J. Murray Pinkston


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Born and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Mr. Pinkston was educated at Tulane University and the University of Mississippi. He was admitted to the Illinois bar when he began his legal career in Chicago in 1993, but not before also being admitted to practice in Louisiana and Mississippi. Since his arrival in Chicago, he has specialized in the litigation of civil tort claims and workers’ compensation claims. His general civil litigation experience is broad and includes construction-related litigation matters, first and third party insurance defense, and insurance coverage cases.

Because of Mr. Pinkston’s significant trial experience in both civil tort and workers’ compensation matters, he possesses the specialized skill set necessary for the efficient analysis and litigation of Employers’ Liability, or so-called 1(b), claims. EL claims involve the defense of employers in personal injury damage claims brought by that employer’s own employee, and are typically included in multi-party construction litigation cases. El claims see a great deal of overlap between the civil and workers’ compensation systems, so knowledge and experience in both systems is essential for an elite EL defense. Mr. Pinkston has a long track record of successful litigation for these claims, and has mastered global settlement strategies and tactics involving these multiple claims situations. Mr. Pinkston has regularly lectured and delivered seminars on Illinois EL claims, as well as upon workers’ compensation litigation and trends.

Representative Civil/Jury Trials
  • Patino v. H&H Performance, 11 SC 162 (Kendall County Circuit Court): Represented equipment repair facility from negligence and unworkmanlike performance complaint. Jury trial result: defense verdict.
  • Ross v. Diversey LLC., 08 L 7316 (Cook County Circuit Court): Represented carpentry subcontractor in construction negligence death claim. Result: dismissal of client from all claims per summary judgment.
  • Illinois Insurance v. MGM, Inc., 08 L 4160 (Cook County Circuit Court): Represented state administrative agency in insurance coverage claim, seeking coverage for a workers’ compensation accident. Result: coverage declared in favor of client per summary judgment (currently on appeal).
  • Bellinaso v. Power Construction, 06 L 11486 (Cook County Circuit Court): Represented precast concrete panel installation subcontractor in construction negligence personal injury claim. Jury trial result: defense verdict.
  • Wallraf v. Edwards Hines Lumber Co., 00 L 0961 (Cook County Circuit Court): Represented carpentry subcontractor in construction negligence personal injury claim. Jury trial result: plaintiff verdict, client assigned only 15% comparative fault (85% to co-defendant).
Representative Workers’ Compensation Trials
  • Stephens v. Food-4-Less Grocers, 10 WC 43706: Represented employer in WC claim for multiple injury/conditions claim. Petitioner’s verdict for 30% PPD arm (substantially lower than demand) and no other compensable conditions.
  • Griffith v. Kroger, 09 WC 31291: Represented employer in WC claim for carpal tunnel/repetitive trauma. Respondent’s verdict (currently on appeal).
  • Fick v. Thelan Sand and Gravel, 04 WC 60921 and 04 WC 61166: Represented employer in WC permanent total disability claim for lumbar disc herniations and surgery. Respondent’s verdict.
Publications and Seminars
  • Current Trends in Workers’ Compensation, Society of Casualty and Safety Engineers, 2003-2012
  • Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Employers’ Liability Practice, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, 2010
  • WC Settlement Practice in Illinois, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, 2009
  • WC Settlement Practice in Indiana, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, 2009
  • The Erosion of the Employers’ Limitation of Liability, various insurance groups, 2009
  • Workers’ Compensation Trends in 2008, The Container Store, 2008
  • Insurance for EL claims – the Virginia Surety case, various insurance industry groups, 2007
  • Comparison of the Workers’ Compensation Laws of Illinois and Indiana, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, 2007
  • Kotecki and the Employer’s Limitation of Liability, Society Insurance, 2007
  • The Illinois Employer’s Limitation of Liability, ServiceMaster, 2006
  • Insuring Cargo “In Transit”, Great American Insurance Company, 2004
  • Understanding Kotecki and Unzicker, Workers’ Compensation Claims Association, 2003
  • Medical Management: Sword or Shield?, various insurance industry groups, 2003