Heyl Royster

David Perkins

Peoria, IL

Joined Firm in 1987

With 35+ years of litigation experience, Dave welcomes and enjoys the unique challenges of each new case.

  • Firm Shareholder
  • Served 7 years as a Law Enforcement Officer
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David Perkins

Attorney in Peoria, IL

As a Shareholder and Partner working out of the Peoria office, Dave concentrates his practice on first-party property cases, insurance fraud, and personal injury defense. With 35+ years of litigation experience, he continues to welcome and enjoy the unique challenges of each new case.

Before law school, Dave served as a law enforcement officer for seven years. During that time, he attended the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois and the Traffic Institute at Northwestern. Inspired to continue his service to the community in the legal profession, Dave attended the University of Iowa College of Law and joined Heyl Royster upon graduation in 1987.



J.D., University of Iowa College of Law

B.A., University of Illinois at Springfield, Social Justice

Licensure(s) and Admission(s)

State Courts of Illinois

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Professional Affiliations

Defense Research Institute

Illinois Defense Counsel

Illinois State Bar Association

Peoria County Bar Association


  • NM v. AP, Tazewell County - Successful motion practice at the final pre-trial caused the Plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss their Tazewell County case with prejudice two weeks before trial. Dave Perkins and James Rooney filed a motion in limine to bar any evidence of the defendant's intoxication and the defendant's subsequent guilty plea to the offense of DUI. The court agreed that plaintiffs could not produce any evidence that the defendant caused or contributed to the rollover automobile accident. The absence of any evidence to prove that the defendant was negligent would have impermissibly allowed the jury to speculate that the defendant somehow caused the accident. The court further agreed that evidence of the defendant's intoxication was more prejudicial than probative in this instance.
  • M. C. v. A. S., Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois, Case No. 17-L-183 - A rear-end motor vehicle accident wherein it was alleged that the plaintiff sustained a cervical injury. The plaintiff's treating neurosurgeon opined that the plaintiff needed a discectomy and fusion at two cervical levels. Future medical was approximately $125,000. Pretrial demand was $250,000. The pretrial settlement offer was $3,000. Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury for $585,000. Verdict:  Not guilty.
  • Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, Circuit Court, McLean County, Illinois - The insureds owned a century-old, three-story brick warehouse which plaintiffs claimed was improperly maintained. The warehouse collapsed onto an adjacent commercial structure that housed an optical laboratory. Two laboratory employees were trapped inside the building for a period of time, and the highly sensitive optical manufacturing equipment was damaged. A portion of the warehouse also collapsed onto an adjacent bridge and onto another structure utilized by a plumbing contractor. Seven claimants demanded damages in excess of $8,000,000. The matter was successfully mediated for less than 20% of the aggregate demand.
  • Jane Doe v. The Board of Education of Hall High School District 502, Daniel Oest, Patricia Lunn, Gary Vicini, The City of Spring Valley, Illinois and Douglas Bernabei, United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Case No. 05-1348 - A high school teacher, Jane Doe, was accused of engaging in sexual relations with a male student. Chief Bernabei conducted an investigation that resulted in Doe being charged with various criminal offenses. The school terminated Doe's employment, and she incurred approximately $300,000 in expenses defending against the criminal charges. Doe was found not guilty in the criminal trial. Thereafter, Doe filed a civil rights suit against our clients, Chief Bernabei, and The City of Spring Valley. The civil rights Complaint requested $40,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000,000 in punitive damages. During discovery, the plaintiff made a settlement demand of $9,500,000. We obtained summary judgment in 6 of the 7 counts, but the trial court denied the entry of summary judgment with respect to a count alleging false arrest. We filed an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Appellate Court, which reversed the trial court, thereby disposing all claims directed against Chief Bernabei and The City of Spring Valley. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari.
  • Vivian Murphy, Executor of the Estate of Joseph E. Murphy (Deceased) v. Ron Cline Trucking and James Stephens, Circuit Court, DeWitt County, Illinois - A wrongful death case wherein it was alleged that the plaintiff sustained a subdural hematoma from a motor vehicle accident which eventually caused his death. Verdict:  Not guilty.
  • Joanne Meyer, as Executor of the Estate of Jack Meyer v. Coal Valley Fire Protection, Circuit Court, Rock Island County, Illinois, Case No. 93 L 327 - Wrongful death case wherein it was claimed that emergency response personnel failed to respond to a 911 call which delayed treatment properly. Verdict:  Not guilty.
  • Cunningham v. Moody, Circuit Court, Henry County, Illinois, Case No. 99 L 25 - The plaintiff claimed the defendant, a police officer, utilized excessive force when arresting and physically subduing the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed he brandished a baseball bat to defend himself from an imminent assault by three individuals who were part of a volatile crowd. The plaintiff claimed he heard someone from behind order him to drop the bat and that he was immediately maced and struck in the face before he had a reasonable opportunity to determine whether a police officer was the individual giving him the command. The defendant claimed he gave the plaintiff several warnings before utilizing physical force. The plaintiff sustained a small jaw fracture, soft tissue damage, and permanent nerve damage. The plaintiff asked the jury for $116,000. Verdict:  Not guilty.
  • Gibson v. Village of Oquawka, Circuit Court, Henderson County, Illinois, Case No. 98 L 6 - A premises liability case wherein the plaintiff sustained an injury that resulted in bilateral knee surgeries. Verdict:  Not guilty.
  • Sutton v. Heininger, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois - Case No. 14 L 54 - Defendant left a stop sign and failed to yield the right-of-way to the plaintiff, who was traveling on the preferential roadway. Plaintiff claimed she sustained a lumbar injury and incurred $3,600 in medical bills. Plaintiff's last demand was $10,500. The last offer was $1,000. Plaintiff demanded $17,000 at trial. Verdict: Not guilty.
  • Gibson v. Frye, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois - The plaintiff's motorcycle collided with an SUV operated by the defendant. The defendant entered a T-intersection and turned left at a yield sign when the accident occurred. A traffic control device did not control the plaintiff's movement. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained a fractured right clavicle, sprained wrist, and laceration to his lip. Verdict: Not guilty.
  • Dwayne Hoffer v. American Family Insurance, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois, Case No. 95 L 345 - A breach of contract and bad faith case against the insurer for alleged improper denial of a theft claim. Verdict:  Not guilty.
  • Bhattacharya v. Venture Stores, Inc. and Unarco Industries, Inc., Circuit Court, Macon County, Illinois, Case No. 86 L 195 - Personal injury case involving an infant who was placed in a shopping cart that tipped over, resulting in bilateral femur fractures. We received a directed verdict after the completion of the plaintiff's case.
  • Butler v. General Accident Insurance Company of America, Circuit Court, Putnam County, Illinois - A breach of contract and bad faith case wherein the insureds asserted that the defendant improperly denied their claim for the collapse of their basement walls. Verdict:  Not guilty.



