William G. Stone
William Stone (“Bill”) was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and is a product of the Chicago Public School System. Bill served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam conflict. His trial experience began in his last year of law school when he served as the assistant public defender in Benton County, Arkansas. Bill is a trial lawyer who has participated in over 40 civil trials and injunction hearings, including more than 10 jury trials as “first chair.” Bill concentrates his practice in the areas of professional liability, products liability, construction injury, commercial litigation and insurance coverage matters. Bill has tried cases in both state and federal courts in Illinois and Indiana and handled the cases through appellate resolution. Most recently, Bill’s focus has been on the defense and trial of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases involving $16 to $18 million dollar demands. Bill has also mediated, litigated, arbitrated and resolved prior to trial numerous $10 to $300 million dollar personal injury and insurance coverage related cases.
Cited as an Illinois Super Lawyer by Chicago Magazine and Law & Politics and among the Top 5% of Lawyers in Illinois for 2001-2016 as published in Crain’s Chicago Business. Member of Leading Lawyers Net Work (1999-2016) and “AV” Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell (1992-2016).
Estate of Komacko v. Central Rent-A-Crane, et al, Cause No. 45C01-1106-CT-0091. (June 2012). The Estate of Komacko was the first case tried in Indiana where the Indiana Supreme Court allowed a video camera in the court room and the delayed web broadcasting of the trial to the general public. Komacko was a 14 day jury trial of an ironworker wrongful death case arising from a construction accident. The case received extensive media attention. Witnesses included the past and present presidents of the Ironworkers’ Union Local 395. Bill represented the target defendant. The plaintiff asked the jury to award $16 million in damages and to find Bill’s client 60% at fault. Bill successfully persuaded the jury to apportion only 16% of fault against his client which resulted in a verdict of $1.3 million which was promptly paid by Bill’s client.
Yongping Zhou v. John Huang, et al, Case No. 03 L 5438. (April 2010). This was the trial of an attorney malpractice case where Bill represented the plaintiff who claimed as a result of his immigration attorney’s prior malpractice he was wrongfully incarcerated for 25 months. The jury, following 10 days of trial, returned a verdict in favor of Bill’s client for $4 million to compensate him for his loss of liberty, psychological and emotional injuries sustained and likely to be sustained in the future and the reasonable amount of psychological treatment needed stemming from his wrongful detention. The defendant appealed the case. Bill handled the appeal. The appellate court, in a non-published Rule 23 decision, granted the defendant judgment notwithstanding the verdict finding that attorneys (unlike doctors), in Illinois, cannot be held liable for non-economic damages. The appellate court based its decision on orbiter dictum and even held that the jury’s award of economic or money damages to compensate Bill’s client for his needed psychological treatment was also “non-economic damages”. The appellate court refused to publish the opinion and the Illinois Supreme Court denied the petition for leave to appeal.
Hadrys v. Morrow Equipment, et al, Case No. 01 L 001279. (December 1-12, 2008). Hadrys was a construction injury “arm off” case tried twice. The first trial involved Bill’s client and three other construction company defendants. It ended in a mistrial on Bill’s motion due to the plaintiff’s liability expert’s violation of several critical motions in limine. The case was retried 10 months later solely against Bill’s client with the other defendants reaching settlements. The plaintiff’s pretrial demand was $14 million and the plaintiff asked the jury to award damages of approximately $17 million against Bill’s client. Bill successfully persuaded the jury to apportion 40% of the fault against the plaintiff which resulted in a net judgment of approximately $2.7 million. This judgment was quickly satisfied.
National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Dowd & Dowd, P.C., 191 F.R.D. 566, 1999 WL 1249311, N.D. Ill., December 14, 1999 (No. 97 C 6200). The Dowd case was an attorney malpractice case where Bill’s client sued the Dowd firm for botching the trial of an underlying catastrophic injury trucking accident case. The case was tried before a jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Bill’s client alleged the Dowd firm failed to properly prepare the insured truck driver and also failed to timely disclose expert witnesses. The Dowd firm retained prominent defense attorney, Barry Montgomery, as their liability expert. Bill retained prominent attorney, and now deceased, Richard French. Prior to trial, a $1 million offer was made and rejected. After a two week jury trial, the jury awarded Bill’s client $2 million. The defendants appealed to the United States Circuit Court for the Seventh Circuit and days before their decision was to be issued, the case settled for a confidential but significant amount. This case is significant because it involved the trial within the trial and created new law which allowed an excess carrier not in privity of contract with defense counsel to sue the Dowd firm under principles of equitable subrogation. The case is further significant because it resulted in the publication of two decisions by the then chief judge, Marvin Aspen, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. References to those decisions, which were also briefed and argued by Bill on behalf of his client, are noted below.
