and arguing numerous critical dispositive motions. He has taken and defended numerous depositions, including those of plaintiffs, fact witnesses, treating physicians, corporate representatives, and experts. He has had three jury trials, including a three-week jury trial in LaSalle County, and has had several bench trials. He has also played a key role in resolving litigation at mediation.

Brad is actively involved in professional organizations. He is currently the Newsletter Editor for the DRI Trucking Law Committee. He is also a columnist for the Illinois Association of Defense Counsel’s quarterly newsletter. In 2017, he attended the week-long International Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IADC) Trial Academy, which was held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Brad is originally from Quincy, IL, and attended the University of Illinois for undergraduate and law school. While in law school, Brad clerked for the Judges of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, Adams County in 2008 and in Heyl Royster's Urbana office in 2009. Following graduation from law school, Brad joined the firm's Peoria office. Brad chaired the firm's 2011 pro bono work for Prairie State Legal Services and was awarded the area's Young Lawyer Volunteer of the Year Award for his work that year.

Significant Cases

  • Douglas v. Martinez v. Finn: Successful jury trial. Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident and sued the driver of the vehicle in which he was riding and the driver of the second vehicle involved in the accident. Plaintiff dismissed the driver of the second vehicle, our client, but he was subsequently added to the case as a third party defendant. Brad represented our client in a three day jury trial. The jury ultimately returned a verdict of not guilty for our client, finding that he was not negligent and had not caused the accident.
  • Schoonover v. Orr, et al.: Double fatality trucking accident in west central Illinois with admitted liability. The unique issue presented in this case was that one of the decedent's families sought punitive damages from the truck driver and trucking company via an assignment of the property damage claim held by the owner of the tractor on which the decedent was riding. The validity of the assignment of the property damage claim (and the possible punitive damages claim associated with it) and the factual basis for punitive damages was vigorously challenged. Brad was involved throughout the case, evaluating the legal and factual issues involved and drafting substantial motions and responses. Brad deposed Plaintiff's accident reconstruction expert on the issues related to the punitive damages claims. One of the main issues addressed was the expert's opinions on visual angle analysis, and the difficulties posed to the driver by approaching a vehicle moving much slower than the one he was operating. The case was settled favorably just prior to the issue of Plaintiff's ability to plead punitive damages pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1 ultimately being determined.
  • Farber v. McMeen, et al.: Trucking accident in western Illinois involving an Illinois truck driver and Illinois trucking company. Plaintiffs were Pennsylvania residents and sued in Pennsylvania federal court on that basis. With Pennsylvania counsel, we challenged personal jurisdiction and venue, filing a Motion to Dismiss on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. The Motion asked in the alternative for the venue to be transferred on forum non conveniens grounds. This issue involved substantial briefing and discovery. Ultimately, the Eastern District for Pennsylvania granted the Motion, determining that there was no personal jurisdiction over the company or driver. The case was transferred to the proper venue, the Central District of Illinois, where a favorable settlement was reached after the depositions of Plaintiffs, the truck driver, and trucking company representatives.
  • Morris v. Merrill and Martin Co. Excavating: Trucking accident involving deaths of a young child, the child's father and the child's grandmother. The child's mother survived, but suffered various injuries. We were retained by the insurance carrier to help navigate through potential bad faith issues. Brad was involved with the complex pre-suit investigation, exploring numerous issues related to the potential damages. The case was resolved favorably at mediation within our case evaluation.
  • Youman v. Karls: Plaintiff sued a flooring contractor almost four years after an accident in which he had tripped over flooring materials in a hospital hallway.  The case was dismissed with prejudice following argument on a 2-619 Motion to Dismiss. The Motion to Dismiss argued that the two year personal injury statute of limitations applied rather than the four year construction statute of limitations. The key issue in the case was whether the flooring project constituted an improvement to real property, such that the construction statute of limitations applied.
  • Daft v. Ferguson, et al.: Three week jury trial in a trucking case in west central Illinois. The case involved an accident between two tractor-trailers and a resulting rollover of the vehicle in which Plaintiffs were riding. Brad was actively involved at trial, drafting motions and responses regarding evidentiary issues, preparing witnesses, and questioning witnesses at trial.
  • J.P. v. J.C., et al.: Plaintiff was injured at a steel mill when he was electrically shocked while spraying weeds. The case settled just prior to trial. Brad was actively involved in the preparation of the case for trial, including preparation of pre-trial motions, identification and selection of experts, preparation of experts for depositions, and defending experts at depositions.
  • J.D. v. O.T., et al.: Plaintiff filed suit against two entities that operated a theater, alleging that the entities negligently hired and supervised an employee. The case was dismissed with prejudice following arguments on a 2-619 Motion to Dismiss, in which Brad argued that the entities were local public entities entitled to immunity under the Tort Immunity Act.

