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Overview

Pretzel & Stouffer understands that litigation is not just what leads up to the trial, and it doesn’t always end when the jury returns a verdict. Our skilled team of experienced appellate attorneys defend our own successful trial results on appeal and challenge decisions and verdicts that conflict with our clients’ interests. Additionally, clients often retain our appellate attorneys to handle appeals of results obtained by other firms without the same appellate proficiency.

While this level of skill and experience is important on appeal, our appellate attorneys are just as valuable before and during the trial. Their deep understanding of the appellate process makes them a valuable resource for our trial attorneys, who often consult them for an appellate perspective on potential legal arguments. They also identify issues that can be appealed long before a case reaches trial, which can put an early end to costly litigation or shape a case in ways that improve the odds of winning at trial. Often this requires persuading a reviewing court to accept a discretionary appeal, a process in which our appellate team has a proven record of success.

Our appellate attorneys are respected advocates in the reviewing courts, identified as counsel of record on some of the best-known and most-cited precedents in Illinois law—cases that have changed the very practice of law to the benefit of civil defendants. Even a brief survey of the law governing civil trial procedure or insurance-coverage law in Illinois will reflect a host of appellate precedents that Pretzel & Stouffer helped create. It was our work, for example, that protected the constitutional right to a 12-person jury in civil cases in Illinois, convincing the Illinois Supreme Court to throw out a legislative effort to eliminate that right.

We have earned a reputation as leaders in the small community of lawyers who focus on appeals. Our appellate attorneys are respected by courts and counsel alike, reflecting a long history of dedication and creativity and making for an unmatched record of success.

Related News & Results

Robert Chemers and David Larson obtain summary judgment for an insurer

Robert Chemers and David Larson obtained summary judgment for an insurer sued for bad faith for alleged unreasonable and vexatious delay to arbitrate the plaintiff insured’s UM claim. The carrier arbitrated, lost and paid the award, and then was sued for bad faith for the lengthy delay in going to arbitration. Circuit Court ruled that ...

June 2022

Affirmance in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals by Robert Chemers

Robert Chemers obtained an affirmance in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals of a summary judgment he obtained for an insurer sued in Wisconsin under the direct action statute which insurer did not issue a policy of insurance to anyone in Wisconsin and did not issue a policy of insurance to anyone in Illinois who committed ...

January 2022

Supreme Court Appointment – Matthew J. Egan

Matthew J. Egan has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as Vice Chair of the Court’s Committee on Civil Jury Instructions for a two-year term from January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023. Matt has served as a member of the committee since January 2019. He also served for several years as ...

December 2021 | Firm News

Appellate Victory for Landowners in Eminent Domain Lawsuit

Jim Sipchen, John Scheid, and Scott Howie obtained an appellate victory for landowners whose 70-acre farm was the subject of eminent domain proceedings filed in DuPage County, Illinois.  The Illinois Appellate Court’s decision upheld a traverse and motion to dismiss a local municipality’s lawsuit that sought to condemn a private driveway that the landowners had ...

October 2021

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT WIN IN CASE OF FIRST IMPRESSION

Pretzel & Stouffer partners Matthew Egan and Brendan Nelligan prevailed in the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of the firm’s clients, an attorney and his employer, a union, in a legal malpractice case arising from the attorney’s representation of a police officer in a grievance arbitration proceeding at which the plaintiff, a union member, challenged ...

March 2021

Chemers interviewed by Randy Maniloff

Robert Chemers, a Firm shareholder and Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel, who has practiced exclusively with the Firm for almost 45 years, was interviewed for the Coverage Opinions publication.  The interview is linked here.

March 2021 | Firm News

Reversal Obtained in Appellate Court on Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement

Pretzel & Stouffer partners Robert Chemers  and Scott Howie recently obtained a judgment from the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversing the ruling of the trial court, on our client nursing home’s motion to compel arbitration against a plaintiff resident. The trial court denied the motion to compel arbitration, and the Appellate Court reversed and remanded ...

