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Heyl Royster



Emily Perkins (Associate)


Emily concentrates her practice in the area of employment/labor law, governmental law, Section 1983 civil rights litigation, and medical malpractice. She is involved in various employment matters, including hostile work environment issues, discrimination, and retaliation claims against employers. She works with employers of public entities in negotiating collective bargaining agreements and defending against unfair labor practice charges. She also drafts and negotiates a wide variety of contracts ranging from severance agreements to large business contracts, including purchase, consulting, license, and software agreements.

Emily defends state actors (clinical therapists and law enforcement officers) in Section 1983 deliberate indifference and failure to protect claims. In addition, she represents townships, villages, road districts and other governmental entities in a variety of litigation. Emily also defends premises liability and personal injury claims in state court.

Emily joined the firm's Peoria office as an associate in 2014, after serving as a summer law clerk in 2012 and 2013. As a member of the Trial Advocacy Society at Northern Illinois University College of Law, she had the opportunity to compete in the Student Trial Advocacy Competition for the American Association for Justice in Chicago, Illinois. While in law school, Emily also served as the President of the Student Bar Association. Her article "Regulating Appearance in the Workplace: An Employer's Guide to Avoid Employment Discrimination Lawsuits" was chosen as a winner in the National Law Review writing competition and published in February of 2014.

Significant Cases

  • D.R. v. Individual Realtor and Realty Company (2017) - Obtained defense verdict for real estate agent in a jury trial in which plaintiff claimed damages related to representations made in the course of the purchase of a home. One year after purchasing the home, the plaintiff experienced a septic tank failure that resulted in damage to his basement. The plaintiff claimed that he was unaware that the home was serviced by a septic tank and that the agent misrepresented that the home was connected to city sewer. The court granted summary judgment prior to trial on the plaintiff’s claims of fraudulent concealment, breach of contract, and professional malpractice. The judge granted the firm’s motion to strike a negligence per se count at trial. Following trial, the jury entered a defense verdict as to the fraudulent misrepresentation count, and the judge entered judgment in favor of the defendants as to counts relating to the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Young v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2017) - Represented seven clinical therapists in an inadequate mental health treatment claim. The court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion and agreed that the plaintiff could not support his claim by demonstrating that any of the individual defendants failed to provide him sufficient mental health treatment. The defendants provided evidence, including the plaintiff’s clinical progress notes which established the plaintiff’s engagement in the treatment process, to defeat the plaintiff’s claim.
  • Adams v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2017) - Successfully defended grievance examiner of a state facility in two religious claims: the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act claim and a First Amendment claim for the freedom of religion. The Central District granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion and agreed the policies at the facility did not have any effect on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Furthermore, the facility’s failure to initiate a specific non-denominational Christian church service for these plaintiffs was not a violation of the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right because there are currently several Christian church services for the plaintiffs to attend.
  • Hughes v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2017) - Defended grievance examiner in a claim relating to the quality of food at a state facility. The court agreed that the grievance examiner had no control over the food service. Additionally, the grievance examiner properly addressed the plaintiff’s concerns outlined in his grievances and attempts to resolve. The court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion.
  • Poole v. ___ (2015) - Successfully argued summary judgment motion in state court as it related to Plaintiff’s cause of action for deliberate indifference for failing to protect him from another inmate as well as deliberate indifference to his medical needs against jail personnel. The court agreed that there was no evidence that the plaintiff’s attacker was a specific risk of harm to the plaintiff and that the defendants were not personally involved in administering plaintiff’s medication or medical treatment.
  • Strickland v. ___ (C.D. Ill 2016) - Defended jail personnel in a claim for deliberate indifference to plaintiff’s serious medical needs due to a back brace that was allegedly confiscated during his incarceration. The Central District granted defendants’ summary judgment motion based on the fact that the defendants lacked personal involvement as it related to any alleged confiscation of a back brace as well as any personal involvement in his medical care or treatment.


