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07/20/2016 - Summary Judgment Secured by Reed Armstrong Affirmed

Summary Judgment Secured by Reed Armstrong Affirmed


Watson v. Marberry, 2016 IL App (5th) 150223-U

In July 2015, we reported that Reed Armstrong partner Michael C. Hobin secured summary judgment in favor of a campsite tenant who plaintiff alleged was negligent in allowing the codefendant to be present unsupervised at the leased campsite with his dog, which led to the dog injuring the plaintiff. It was undisputed that on the day of plaintiff’s injury, the codefendant was present at the campsite with his dog but the campsite tenant was not. Further, under the lease, the tenant agreed to abide by the ordinances and rules pertaining to the campground which required tenants to keep dogs on leashes, and the lease also stated guests of the tenants were to be accompanied by the tenants at all times. Also, there was no dispute that the tenant did not know of the dog’s dangerous propensities. Reed Armstrong argued under these undisputed facts the tenant was not liable because she did not meet the statutory definition of an owner under the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16 (West 2006)) in that she did not harbor or exercise control over the dog one way or another. Madison County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Ruth agreed, and finding the Act not applicable he reasoned, to recover under a common law negligence cause of action for a dog bite the Plaintiff must show that “the animal had a mischievous propensity to commit such injuries and that the owner had knowledge of the propensity.” Plaintiff appealed and Reed Armstrong Associate Tara English defended the appeal. The Fifth District Appellate Court of Illinois held:
The circuit court was correct in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the plaintiff's claim for common law negligence in causing her injuries from a dog attack, as the record clearly establishes that the defendant did not own the dog, was not present at the time of the attack, and had no knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities.

7/20/16

06/20/2016 -John "Jack" Chassaing Associates with Reed Armstrong

John "Jack" Chassaing Associates with Reed Armstrong


Jack Chassaing has joined Reed Armstrong as an Associate. He received his Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, IL in May 2015 and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2012. He is a Member of the Missouri Bar and will sit for the Illinois Bar this fall. During law school, Jack appeared before several courts as a licensed intern on behalf of United States Attorney's Office, Cape Girardeau, MO; the St. Louis County, Missouri, Prosecuting Attorney's Office; and the Union County Illinois State's Attorney's Office. He was also a student worker at the SIU School of Law Civil Practice/Elderly Clinic and a Judicial Clerk for the St. Louis County, Missouri Circuit Court. He is actively practicing in our Toxic Tort group.
6/20/2016

01/04/2016 - Reed Armstrong Partner Secures Dismissal of Animal Control Act Count with Prejudice.

Reed Armstrong Partner Secures Dismissal of Animal Control Act Count with Prejudice.

Weiss v. Campbell, 2015 WL 8530512, Case No. 15-cv-542-JPG-DGW (S.D. Ill. December 11, 2015).

William B. StarnesThe Plaintiff alleged injuries caused when her car collided with a horse that had come onto the roadway and subsequently lay down in the road. She alleged several counts, including one count under the Animals Running at Large Act and one count under the Animal Control Act. Pursuant to the defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss filed by Reed Armstrong partner William B. Starnes II, the court dismissed the count under the Animal Control Act with prejudice.

The court observed that the Animal Control Act pertains to attacks perpetrated by dogs or other animals on persons who are lawfully within a given area, while the Animals Running at Large Act pertains to livestock which are not properly contained by their owners and wander about. In reviewing the relevant decisions in Illinois, the court noted several Illinois appellate cases that examined the interplay between the two Acts. It was clear from the within-cited McQueen, Zears, and Abadie decisions that, when the Animals Running at Large Act applies, the Animal Control Act does not apply. This is so because the Animal Control Act, which was enacted after the Animals Running at Large Act, did not alter the application of the Running at Large Act; rather, it simply eliminated the common law requirement that an owner know of an animal's dangerous propensity. Therefore, as the McQueen court observed, the Animal Control Act is inapplicable when a domestic animal is simply running at large, as the Animals Running at Large Act still applies. According to the Zears court, the Animals Running at Large Act can be considered an exception to the Animal Control Act, even if the Animal Control Act's statutory requirements are technically satisfied, when the damage is caused because an animal was simply wandering around. Because the federal court determined that the Illinois appellate decisions were correct, and because there was no indication that the Illinois supreme court would rule differently, the Defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion was granted.

1/4/2016

William B. Starnes II bio info

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10/16/2015 - Associate Victorious in Defending Plaintiff's Appeal

Associate Victorious in Defending Plaintiff's Appeal

Janet Biggs & Michael Biggs vs. Elisabeth Wyatt and Sheryl Scheibal; Madison County Case No. 10-L-956

The case arises from a three-car motor vehicle collision. Janet Biggs claimed the defendants were negligent and caused her to sustain injuries and damages, including medical bills and lost wages. Her husband, Michael Biggs, filed a claim against both defendants for loss of consortium. A four-day jury trial took place in October 2013 before the Honorable Judge David Hylla. The case was tried by Reed, Armstrong Associate Tori Walls. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff Janet Biggs for $33,850.00, itemized as follows: $300 for pain and suffering, $300 for loss of normal life, $25,000 for medical bills and $8,250 for lost wages. The jury apportioned 60% of the fault to Reed, Armstrong client Elisabeth Wyatt and 40% of the fault to the co-defendant, Sheryl Scheibal. The jury returned a defense verdict on Michael Biggs' consortium claims. After Plaintiffs' post-trial motions for a new trial on damages were denied, Plaintiffs appealed the denial of their post-trial motions to the Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court.