March 2021

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT WIN IN CASE OF FIRST IMPRESSION

Pretzel & Stouffer partners Brendan Nelligan and Matthew J. Egan prevailed in the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of the firm’s clients, an attorney and his employer, a union, in a legal malpractice case arising from their representation of a police officer in a grievance arbitration proceeding at which the plaintiff, a union member, challenged the termination ...

November 2020

Chemers argues issue of first impression before Illinois Supreme Court

Pretzel & Stouffer shareholder Robert Chemers argued a case of first impression in the a Illinois Supreme Court yesterday involving the question whether a plaintiff who disclosed a Rule 213(f)(3) controlled expert witness can re-designate the expert as a non- testifying consultant and thereby bury the expert’s negative report? The trial court said no, and the Appellate Court said ...

October 2020

Nelligan has first oral argument before Illinois Supreme Court

The issue presented is one of first impression in Illinois and concerns whether an agent of a union, who happens to be a lawyer, and who represents a union member in a grievance proceeding, is subject to a claim of professional negligence. The courts around the country have uniformly held they are not.

October 2020

Pretzel & Stouffer shareholders Robert Chemers, Matthew Egan, Edward Ruff, and Richard Waris named as Super Lawyers in Illinois for 2020

  Robert Chemers – Insurance Coverage and Appellate Matt Egan – Civil Litigation, Professional Liability, and Employment Law Ed Ruff – Class Action Mass Torts,  Products Liability, Medical Malpractice, and Business Litigation Richard Waris – Business Litigation and Professional Liability We congratulate Robert, Matt, Ed, and Dick for again being recognized for their outstanding legal ...

March 2020 | Firm News

Scott Howie Invited to Become a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers

  Partner Scott Howie has been invited to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers after being elected at the Academy’s recent meeting. The American Academy of Appellate Lawyers was founded in 1990 to recognize outstanding appellate lawyers and promote the improvement of appellate advocacy and the administration of the appellate courts. ...

February 2020 | Firm News

Petition for Leave to Appeal Granted by Illinois Supreme Court

  Robert Chemers and Paula Villela recently had a Petition for Leave to Appeal granted by the Illinois Supreme Court. The case involves an Appellate Court opinion in a case of first impression which allowed a #plaintiff in a medical malpractice case to re-designate a previously disclosed controlled expert witness and treating physician as a ...

January 2020

Significant Victory for Insurers by Pretzel & Stouffer Before Illinois Supreme Court

  In a significant victory for the insurance industry, Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys, Robert Chemers and Jonathan Federman, prevailed today for an insurer in the Supreme Court of Illinois. The court issued its opinion this morning reversing the trial court and the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, and directing the trial court to enter judgment ...

January 2020

Appellate Court Victory – Case of First Impression

In a case of first impression in Illinois, partners Matthew J. Egan and Brendan J. Nelligan secured a victory in the Appellate Court for a labor union and a union attorney who were sued in the Circuit Court of Cook County by the plaintiff, a union member, based on legal representation the attorney provided the ...

November 2019

Robert Chemers and Scott Howie Secure Appellate Dismissal

Pretzel & Stouffer partners, Robert Chemers and Scott Howie, succeeded in having an adversary’s appeal dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction in the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District. In a declaratory judgment action, the circuit court entered judgment for the firm’s client, an insurer, holding that it had no duty to defend its insured ...

September 2019

Appellate Victory Secured for Insurance Company

Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys Richard Waris, Jim Sipchen, Quinn Donnelly, and Scott Howie obtained an affirmance in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, of the dismissal of an action against several defendants, including an insurance company and another law firm. The appeal concerned the alleged settlement of a previous tort action during the trial of ...

July 2019

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Obtain Consolidation from Illinois Supreme Court

Tom Draths and Scott Howie recently petitioned the Supreme Court of Illinois to consolidate three lawsuits pending in different judicial circuits under Supreme Court Rule 384. The Supreme Court granted the petition that Tom and Scott prepared on behalf of their client. As a result, their client will defend one consolidated action in Will County ...

