Over the course of his 30-year practice at Heyl Royster, Richard has taken more than 30 cases to trial.
- St. Louis Office Managing Partner
- Trained mediator
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Practice Group Chair
Attorney in St. Louis, MO
Richard is an experienced trial lawyer currently serving as Managing Partner of the firm's St. Louis office. Defending cases in various areas, including professional liability, construction liability, products liability, and utility claims, and handling complicated medical and civil claims, he has acted as National Coordinating Counsel for a medical device manufacturer overseeing their general civil litigation and has served as Administrative Counsel in settling an Illinois Class Action claim.
Spending his entire legal career at Heyl Royster, Richard has had the good fortune to practice in four of the firm's seven offices. In 1986, Richard began his practice in Springfield following a summer clerkship in that office. In 1987, Richard moved to the Rockford office, where he practiced for over 15 years, and saw that office grow from three lawyers to one of the leading defense practices in northern Illinois. In 2002, Richard relocated to the Edwardsville office to assist in that office's burgeoning docket, where he focused on class action and medical malpractice cases. In 2018, Richard helped open the firm's St. Louis office, where he now serves as Office Managing Partner.
Before beginning his legal career, Richard was interested in communication studies, holding both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Communications from the University of Illinois. While attending Illinois, Richard served as President of the Illini Forensics Association and, during graduate school, as an Assistant Coach of the University's Debate Team. He also taught college-level communication courses while working on his graduate degree. Richard enjoys using his training in communications to assist the firm's clients in clearly explaining the often complicated scientific concepts crucial to an effective defense. Richard's communication training is particularly useful in helping physician clients respond to litigation tactics employed by plaintiff's lawyers to fairly and honestly illustrate the thoughtful and careful practices most professionals use to achieve the best possible results for their patients and clients.
Throughout his 30-year career, Richard has served as a speaker on a variety of legal topics, including medical malpractice, jury selection, doctor-patient confidentiality, civil procedure, evidence law updates, and environmental law. Most recently, he co-authored a chapter on case evaluation in the Medical Malpractice Handbook published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Richard is a trained mediator currently on the mediation panel for United States Arbitration and Mediation's Mid-West office in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also on the approved panel of mediators for Madison County's Mandatory Medical Malpractice program and the list of approved neutrals serving the United States District Court's Mandatory Mediation Program for the Eastern District of Missouri. Richard has received mediation training from the following:
United States Arbitration and Mediation Basic Mediator Training - 2011
Civil Mediation Training jointly sponsored by Washington University School of Law and the Center for Dispute Resolution, Missouri State University – 2012
ADR Neutrals Seminar jointly sponsored by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and Saint Louis University School of Law - 2014
United States Arbitration and Mediation Advanced Mediator Training - 2014
Advanced Mediator Training - Implicit and Explicit Mediator Bias, United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri & Washington University School of Law - 2018
J.D., Washington University School of Law
M.A., University of Illinois, Communications
B.A., University of Illinois, high distinction, Communications
Licensure(s) and Admission(s)
State Courts of Illinois
State Courts of Missouri
State Courts of Wisconsin
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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 Eastern District of Missouri
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
United States Supreme Court
Defense Research Institute
Illinois Defense Counsel
Illinois State Bar Association
Madison County Bar Association
St. Clair County Bar Association
State Bar of Wisconsin
The Missouri Bar
Winnebago County Bar Association
American Board of Trial Advocates
Missouri/Southern Chapter, President (2019)
Cor Jesu Academy’s High School Mock Trial Team Coach
Glen Carbon Illinois Homeowner’s Association, Past President
Hot House Theater Volunteer, Former Board Member
Jr. High Model UN Team Coach
Village of Glen Carbon Resident’s Advisory Board (2018 – 2019)
- Successful in getting a medical malpractice case moved from St. Clair County to Marion County. Although there was no medical care alleged to have been negligently performed in St. Clair County, Plaintiff’s counsel attempted to justify the filing of the case there by arguing that the plaintiff’s medical condition deteriorated significantly while being driven through St. Clair County in an ambulance from Centralia, Illinois to St. Louis University.
