Joined Firm in 1997
With three decades of litigation experience, Keith has successfully defended hundreds of clients in federal and state courts, offering his clients institutional and business support and legal counsel.
- Civil Rights Litigation, Section 1983 & Correctional Healthcare Practice Chair
- Illinois State Bar Association Board of Governors
- Former Champaign County Senior Assistant State’s Attorney
Attorney in Champaign, IL
Keith Fruehling is a skilled civil rights litigator with a proven ability to develop the most favorable strategies for resolving any litigation efficiently. Keith, a Shareholder working out of the firm's Champaign office, serves as the Civil Rights Litigation, Section 1983 & Correctional Healthcare Practice chair.
For the last two decades, Keith's primary focus has been defending law enforcement and correctional officers against federal civil rights cases, specializing in police misconduct, discrimination, and voting rights violations. Keith's passion for Civil Rights/Section 1983 litigation developed from his experience as a Senior Assistant State's Attorney and the friendships formed with law enforcement and corrections officers during that tenure. His approach is guided by his clients' unique needs and desires, and he can provide a comprehensive overview of the case from the initial responsive motion/pleading through the verdict. Utilizing this approach, he consistently identifies the strengths and weaknesses of his clients' position(s) in the case and provides them with the soundest defense strategy. He is known for his accessibility and responsiveness to clients and for being a formidable fighter both outside and in the courtroom.
Keith received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (f/k/a The John Marshall Law School) and has held several professional positions that have deepened his understanding and respect for the legal profession. He has served as a delegate to the American Bar Association's (ABA) House of Delegates and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and ISBA's Assembly. He also served as the Chair of the Illinois Defense Counsel's (IDC) Trial Academy and the Defense Research Institute's (DRI) Task Force on the Independence of the Judiciary.
Keith has been recognized for his contributions to the legal profession, having been named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the ISBA in 2002, one of the "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Publishing Company in 2007, and as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois in 2013.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Keith is active in his community. He has served on the Carle and Health Alliance Medical Plans Compliance Committees and as a past President of the Fighting Illini Men's Varsity Baseball Dugout Club Board. He has also dedicated his time as a coach and supporter of local youth sports and has supported cheerleading programs for Champaign Centennial High School.
J.D., The John Marshall Law School
B.A., University of Illinois, Finance
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 Northern District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
United States Supreme Court
American Bar Association, House of Delegates (2000 – 2007)
Champaign County Bar Association, President (2001 – 2002)
Defense Research Institute
Judicial Task Force, Former Member
Illinois Defense Counsel
Trial Academy Committee Chair (2002 -2007)
Illinois State Bar Association
Assembly Finance Committee, Former Chair
Bar Leadership Conference Special Committee
Board of Governors (2016 – 2018), (2013 – 2015), (2002 – 2008)
Board Liaison to multiple Section Councils
Civil Law Section
Health Care Law Section
ISBA Task Force on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, Former Chair
Legislative Law Section
Personnel and Scope Committee
Under Age 35 Representative to the American Bar Association House of Delegates (1999 – 2008)
Carle Medical Plans Compliance Committee
Fighting Illini Men’s Varsity Baseball Dugout Club Board, Past President
Health Alliance Medical Plans Compliance Committee
St. Matthew School Education and Athletic Commissions, Past President
- Bond v. Atkinson – We represented law enforcement officials in a civil rights lawsuit where the plaintiff contended that the defendants violated her constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by treating requests from victims of domestic violence with less priority than other crimes and failing to remove guns from her home without a court order. The federal claims were dismissed.
- Hahn v. Walsh, 762 F.3d 617 (7th Cir. 2014) – We represented jail healthcare providers and county officials in a federal civil rights lawsuit where the plaintiff contended that the defendants violated her rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by acting with deliberate indifference and/or common negligence towards her diabetic condition. The federal court granted summary judgment to both H.P.L. and the County on all federal claims. The Estate of Janet Hahn appealed that decision to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, where we successfully defended the appeal with that court affirming the District Court's decision. Plaintiff then attempted to appeal to the United States Supreme Court by filing a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept the case, and the judgment stood in favor of the jail healthcare providers and county officials.
- Estate of Leon Rademacher v. Teledyne Industries, Inc., Teledyne Continental Motor, et al. – Estate brought Wrongful Death and Survival Act case on behalf of a successful farmer, young husband and father against aviation mechanic and other defendants alleging negligence and product liability caused plane operated by a friend to crash land. Following a six-week trial, the jury returned a not-guilty verdict on behalf of our client.