July 2019

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Prevail in Appellate Court Sustaining Dismissal for Accountant

In another example of Pretzel & Stouffer’s robust professional liability defense practice, Brendan Nelligan and Matthew Egan recently prevailed in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of the firm’s clients, an accountant and his firm who were sued for professional malpractice arising from allegations that the accountants misadvised certain clients. The circuit court dismissed the ...

July 2019

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Win in Mississippi Supreme Court

Robert Chemers and Rich Burgland obtained a major victory for their insurer client in the Mississippi Supreme Court. With the help of local counsel, Dorrance Aultman, Robert and Rich successfully defended an appeal by two claimants. The claimants sought coverage for a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of the death of their adult son who ...

July 2019

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Sustain Summary Judgment on Appeal for Railroad

Robert Chemers and William Elinski, sustained the summary judgment they obtained in the trial court on appeal in a case involving whether the plaintiff was an employee for the purposes of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. The plaintiff, an employee of Mobile Rail Services, Inc. (MRS), was injured while servicing a Union Pacific Railroad Company ...

July 2019

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Submit Amicus Brief for Illinois Defense Counsel

Pretzel & Stouffer partners, Rich Burgland and Donald Eckler, filed an amicus brief in the Illinois Supreme Court in support of the petitioner in Crim v. Dietrich on behalf of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel. This case deals with whether a party is required to file a post-trial motion to preserve issues decided ...

July 2019 | Firm News

Pretzel & Stouffer Secures Substantial Win in Coverage Matter

  Robert Chemers and Jonathan Federman, successfully argued on appeal for a reversal of the circuit court’s ruling finding coverage pursuant to a professional liability insurance policy as to a motion to adjudicate attorneys’ liens. In a published opinion, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, agreed with Robert and Jonathan that a motion to ...

June 2019

Scott Howie Elected to Secretary of Appellate Lawyers’ Association

Pretzel & Stouffer partner Scott Howie was elected Secretary of the Appellate Lawyers Association at the annual meeting of the association yesterday. Scott has just completed a year-long term as Treasurer of the association and has previously served on its Board of Directors and as co-chair of its Moot Court Committee. Scott has practiced for ...

June 2019 | Firm News

Defense Verdict against Plaintiff Patient/Dentist

Timothy Weaver and Michael Barry recently obtained a defense jury verdict in a medical malpractice case in which a dentist claimed that defendant orthopedic surgeon negligently delayed spine surgery by one day for an acute, repeated low back disc herniation in order to suit his surgical schedule, thereby causing multi-million dollar damages including permanent foot paralysis (drop foot), ...

March 2019

Appellate Court Victory in Accounting Malpractice Case

Brendan Nelligan and Matthew J. Egan once again prevailed in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of the firm’s clients, an accountant and his firm who were sued for professional malpractice arising from alleged advice they provided certain clients which purportedly resulted in a loss suffered by the clients in a subsequent collections action. The circuit court had ...

December 2018 | Firm News

Appellate Victory for Attorney Accused of Committing Legal Malpractice during Whistleblower Lawsuit

Jim Sipchen and Tom Draths recently prevailed in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of an attorney who was alleged to have committed legal malpractice in the representation of a client in an underlying whistleblower/retaliatory discharge suit filed against Nicor Gas, Co. Plaintiff alleged that attorney was negligent in failing to take adequate discovery on his claims and ...

September 2018 | Firm News

Appellate Court Victory in Legal Malpractice Case

Pretzel & Stouffer partners Matthew J. Egan and Brendan Nelligan recently prevailed in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of the firm’s client, an attorney who had been sued for legal malpractice arising from his representation of a client in litigation which challenged the plaintiff’s performance of fiduciary duties as the trustee of a trust. See, 2018 IL App ...

