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The firm is dedicated to maintaining cutting-edge excellence in its areas of practice. To achieve that goal, members of the firm are active participants in defense litigation organizations, including the Federation of Insurance and Corporation Counsel, the Defense Research Institute, the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC).
Check out a few of our notable cases and achievements from Boyle Brasher attorneys.
Click below for a few of our Recent Developments
Andrew Corkery, a partner at Boyle Brasher, serves as the Chairperson of the Illinois State Bar Committee on Legal Education, Admission and Competence Committee. The mission of the Standing Committee is to study all phases of preparatory and legal education, requirements for admission to the bar and standards for bar examinations, and to review continuing legal education, competence, and lawyer skills, making recommendations with respect thereto. The committee issued the Report to Illinois Supreme Court encouraging Illinois to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination. The purpose of the UBE is to make the bar examination process more efficient and less costly, provide recent graduates with greater mobility and flexibility in seeking employment, and better reflect the multijurisdictional practice of today’s legal market. The Illinois Supreme Court accepted the recommendation of the Committee and the Uniform Bar Exam will be administered for the first time this July. Mr. Corkery was one of the authors of that report.
On July 24, 2017, and after six days of trial, a Memphis jury returned a verdict in favor of the railroad in a lawsuit filed by an employee under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. Plaintiff claimed he hurt his low back and chest when his foot slipped from the sill step of a railroad tank car while dismounting due to the unexpected approach of a train on an adjacent track. Plaintiff also claimed the step likely had oil on it, he was working in an area with poor lighting, and he claimed the area where he dismounted had a steep embankment. Defendant denied these claims and asserted that it had provided the employee with a reasonably safe place to work at all times during his employment.
After the alleged incident on December 23, 2008, Plaintiff treated briefly for a chest contusion and treated for years for low back complaints. Plaintiff never returned to work as a conductor. He stayed out of the work force approximately 7.5 years allegedly as a result of the incident. Ultimately, he returned to work for the railroad as a crew hauler in year 2016. Defendant offered the testimony of a vocational expert at trial to establish Plaintiff could have worked in other jobs during the time he was unemployed.
At trial, the Plaintiff conceded that the alleged substance on the sill step could have been oil, rain, dew, or some other substance. The railroad also argued at trial that, even if oil had been present on the sill step, the railroad did not have notice of an unreasonably unsafe condition. Defendant established at trial that the tank car had no defects and was in compliance with all federal regulations when inspected hours after the alleged incident. Also, Plaintiff offered medical evidence at trial that his alleged fall at work caused or contributed to his injuries. Defendant relied primarily on the cross-examination of Plaintiff’s treating physicians to establish a long history of treatment for low back complaints for years prior to the alleged fall.
Plaintiff’s counsel suggested to the jury damages in the amount of $735,000 ($535,000 in lost wages and $200,000 in pain and suffering damages) during closing arguments. During deliberations, the jury had two questions. First, the jury wanted clarity on the definition of “fault.” More particularly, the jury wanted to know if they had to find both negligence and causation. The court properly informed the jury that both were necessary. Second, the jury wanted to hear the definition of “causation” again. The court read to the jury the following portion of the jury charge in response to the second question: “The second part of fault is causation. The person’s negligence must have caused or contributed, in whole or in part, in the slightest way, Plaintiff’s injury or damage.”
The jury returned a defense verdict for the railroad. The Honorable Felicia Corbin-Johnson presided over the trial. The railroad was represented by Camille Reifers and John Bennett.
On June 1, 2017, the Illinois Court of Appeals, Fifth District affirmed the defense verdict obtained by co-counsel Jonathan Freed of Paducah, Kentucky and Boyle Brasher attorney in a legal malpractice suit against their clients. At trial, plaintiff lost in the first stage of the bifurcated proceedings—the “case-within-a-case.” Among other holdings, the appellate court held, as we argued in our brief, that plaintiff forfeited the right to appeal all evidentiary issues at trial because of a deficient post-trial motion. To top off the victory, the appellate court also held that defendants were entitled to have the court costs incurred in two prior trials which resulted in hung juries taxed against plaintiff.
