Heyl Royster

Nicholas Bertschy

Peoria, IL

Joined Firm in 1981

Spending his entire legal career with Heyl Royster, Nick has had the unique privilege of training under some of the firm's most outstanding litigators, collaborating with top Illinois and national defense bar members, and opposing premier plaintiff's firms.

  • Casualty/Tort Litigation Practice Group Chair
  • Liquor Liability and Dramshop Practice Group Chair
  • Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
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Nicholas Bertschy

Attorney in Peoria, IL

Nick Bertschy has earned a reputation as a creative, versatile, and challenging litigator. As Chair of the firm's Casualty/Tort Litigation Practice, Nick defends significant personal injury cases, which often involve catastrophic loss and wrongful death. He is a forceful and effective negotiator who has advantageously mediated and resolved many complex cases. In healthcare malpractice, nursing home and LTC litigation, product liability, construction liability, premises liability, vehicular accident, and liquor liability, he has successfully sole/first-chaired high-exposure cases to verdicts and obtained many outright dismissals and summary judgments. Nick also co-chairs the firm's Product Liability Practice and Liquor Liability Practice Group.  

A firm believer in Lawyers Giving Back, Nick is an avid supporter of local charitable endeavors, including United Way, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Children's Hospital of Illinois, UIF/Pediatric Resource Center, Boys and Girls Clubs, Peoria Area Food Bank, Peoria Historical Society, and Peoria Art Guild. In the legal community, Nick was honored to serve for nine years on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation. In that capacity, he also served as the long-standing chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee, responsible for many innovations leading directly to the rapid growth of membership and advancement of the financial capacity of the Foundation to carry out its charitable mission.

Nick is a Founding Peoria County Bar Foundation member and substantially supports Prairie State Legal Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA]. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and was among a select group of lawyers requested to serve on the Steering Committee for the Lawyers Feeding Illinois campaign and a Founding Contributor of the William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law at the American Bar Foundation.



J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, with honors

B.S., University of Illinois, Commerce, magna cum laude

Licensure(s) and Admission(s)

State Courts of Illinois

State Courts of Wisconsin

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh District

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

United States Supreme Court

Professional Affiliations

Abraham Lincoln Inn of Court, Master

American Bar Association


Founding Contributor, William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law 

American Bar Foundation, Fellow

Illinois Bar Foundation

Board of Directors (1996-2005)

Pillar of Foundation Champion, First Pillar of Profession (2012-2013)

Steering Committee Lawyers Feeding Illinois

Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC)

Illinois State Bar Association

Illinois Tort Law Section Council (1990-1993)

ISBA Task Force on the Impact of Law School Curriculum and Debt on the Future of the Profession, ISBA President Richard Felice Appointee (2014 – 2015)

