Heyl Royster

Jennifer Johnson

Edwardsville, IL

Joined Firm in 1996

Jennifer helps clients navigate the minefield of asbestos and talc litigation in some of the nation’s most challenging jurisdictions by treating each case and client like her only case or client.

  • Toxic Torts & Asbestos Practice Co-Chair
  • Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Serving second three-year term on the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee
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Jennifer Johnson

Attorney in Edwardsville, IL

Jennifer is a Shareholder, Partner, and member of the firm's Board of Directors working out of the Edwardsville office, her practice covering Illinois and Missouri. As a newly licensed attorney, she began working in product liability and toxic torts and is now a co-chair of the firm's Toxic Torts & Asbestos Practice. Jennifer helps clients navigate the minefield of asbestos and talc litigation in some of the nation's most challenging jurisdictions. She treats each case and client as her only case or client, developing individualized plans to achieve the best result at the earliest possible stage of the litigation.

One of Jennifer's specialties is advising clients new to toxic tort cases, taking time to educate them on the ins and outs unique to the litigation, and helping them appreciate differences that arise in various venues. She has a strong track record of prevailing on challenges to personal jurisdiction for out-of-state clients. Where early dismissals are not possible, she quickly identifies and evaluates case exposure so the client can make an informed decision about its defense plan.

Well-respected among her peers, in January 2022, she was appointed to a second three-year term to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee. Additionally, she has been recognized as an Illinois "Leading Lawyer" by Law Bulletin Media℠ for the last four consecutive years. 

Jennifer serves on United Way's Power-of-the-Purse Committee in her community, which organizes a yearly charity fundraiser that benefits the Southwest Illinois Division of United Way of Greater St. Louis, serving Madison, Calhoun, Jersey, Greene, and Macoupin counties.



J.D., Southern Illinois University School of Law, summa cum laude

B.A., Southern Illinois University, Psychology

Licensure(s) and Admission(s)

State Courts of Illinois

State Courts of Missouri

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 State Bar Association

Madison County Bar Association

The Missouri Bar Association

Community Involvement

Illinois Supreme Court, Rules Committee

Madison County Bar Association

Student Internship Committee

Diversity Committee

Southwest Illinois Division of United Way of Greater St. Louis

Power of the Purse Committee


  • In February 2023, Jennifer and Tobin Taylor began trial in a talc case in Cook County, IL, LeAnne Hurley v. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, et al.  Our client resolved the case on day eight (8) of the trial. 
  • In 2021, Jennifer prevailed on a personal jurisdiction motion for an out-of-state contractor client.   The matter was argued before Judge Clare McWilliams in Cook County, IL., who issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting our client’s Motion to Dismiss.  In its findings, the Court noted that Plaintiff failed to present any evidence that our client made a specific effort to direct its activities to Illinois and that in order to connect the allegations at issue with the defendant’s purposeful contacts with Illinois, the Court would have to make a “speculative leap.”  The Court concluded that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case upon which the Court could exercise jurisdiction over the non-resident defendant.
  • Laurel Hiatt v. Higbee, Inc., et al., Circuit Court, Madison County, Illinois, Case No. 12-L-1553 – This was a personal injury action brought by a living plaintiff alleging asbestos-related mesothelioma. The client objected to jurisdiction in Illinois, asserting it did not "do business" in Illinois as contemplated by the Long-Arm statute. The issue before the court involved whether this manufacturing defendant, which had some sales in Illinois but no other Illinois contacts, could be subject to jurisdiction in Illinois for the plaintiff's alleged asbestos-related injury when the alleged injury occurred outside of Illinois. In the calendar year 2012, the firm's client had sales of $260,000 (less than 2% of its total sales) in Illinois. In finding that there was no general jurisdiction over the defendant, the court noted that sales alone do not justify exercising personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant. The court also commented that the client's sales in Illinois were insignificant vis-à-vis their relation to the percentage that Illinois' population represents to the rest of the country. Upon the Court's ruling, the plaintiff's counsel agreed to dismiss the client from 30 additional cases voluntarily. This result effectively removed the client from asbestos litigation in Madison County, Illinois.
  • Eduard Alexander Gutierrez v. Nathan Etters, Circuit Court, Franklin County, Illinois, Case No. 07 L 20 – Plaintiff claimed permanent bilateral knee injury from this auto accident.  Defendant admitted liability for the accident but denied the damages.
  • Long v. Cottrell, Inc., 982-10046, U.S.D.C., E.D. Mo – Plaintiff was an auto hauler who allegedly sustained a back injury while untying a truck on a car carrier made by Cottrell. Defense verdict.
  • VanHoose v. Phillip Environmental – Structural Work Act case involving whether the client provided an unsafe workplace when the plaintiff used a man lift to move a steel plate and whether our client was "in charge of plaintiff's work;" trial lasted five days. The result was the plaintiff's verdict - 90% fault of third party defendant, 3% to the property owner, and 7% to our client, a subcontractor on the premises.
  • Brown v. Crabtree – Auto/pedestrian collision case involving catastrophic injuries to the plaintiff. Result was a plaintiff's verdict, reduced by 50% for the plaintiff's contributory negligence. Net award was $750,000. Case was tried on a high/low agreement; this number fell within that range.



"The Cook County Asbestos Docket," HarrisMartin's Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference (2023)

“Trends in Industrial and Cosmetic Talc Litigation,” HarrisMartin’s Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference (2022)

“When Social Media Becomes Socially Awkward,” Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2016)


"Current Issues in Illinois Law," published by Employment Law Update (2007)


  • Best Lawyer in AmericaTM by The Best Lawyers in AmericaTM – Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants
  • Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media
  • Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
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