On appeal, Plaintiffs raised several points of error, all of which were subject to an abuse of discretion standard. Plaintiffs argued the trial court abused its discretion by (1) excluding evidence that Ms. Biggs had been awarded disability benefits by the Social Security Administration; (2) admitting evidence of a prior medical condition; (3) refusing to allow plaintiffs' counsel to cross-examine a defense expert witness regarding his bias; (4) dismissing a juror for cause due to the juror's fatigue; (5) refusing to dismiss three other jurors for cause; (6) allowing defense counsel to make improper, prejudicial remarks during closing arguments; and (7) submitting a verdict form and jury instructions on Mr. Biggs' loss of consortium claim that allowed jurors to render inconsistent verdicts. Reed, Armstrong Associate Tori Walls briefed the issues and presented oral argument before the three-judge panel on March 4, 2015.

On October 6, 2015, the Fifth District issued its Rule 23 Order affirming the trial court's denial of Plaintiffs' post-trial motions and finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on any issues raised by Plaintiffs on appeal. Specifically, the Fifth District found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence of the disability award because it was hearsay and not subject to the business records or public records exception to the hearsay rule.

10/16/2015

Tori Walls bio info

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09/28/2015 - Reed Armstrong Partners Recognized as Premier 100 Trial Attorneys for Illinois

Reed Armstrong Partners Recognized as Premier 100 Trial Attorneys for Illinois

William Starnes and Dominique Seymoure have been recognized by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys (AATA) as one of the Premier 100 trial attorneys for Illinois. This designation is extended to trial attorneys that have met stringent qualifications, have shown exemplary representation of their clients, and have been found by the AATA to be recognized by the bench and bar as leading trial attorneys.

9/28/2015

Dominique N. Seymoure bio info


09/25/2015 - Reed Armstrong Associate Obtains Summary Judgment for Driver

Reed Armstrong Associate Obtains Summary Judgment for Driver

Bridges v. Kries & Jaraysa, 15-AR-296, St. Clair County, IL

Plaintiff Bridges filed suit against defendants David Kries and Fidaa Jaraysa for personal injuries following a three-car rear-end collision. Defendant Kries was the lead/first vehicle; Plaintiff Bridges was the middle vehicle; and Defendant Jaraysa was the rear vehicle. On Kries behalf, Reed Armstrong Associate Joshua Severit moved for summary judgment. He was at a complete stop for 15-30 seconds before the Plaintiff struck the rear of the his vehicle. Plaintiff himself testified he did not believe defendant Kries in any way caused or contributed to the accident. The Court found as a matter of law Kries was not negligent.

9/25/2015

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09/22/2015 - Reed Armstrong Associate Obtains Summary Judgment for Third Party Defendant Excavator

Reed Armstrong Associate Obtains Summary Judgment for Third Party Defendant Excavator

Andrews v. Altered Grounds v. Edwards, Madison County Case No. 12-AR-678

The plaintiff filed suit against Altered Grounds, claiming they had improperly landscaped his property and that he was entitled to damages. Altered Grounds filed a third-party complaint for contribution against Calvin Edwards, who had been hired to excavate portions of the property, claiming that he had performed his work improperly. Using a combination of written discovery responses from the plaintiff and Altered Grounds, as well as a sworn affidavit from Mr. Edwards in support, Reed Armstrong Associate Jennifer Wagner, counsel for Mr. Edwards, moved for summary judgment on the third-party complaint, stating that: 1) Altered Grounds admitted it had no communications with Mr. Edwards; 2) Altered Grounds admitted that it did not coordinate its work with that of Mr. Edwards; 3) Mr. Edwards was forced to leave the job site prior to completion of his work due to an equipment breakdown, and when he returned, the area intended for excavation had been landscaped in his absence; and 4) the plaintiff, who served as his own general contractor, had no dispute with Mr. Edwards' work and did not consider that work to have been performed improperly. The court granted summary judgment in Mr. Edwards' favor on the third-party complaint.

9/22/2015

Jennifer M. Wagner bio info

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09/15/2015 - Reed Armstrong Partners Again Top Rated in Personal Injury Defense

Reed Armstrong Partners Again Top Rated in Personal Injury Defense

Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey have been peer selected by their peers as top rated attorneys in the area of Personal Injury Defense in the Illinois Super Lawyers directory for 2016. (superlawyers.com/illinois/). The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Super Lawyers magazine is published nationwide and designates those attorneys in each state that have received the highest recognition and professional achievement as acknowledged by their peers.

