Joined Firm in 1986
John divides his practice between the defense of employers in cases pending before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and the representation of defendants in civil litigation in state and federal court at the trial and appellate court levels.
- Champaign Office Managing Partner
- Serves on Heyl Royster Board of Directors
Attorney in Champaign, IL
John began his legal career with Heyl Royster in the firm's Champaign office in 1986, becoming a partner in 1996. He divides his practice between the defense of employers in cases pending before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and the representation of defendants in civil litigation in state and federal court at the trial and appellate court levels.
John has tried over 100 cases before numerous Workers' Compensation Commission Arbitrators and handled appeals at the Commission, Circuit Court, and Appellate Court levels. He has represented employers of all sizes, including utility, trucking, agri-business enterprises, and manufacturing and retail businesses at Central and Southern Illinois dockets. John frequently lectures on Workers' Compensation issues, provides in-house training to employers and insurers, and has authored several articles regarding issues faced by employers and insurers in Workers' Compensation matters.
Additionally, John has represented defendants in tort and other civil claims in Central and Southern Illinois. This work includes defending property owners in premises liability claims, the defense of manufacturers and distributors in product liability matters, and professional liability and construction litigation cases. He has also defended trucking companies, businesses, and private individuals in litigation arising from motor vehicle accidents. John has experience defending claims under the Consumer Fraud Act and has handled various commercial litigation matters, including breach of contract, breach of warranty, and trade secret claims.
In his legal tenure, John has represented individuals and entities in Civil Rights litigation in Federal Court, represented defendants in the Illinois Court of Claims, and defended the interests of employers in ancillary civil matters, including third-party claims for contribution and subrogation claims. John has also represented insurers in uninsured and underinsured motorist claims.
John graduated from the University of Illinois in 1983 with a Bachelor's in Political Science. He attended Northern Illinois University College of Law and received a JD, cum laude, in 1986.
J.D., Northern Illinois University School of Law, cum laude
B.A., University of Illinois, Political Science
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
Champaign County Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
Illinois Defense Counsel
Illinois State Bar Association
Illinois FC Soccer Club, Former President/Board Member
Youth Sports Coach
- Graneros Unidos S.A. de C.V. v. GSI Group, LLC et al. – Defended GSI Group at trial in the U.S. District Court in Urbana, IL, in a case related to the sale of eight-grain bins and other equipment by GSI Group to a Mexican grain company, Graneros Unidos S.A. de C.V. The grain bins were destroyed during Hurricane Lane in September of 2006. The plaintiff claimed the bins were destroyed by winds below the wind rating promised in the contract, that the bins were negligently designed, and that fraudulent misrepresentations and concealments were made during the transaction. The claimed damages included $2.4 million in damaged property, $2.5 million in lost grain, and $5 million in lost profits. There were also claims for punitive damages and attorneys' fees under the Consumer Fraud Act claim. The trial was bifurcated, and the jury returned the verdict in favor of firm client GSI on the breach of contract and negligence claims. The judge subsequently ruled in favor of defendant GSI on the Consumer Fraud Act and punitive damages claims.
- Corn Belt Energy v. Schick, Circuit Court, DeWitt County, Illinois – Represented Corn Belt Energy in a jury trial regarding a subrogation claim to recover Workers' Compensation benefits paid to a Corn Belt employee. The case was related to an injury sustained by a Corn Belt lineman who had been working on a utility pole project on a country road. The defendant, a local farmer, was driving a truck towing a large farm implement known as a Crumbler, which struck the lineman. The parties stipulated the amount of the damages, and the jury returned a verdict finding the defendant farmer 80% at fault for the accident.
- Dunn v. B&O Railroad – Successfully upheld the duty of care for motorists in connection with a railroad crossing/wrongful death case and upheld the strict definition of that duty of care following the adoption of comparative negligence by the Illinois Supreme Court.
- Walker v. Casey's Retail Co., Circuit Court, Iroquois County, Illionois – Defended a premises liability jury trial for Casey's General Store. The plaintiff was injured walking into a Casey's General Store when she pulled the door onto her foot and crushed her left fourth toe. She subsequently received treatment from a podiatrist for Morton's neuroma and other left foot conditions. Prior to trial, the court granted summary judgment for Casey's on the claim of specific negligence but denied summary judgment as to the plaintiff's separate res ipsa loquitor count. At the jury trial, the testimony of the podiatrist was barred because the plaintiff failed to establish causation for the medical conditions diagnosed. After a short deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Casey's.
- Ealy v. Industrial Commission, 189 Ill. App. 3d 76, 544 N.E.2d 1159 (4th Dist. 1989) – Compensability of slip and fall outside of employer's premises.
- Goodknight v. Piraino, 197 Ill. App. 3d 319, 554 N.E.2d 1 (4th Dist. 1990) – Common law liability of a municipality for injuries sustained due to consumption of alcohol.
- Buell v. Oakland Fire Protection District Board, 237 Ill. App. 3d 940, 605 N.E.2d 618 (4th Dist. 1992) – Applicability of Tort Immunity Act in contribution claim against an ambulance service.
- Pryor v. Industrial Commission, 266 Ill. App. 3d 497, 640 N.E.2d 364 (5th Dist. 1994) – Accident occurring on the personal farm owned by the president of a corporation is not compensable.
- Fillpot v. Midway Airlines Inc.,261 Ill. App. 3d 237, 633 N.E.2d 237 (4th Dist. 1994) – Airline cannot be liable for slip and fall on ice on the tarmac.
“Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange Workers’ Compensation Group Kick Off Meeting,” The Illinois Association of Electric Cooperatives (2012)
“Illinois Workers' Compensation from the Perspective of an Employer's Attorney,” Apex Physical Therapy Spring Conference (2011)
“Successful Strategies for Defending Your Claims and Beating Fraud,” Apex Physical Therapy Spring Conference (2008)
“Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims: A Defense Lawyers' Perspective,” The Illinois Association of Electric Coops (2008)
“Average Weekly Wage Calculation: Section 10,” Heyl Royster (2006)
“Insights on Each Workers' Compensation Commission Venue,” Heyl Royster (2005)
“Average Weekly Wage Calculation: Section 10,” Heyl Royster (1997)
“Resolving the Disputed Nature and Extent Case,” Heyl Royster (1995)
“Workers' Compensation in Illinois,” National Business Institute (1995)
“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out! Defending Eye Injury Claims,” Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2022)
- Champaign County Pro Bono Recognition, 1998 & 2000
- Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media℠, Workers’ Compensation Defense Law