- Bowman v. Ottney, 2015 IL 119000, 48 N.E.3d 1080 – Illinois Supreme Court pronouncement which voluntarily dismissed actions that are re-filed do not afford an absolute right to a change of judge where the judge made substantive rulings in the initially filed action. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial judge's decision to deny a Motion for a Change of Judge in an action voluntarily dismissed and re-filed.
- Avichail v. St. John's Mercy Health System, 686 F.3d 548 (8th Cir. 2012) – Not guilty verdict for a pediatric nurse in a case of a claimed brain injury following a period of depressed oxygen saturation levels. It was contended that the nurse failed to continuously monitor oxygen saturation values as ordered by the attending surgeon. As a result, the plaintiff sustained a brain injury affecting cognition and behavior. Verdict affirmed on appeal by Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Greenlee v. First National Bank in DeKalb, 175 Ill. App. 3d 236, 529 N.E.2d 723 (2d Dist. 1988)– Second District Appellate Court holding that national building code provisions (BOCA) adopted by DeKalb County do not apply to a 100-year-old farmhouse.
- Kennedy v. Crusader Clinic, Circuit Court, Winnebago County, Illinois – Jury trial of one of the first "false positive" HIV tests reported in Illinois. Plaintiff sought emotional damages for three years when he believed he was HIV positive, contending that the standard of care required a confirmatory retest. One of the principal defenses was the testimony of a former employee of the C.D.C. that shortly after the tests were developed, the tests were found to be very reliable, with low "false positives" rates. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.
- Lower v. Rucker, 217 Ill. App. 3d 1, 576 N.E.2d 422 (2d Dist. 1991) – Reversal of trial court's order to produce a statement of witness/passenger, who was also insured under the same policy as the driver. The case involved a car/pedestrian collision at high speeds, was later tried before a jury and resulted in a defense verdict. (Jury Trial, 1994, Ogle County)
- Paszkiewicz v. Microsurgery and Brain Research Institute (U.S. District Court, Eastern Division of Missouri, Jury Trial 2004) – Claimed spinal cord injury during back surgery allegedly resulting from improper use of a surgical support frame and associated medical devices. Jury verdict in favor of the defendants following a two-week trial.
- People v. Fiorini, 143 Ill. 2d 318, 574 N.E.2d 612 (1991)– Right of contribution in Environmental Protection Act cost recovery cases recognized by Illinois Supreme Court.
- Pettie v. Williams Brothers Construction, Inc., 225 Ill. App. 3d 1009, 589 N.E.2d 169 (2d Dist. 1992) – Refusal to enforce language in an indemnification agreement between a general contractor and the plaintiff's employer. The Illinois Supreme Court later overturned the court's holding and analysis in unrelated litigation.
- Ratermann v. Tri-County Elec. Co-op., Inc., 229 Ill. 2d 658, 897 N.E.2d 263 (2008) (Jury Trial, Marion County, 2009) – Not guilty verdict for an electric utility where plaintiffs claimed a power surge resulted in a home fire. Plaintiffs relied upon res ipsa loquitor, and the plaintiffs' cause and origin expert maintained there was physical evidence of a massive high voltage surge of electricity causing simultaneous fires in two breaker panels.
- Rix v. Heartland Regional Medical Center, No. 5-07-0006 (5th Dist. 2008) – Affirmation of dismissal of class action claim brought pursuant to the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act regarding hospital pricing of services provided to uninsured patients.
- Schur v. Troy FHC (Jury Trial, 2006, Madison County, Verdict affirmed by 5th District Court of Appeals, 2008) – Claim that a family practitioner failed to treat unstable angina in a patient complaining of chest pain. The patient had a normal EKG, along with a host of other non-cardiac symptoms but suffered a fatal coronary event the day following his visit with the defendant doctor. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the physician.
- United States v. Shanrie Co. Inc., 610 F. Supp. 2d 958 (S.D. Ill. 2009), judgment entered, 07-491-DRH, 2009 WL 1309188 (S.D. Ill. May 11, 2009) – Dismissal of contribution claim brought by developers and builder against architectural firm for alleged failure to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act. The Southern District of Illinois, in granting the Motion to Dismiss, concluded that the Fair Housing Act does not allow for third-party contribution or indemnity claims.