9/15/2015

05/12/2015 - Associate Secures Summary Judgment for Insurer on its Complaint for Declaratory Judgment

Associate Secures Summary Judgment for Insurer on its Complaint for Declaratory Judgment


State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. Jacob Fickle, et al; Madison County Case No. 14-MR-54

In the underlying wrongful death suit, the plaintiff alleged that Jacob Fickle was negligent when he drove a 2007 GMC Yukon, while intoxicated, into a home, resulting in the death of the home’s occupant. The GMC Yukon at issue was owned by Jacob Fickle’s mother. The undisputed facts showed that Jacob Fickle did not reside with his mother, but resided with his grandmother. The undisputed facts also established that Jacob Fickle took the keys to the GMC Yukon from his mother without her consent during an altercation, drove the vehicle without her permission while intoxicated, and crashed into a home. State Farm insured the GMC Yukon through a policy issued to Jacob Fickle’s mother. State Farm also insured several vehicles owned by Jacob Fickle’s grandmother through policies issued to the grandmother. Reed, Armstrong, on behalf of State Farm, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration from the court that State Farm owned no duty to defend and no duty to indemnify Jacob Fickle under any of the foregoing policies for any claims arising from the unfortunate incident. In its Motion for Summary Judgment, State Farm argued that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify Jacob under the policy insuring the GMC Yukon because Jacob was not an insured as defined by the policy; he was not the named insured, a resident relative or the named insured’s spouse, nor was he operating the vehicle with the owner’s consent. State Farm further argued it owed no coverage under the policies insuring the vehicles owned by Jacob’s grandmother because the GMC Yukon did not fall within the definition of a covered vehicle; the GMC Yukon was not the insured vehicle under the policies nor did it fit the definition of a newly acquired car, temporary substitute car or trailer as defined by the policies. The GMC Yukon also did not meet the definition of a non-owned car under the policy. To constitute a non-owned car under the policy, Jacob must have been in lawful possession of the vehicle at the time of the incident. It was undisputed that Jacob operated the vehicle while intoxicated and without the owner’s consent and was therefore not in lawful possession of the vehicle at the time of the incident. The Honorable Judge Barberis entered summary judgment in favor of State Farm and specifically found that State Farm owed no duty to defend and no duty to indemnify Jacob Fickle for any claims arising from the incident at issue.

5/12/2015

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01/30/2015 - 7 Reed Armstrong Attorneys Named by Peers to Lists of the State's Top Lawyers

7 Reed Armstrong Attorneys Named by Peers to Lists of the State's Top Lawyers

Chicago (Feb. 2, 2015) — Law Bulletin Publishing Company and its Leading Lawyers division today announced that seven attorneys at Edwardsville-based Reed Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey PC were named by their peers across Illinois to the lists of the top lawyers licensed to practice in the state.

A total of five of the firm's attorneys were named Leading Lawyers, a distinction earned by fewer than 5 percent of all lawyers registered to practice in Illinois. And two attorneys were named Emerging Lawyers, a distinction earned by fewer than 2 percent of all Illinois-licensed lawyers.

Law Bulletin Publishing Company, through its Leading Lawyers division, conducted an extensive statewide survey of Illinois lawyers asking: "If you couldn't take a case in your area of law, to whom would you refer a family member or friend?" Only those lawyers who were most often recommended by their peers in one of 100 areas of law and approved by Leading Lawyers' 400-member Advisory Board achieved the distinction of being a Leading Lawyer. Lawyers could not nominate themselves or any lawyers at their own firm. Also, the rigorous research methodology eliminated the possibility of lawyers being selected through a popularity contest.

Five Reed Armstrong partners were named Leading Lawyers in the following areas:
Stephen Mudge:
Stephen Mudge

Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Law
Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law
Personal Injury Defense Law: General
Products Liability Defense Law
Transportation Defense Law: Including Aviation/FELA/Maritime
Martin Morrissey:
Martin K. Morrissey

Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law
Personal Injury Defense Law: General
Products Liability Defense Law
Michael J. Bedesky:
Michael J. Bedesky

Civil Appellate Law
Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law
Personal Injury Defense Law: General
Products Liability Defense Law
Bryan L. Skelton:
Bryan L. Skelton

Products Liability Defense Law
Toxic Torts Defense Law
William B. Starnes II:
William B. Starnes II
Civil Appellate Law
Personal Injury Defense Law: General
Products Liability Defense Law

Also, Stephen Mudge: was named to the Leading Lawyers list of the Top 100 Downstate Business Leaders in Illinois. He also serves on the distinguished Advisory Board which helps vet the list. Only those lawyers who were the very most often recommended by their peers in the survey are invited to serve on the Advisory Board. They are essentially the best of the best.
The firm's two Emerging Lawyers are Dominique N. Seymoure and Tori Lynn Walls.
Dominique N. Seymoure
Dominique Seymoure

Seymoure is a partner who has practiced law since 2001.
   
Tori Walls, an associate, joined the bar in 2003.
Tori L. Walls
Tori Walls

Emerging Lawyers are younger than age 40 or have practiced law for 10 or fewer years.
"Leading Lawyers is a very strong list of the state's top lawyers," said Scott Anderson, director of Leading Lawyers and publisher of Leading Lawyers Magazine. "Additionally, for the two Emerging Lawyers at Reed Armstrong, when you consider the age and experience of the peer group, to be named to that list of less than 2,000 lawyers is indeed an exclusive honor."
To learn more about these lawyers, either click on their name or for a full listing of our attorneys visit the attorney biography page listing clickhere.
To read more about Law Bulletin Publishing Company's Leading Lawyers division, please visit www.leadinglawyers.com.

1/30/2015



01/22/2015 - Reed Armstrong Partners Again Peer-Designated as Premier Illinois Lawyers

Reed Armstrong Partners Again Peer-Designated as Premier Illinois Lawyers

Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey (below left and right respectively) have again been selected by their peers for inclusion on the Illinois Super Lawyers list for 2015 in the area of General Personal Injury Defense. The listing appears in the 2015 Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine. Super Lawyers magazine (www.superlawyers.com) is published nationwide and designates those attorneys in each state that have received the highest recognition and professional achievement as acknowledged by their peers.
Stephen C. MudgeMartin K. Morrissey
Steve Mudge, President of Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey, P.C., ("Reed, Armstrong") has been practicing trial law for more than 37 years. Mr. Mudge was born and raised in Madison County, and comes from a long line of attorneys who have practiced law for more than 100 years.

