Illinois Product Liability Case Involving Product Defect Hastened by Illinois Supreme Court Decision

In a recent Chicago product defect case, the pace of settlement negotiations were perhaps hastened because in November 2008 the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that defendants in negligence suits who settle prior to trial, should not be named on jury verdict forms for the purpose of apportioning liability (Ready v. United/Goedecke Services, Inc., et al., WL 5046833).

The recent Illinois product liability case involved involving a punch press operator and settled for over $5 million. Both of the worker’s arms were amputated after a punch press malfunctioned and part of the machine crushed both arms.

Seven years ago a U.S. District Court judge approved a $1.1 million settlement in this same Illinois product defect case, which released one of the manufacturers of the machine that caused the injury. However, the case wasn’t over as there two remaining manufacturer parties still involved in the Illinois product liability case.

The case was removed to Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court to decide the product liability claims against Danley Machine Company, who manufactured the punch press, and against Cooper Industries, who manufactured some of the component parts.

The settlement negotiations between the parties was stalled in November 2008 with little hope of reaching an agreement. However, when the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Ready came down the negotiations heated up and the case was resolved out of court.

It will be interesting to see if other cases follow this trend and move through the court system faster than before the Ready decision.

Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been practicing Illinois product liability law for over 30 years, serving areas in and around of Cook County such as Oak Park, Northbrook, Chicago Ridge, and Elmhurst.