Labor and Employment
Rideshare and Autonomous Vehicles
EDUCATIONMr. Lipe received a B.A. in 1980 from Tulane University in New Orleans, La. He received his J.D. in 1983 from the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was a member of the national moot court team and received the Rickert Award for Excellence in Moot Court.
ADMISSIONSMr. Lipe was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1983 and has also been admitted in the following federal trial and appellate courts:
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (including the trial bar)
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
In addition, Mr. Lipe has been admitted pro hac vice in state and federal courts in several additional states.
Schmid v. Krupp et al.
Lipe Lyons obtained summary judgment for a law firm and its attorney in a legal malpractice claim involving numerous liaiblity and damages issues. The plaintiff filed suit against his former attorneys alleging they failed to exercise reasonable care in relation to a divorce trial. The plaintiff claimed the defendants were negligent in not offering medical testimony regarding the former spouse’s medical condition that prevented her from working, and economic testimony regarding the coal industry and the plaintiff's alleged inability to secure employment as an engineer who specialized in the construction of coal-fired powerplants. The plaintiff also made several complicated arguments regarding his damages and the way that defendants' alleged negligence impacted how much he had to pay his former spouse. After three years of discovery, the trial court found no question of fact that the plaintiff could not meet his burden of proof on any of his claims.
Estate of Petrella, et al. v. DND International, Inc., et al.
Renato Velasquez was driving a flatbed truck when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into several vehicles that were stopped by the side of the road. The accident killed a tollway worker, set a police car on fire with the officer inside, causing burns to nearly half of his body, and injured another truck driver. All three filed lawsuits (which were consolidated) against Velasquez, his employer, and CRST, the broker that arranged for the shipment that Velasquez was making at the time of the accident. Lipe Lyons attorneys represented CRST and argued that it was not liable because Velasquez was not acting as its agent at the time of the accident. The plaintiffs demanded $55 million to settle. Shortly before trial all three cases settled for less than half of the plaintiffs’ initial demands.
Doherty v. AMEC et al.
Plaintiff, a carpenter, was setting 4,800 pound concrete retention walls when one of the walls collapsed onto him, crushing his cervical and lumbar spine, both hips, a rib, a lung, and causing other injuries. Jeff Lipe and Jordan Tank represented RM Chin, a construction management firm that provided resident engineers to observe the work of Doherty’s employer and make sure the work complied with the plans and specifications. During discovery Lipe Lyons attorneys took the lead on depositions to show that the employer was solely responsible for Doherty’s safety. Even though Plaintiffs’ attorneys targeted RM Chin with their own questions, when fact discovery was over Plaintiffs settled directly with Doherty’s employer and voluntarily dismissed their claims against RM Chin.
Estate of Swenson, et al. v. Adam Troy and Hussmann Corporation
Troy was driving one of Hussmann’s commercial vehicles when he rear-ended a line of stopped vehicles at 57 mph during morning rush hour. Troy’s vehicle struck Aaron Swenson’s vehicle, pushing it forward into Joseph LeSanche’s vehicle. Good Samaritans tried to resuscitate Swenson but were unable; he died at the scene. One of the Good Samaritans called Aaron Swenson’s wife, who had just found out that she was pregnant and overheard the resuscitation efforts. She miscarried four weeks later and filed suit for the wrongful death of her husband and unborn child. LeSanche filed suit for his own personal injuries and the cases were consolidated. Troy was charged with multiple counts of driving under the influence and he entered a plea of not guilty. At trial, the plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages. Hussmann admitted that it was vicariously liable for Troy’s negligence, and both of the defendants admitted that Troy’s negligence caused Aaron Swenson’s death and LeSanche’s personal injuries. However, Troy and Hussmann denied that Troy’s conduct was willful and wanton and that the plaintiffs were entitled to punitive damages. Before trial the plaintiffs demanded $26 million to settle. During the two week trial Troy invoked the Fifth Amendment and the plaintiffs were not allowed to call him to testify as an adverse witness, but the jury was instructed that it could draw an adverse inference from his silence. After the trial the jury awarded Swenson $22.7 million and LeSanche $12.4 million but the trial court remitted the verdicts to $12.7 million and $7.4 million after granting the defendants’ post-trial motion, which argued that numerous evidentiary and instructional errors caused the jury to award excessive verdicts based on sympathy. The defendants then settled with Swenson for less than the remitted amount of the verdict, and appealed the LeSanche verdict.
Palka v. Pontarelli Group Charters, et al.
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Achieved settlement for defendant bus manufacturer in highly-publicized wrongful death lawsuit for pedestrian struck by its bus that was loaned to defendant transportation company. Transportation company's bus driver struck and killed pedestrian in crosswalk and while driver had cocaine in his system. Bus manufacturer's liability arose solely from the display of its DOT placard, or logo, on the side of the accident bus. Plaintiffs demanded $16 million in damages.