Martin Morrissey achieved partnership at Reed, Armstrong in 1992. He has tried over seventy-five civil jury trials.

1/22/2015

Stephen C. Mudge bio info

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

02/19/2014 - Partners Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey are Acknowledged as Leading Lawyers in Personal Injury Defense

Partners Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey are Acknowledged as Leading Lawyers in Personal Injury Defense

Reed Armstrong partners Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey have been selected as a members of the Leading Lawyers Network Advisory Board based upon reputation, professional ethics, and knowledge in following areas of law. Stephen Mudge: Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Law; Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance Law; Personal Injury Defense Law; Products Liability Defense Law; and Transportation Defense Law. Martin Morrissey: Personal Injury Defense Law; Products Liability Defense Law; Transportation Defense Law.

2/19/2014

Stephen C. Mudge bio info

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

09/17/2013 - Reed Armstrong Welcomes New Associates

Reed Armstrong Welcomes New Associates

Travis M. Pour and Mitchell A. Martin joined Reed Armstrong in August 2013, after taking the Illinois Bar Exam. Both graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 2013.

Travis was raised in Red Bud, Illinois. He attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering and Management with a Concentration in Mechanical Engineering in 2010. At Purdue University he was awarded the Outstanding Senior Award. In law school he was a member of the Journal of Legal Medicine.

Mitchell was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois. He attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Biblical Studies in 2008. In Law school, Mitchell was a member of the Moot Court Board, was nominated to the Order of Barristers, and interned with the United States Attorney´s Office for the Southern District of Illinois. Mitchell graduated cum laude.


9/17/2013

Travis M. Pour bio info

09/11/2013 - Partner Martin Morrissey Selected to the 2014 Illinois Super Lawyers List

Partner Martin Morrissey Selected to the 2014 Illinois Super Lawyers List

Martin K. MorrisseyMartin Morrissey has been selected by his peers for inclusion on the 2014 Illinois Super Lawyers list in the area of General Personal Injury Defense. The listing will appear in the 2014 Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine and in Chicago magazine.

Super Lawyers magazine (www.superlawyers.com) is published nationwide and designates those attorneys in each state that have received the highest recognition and professional achievement as acknowledged by their peers.

9/11/2013

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

05/23/2013 - Mr. Martin K. Morrissey has been invited to join the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

Mr. Martin K. Morrissey invited to join the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

Martin K. MorrisseyReed, Armstrong, Gorman, Mudge, Morrissey, P.C. is pleased to announce that Mr. Martin K. Morrissey has been invited to join the prestigious Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. The CLM is a nonpartisan alliance comprised of thousands of insurance companies, corporations, Corporate Counsel, Litigation and Risk Managers, claims professionals and attorneys. Through education and collaboration the organization’s goals are to create a common interest in the representation by firms of companies, and to promote and further the highest standards of litigation management in pursuit of client defense. Selected attorneys and law firms are extended membership by invitation only based on nominations from CLM Fellows. To learn more about the CLM, please visit www.TheCLM.org

5/23/2013

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

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01/14/2013 - Jennifer M. Wagner Associates with Reed Armstrong

Jennifer M. Wagner Associates with Reed Armstrong

Jennifer WagnerJennifer M. Wagner joined Reed Armstrong in January 2013. Jennifer graduated cum laude in 2011 from Southern Illinois University School of Law and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in November 2011. During law school, Jennifer was a member of the Journal of Legal Medicine and published an article concerning the need for hospitals to comply more fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to hearing-impaired patients. She also worked in the Southern Illinois University Civil Practice Clinic, providing free legal assistance to senior citizens in the thirteen southernmost counties in Illinois. While enrolled in the clinic as a student, Jennifer received the Howard Eisenberg Client Service Award for outstanding service to the clinic clientele.

Jennifer was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1981. She graduated from Edwardsville High School in 1999. Jennifer then attended Washington University in Saint Louis, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 2003.

Jennifer was admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in May 2012 and presented oral argument to the Court in November 2012. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Madison County Bar Association.

Jennifer Wagner's bio page

1/14/2013

12/10/2012 - Senior Partner Steve Mudge Appointed Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers

Senior Partner Steve Mudge Appointed Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers

Stephen C. MudgeSenior Partner Stephen C. Mudge was recently appointed a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers at an induction ceremony in New York, NY. The American College of Trial Lawyers is one of the premier legal associations in America. Mr. Mudge is an established trial attorney with 35 years of experience. His practice areas include negligence, insurance coverage law, bad faith claims, class actions, product liability, premises liability, automobile, commercial trucking injuries, construction defects and injury, and employment law. He also serves as a mediator and arbitrator.

12/10/2012

Stephen C. Mudge bio info


08/30/2012 - Associate Wins Bench Trial

Associate Wins Bench Trial

Reed Armstrong Associate Joshua N. Severit won a bench trial on August 30, 2012 in small claims court on behalf of a Country Mutual insured for $1,400 property damage to a Jerseyville County guardrail. Joshua has also tried 2 cases to jury verdict and several arbitrations cases since becoming licensed to practice in November 2010.