- Veltman v. Employers Mutual Casualty, Circuit Court, Will County, Iliinois – In what is believed to be the first spoliation case tried after the Illinois Supreme Court's opinion of Boyd v. Travelers Insurance, a directed verdict was obtained for Employer's Mutual Casualty in connection with the loss of the quick coupler valve which was allegedly defective, causing an 18 years old employee to be blinded after exposure to anhydrous ammonia. The case was tried in two phases. The first phase focused on the product liability allegations against the maker of the quick coupler valve while the second phase revolved around the loss of the evidence and whether that loss impaired the ability of the parties to adequately present their cases.
“Missouri Caps on Damages,” Heyl Royster's 34th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2023)
“Healthcare Litigation – Covid 19 Issues,” United States Arbitration & Mediation’s Virtual Seminar (2021)
“COVID-19 and Its Impact on Medical Professional Liability,” Illinois Risk Management Services (2020)
“Techniques to Reduce Finger Pointing and Standstill Agreements,” Heyl Royster’s 33rd Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2018)
“Reptilian Theory: The New Frontier of Trial and Negotiation Practice,” United States Arbitration & Mediation's Best Practice's Series (2018)
“Electronic Medical Records: Emerging Issues in Litigation,” Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2017)
“EMR vs. ESI: Electronic Medical Records and Illinois Supreme Court Rules Governing the Production of Electronically Stored Information,” United States Arbitration & Mediation Best Practices Seminar (2017
“Illinois Case Law Update,” IDC / MODL Seminar – St. Louis (2016)
“Can the Affordable Care Act Make Future Medical Care in Litigation More Affordable?,” Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2016)
“Legal Ethics in the Age of Electronic Media,” Illinois Best Practices Seminar, United States Arbitration & Mediation (2016)
“‘You in the Hot Seat’ – Shoulder Dystocia Issues,” OB Risk Management Meeting – IRMS (2016)
“Reduction of Civil Juries in Illinois from 12-6,” Right to Trial by Jury, ABOTA (2016)
“Legal Ethics: Confidentiality & Conflicts of Interest,” National Business Institute (2015)
“The Use of Special Masters in Discovery Disputes,” Illinois Best Practices Seminar, United States Arbitration & Mediation (2015)
“Issues Arising in the use of Electronic Medical Records,” Jackson County, Illinois (2015)
“Advocacy in Mediation – Understanding the Other Side,” Illinois Best Practices Seminar: Current Issues in Ethics and Mediation Advocacy (2014)
“'The Politics of Risk Management,' A Difference in Perspective on Medical Malpractice Litigation: Plaintiff vs. Defendant,” Illinois Hospital Association, IRMS, 28th Annual Risk Managers’ Meeting (2012)
“Regulations in Personal Injury and Healthcare,” Illinois State Bar Association (2005)
“UM/UIM - The End of Stacking Litigation,” Heyl Royster (2005)
“Medical Malpractice Case Evaluation,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (2006)
“Jury Success Strategies,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (2006)
“Defending Emergency Department Claims – What Helps and What Hurts,” IRMS (2008)
“Defense of Healthcare Professionals in Litigation Involving Care of Patients in the Emergency Department” IRMS (2009)
"Claim Evaluation" chapter in Medical Malpractice, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011, 2013, 2018)
- Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers®, 2012 -2019
- Recognized as “2010 Top Defense Verdict” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly
- Recognized as “2004 Top Defense Verdict” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly
- Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media℠
- Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Selected to the American Board of Trial Advocates
- Hunsaker Addresses AMA Student Chapter at Saint Louis University School of Medicine
- Hunsaker and Moske Victorious in FNC Transfer
- United States Supreme Court Decisions on OSHA and CMS Rules
- Hunsaker to Serve on U of I College of LAS Department of Communication Alumni Council
- 60 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2021 Leading Lawyers List
- Missouri Supreme Court Upholds Non-Economic Cap In Medical Malpractice Action