“The Duty to Settle, Bad Faith, and Ethics,” Insurance Coverage Institute: Downstate (2018)

“Material Misrepresentations and Fraudulent Receipts,” Greater Peoria Claims Association (2017)

“After the Big Salary is Gone: Property Section,” Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2017)

“Spoliation of Evidence,” Auto Owners Annual Regional Claims Conference (2016)

“Risk Transfer and Application of the Illinois Contribution Act,” Cincinnati Insurance Regional Claims Meeting (2015)

“Recent Developments in Property Insurance,” Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2015)

“Local Governmental Entity Liability under the Tort Immunity Act,” Peoria County Bar Association Spring Seminar (2015)

“Legal Aspects of Arson Investigations,” Central Illinois Fire Investigators Association (2015)

“Recent Developments in Property Insurance,” Heyl Royster 29th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2014)

“Property Insurance Case Law Update,” Heyl Royster 26th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2011)

“Mapping out the Course: Property Law Update, Including First-Party Bad Faith,” Heyl Royster 19th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2004)

“Property Law Update,” Heyl Royster 18th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2003)

“Property Case Law Update,” Heyl Royster 16th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2001)

“Property Case Law Update,” Heyl Royster 15th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2000)


Employees of Private Security Firm Granted Qualified Immunity in Section 1983 Action,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017)

"Officers Sued for False Arrest After Arresting Company President," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016)

"Seventh Circuit Addresses Public Employee Speech," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016)

"Qualified Immunity Applied to Prosecutors and Police Officers Who Failed to Disclose Inadmissible Evidence About Alternative Murder Suspects," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015)

"Fourth Amendment Protections Applied to Medical Care Provided to Pre-Gerstein Arrestees," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014)

"U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Application of Strict Scrutiny of Racial Classifications in Higher Education Admissions Decisions," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013)

"Failure to Discover Razorblade in Detainee's Wallet Insufficient to Establish a Fourteenth Amendment Claim in Rosario v. Brawn," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013)

"No Further Duty to Investigate After Establishing Probable Cause," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2011)

"Pretrial Detainee Suicide and Section 1983 Claims," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2010)

"Reaffirmation That Officers Have No Duty to Complete a Full Investigation Before Arrest," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2009)

"Student Speech Can Be Restricted," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2007)

"Supreme Court Adds Absence of Probable Cause to Prima Facie Case for Bivens Retaliatory-Prosecution Action in Hartman v. Moore," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2006)

"Seventh Circuit Rejects Claim for Loss of Society and Companionship for Adult Child," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2005)

"Types of Coverage Available – The Nature of Property" chapter in Property Insurance Handbook, Illinois Institute for Continuing Education (1998)


Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®

Illinois Leading Lawyer℠: Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law; and Personal Injury Defense Law: General by Leading Lawyers

Super Lawyers® by Super Lawyers, 2013-2021     

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