8/30/2012

03/20/2012 - Associate Published in Illinois Lawyer Now

Associate Published in Illinois Lawyer Now

Reed Armstrong Associate Leslie Warren co-authored an article in the Spring 2012 edition of Illinois Lawyer Now, a publication of the Illinois State Bar Association. The article "No more pants on the ground in Collinsville: An equal protection review" discussed whether the City of Collinsville´s recently enacted "sagging pants" ordinance violated the U.S. Constitution´s Equal Protection Clause. The article concludes that if an individual was charged with violating the sagging pants ordinance, and then sued the City of Collinsville for violating his/her Equal Protection rights, the lawsuit would probably be unsuccessful because the Collinsville City Council did not enact the ordinance because of racial motivations.

3/20/2012

03/08/2012 - Reed Armstrong Secures Summary Judgment Based upon Exculpatory Provision

Reed Armstrong Secures Summary Judgment Based upon Exculpatory Provision

On March 6, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Herndon, J., granted summary judgment for a client of Reed Armstrong, Michael Kelly. Jordan Polansky v. Michael Kelly and Sports Car Club of America, 3:10-cv-00680-DRH –PMF. Plaintiff, Jordan Polansky, sustained injuries while working as a corner-captain during an autocross-racing event after he was struck by an errant vehicle driven by the defendant, Michael Kelly. Corner-captains are placed on the autocross course, responsible for stopping the race if an unsafe condition arises. Polansky alleged that Kelly negligently operated his vehicle during the autocross event. Prior to his admission to the event, Polansky signed a release and waiver of liability, assumption of risk and indemnity agreement with SCCA. He was under no obligation to sign the release, and he voluntarily agreed to its terms in order to participate in the autocross event. The release and waiver of liability provided that Polansky agreed to release, waive, and discharge any autocross participant from any and all liability arising out of the autocross event. Kelly moved for summary judgment based on the validity of the release and waiver of liability. Polansky argued that he failed to read the release prior to signing it, and that he did not contemplate the risks involved with working as a corner-captain at an autocross event. Yet, Polansky admitted that knew he was signing a release and waiver as he had done on thirty-two previous occasions. The words "release and waiver of liability" were clearly identified on the top of the document. He admitted that he knew the autocross event was dangerous and that racing can lead to serious injury and death. The Court granted Kelly´s motion for summary judgment, finding the release to be a valid waiver of liability.

3/8/2012

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

Related Practice Areas



03/01/2012 - Court Dismisses Action against Reed Armstrong Client for Jurisdictional Defect

Court Dismisses Action Against Reed Armstrong Client for Jurisdictional Defect

On February 24, 2012, the First Judicial Circuit Court of Union County, Illinois granted a motion to dismiss for jurisdictional defect filed by Reed Armstrong on behalf of its client. Lashawn Wyatt vs. Ivan LaGrand, No. 11-L-25. The case arose out of an automobile accident that occurred in Cape Gerardo, Missouri. Defendant established he committed no act in Illinois giving rise to the cause of action; he was not served in Illinois; the alleged tort occurred outside Illinois; and he was not "doing business" in Illinois, that is, he was not carrying on business activities within the forum state with a fair measure of permanence and continuity, at the relevant time frame. Plaintiff also alleged by affidavit that the defendant had committed an intentional tort in Illinois vicariously through the actions of his insurance company´s claims adjuster over the telephone. The Court rejected plaintiff´s argument that such allegations were sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction on the insured defendant.

3/1/2012

William B. Starnes II bio info

Related Practice Areas



07/11/2011 - Court Grants Judgment on the Pleadings for Reed Armstrong Client

Court Grants Judgment on the Pleadings for Reed Armstrong Client

On July 1, 2011, the Eighth Circuit Court of Pike County, Illinois granted a motion filed by Reed Armstrong on behalf of its client for judgment on the pleadings in a case in which plaintiff alleged breach of insurance contract for denying a claim of theft of plaintiff´s motorcycle. Clendenny v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 10-LM-9. Plaintiff also sought penalties and attorney´s fees pursuant to Illinois Insurance Code Section 155. Defendant alleged affirmative defenses to which the plaintiffs never replied. Plaintiffs were deemed to have admitted the affirmative defenses that in the course of defendant´s investigation of the claim, plaintiffs made material misrepresentations and failed to cooperate.

7/11/2011

William B. Starnes II bio info

Related Practice Areas



10/01/2010 - Reed Armstrong Welcomes Two New Associates

Reed Armstrong Welcomes Two New Associates

Joshua N. Severit and Leslie M. Warren joined Reed Armstrong in August 2010, after taking the Illinois Bar Exam. Both Joshua and Leslie graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 2010, and both were officially notified that they passed the Illinois Bar Examination on October 1, 2010. They will be sworn in on November 4th, 2010.

Joshua was born and raised in the Metro East area. He attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics. While in law school, he was a member of the Moot Court Board and participated in the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition on 2 separate occasions. During the 2010 Competition, Joshua’s team advanced to the final round in the Brooklyn, NY regional where he received 8th best oralist. He was subsequently nominated to the Order of Barristers.

Leslie was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois. She attended Eastern Illinois University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. While in law school, she served on the Southern Illinois University Law Journal, first as a staff member and then as the Lead Articles Editor. Leslie’s casenote, The Investors Weren’t Tricked, But How Were They Treated? The Seventh Circuit’s New Definition of Fiduciary Duty in Jones v. Harris Associates, L.P. was published in the Winter 2010 edition of the journal.