  • “The Tort Immunity Act,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2017) - Download Article
  • “Seventh Circuit Addresses the Parameters of Class-of-One Equal Protection Claims,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article
  • “Union Jobs Replaced by Technology Results in Unfair Labor Practice Charge,” Employer’s Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2017) - Read Article
  • “The Motor Carrier Overtime Exemptions: The Importance of Proper Employee Classification,”  Heyl Royster Trucking Practice Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • “How Can Employers Respond to Race Discrimination? Promote Diversity," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "High Heels in the Workplace: Can Employers Still Require Women to Wear Them?," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "Do Not Hire: Illinois Supreme Court's Decision Regarding Mandatory Grievance Arbitration," A Lesson Learned Newsletter/Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Education & Employment Newsletters (2016) - Read Article
  • "Seventh Circuit Addresses Public Employee Speech," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • "Severance Agreement Upheld by Seventh Circuit Proves Big Win for Employers," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "An Overview of New Laws Affecting Illinois Employers in 2016," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Employment Law," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2015) - Download Article
  • "It's What You Say AND How You Say It: How to Properly Conduct Business Succession Planning," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • "Whose Right of Way is it Anyway?," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • “Supreme Court Limits the Scope of Personal Jurisdiction,”  DRI, The Voice - Weekly Feature (2015) - Read Article
  • "Regulating Appearance in the Workplace," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • "Supreme Court Places Burden on Employers to Address Religious Accommodations," Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Employment Newsletter (2015) - Read Article
  • "Interlocutory Appeals of Certain Orders" chapter in Civil Appeals (Illinois): State and Federal 2015, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2015)
  • "Affidavit and Health-Professional's Report Requirements Extended to Medical Battery Claims," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "Illinois Appellate Court Allows Recovery of Extraordinary Expenses in Wrongful Pregnancy Action," Heyl Royster Medicolegal Monitor Newsletter (2015) – Read Article
  • “Public Bodies Prohibited from Requiring Community Members to Disclose Address Before Public Comment,” Illinois County Magazine (2015) - Read Article
  • "Illinois 'LEADS' Information Exempt from Disclosure under FOIA," National Law Review (2014)
  • "Illinois Shooting Ranges Permissible Under Definition of Private Recreation in Zoning Code," National Law Review (2014)
  • "Regulating Appearance in the Workplace: An Employer's Guide to Avoid Employment Discrimination Lawsuits," National Law Review (2014)
  • "Conviction Reversed for Illinois DUI Offense Outside the Corporate Limits," National Law Review (2014)
  • "'Distraction Exception' Narrowed by Illinois Supreme Court Re: Personal Injury," National Law Review (2014)
  • "Recovery of Extraordinary Expenses Permitted in Wrongful Pregnancy Action," International Association of Defense Counsel Medical Defense and Health Law Committee Newsletter (2014)

Public Speaking

  • “How to Minimize Cyber Liability”
    104th Annual Illinois Municipal League Conference 2017
  • “Premises Liability Update”
    Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2017
  • “Ethics in Employment Law”
    National Business Institute: Illinois Employment Law 2017
  • “Cyber Liability for Public Bodies”
    Illinois Association of County Board Members New Employment Laws Seminar 2017
  • “Mitigating Volunteer Liability”
    IASB/IASA/IASBO’s Joint Annual Conference 2016
  • “Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention”
    Heyl Royster Employers' Day Seminar 2016
  • “Social Media - Must Know Legal and Insurance Risks”
    Kuhl & Company Insurance Quarterly Seminar 2016
  • “The Lindbergh Kidnapping/Murder Trial and Transactions with Clients”
    PCBA and MCBA Professional Ethics Seminars - Tried and True: Part III 2016
  • “Harassment-Free & Diversity Workplace Awareness Training”
    Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau 2016
  • “2016 Legislative Update for Public Employers”
    Heyl Royster Lunch & Learn Governmental Seminar 2016
  • “New Laws Affecting Illinois Employers”
    Heyl Royster Annual Employment Seminar/Webinar 2015
  • “Recent Legal Decisions Affecting Businesses and Employers”
    Heyl Royster Lunch & Learn Commercial Litigation Seminar/Webinar 2015

Professional Recognition

  • Quoted in the Madison Record in article entitled, "Seventh Circuit finds severance agreement enforceable and valid in case against CVS." Click here to view article.
  • Quoted in the Hanford, California Sentinel regarding employment discrimination laws and appearance in the workplace. Click here to view article.
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law recipient of the "Outstanding Contribution to the College of Law Community" Award (2014)
  • Winner of the Winter National Law Review 2014 Writing Competition

Professional Associations

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Local Governmental Law Committee 2016-present; Employment Law Committee 2016-present)
  • Abraham Lincoln Court
  • Peoria County Bar Association (Young Lawyers Committee, Vice Chair, 2016-Present; Community Outreach Chair, 2014-2015; Fitness, Health & Wellness Committee, 2015-Present; Project Santa co-chair, 2015; Winter Series Civil Practice CLE co-chair, 2016)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • 10th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Subcommittee

Court Admissions

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

Community Involvement

  • Active in Bradley University's pre-law programs, including the annual Mock Trial Competition
  • Member of Women in Leadership of Central Illinois (2014-2015)
  • Generation United member/volunteer (2015)
  • Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, Class of 2016 Graduate
  • St. Jude Washington to Peoria Runner
  • Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters, Board Member
  • Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria, Board Member (2016- present)
  • Volunteer for Pro Bono Help Desk for 10th Judicial Circuit
  • Volunteer mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters “Lunch Buddies” program
  • Volunteer tutor for Neighborhood House