Mesman v. Crane Pro Services
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana. Achieved a complete defense verdict for international crane manufacturer in product liability lawsuit alleging defective design of an overhead crane. Plaintiff’s left leg was traumatically amputated and his right leg was crushed when a 20,000 pound load of steel fell from the crane. The case originally was tried in 2003 by another defense firm, and plaintiff obtained a verdict of $16 million. The case was reversed on appeal and sent back to the trial court for retrial. We were then retained to represent the defendant in the second trial. In that trial, jury rendered a complete defense verdict, which was affirmed on appeal.
Barton v. Metra and Chicago and North Western Railroad Co.,
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Represented railroad and local transportation agency defendants in highly publicized trial involving noted violinist Rachel Barton. While disembarking from a Metra commuter trial, Barton was dragged 360 feet by the train and run over by its wheels. She sustained traumatic amputation of one leg and degloving injury and partial amputation of the other leg.
Michael Rizner v. The Weitz Company, LLC v. Prate Installations
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Plaintiff was a sheet metal worker employed by Prate Installations at the Clare Oaks construction site in Bartlett, Illinois, a 370,000 square foot senior living facility. Plaintiff was in the process of installing expansion joints in the building’s gutters, which had been missed when the gutters were originally put in, and was working off a 60 foot extension ladder. Plaintiff was working at the top of the ladder without using fall protection, in violation of Weitz’s 6 foot fall protection rule, allegedly because no anchor points existed and plaintiff could not gain access to the roof in order to set an anchor point. The top section of the ladder collapsed, apparently because the hooks were frozen, and plaintiff fell 40 feet to the ground, sustaining a fractured left humerus, open book fractures of the pelvis, transverse process fractures of several vertebra, torn rotator cuff, severed ureter and permanent erectile dysfunction. Plaintiff’s medical expenses were stipulated to be $336,176.91, and plaintiff made a claim for $1,785,000 in past and future lost income as disabled from returning to sheet metal work. Plaintiff asked the jury for $9,620,428.91 for Michael Rizner, and $2.5 million for Juliana Rizner on her loss of consortium claim. The last offer prior to verdict was $1.25 million plus a waiver of the $540,000 worker’s compensation lien. The jury returned a net verdict of $973,676.87 ($1,738,708.78 less 44% plaintiff fault), and allocated 16% fault against The Weitz Company, and 40% against third party defendant Prate Installations. The jury awarded no damages to Juliana Rizner on her loss of consortium claim. Defense recommended $1,000,000 for Michael Rizner, and $100,000 for Juliana Rizner.
Doe v. Superior Ambulance
Circuit Court of Wayne County, MI. Represented ambulance company and driver in case in which ambulance attendant raped 14-year-old female psychiatric patient during 50-minute transport. Obtained pre-trial judgment for defendants on plaintiff's theories of negligent hiring and retention of rapist, and vicarious liability for rapist's conduct. Case was tried to verdict. Jury found for driver, and verdict assessed against company was less than plaintiff's pre-trial settlement demand.
Estate of Tracy Ecklund v. Jevic Transportation
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Successfully resolved wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit against trucking company brought in state and federal courts. Case arose out of 11-vehicle accident that occurred when the defendant truck driver failed to stop for a red light at an intersection; defendant admitted liability. Jury awarded plaintiff $1 million in damages, an amount equal to the defendant’s pre-trial offer. The pre-trial settlement demand was $10 million.
Mellon Stuart Construction, Inc. v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Favorably settled breach of construction contract claim on behalf of owner in lawsuit brought by contractor and subcontractor for delay damages and escalation costs arising out of the construction of $50 million office, shop and warehouse building. Case settled for less than 10 percent of the original amount claimed by the general contractor. Also represented owner in action against professional design firm to recover delay and escalation costs incurred due to inadequate plan design.
Martinez v. Ergonomics and Safety Services, Inc.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Achieved verdict for defendant in lawsuit brought against company hired by general contractor to oversee safety during demolition of a furnace in Streator, IL. Plaintiff was injured when a 4 x 8 ft. piece of plywood fell 10 feet, allegedly due to unsafe work practices, striking plaintiff in neck and shoulder and causing him to be able to return to work as union laborer. Plaintiffs asked jury for $4 million to $5 million in damages.
Mayden v. Superior-Air-Ground Ambulance
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana. Successfully resolved Title VII and Equal Pay Act lawsuit on behalf of defendant in which plaintiff claimed wage discrimination based on sex. Summary judgment granted to defendant on Title VII claims. Equal Pay Act claim tried before a jury, which returned a verdict for the defendant.
Cairns v. Ty Walk Liquid Sales, Inc. and Elam v. Ty Walk Liquid Sales, Inc.
Circuit Court of Will County, IL. Achieved verdict for defendants, a trucking company and tractor-trailer driver, in consolidated wrongful death lawsuits of driver and passenger in a vehicular accident. Plaintiffs asked jury for $10.5 million in damages. Accident occurred on narrow, two-lane road during rain when defendant, who had been following decedents for several miles as they drove erratically, attempted to pass decedents, who turned left in front of defendant onto farm access road.