10/1/2010

05/24/2010 - Partner Participates in Trial Demonstration Seminar Sponsored by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates

Partner Participates in Trial Demonstration Seminar Sponsored by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates

On May 21, 2010, Reed Armstrong Partner Martin K. Morrissey participated in Masters in Trial, an 8.4-hour Continuing Legal Education seminar in Oklahoma City featuring a trial demonstration from opening statement to jury deliberation. Mr. Morrissey conducted the cross examination of the plaintiff’s expert witness.

The seminar featured elite plaintiff and defense trial lawyers from around the country, and real-time jury deliberations were broadcast live into the seminar room. The seminar was sponsored by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Mr. Morrissey serves on the ABOTA National Board of Directors and is a past president of the Missouri / Southern Illinois Chapter of the organization. ABOTA is an organization of accomplished civil trial attorneys from both the plaintiff’s and the defense bars. Founded in 1959 ABOTA strives to elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession and preserve the right to jury trial in our civil justice system.

ABOTA Website

5/24/2010

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

06/29/2009 - Reed Armstrong Promotes Michael Hobin and Dominique Seymoure to Partner

Reed Armstrong Promotes Michael Hobin and Dominique Seymoure to Partner

Dedicated client service and consistent achievement have merited Reed Armstrong attorneys Michael C. Hobin and Dominique N. Seymoure promotions to partnership. Both have been associated with Reed, Armstrong, Gorman, Mudge & Morrissey, P.C., since graduating from law school: Michael in 2000 and Dominique in 2001.

For the law firm, Michael Hobin has worked on a wide range of cases, including automobile, dram shop, subrogation, products liability, workers’ compensation, premise, criminal, traffic and toxic tort related cases. He has tried personal injury cases to verdict in Madison County, St. Clair County, Fayette County, Marion County and Jersey County, Illinois. Michael attained a B.S. in political science from Bradley in 1992 where he played NCAA Division I soccer. In 1994, he graduated from Illinois State University with a M.S. in history. After teaching government, history and sociology at a college preparatory school from 1994-97, Michael headed to law school. He graduated from the Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 2000. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in November 2000 and admitted to practice generally before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in January 2001. Michael is a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association and the legal fraternity of Phi Delta Phi.

Dominique Seymoure achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1998. At Southern Illinois University School of Law, she was a member of the Moot Court Board-Appellate Division, Phi Phi Honor Society, and the legal fraternity of Phi Delta Phi. As a member of the Moot Court Board she competed in the ABA Moot Court Competition in Houston, Texas where her team advanced to the semi-final round of the regional competition and placed second in the brief competition. She was subsequently nominated to the Order of Barristers. Dominique graduated magna cum laude from the SIU School of Law in 2001. She was admitted to the Illinois bar in November 2001 and was admitted to practice generally before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in July 2002. For the firm, Dominique has tried more than 10 cases to jury verdict and has worked on a variety of cases including general liability, automobile, products liability, premises liability, insurance coverage issues, copyright infringement, and asbestos related cases. Dominique is currently a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association and the legal fraternity of Phi Delta Phi.

6/29/2009

Michael C. Hobin bio info

Dominique N. Seymoure bio info

04/27/2009 - Partner Coordinates Trial Demonstration Seminar Sponsored by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates

Partner Coordinates Trial Demonstration Seminar Sponsored by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates

On April 24, 2009, Reed Armstrong Partner Martin K. Morrissey coordinated Masters in Trial, a 7- hour Continuing Legal Education seminar featuring a trial demonstration from opening statement to jury deliberation. The Honorable G. Patrick Murphy, United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, fulfilled the roll of presiding Judge; the seminar featured elite plaintiff and defense trial lawyers from around the country; and real-time jury deliberations were broadcast live into the seminar room. The seminar was sponsored by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Mr. Morrissey serves on the ABOTA National Board of Directors and is a past president of the Missouri / Southern Illinois Chapter of the organization. ABOTA is an organization of accomplished civil trial attorneys from both the plaintiff’s and the defense bars. Founded in 1959 ABOTA strives to elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession and preserve the right to jury trial in our civil justice system.

4/27/2009

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

03/02/2009 - Reed Armstrong Associate Secures Dismissal in Wrongful Death Case

Reed Armstrong Associate Secures Dismissal in Wrongful Death Case

The Circuit Court of Fayette County, Illinois, recently dismissed a wrongful death action based upon a motion drafted and presented by Reed Armstrong Associate Stephen M. Szewczyk. The children of a certain family were babysitting a young child who exited the house without anyone's knowledge and walked into a pond located on adjacent property and drowned. The child’s parents settled their wrongful death claim against the babysitting household for a significant sum. The parents also sued the owners of the pond for wrongful death. The pond owners argued that the settlement and release executed by the parents and the babysitting household applied equally to them because both households had acted jointly in the excavation and operation of the pond and such cooperative action created an association. The pond owners asserted that the settlement and release specifically applied to partnerships and associations and, therefore, applied to them and released them from liability.

3/2/2009

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02/11/2009 - Reed Armstrong Senior Partners Again Recognized by their Peers

Reed Armstrong Senior Partners Again Recognized by their Peers

For the second consecutive year, Reed Armstrong partners Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey have been selected by their peers as Super Lawyers in the area of General Personal Injury Defense as listed in Illinois Super Lawyers 2009.

