Apportioning Fault to the Settling Tortfeasor
Illinois Supreme Court decisions clarified whether a jury may consider the negligence of settling defendants in determining and apportioning fault. While the Ready decision determined that "defendants sued by the plaintiff" does not encompass settling defendants, the Nolan decision sustained the viability of the "sole proximate cause defense."
Protecting the Workers’ Compensation Lien
Section 5(b) of the Work Comp Act provides that no release of a claim against an at fault party is valid without consent of the employer unless the employer "has been fully indemnified or protected by court order". In the Pederson case an order entered in the trial court protected the employer's lien by stating that the employer's lien was to be fully protected as provided for in Section 5(b).
Appellate Court Reaffirms Rejection of Captain of the Ship Doctrine
The Second District Appellate Court reaffirmed Illinois' rejection of the Captain of the Ship Doctrine. Under this doctrine, which has been adopted in 20 other states, a surgeon may be held liable for the negligence of an assisting nurse whom he does not employ if the nurse's negligent acts are done while the nurse is under the surgeon's direct control or supervision.
Summary Judgment Obtained
Dave Collins obtained summary judgment this spring on a case venued in Logan County. Plaintiff, a hotel guest, claimed he slipped and fell while taking a shower. Plaintiff filed suit against the company that managed the hotel, alleging various defects with the shower and failure to inspect/maintain the shower.
Medical Malpractice Case Update – Summer 2009
In Crull v. Sriatana, Quinn Johnston represented a defendant before the Fourth District. The Supreme Court had ordered the appellate court to reconsider a decision in favor of the defendant after a ruling in a different case. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in that separate case, the Fourth District again affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the cause of action against Quinn Johnston's client.
When considering a high/low agreement, it is important not to include the features of loan-receipt or Mary Carter agreements disapproved by the courts. High/low agreements achieve the same purpose of loan-receipt and Mary Carter agreements by reducing risk before receiving a verdict, while eliminating the public policy concerns the courts have disfavored.