Articles Posted in Appellate Procedure

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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