September 2018 | Firm News

Another Appellate Victory in a Legal Malpractice Case

Pretzel & Stouffer partners Matthew J. Egan and Brendan Nelligan once again prevailed in the Illinois Appellate Court on behalf of the firm’s client, an attorney who was sued for legal malpractice arising from his representation of certain clients in multiple mortgage foreclosure cases. The circuit court had dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint on the grounds that it did not ...

September 2018 | Firm News

Firm Wins Victory in Appellate Court for Condominium Association

The Illinois Appellate Court recently issued an opinion affirming a dismissal which Pretzel & Stouffer partners John H. Scheid and Matthew J. Egan won in the Circuit Court of Cook County in favor of the firm’s client, a condominium association. The case involved a large Chicago bank, which foreclosed on a mortgage it held on a condominium and was ...

August 2018 | Firm News

Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Medical Malpractice Action

The Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed the dismissal of several defendants, including a doctor and a professional corporation represented by Pretzel & Stouffer, finding that the trial court properly dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice action as an impermissible second refiling of a previous action. Scott L. Howie of Pretzel & Stouffer, retained specifically to handle ...

May 2018 | Firm News

Scott Howie Presents on Appellate Practice at Professional Seminar

Scott L. Howie served on the faculty of the recent Pincus Professional Education seminar, “Appellate Practice 101: The Nuts and Bolts,” held May 10 in Chicago. Scott was the chief presenter on the topics “Should You Appeal?” and “Post-Judgment Motions,” and co-presented on “Perfecting the Appeal and Other Preliminary Matters” and “Interlocutory Appeals by Right and ...

May 2018 | Firm News

Summary Judgement Won and Upheld Due to Lack of Medical Causation

The Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed summary judgment for several doctors and professional corporations finding that the trial court properly found no genuine issue of material fact as to whether any of the defendants proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury. Robert Marc Chemers and Scott L. Howie of Pretzel & Stouffer prepared and defended the appellate brief on behalf ...

January 2018 | Firm News

Seventh Circuit Reversal in favor of insurance carrier

Robert Marc Chemers won a significant appeal in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 7th Circuit held that the insured’s 21-month delay in notifying his carrier of the accident was “inexcusable.” State Auto Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Brumit Serv’s, Inc., 877 F.3d 355 (7th Cir. 2017). The insured, an owner of a ...

January 2018 | Firm News

Jury Verdict for Doctor Upheld with Barring of Handwriting Expert and Contributory Negligence Instructions Affirmed

The Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed a verdict for a doctor represented by Pretzel & Stouffer, finding that the trial court properly barred an expert witness for the plaintiff who would have given inflammatory opinion testimony about documentary evidence, and properly rejected the plaintiff’s proposed jury instruction on contributory negligence. Scott L. Howie of Pretzel ...

December 2017 | Firm News

Hospital Not Guilty Verdict Reinstated on Appeal

The Appellate Court of Illinois has reinstated a jury verdict for a hospital foundation represented by Pretzel & Stouffer, finding that the trial court abused its discretion when it vacated that verdict and granted a new trial to the plaintiff. Scott L. Howie and Sommer R. Luzynczyk of Pretzel & Stouffer represented the hospital foundation in the appeal, ...

December 2017 | Firm News

Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Boy Scouts of America

Robert Chemers and Scott Howie recently secured an affirmance in the Appellate Court of summary judgment in favor of the Boy Scouts of America. The case involved the sexual assault of a minor Boy Scout by a former employee of a local scouting council. John Walsh obtained the summary judgment, after extensive briefing and oral argument before ...

April 2014 | Firm News

Illinois Appellate Court, First District, reverses decision finding personal jurisdiction obtained by fraudulent means

Robert Marc Chemers secured a victory in the Illinois Appellate Court when the Court reversed the circuit court’s finding of personal jurisdiction against a Tennessee volunteer fire department. The department’s board treasurer had sold a fire tanker truck that he owned to an Illinois leasing company, and then purchased it on behalf of the volunteer ...

February 2014 | Firm News