Articles Posted in Appellate Procedure

Marcellis Stinnette Sr. (“Marcellis Sr.”) was shot and killed by a Waukegan police officer on Oct. 20, 2020. At the time, Marcellis Sr. was in a car driven by Tafara Williams, the mother of his son, Marcellis Jr., while she was attempting to flee the police. The police officer was charged with second degree murder. Williams filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Waukegan. Zhavellis Holmes, Marcellis Sr.’s mother, filed a wrongful death civil rights action. Both had been stayed pending the outcome of the criminal case against the police officer.

Holmes was appointed as administrator of Marcellis Sr.’s estate, but Williams filed a counterpetition, seeking to be the appointed administrator and her son, Marcellis Jr., to be identified as his son and sole heir. A DNA test established that Marcellis Jr. was in fact Marcellis Sr.’s son. Trial court ultimately granted Holmes’s petition to be appointment administrator and denied Williams’s counter petition, with the note that the court would supervise the administration.  Williams appealed.

The appellate court entered an order for supplemental briefing on two points: Whether §9-3 of the Illinois Probate Act controls whether Holmes can be appointed administrator over the minor child’s nomination of an administrator via guardian, and whether §9-1of the Probate Act disqualifies Williams for being appointed administrator due to the pending felony charges.

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Late on the night of Nov. 13, 2015, Logan Bland and his friend, Kyle George, were at Q Bar, which was owned by Q-West Inc., where they were regulars.

Bland became intoxicated and was cut off from further alcoholic beverages. In the meantime, Bland got into a fight with George. Bland had to be physically removed to the office of Q Bar’s manager. Bland was told to calm down if he wished to remain, but he returned to the bar after a few minutes and began another fight with George.

Four employees were required to physically remove Bland from the building. Bland dragged all four onto the floor, kicking one in the throat and chin. Emergency services were called, and the police and paramedics responded.

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A U.S. District Court judge in Chicago has ruled that the federal law prohibiting drug addicts and people who illegally use controlled substances from possessing firearms does not violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman of the Northern District of Illinois acknowledged the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 had adopted a new standard for determining whether particular conduct may be regulated by the government without running afoul of the right to bear arms.

The U.S. Supreme Court in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (2022), narrowed the category of firearm-related acts that the government can regulate.

“When the Second Amendment’s plain text protects certain conduct, the government can regulate such conduct only if it can demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the historical tradition of firearm regulation in the United States. Otherwise, the courts must conclude that the individual’s firearm-related conduct is protected because it falls within the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’”

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The Illinois Supreme Court reversed a dismissal by the appellate court and affirmed the circuit court judgment in a personal injury case in which the following issues were considered:

  1. whether an employer who admits liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior may be independently liable for its own negligence, even if the jury finds that the employee was not negligent, and
  2. whether the trial court erred in granting the employer’s request for a new trial after the jury rendered legally inconsistent findings.

The Illinois Supreme Court concluded it is “settled law” that a plaintiff may plead and prove multiple causes of action. The state high court also ruled that it is “settled law,” so long as there is a good-faith factual basis for a plaintiff’s claim of direct negligence against an employer; in that case, the plaintiff is allowed to pursue the claim in addition to a claim of vicarious liability.

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Chung I. Huang had a California will and owned real estate in DuPage County, Ill., that was worth more than a $1 million.  When he died, his daughter, I-Chih Amy Huang, petitioned for probate in DuPage County. The judge there instructed her to start first in California and then ask for “ancillary proceedings” in Illinois.

I-Chih Amy Huang appealed and the Illinois Appellate Court reversed because the California will qualified for probate in DuPage County.

After first denying the petition for probate in DuPage County, on appeal Huang asserted that the will met all statutory requirements for admission to probate and that the circuit court was therefore required to do so and erred in denying her petition. Section 5-1 of the Illinois Probate Act provides that probate, if the decedent had no known residents in Illinois, 5-1 “in the county where the greater part of his or her real estate is located at the time of his or her death.” Section 7-1 of the Act allows foreign wills to be admitted to probate in Illinois where either the will has already been admitted to probate outside the state or where “the will was executed outside of this state and in accordance with the law of this state.”

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Frank Russo appealed from an order that wiped out his $9.9 million jury verdict against Corey Steel. In this case, the trial judge stepped aside during the post-trial proceedings and Corey Steel’s request for a new trial was granted by a second judge. This was based on his disagreement with the first judge’s ruling on expert testimony.

The amount of damages was the only question for the jury to consider in this admitted-liability, personal-injury lawsuit. Russo, who had hip surgery after an incident caused by a Corey Steel employee, wanted to present testimony from Jeffrey Coe, a physician who also has a Ph.D. in occupational medicine. In his testimony, Dr. Coe would have stated that it is reasonably likely Russo will need an additional hip surgery in the future.

Corey Steel’s lawyer objected because Dr. Coe’s specialty is occupational medicine, not orthopedic surgery; however, the trial judge nonetheless permitted his testimony.

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