Super Lawyers magazine (www.superlawyers.com) is published nationwide and designates those attorneys in each state that have received the highest recognition and professional achievement as acknowledged by their peers.

2/11/2009

Stephen C. Mudge bio info

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

02/11/2009 - Partner Steve Mudge is Acknowledged as Leading Lawyer in Personal Injury Defense

Partner Steve Mudge is Acknowledged as Leading Lawyer in Personal Injury Defense

Reed Armstrong partner Stephen C. Mudge has been selected as a member of the Leading Lawyers Network Advisory Board based upon his reputation, professional ethics, and knowledge in the areas of Personal Injury Defense as well as Class Action / Mass Tort Defense in Illinois as listed in the Leading Lawyers Network Magazine, January 2009.

2/11/2009

Stephen C. Mudge bio info

01/05/2009 - Fifth District Affirms Setoff Granted to Reed Armstrong Client

Fifth District Affirms Setoff Granted to Reed Armstrong Client

Reed Armstrong associate, Tori L. Cox, successfully briefed, argued and defended an appeal by a wrongful death plaintiff who sought reversal of a setoff granted by the Madison County Circuit Court. In the case of Edgar v. Medstar Ambulance Inc., plaintiff brought her wrongful death suit against BJC Home Medical Equipment on a theory of negligence and against Medstar on a theory of willful and wanton conduct. BJC settled for $40,000 before trial. After trial, the jury awarded plaintiff $60,000 against Medstar. Medstar then moved the court to setoff the verdict by the $40,000 previously paid by BJC pursuant to the Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act. In accordance with Supreme Court precedent in Ziarko v. Soo Line R. R., 161 Ill. 2d 276 (1994), the Appellate Court, Fifth District affirmed in an unpublished Rule 23 order. The determinative fact was that plaintiff’s allegations, proofs, and arguments regarding defendant’s willful and wanton conduct were not based on intentional acts but, rather, recklessness.

1/5/2009

Tori L. Walls bio info

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11/26/2008 - Illinois Supreme Court Agrees with Reed Armstrong’s Argument on Behalf of Pekin Insurance Company

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees with Reed Armstrong’s Argument on Behalf of Pekin Insurance

On November 20, 2008, Pekin Insurance Company, represented by Reed Armstrong partner Stephen C. Mudge, was victorious in the Illinois Supreme Court, which reversed the Fifth District Appellate Court of Illinois and affirmed the Madison County Circuit Court’s dismissal of a declaratory judgment action brought against it by Billy Taylor in Taylor v. Pekin Insurance Company, 2008 WL 4943700 (Ill. 2008). In this case, the plaintiff was injured when he was involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist. After receiving $162,588.33 from Pekin Insurance Company pursuant to a workers' compensation policy, the plaintiff was awarded $250,000.00 in benefits under its uninsured motorist coverage. Pursuant to the provisions of the Pekin automobile policy, Pekin delivered a check to the plaintiff in the amount of $87,412.00, the difference between the arbitrators’ award and the amount plaintiff had previously been paid in workers' compensation benefits.

The plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that the amount of the setoff for worker’s compensation benefits received should be reduced by the amount of attorney’s fees the plaintiff incurred in obtaining the worker’s compensation benefits. The trial court dismissed the declaratory judgment action but the Appellate Court, 5th District reversed, ruling that the setoff for worker’s compensation payments should be reduced by $40,467.00, reflecting the 25% fee plaintiff’s attorney could have received under Section 5(b) of the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act had he had recovered a lien from a third-party tortfeasor.

The Workers' Compensation Act grants a lien to an employer for the amount of workers’ compensation benefits paid on an employee's recovery against a third-party tortfeasor and requires the employer to pay the employee's attorney a fee in the amount of 25% of the amount recovered by the employer. 820 ILCS 305/5(b) (West 2006). The issue before the Supreme Court was “whether section 5(b) requires Pekin to pay the 25% fee where plaintiff has been compensated for his injuries through his employer's uninsured-motorist insurance rather than through a claim against a liable third party.” Applying the plain language of the statute, the Court agreed with Pekin’s contention that “section 5(b) by its terms does not apply because there was no recovery from a third-party tortfeasor.” Further the Court agreed with the Appellate Court’s dissenting Justice Donovan who asserted that since the workers’ compensation carrier recovered no funds, there was no recovery triggering a 25% attorney fee pursuant to section 5(b).

11/26/2008

Stephen C. Mudge bio info

Tara English bio info

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10/31/2008 - New Civil Jury Instructions Treatise Uses Reed Armstrong Trial as Illustration

New Civil Jury Instructions Treatise Uses Reed Armstrong Trial as Illustration

A mold case tried to a defense verdict by Reed Armstrong partner Michael J. Bedesky was recently featured in a Jury Instruction treatise. D. ROE, ILLINOIS CIVIL JURY INSTRUCTIONS COMPANION HANDBOOK, § 4:16 (Thomson West, 2008), citing Crowder v. West Pointe Bank, St. Clair County No. 02-L-683. In Crowder, the plaintiff sought personal injury damages caused by mold under a landlord-tenant, premises liability theory. This new Thomson West publication demonstrates the use of Illinois Civil Jury Instructions in the factual context of many specific trials in a variety of litigation contexts. It sets forth the nature of each case, a factual summary, and the citation of each pattern jury instruction given. Where given instructions were not covered by—or where they deviate from—Illinois Pattern Instructions, the text of the instruction is set forth. The treatise also provides Westlaw citations for available case pleadings and documents.