Boyle Brasher founding member Camille Reifers has successfully achieved Board Certification as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (“NBTA”). The NBTA was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney’s experience and expertise in the practice of trial law.
Ms. Reifers successfully completed a rigorous and elaborate screening of credentials that all NBTA board certified attorneys must complete, including: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to her competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, submission of legal writing documents, proof of good standing, and passing of an examination.
Board Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Approximately three percent of American lawyers are board certified, and Ms. Reifers is a member of a very select group who has taken the time to prove competence in their specialty area and earn board certification.
Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are the most established standard in attorney ratings, and have been for more than a century. Attorney Andrew Corkery has received the rating of AV Preeminent® which is the highest peer rating standard. According to Martindale-Hubbell guidelines this rating signifies that the lawyer’s reviewed peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards. Mr. Corkery’s ratings and reviews
Boyle Brasher has 5 other A/V rated attorneys.
On January 2, 2015 Ralph Godsy, Boyle Brasher Partner, obtained summary judgment on all counts for a BBLLC client facing a Premises Liability claim in Madison County, Illinois. The plaintiff claimed that water on an interior stairway caused her to slip and fall. She claimed the business owner was negligent for failing to remove the water and/or for failing to warn of its presence. She claimed that as a consequence of this negligence she suffered an ankle fracture that required surgery resulting in economic damages – lost wages and the cost of medical treatment – and non-economic damages – pain, suffering, and disfigurement. In his motion for summary judgment, Ralph argued that as the water had been tracked inside on the shoes and clothes of persons walking through the snow on the parking lot, the business owner was shielded from liability under Illinois’ “Natural Accumulation” rule. Ralph further argued that his client was entitled to summary judgment under contract law because, prior to the incident, the plaintiff had voluntarily signed an informed consent/liability waiver and release form that specifically referred to slip and fall injuries at the facility. No appeal was filed.
Boyle Brasher LLC attorneys Charlie Swartwout and Andy Corkery obtained a dismissal with prejudice in a case brought by a man who was struck by a train at or near a railroad crossing in Central Illinois. The incident resulted in three limb amputations. Plaintiff alleged the incident was the railroad’s fault and that the defendant railroad was negligent for travelling too fast, failing to keep a lookout, failing to sound a warning, and failing to avoid striking the plaintiff. After filing motions to dismiss and taking plaintiff’s deposition the case was dismissed with prejudice by the trial judge in Champaign County, Illinois.
BBLLC attorneys, Dick Boyle and Jim Garrison, obtained a defense verdict for a national railroad company client on July 16, 2014 in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estate of a 71-year old woman who was unfortunately fatally injured when the car she was in was struck at a grade crossing by the Defendant’s train.
According to Plaintiff, the decedent’s car got stuck on the tracks after she moved off the roadway to avoid a tractor-trailer on the roadway. At trial, the Plaintiff’s estate argued that the train crew could see her car on the crossing from nearly one mile away, a distance far enough to reduce the train’s speed and avoid a collision. However, the defense team was able to demonstrate through fact and expert witnesses that it was not possible for the train crew to see the decedent’s vehicle in time to avoid the collision.
Following a five day trial, a Western Illinois jury returned a verdict for the railroad.
On April 20, 2014 Boyle Brasher obtained a defense verdict for a major transportation company following a four (4) day jury trial in the Circuit Court of Greene County at Springfield, MO before the Honorable Michael Cordonnier. Plaintiff averred claims against the railroad under both the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) alleging that he sustained cumulative trauma injuries to his back and neck from working for the railroad fifteen (15) years as a locomotive engineer. The jury deliberated three (3) hours before returning a verdict in favor of BNSF on both claims.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed a Memphis federal district court’s order awarding summary judgment to a Boyle Brasher client on all claims brought by a former employee under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. The plaintiff, who alleged discrimination by her former employer based on sex and age, as well as retaliation, claimed that she had been promoted and not compensated comparably to a male employee to whom she claimed she was similarly situated. The district court granted summary judgment to the employer on all claims asserted by the plaintiff, and the plaintiff appealed. In an opinion on February 27, 2014, the Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in the employer’s favor.