Publications

  • “Fulfilling the Due Diligence Inquiry Requirement for Alternative Service,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) – Download Article
  • “Another Victory for the Open and Obvious Doctrine,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article
  • "Burhmester v. Steve Spiess Construction, Inc., When Must the Kotecki Defense be Presented?" Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • "Aliano v. Sears: Challenging Attorneys' Fees in a Consumer Fraud Case," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article 
  • "Basics of Litigation: Managing the Aftermath of Your Worst Day on the Job," Mid-West Truckers Association Magazine (2016)
  • "Establishing an Affirmative Matter Under Section 2-619(a)(9), Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (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
  • "Evidence and Practice Tips," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "Evidence and Practice Tips: Admissibility of Statements under Illinois Rule of Evidence 408: Control Solutions, LLC v. Elecsys," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) - Download Article
  • "Review of Broker Liability," For The Defense (2014) - Download Article
  • "Fraser v. Jackson: Second District Affirms Orders Barring Expert as Discovery Sanction and Awarding Fees Associated with Proving Reasonableness of Medical Bills," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) - Download Article
  • "The Evidence and Practice Tips Column: Statement Made in Motion Practice Admissible at Trial," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) - Download Article
  • "Tips for Forum Non Conveniens Motions – Taylor v. Lemans Corp." and " Sutton v. Ekong: Examination of a Plaintiff's Use of 735 ILCS 5/2-203.1 to Allow for Special Service," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) – Download Article
  • "No Further Duty to Investigate After Establishing Probable Cause," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2011) - Download Article

Public Speaking

  • “Black Box Retention & Spoliation”
    Greater Peoria Claims Association 2017
  • “Logistics of Surveillance”
    Greater Peoria Claims Association 2017
  • “Investigation in Trucking Accidents”
    CCMSI 2017
  • “Defending Your Company Before and After a Lawsuit or Claim is Filed”
    Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show 2017
  • “CYA 101: When to Contact an Attorney After an Accident”
    Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show 2016
  • “Tighten Security on Your Premises: “When are you liable for criminal acts on invitees on your property?””
    Heyl Royster “Avoiding Litigation” Seminar, Peoria 2016
  • “You’re In An Accident – How and What to Preserve and Protect”
    Midwest Truckers Association Annual Convention 2015
  • “There’s Been an Accident, Now What? Tips for a Successful Accident Investigation”
    Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015
  • “Insurance Law Update”
    Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Statewide CLE Series (Peoria) 2013
  • “Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)”
    Heyl Royster Commercial Litigation Seminar 2013
  • “Business and Employee Record Retention and Production: What Should We Keep and What Must Be Produced?”
    Heyl Royster Commercial Litigation Seminar 2013

Professional Recognition

  • Peoria County Pro Bono Plan (Young Lawyer Volunteer of the Year - 2012)
  • Named to Law Bulletin Publishing Company's 2017 list of Illinois Emerging Lawyers. Only two percent of Illinois lawyers under the age of 40 or who have been licensed to practice for 10 years or less earn this distinction.

Professional Associations

  • Illinois Trucking Association
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) (Newsletter Editor for Trucking Law Committee, 2017; New Member Guide 2015-2016)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Peoria County Bar Association
  • Abraham Lincoln Court
  • Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois

Community Involvement

  • Golf Fore the Red Cross, Board Member (since first annual outing in 2011)