Peoria County Bar Association

Peoria County Bar Foundation, Founding Member

State Bar of Wisconsin

The Bar Association of the Central and Southern Districts of Illinois

Community Involvement

Boys and Girls Clubs of Peoria

Children’s Hospital of Illinois

Peoria Art Guild

Peoria County Bar Foundation, Founding Member

Peoria Historical Society

Prairie State Legal Services

St. Jude Tennis Classic, past member of Board of Directors

St. Jude West Affiliate

United Way, Pillar Society Member


  • Barron v. Ford Motor Co., U.S.D.C., Central District of Illinois – We served as co-counsel with Baker & McKenzie on a product liability action in which the plaintiff was a passenger in a Ford Escort, which her sister was driving. Plaintiff, a 27-year-old with paraplegia from the waist down, was ejected from the vehicle during a rollover accident. She claimed the sunroof and the vehicle's retention system were defectively designed, Ford breached its implied merchantability warranty, and the vehicle was not crashworthy. Plaintiff asked the jury for between $6 and $7 million.  Result: Not guilty.
  • Rupe v. Dr. X, – Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illionois – Medical Malpractice wrongful death action. The decedent was an otherwise healthy 66-year-old male who had entered the hospital for an elective left knee arthroplasty. On the first post-operative day, the patient's blood profile returned a serum sodium level that was slightly low. Less than 24 hours later, the patient developed significant confusion, and the defendant's doctor gave a verbal telephone order to stop the narcotic medication, but he did not order any electrolyte testing. After that, the patient suffered a seizure, vomited, and went into cardiac arrest. A Code Blue was called, during which the serum sodium level was found to be 120, which is significant hyponatremia. The plaintiff alleged that the patient died due to a hyponatremic seizure, and the defendant's doctor was negligent for not having conducted appropriate follow-up testing. At his death, the decedent left a widow and two adult children in their early to mid-40s. Plaintiff asked the jury for $950,000.00 for the loss of society and relations for the widow and $250,000.00 each for the loss of society for the two children.  Result: Not guilty.
  • Schalk v. Dr. M., Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – Medical Malpractice wrongful death actionThe decedent was a 47-year-old deputy sheriff hospitalized to investigate potential liver disease. During the hospitalization, he sustained a colon puncture which occurred during an invasive procedure performed by our defendant's doctor. He developed peritonitis and died from consequent complications.  Result: Not guilty.
  • Wittekiend v. Dr. W., Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – Medical Malpractice action involving loss of vision. The plaintiff developed severe glaucoma following a cataract extraction by the defendant's ophthalmologist, allegedly resulting in complete vision loss in her left eye. The plaintiff claimed that the ophthalmologist was negligent in failing to diagnose and properly treat glaucoma, resulting in her vision loss.  Result: Not guilty.
  • Mathews v. Dr. G, et al., Circuit Court, Fulton County, Illinois – Medical Malpractice action against orthopedic surgeon. Plaintiff was a 35-year-old registered nurse who fell at home and fractured her wrist. Our doctor set her wrist, but the fracture subsequently slipped, resulting in a re-reduction and also the application of pins and plaster. The plaintiff claimed instead that an external fixator was required to treat the fracture properly, that the foreign-trained doctor defendant was not properly trained, and the treatment used was outdated. When the pins and plaster were removed, the fracture again slipped, which left the plaintiff with a permanently and severely deformed left wrist and hand, with pain and traumatic arthritis that precluded her return to work as a nurse.  Result: Not guilty.
  • Cross v. Ainsworth Seed Co., 199 Ill. App. 3d 910, 557 N.E.2d 906 (4th Dist. 1990) – Dismissal with prejudice obtained and sustained on appeal of the unique issue of first impression: Statute of repose barring products liability actions against defendants who, for more than ten years, had nothing to do with design, planning, supervision, or management of construction or improvement to real property was not unconstitutional special legislation and did not violate due process and equal protection clauses of Federal Constitution. Statute of repose in products liability actions was reenacted without a savings clause and, thus, would be given retroactive effect and act as a bar to actions premised on defects in design in construction before 1979.
  • Oak State Products, Inc. v. Ecolab, Inc., 755 F. Supp. 235 (C.D. Ill. 1991) – Key appellate decision on applying the Moorman Doctrine in that it does not preclude all actions relative to contracts for professional services. In addition, Uniform Commercial Code does not preempt all express warranties in service contracts. Express warranties can exist in service contracts, and there is a cause of action under Illinois law for breach of express warranty in a service contract.
  • Kohl v. Miller, Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois. The retrial of the case was initially defended by another firm and reversed on the post-trial motion. Defendant and his son were operating a hayrack ride for the plaintiff's group. Three members of the group were thrown from the wagon. The plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent for driving too fast and not breaking up hay bales. Plaintiff suffered back and neck injuries and numbness in the left arm and fingers, resulting in disability and requiring early retirement from his job.  Result: Not guilty.
  • Williams v. Old English Inn, Circuit Court, McLean County, Illinois – The plaintiff was a patron in the defendant's tavern when a shelf supporting a 19-inch C.R.T. television set and other items fell. The heavy television severely struck the plaintiff, a 27-year-old district sales rep, on the head and shoulder. Plaintiff suffered cervical and head injuries, loss of consciousness, significantly reduced function, pain, and numbness of her left arm and hand from thoracic outlet syndrome. Asked jury for $471,000+.  Result: Not guilty.



Defending Loss of Society Damages in Wrongful Death Cases,” Heyl Royster's 34th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2023)


"Defenses to Products Liability," chapter in Products Liability Practice, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2023)


  • Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers®, 2008 – 2022
  • Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media℠ 
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