Boyle Brasher attorneys obtained dismissal, with prejudice of FELA wrongful death case filed in Seattle, WA with no payment following discovery. Plaintiff alleged lung cancer caused by exposure to toxic substances at work. Diligent discovery revealed other sources of exposure as well as smoking which caused cancer. February 2014.
In recognition of outstanding advocacy for 2013, one of Boyle Brasher LLC’s Fortune 500 client’s is recognizing Charlie Swartwout, Camille Reifers, and their teams at Boyle Brasher LLC as part of an elite group of outside counsel. They could not have had the success they had without the strong support of the claims professionals working alongside. Boyle Brasher LLC is honored to represent such a client.
Andrew Corkery, Camille Reifers, and Charlie Swartwout shared in a wealth of information exchanged at the 2013 AAR General Claims Conference, hosted by CSX in October
The Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee awarded summary judgment in favor of our railroad client in a case filed by a couple who lived adjacent to the railroad track and claimed damages resulting from a flood. Following a flood event in May 2010, Plaintiffs filed suit against the railroad and the City of Memphis. The Plaintiffs alleged that the railroad failed to properly maintain a railroad culvert near their property that drained waters in the vicinity. At the time of his deposition, Plaintiffs’ expert witness agreed that the railroad culvert was designed such that it met the modern design standard for the locality of being capable of handling the amount of water anticipated from a 100-year flood event. In fact, the expert agreed that the culvert greatly exceeded even the modern design standard. After establishing compliance with 49 C.F.R. 213.33, the Court held that Plaintiffs’ state law theories of negligence were preempted by federal regulation and granted summary judgment in favor of the railroad. Separately, the Court determined that Plaintiffs did not establish any negligence by the railroad was the direct cause of the landowner’s damages. The Court granted summary judgment on this basis as well.
Plaintiff, a visitor to a mixed-use, riverfront development sued Defendant, a business tenant of the mixed-use development. Defendant represented by Boyle Brasher LLC and other tenants of the development utilized a river access area also owned by the landlord. After the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, Plaintiff fell while at the river access area and suffered displaced fractures including a spiral fracture of the tibia and a fracture of the fibula, as well as knee and ankle injuries for which plaintiff claimed that the access area was not properly maintained resulting in his injuries. An open reduction and internal fixation of the tibia was required. Boyle Brasher LLC filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the business tenant in this Franklin County, Missouri case. The basis of the motion was the lack of ownership, control and maintenance of the river access area by the Defendant. The state court judge granted summary judgment based on carefully-drafted documents and exhibits that were submitted for consideration–without the need for or expense of oral argument.
After five-days of trial in the City of St. Louis beginning on April 1st and ending on April 5th a jury returned a verdict in favor of a Boyle Brasher client being sued for over $1 million dollars.
Plaintiff, a railroad conductor sued his employer for injuries allegedly sustained in three separate on-the-job incidents. Subsequently, plaintiff underwent a lumbar fusion at L4-L5 with internal fixation and a cervical fusion at C3-C4 with internal fixation and did not return to work.
The jury was out for approximately two and a half hours and returned a verdict of no negligence on all three incidents, finding plaintiff 100% at fault. The jury also found no damages in any of the incidents.
Bill Brasher handled the defense of this case on behalf of the railroad.
After a week-long trial that included a claim for punitive damages which started April 22, 2013 in the Circuit Court of Marion County at Hannibal, Missouri, the jury returned a verdict for our railroad client.
Plaintiff, age 38, was profoundly injured on March 23, 2007, when he was struck by a train on a bridge in Hannibal, Missouri. The basis for the claim against the railroad was that the train crew should have identified the plaintiff in time to stop or slow the train prior to striking him. Although Plaintiff was called to testify, he was in essence unable to testify given a closed head injury and paralysis that impacted his entire right side which significantly precluded any understandable speech. Plaintiff is mostly confined to a wheel chair but could, with great difficult, ambulate short distances awkwardly and precariously with a quad cane. In addition, plaintiff had bladder and bowel issues, difficulty swallowing and choking issues, painful contractions of his arm and hand, and virtually no use of his right hand, arm and leg. He also sustained fractures of the lumbar and cervical spine, shoulder, clavicle and tibia. Because of his injuries he needs assistance with virtually all activities of daily living including dressing and bathing. The life care plan ranged from $1.8M to $5.6M. Past medical expenses were approximately $460K.