- A.F.S.C.M.E. v. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich – Illinois Governor made the executive decision to close the Pontiac Prison – part of the Illinois Department of Corrections system. In response, The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (A.F.S.C.M.E.) and others filed suit against the Governor and other defendants claiming the Governor did not have the right to take that action and sought a writ of mandamus Order commanding the Governor to reverse his decision and to continue operating the prison. A.F.S.C.M.E. also sought a temporary restraining order (T.R.O.) preventing the Governor or the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections from taking any action consistent with closing the prison until the court ruled on the plaintiff's request for the writ. We responded to the plaintiff's T.R.O. asking the court to deny the issuance of the T.R.O. and filed a Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff's Complaint for Writ of Mandamus. The court denied the request for a temporary restraining order. The court later dismissed the entire cause of action brought by the plaintiffs.
- Land v. Montgomery Health Care – Three hundred class action plaintiffs brought medical malpractice case alleging negligent and intentional acts against the defendant. Defendant denied the allegations of the various class members. After an eight-week trial involving 25 members of the class, the parties reached a favorable settlement agreement.
- Melvina Hopkins, as Mother and Next Friend of Charles Lee, a Minor, et al. v. Bergman, et al. – Mother and next friend of Minor brought a negligence case against the driver of a local school district school bus and driver of a private vehicle following an accident where elementary school student stepped off of the bus and was hit and injured by the private vehicle. After extensive discovery and mediation, the parties reached a favorable settlement agreement.
- Estate of Beavers v. Champaign County v. Evercom Systems – Estate of a former inmate that committed suicide brought a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit in federal court alleging that County defendants and a private telephone company were deliberately indifferent to the inmate's safety. After thorough discovery and mediation, the parties reached a favorable settlement agreement.
“Illinois Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act,” Illinois Association of County Board Members – Government Leaders Training Webinar (2021)
“Janus Supreme Court Ruling & Civil Rights: Glisson Decision,” Illinois Association of County Board Members Seminar (2018)
“The Open Meetings Act, explained,” Heyl Royster (2018)
“New Employment Laws Update,” Illinois Association of County Board Members (2017)
“Cyber Liability for Public Entities,” Heyl Royster’s Governmental Holiday Seminar (2017)
“The Essentials on Police Litigation: From Start to Finish,” National Business Institute (2016)
“Body Worn Cameras and the Future of Excessive Force Litigation,” Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2016)
“Public Duty Rule Panel/Tort Immunity,” Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2016)
“Medical Cannabis: A Primer for Employers and Governmental Entities,” Heyl Royster Lunch & Learn Seminar/Webinar (2014)
“Setting the Lineup: The Construction Contract and GL Insurance: 10 Things Every Attorney Should Know,” IDC Spring Symposium (2014)
“Liability Issues Training,” McDonough County, Illinois Sheriff's Office (2014)
“It Ain’t Easy Being [a] Green Government,” I.L.E.A.S. - Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (2012)
“Cemetery Maintenance Districts – Laying Important Issues to Rest,” I.L.E.A.S. - Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (2012)
“Personnel Records Review Act and Related Concerns with the Freedom of Information Act,” I.L.E.A.S. - Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (2011)
“Legislative and Tort Immunity Update,” I.L.E.A.S. - Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (2011)
“Illinois Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act Amendments and Update - Local Governmental Law,” Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (2010)
“Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Update,” Heyl Royster (2008)
“Litigation and the Importance of Insurance,” Illinois Drainage District Association (2007)
“Current Evidentiary Issues: Collateral Source Rule (Arthur v. Catour),” Heyl Royster (2005)
“Setting the Pace: FAQs - What Comes Into Evidence and What Does Not,” Heyl Royster (2004)
“Supreme Court: Probable Cause Defeats a First Amendment Retaliation Claim . . . Except When It Doesn’t,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2019)
"Introduction to the Open Meetings Act," chapter in Illinois Sunshine Laws, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2016)
"Survey of Local Government Law Cases," Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel's 2013 Survey of Law (2014)
“Tort Immunity Act," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2014)
"Ethical Issues for Government Attorneys," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2014)
"Introduction to the Open Meetings Act," chapter in Illinois' Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011, 2013)
"Employee Manuals: Managing Expectations/Complying with the Law," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011)
"Public Unions and the Collective Bargaining Process," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011)
"A New Court Opinion on the Open Meetings Act: Is Your Notice, Agenda, and Meeting Site Good Enough for a Special Meeting?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010)
"Without Fear or Fervor," Defense Research Institute Judicial Task Force - Contributing author (2007)
- “2002 Young Lawyer of the Year” by the Illinois State Bar Association
- 40 Under Forty by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin®
- Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media℠, Personal Injury Defense Law; General Products Liability Defense; Professional Malpractice Law: including Legal/Technical/Financial
- Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®