Representative Appellate Decisions
- Walsh Const. Co. of Illinois v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 153 F.3d 830, 1998 WL 557580, C.A.7 (Ill.), September 02, 1998 (No. 97-3059)
- American Intern. Adjustment Co. v. Galvin, 86 F.3d 1455, 1996 WL 339824, C.A.7 (Ind.), June 20, 1996 (No. 95-1966, 95-2089)
- Matei v. Cessna Aircraft Co., 35 F.3d 1142, 1994 WL 502503,30 Fed.R.Serv.3d 355, C.A.7 (Ill.), September 15,1994 (No. 93-3172, 93-3373)
- Jaurequi v. John Deere Co., 986 F.2d 170,1993 WL 27409, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,403, C.A.7 (Ind.), February 08,1993 (No. 91-3852)
- Emerson Elec. Co. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 319 Ill.App.3d 218, 743 N.E.2d 629, 252 Ill.Dec. 761, 2001 WL 38676, Ill.App. 1 Dist., January 16, 2001 (No. 1-98-4762, 1-98-4780, 1-99-244)
- Los Amigos Supermarket, Inc. v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., 306 Ill.App.3d 115, 713 N.E.2d 686, 239111.Dec. 155, 1999 WL 398733, Ill.App. 1 Dist., June 17, 1999 (No. 1-96-3118)
- St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Lefton Iron & Metal Co., Inc., 296 Ill.App.3d 475, 694 N.E.2d 1049,230 Ill.Dec. 771, 1998 WL 221093, Ill.App. 5 Dist., May OS, 1998 (No. 5-96-0130)
- Horn v. Urban Inv. and Development Co., 166 Ill.App.3d 62,519 N.E.2d 489, 116 Ill.Dec. 597, 1988 WL 8486, Ill.App. 2 Dist., February 09, 1988 (No. 2-86-0910)
- National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Dowd & Dowd, P.C., 191 F.R.D. 566, 1999 WL 1249311, N.D. Ill., December 14, 1999 (No. 97 C 6200)
- National Union Ins. Co. v. Dowd & Dowd, P.C., 2 F.Supp.2d 1013, 1998 WL 188247, N.D.Ill., April 20, 1998 (No. 97 C 6200)
- Whitmer v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., Not Reported in F.Supp., 1989 WL 197400, N.D.Ill., October 2, 1989 (No. 87 C 20306)
- T-K City Disposal, Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 761 F.Supp. 552, 1991 WL 61797, 33 ERC 1390, 21 Envtl. L. Rep. 21,318, N.D.Ill., April 3, 1991 (No. 90 C 2204)
- Chicago Miracle Temple Church, Inc., et al v. Lansing Bible Church, et al., 901 F.Supp. 901 F.Supp. 1333, September 26, 1995 (No. 94 C 413)
U.S. Air Force, 1969-1973 Honorable Discharge; Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Colorado State Bar Associations; Federal Defense Bar; American Bar Association; Federal Trial Bar; Defense Research Institute; Armadillo Insurance Group; Member and contributor to the following LinkedIn groups: Construction Defect Claims & Coverage; Insurance Coverage; DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar; Lawyers Professional Liability; and International Risk Management Institute (IRMI).
“Emerging Targeted Tender Doctrine in Illinois” for Chicago Bar Association 2008; “Damages in Legal Malpractice Cases,” June 2010; “How to Prepare a Law Office Policy Manual,” Law Office Economics Section, Illinois State Bar Association, Chairman’s Column of Tort Law Section Newsletter, 1984-1985.
“Illinois Targeted Tender Doctrine,” Chicago Bar Association, March 2008; “Duty to Defend in Illinois” and “Bad Faith and How to Avoid It,” 1994-2008 to clients; “Y2K Liability,” 1999 to clients; “Damages in Legal Malpractice Cases,” 2010-2011 CLE to clients.