John Heil

Practice Groups:

Business and Commercial Litigation

Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983

Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy

Insurance Coverage

Drone Law

Qui Tam (Whistleblower)

Office Locations:

Peoria, IL

Phone: 309.676.0400

Chicago, IL

Phone: 312.853.8700

Email Me


Heil IDC Article on Tort Immunity Act and Meaning of “Willful & Wanton” Conduct - 08/30/2017

Heil Elected to IDC Board of Directors - 07/20/2017

60 Heyl Royster Attorneys on Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 06/29/2017

Guarding Against Unconscious Bias in the Workplace - 03/07/2017

Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 01/20/2017

Heil Writes on the Emerging Use of Drones for Commercial Purposes - 08/19/2016

Heil Appointed to IDC’s Board of Directors - 07/15/2016

Six Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Publications - 01/15/2016

Heyl Royster Leadership at Peoria County Bar Association - 01/11/2016

Eight Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 07/10/2015

Victory in Civil Rights Case - 04/10/2015

Firm Adds Drone Law Practice - 03/06/2015

Eight Attorneys Author IDC Quarterly Articles - 03/05/2015

Heyl Royster Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 12/16/2014

Firm Provides Pro Bono Assistance to Immigrants Seeking Deferred Action - 08/22/2014

Heyl Royster Attorneys Undertake Leadership Roles with Peoria County Bar Association - 08/09/2013

Heyl Royster Announces Five New Partners - 01/03/2013


  • Juris Doctor (with honors), Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1996
  • Bachelor of Science-Political Science and History (magna cum laude), Bradley University, 1993 

Year Joined Firm




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Heyl Royster



John Heil (Partner)


John focuses his practice on business and commercial litigation, complex civil rights litigation, the representation of insurance carriers in liability coverage disputes, and the defense of catastrophic tort actions. John also defends professional liability actions directed at attorneys, federal "whistle-blower" suits brought against publicly funded medical institutions, and personal injury claims brought against individuals and their employers. John is a Vice-Chair of the firm's Business and Commercial Litigation Practice, Chair of the Peoria office's Drone Law Practice, and the head of the Peoria office's Mentoring Program.

John's business and commercial practice includes litigating cases involving allegations of breach of contract, fraud, and deceptive business practices on behalf of large and small businesses and their employees throughout the state. John is also heavily involved in the defense of federal civil rights actions and associated state law claims leveled against members of the law enforcement community and other public officials. In this context John routinely defends allegations of false arrest, excessive force, deliberate indifference and denial of due process of law.

John joined Heyl Royster in 2007 after serving for eleven years as a trial attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. During his years as a prosecutor, he prepared and argued hundreds of motions, over one hundred bench trials, and eighteen felony jury trials. As a member of the Civil Actions Bureau, John defended Cook County, Illinois, its elected officials, and employees in state and federal court. John was part of the team charged with defending the elected State's Attorney and his Assistants in several high profile federal civil rights actions in the Northern District of Illinois. He received his J.D., with Honors, from Chicago-Kent College of Law and a B.S., magna cum laude, from Bradley University.


  • “It Means What it Says: The Proper Definition of Willful and Wanton Misconduct under the Tort Immunity Act,” Civil Practice & Procedure IDC Defense Update (2017) - Download Article
  • “Consciously Guard Against Unconscious Bias In The Workplace,” InterBusiness Issues (2017) – Download Article
  • “Animal Abuse Case Provides Reminder as to the Low Federal Pleading Standard,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • “Is This Really Happening? The Emerging Use of Drones for Commercial Purposes,” Skywritings, The Newsletter of the Aviation Law Committee of the Defense Research Institute (2016) - Download Article
  • "Botched Investigation or Cover-Up? Either Way, It May Not Be a Constitutional Violation," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "Attack of the Drones: Small Unmanned Aircraft Claims Are on Their Way," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "The Seventh Circuit's Footnotes Question the Failure to Raise Available Immunities," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) - Download Article
  • "Accrual of Deliberate Indifference Claims Premised on Medical Treatment Errors," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
  • "To Be or Not To Be: A State Entity Intergovernmental Police Task Force Is Entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
  • "Mental Illness, Extreme Danger Creation, and the Denial of Qualified Immunity," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
  • "Prosecutor's Office Not Subject to Section 1983 'Failure to Train' Liability in the Absence of a Demonstrated Pattern of Similar Brady Violations," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
  • "No Matter How Egregious, Bad Acts Do Not Spawn Section 1983 Liability Unless Performed Under Color of State Law," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2011) - Download Article
  • "Your Qualified Immunity Defense Was Denied at Summary Judgment. Will the Court of Appeals Have Jurisdiction Over Your Interlocutory Appeal?" Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2010) - Download Article
  • "The Supreme Court Abandons an Inflexible Application of the Saucier Two-Step," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2009) - Download Article
  • "Defending Governmental Entities in Section 1983 Claims," IDC Fall Conference (2009) - Download Article
  • "Do Not Forget About the Law Enforcement Investigatory Privilege," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008) - Download Article
  • "Rule 41(a) Voluntary Dismissal in Federal Court Takes Effect Immediately Upon Filing, Not When Docketed," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008) - Download Article

Public Speaking

  • “Commercial Drones: Flying into Litigation Turbulence”
    Defense Research Institute’s Business Litigation Seminar 2017
  • “Can I Park My Drone Here? How the FAA’s New Drone Regulations Affect Your District”
    Illinois Association of Park Districts Legal Symposium 2016
  • “Legal Aspects of Drones: Where We Are & Where We Are Heading”
    Greater Peoria Claims Association's Annual Vendor Fair & Educational Seminar 2016
  • “Unboxing Case Law: An Insurance Law Update”
    Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2016
  • “Preserving Electronic Information: Protect your business in the event of a lawsuit or the threat of a lawsuit.”
    Heyl Royster “Avoiding Litigation” Seminar, Peoria 2016
  • “The Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act”
    Peoria County Bar Association Civil Practice Seminar 2016
  • “All I Want for the Holidays Is a Drone: Permitted Uses Today and What to Expect Tomorrow”
    Heyl Royster Governmental Lunch & Learn Seminar, Peoria, IL 2015
  • “Malicious Prosecution Claims: Recent Developments as to When Coverage is Triggered”
    Heyl Royster 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015
  • “Body Cameras: All That Is Seen & Unseen”
    Heyl Royster 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015
  • “Medical Cannabis: A Primer For Employers and Governmental Entities”
    Heyl Royster Lunch & Learn Seminar/Webinar 2014
  • “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Accommodations Basics”
    Heyl Royster Quarterly Business & Commercial Litigation Seminar 2013
  • “Governmental Liability and Immunities”
    ILSAAP Conference for Newly Elected State’s Attorneys 2013
  • “The Personnel Records Review Act: Your Obligations Under Illinois Law”
    Heyl Royster Quarterly Business & Commercial Litigation Seminar 2011
  • “Liquor Liability: Social Hosts & Other Issues”
    Heyl Royster's 26th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2011
  • “Employer Provided Technology: Potential Liability”
    Heyl Royster Quarterly Business & Commercial Litigation Seminar 2011

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois.  Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.

Professional Associations

  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Board of Directors, 2016-present)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Peoria County Bar Association, At-Large member of the Board of Directors 
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Abraham Lincoln Court

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court, Central, Southern and Northern (Trial Counsel) Districts of Illinois
  • State Courts of Illinois

Community Involvement

  • Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce: former Member of the Board of Directors; Member, Government Affairs Committee; Graduate, Community Leadership School, 2011