After two and a half hours of deliberation the jury determined that the railroad client was not at fault and that plaintiff was 100% at fault. Bill Brasher tried the case for the railroad.
A St. Clair County jury returned a defense verdict in favor of a Boyle Brasher client and against a plaintiff in an FELA case. Plaintiff claimed a severe knee injury when, at the age of 51, he allegedly tripped over debris on railroad property in 2004. Plaintiff claimed the yard was unsafe and that defendant was aware of the unsafe condition prior to the injury. Plaintiff had not worked since that date and was disqualified from returning to railroad work by a physician. Plaintiff had right total knee replacement. Plaintiff’s attorney asked for $700,000 in lost wages and over $1,000,000 in total damages.
Charlie Swartwout and Andy Corkery of our Belleville office successfully countered plaintiff’s account of the incident by putting on co-worker testimony that the yard was not full of debris and tripping hazards. In addition, defense counsel secured medical testimony that plaintiff had end-stage osteoarthritis and that he would have needed a total knee replacement regardless of the alleged incident. Charlie and Andy also introduced testimony regarding the vocational rehabilitation program that was available to plaintiff which plaintiff failed to avail himself of.
Congratulations to Charlie Swartwout and Andy Corkery on another defense verdict.
In March attorney Jim Garrison will be participating as a judge at the Odyssey of the Mind competition at O’Fallon Township High School in O’Fallon, Illinois. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program. Jim’s son, Rob, is a teacher at OTHS, and is the faculty coordinator and OTHS team advisor for the program.
On February 22, 2013, Camille Reifers, Thomas Peters, and Brooks Kostakis obtained a defense verdict for a railroad client after a jury trial in a wrongful death case filed involving an employee of a granary serviced by the railroad.
The facts are that the railroad delivered empty railcars for loading as requested by the granary. The granary owned a railcar mover designed to move railcars, but the railcar mover was inoperable. Thereafter, the manager of the granary decided to move seven of the railcars with a front-end loader. In order to stop the railcars, the decedent was expected to run alongside the railcars, mount the moving equipment, and turn the handbrake.
During the movement of the cars, two-cars separated from five other cars. When that occurred, the decedent mounted the brake platform and began turning the handbrake. The five-car cut of cars began traveling faster than the two-car cut of cars due to a descending grade causing the two groups of cars to collide. Unfortunately, the decedent fell from the railcar on which he was riding and was killed when the wheel of a railcar ran over him.
Plaintiff alleged that the coupler of the fifth railcar was defective causing the two groups of cars to become uncoupled. The railroad argued that the actions of the granary, in using a front-end loader, as opposed to a railcar mover, to move railcars was the cause of the accident as well as requiring the decedent to run alongside the cars and mount a moving car. The railroad further argued that the Plaintiff failed to prove that the coupler on the fifth railcar was defective. The jury, after hearing all the evidence, agreed with the railroad.
Camille Reifers, Thom Peters, and Emily Webster had previously won a defense verdict in this case in September 2010. However, a new trial was granted. This was the second time this case had been tried to jury verdict and the second defense verdict in this case by the Boyle Brasher team.
Boyle Brasher LLC is nationally recognized for its representation of hospitals in claims against insurers seeking reimbursement of disputed hospital bills. Our attorneys represent a national for-profit hospital corporation in multiple jurisdictions asserting the reimbursement claims. More often then not these cases involve claims for reimbursement of very large unpaid hospital bills incurred by patients. Boyle Brasher LLC’s attorneys have successfully obtained full reimbursement for its clients and collected multiple millions of dollars in these cases.The firm’s attorneys engaged in this practice have been invited to make presentations about this area of practice at meetings and seminars in this country and internationally