10/31/2008

Michael J. Bedesky bio info

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09/30/2008 - 5th District Publishes Rule 23 Order Upholding Trial Court’s Admission of Vehicle Photographs without Expert Opinion

5th District Publishes Rule 23 Order Upholding Trial Court's Admission of Vehicle Photographs without Expert Opinion

Reed Armstrong attorney Dominique N. Seymoure recently argued before the 5th District Appellate Court in the case of Ellen Fronabarger v. Edith Burns(No. 5-07-0433). Following oral arguments, the 5th District issued a Rule 23 Order affirming the judgment of the trial court entered on the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $3,141.00 after a two-day jury trial. The Appellate Court found the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting after crash vehicle photographs absent expert testimony on the correlation between vehicular damage and the plaintiff’s injuries. It again rejected the notion that such photographs are always inadmissible or that expert testimony is always necessary, citing its decision in Jackson v. Sieb, 372 Ill. App. 3d 1061 (5th Dist., 2007)(in which Reed Armstrong also represented the defendant-appellee). The trial court has to determine whether the photographs make the resulting injury to the plaintiff more or less probable and whether the nature of the damage to the vehicles and the injury to the plaintiff are such that a lay person can readily assess their relationship, if any, without expert interpretation. The Court stated that in this case, it could not state that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the photographs without expert testimony. The jury could have assessed the relationship between the damage to the vehicles and the injury to the plaintiff without the aid of an expert.

On September 29, 2008, the Courtgranted defendant’s Motion to Publish the opinion which was urged on the basis that litigants and scholars continue to posit that expert testimony is required before photographs depicting vehicular damage are admissible citing the contrary position of the First District and distinguishing Jackson on its specific facts.

9/30/2008

Dominique N. Seymoure bio info

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07/24/2008 - Summary Judgment Entered for Reed Armstrong Client in Head-On Collision Case

Summary Judgment Entered for Reed Armstrong Client in Head-On Collision Case

In June, 2008, Reed Armstrong obtained a summary judgment in St. Clair County Circuit Court for the defendant in Walker v. Wayne Counton and J.T.C. Petroleum. Reed Armstrong Associate Stephen M. Szewczyk presented the motion. The case involved a head-on collision between a dump truck and an oil truck. The only witnesses to the accident were the drivers of the trucks, the plaintiff and defendant. Defendant, who passed away recently from an unrelated illness, testified in his deposition that plaintiff’s vehicle slid on the rock covered roadway into his lane as it was coming around a curve thereby causing the collision. In contrast, plaintiff testified that defendant’s vehicle slid into his lane. The investigating state trooper testified that the skid marks showed that plaintiff’s vehicle slid into defendant’s lane and that plaintiff was at fault. The defendant argued in his motion for summary judgment that the Dead Man’s Act would preclude the plaintiff from testifying at trial about his version of the accident, so that the only testimony about the accident would come from the trooper. Plaintiff countered that argument by asserting that the skid marks in Defendant’s lane could be interpreted as coming from plaintiff’s vehicle in its attempt to avoid colliding with defendant who had veered into plaintiff’s lane. The plaintiff also argued that, because the trooper never interviewed the plaintiff and because of the existence of photographs, issues of material fact existed so that entry of summary judgment would be inappropriate. Defendant countered that the trooper had testified that the defendant’ vehicle never left its lane and that it was conclusive that plaintiff’s vehicle entered defendant’s lane. Defendant also argued that the mere existence of post-accident photographs did not by themselves create an issue of fact because they were not supported by expert testimony and had never been presented to the court. Defendant also argued that, because they were not presented to the court, the failure to disclose them to the court itself created a presumption against the plaintiff. The court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment on all issues.

7/24/2008

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01/30/2008 - 2 Partners Named "Super Lawyers" by their Peers

2 Partners Named "Super Lawyers" by their Peers

Stephen C. Mudge and Martin K. Morrissey have been selected as Super Lawyer for 2008. Super Lawyers magazine (www.superlawyers.com) is published nationwide and designates those attorneys in each state that have received the highest recognition and professional achievement as acknowledged by their peers.

1/30/2008

Stephen C. Mudge bio info

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

10/15/2007 - Partner Elected to ABOTA National Board of Directors

Partner Elected to ABOTA National Board of Directors

Martin K. Morrissey has been elected to the National Board of Directors of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) to represent the Missouri / Southern Illinois Chapter of the organization. The American Board of Trial Advocates is an organization of accomplished civil trial attorneys from both the plaintiffs and the defense bar. Founded in 1959 ABOTA strives to elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession and preserve the right to jury trial in our civil justice system.

ABOTA Website

10/15/2007

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

02/20/2004 - Martin K. Morrissey Elected President of the Missouri/Southern Illinois Chapter of ABOTA

Martin K. Morrissey Elected President of the Missouri/Southern Illinois Chapter of ABOTA

Martin K. Morrissey has been elected President of the Missouri Southern Illinois Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) for the 2004 year.

The American Board of Trial Advocates is an organization of accomplished civil trial attorneys from both the plaintiffs and the defense bar. Founded in 1959 ABOTA strives to elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession and preserve the right to jury trial in our civil justice system.

ABOTA Website

2/20/2004

Martin K. Morrissey bio info

Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey, P.C.
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