Estate of William v. Monkus deceased v. Canteen Corp
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Achieved a not guilty verdict. This was a six vehicle collision across all three lanes of westbound Interstate 290 near St. Charles Road in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Smith v. Titan Steel Wheels, Ltd. (UK), et al.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Obtained reasonable settlement in product liability lawsuit against Titan Steel Wheels involving five-piece rim assemblies manufactured by defendant. Plaintiff alleged defective assembly resulted in vehicular accident that caused serious brain damage requiring institutionalization of plaintiff.
Stephanie Anderson v. Superior Air-Ground Ambulance
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Favorably settled employment case against ambulance company brought by former employee alleging violation of Title VII and Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Plaintiff was terminated for refusing to transport patient to obtain abortion. Case settled for cost of defense while defendant’s summary judgment motion was pending.
Robert Gonzales v. Venture Stores, Inc.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Obtained a not guilty verdict on a case where the plaintiff stumbled over defective threshold plate while entering Venture Store. Plaintiff claimed back injury with several surgeries. Plaintiff asked jury for $680,036.
Albert Freeman v. John Lawlor
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Obtained a not guilty verdict where plaintiff pedestrian was hit by defendant’s vehicle while crossing 87th Street in Oak Lawn. Plaintiff suffered a right tibiofibular fracture and lost vision in his right eye. Plaintiff asked jury for $883,019.
Estate of Yvonne Jones, deceased minor v. Rediehs Express, Inc.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Plaintiff sustained fatal head injuries when she was hit and dragged 134 feet by a Rediehs Express semi-tractor trailer. Verdict was $1.3 million reduced by 50%. Plaintiff asked jury for $6,000,000.
Canfield v. Gilius
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. On behalf of defendant, successfully settled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident. Plaintiff’s six-month-old fetus died, and she claimed inability to have additional children. Plaintiff also sustained several upper and lower extremity fractures with non-union and delayed healing resulting in 14 surgical procedures and major depression, causing her to be unable to return to work and to avoid most life activities. Case settled after several days of trial.
Clark v. North Central Management, Inc.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of hotel owner and manager defendants in Americans with Disabilities Act and ERISA lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged failure to make reasonable employment accommodations, wrongful termination and denial of health insurance coverage on the basis of plaintiff’s infection with the HIV virus.
Warren Raines v. Joseph Nicosia
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Obtained a not guilty verdict on behalf of defendant in construction negligence case brought under Structural Work Act. The plaintiff was disabled when he suffered paralysis of long thoracic nerve with winged scapula and loss of use of right arm when trying to move a scaffold. Plaintiff asked jury for $869,759.
Tiffany Rambow, et al. v. Harold Ives Trucking Co.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Truck tractor pulled into an intersection in front of plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff sustained fracture right femur with open reduction, rod insertion, rod removal one year later and residual scarring. Verdict was $329,771. Plaintiff’s last demand was $600,000.
Ostler v. Oce-USA
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Obtained summary judgment for multinational company in ERISA lawsuit brought by the estate of deceased former employee. Plaintiff sought to recover the value of life insurance benefits provided under company plan. Case was dismissed on appeal without any payment by client.
Benish v. Superior Ambulance
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of paramedics and ambulance company defendants in wrongful death lawsuit brought by decedent's estate. Plaintiff claimed that decedent's death in ambulance while being transported to the hospital was due to paramedics' negligence in failing to provide appropriate treatment.
William Felice v. Venture Stores
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Verdict in favor of plaintiff for $120,000 with a 50% reduction. Plaintiff suffered a displaced fracture of the right femoral neck when he tripped over the wheel of a shopping cart. Last pretrial demand was $120,000.
Hill v. Norcomm Public Safety Communications, Inc.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Obtained summary judgment for defendant in employment lawsuit. Plaintiff claimed discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and civil conspiracy under Section 1985.
J.B. Reese v. Trans-States Express
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Plaintiff was rear-ended as he was stopped in traffic, which produced negligible property damage. Later was treated for neck pain and released, however alleges that the incident caused C6-C7 herniation, anterolisthesis at C7-T1, a torn right rotator cuff and aggravated pre-existing L5-S1 degenerative disc disease. Defendant’s last offer was $100,000. The verdict was $96,050.
Native American Arts Matters
Various jurisdictions. Favorably settled multimillion-dollar claims brought under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act against multiple manufacturers and distributors of arts and crafts. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants misrepresented their products as having been made by Native Americans. Cases settled for minimal or no payment.
Le v. Interlake Compa Le v. Interlake Companies
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of employer in ERISA lawsuit in which plaintiff claimed employer breached fiduciary duty in administration of benefits programs.
Waller v. Bagga
219 Ill.App.3d 542, 579 N.E.2d 1073 (1st Dist. 1991). Affirmed successful defense verdict for minimal damages in automobile accident case in which plaintiff claimed permanent disability and loss of income from back injury.
Ali Yacoub v. Chicago Park District
248 Ill.App.3d 958, 618 N.E.2d 685 (1st Dist. 1993). Affirmed grant of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds of open and obvious danger and landlord non-liability for tenant-created defects in case involving the drowning deaths of two small children.
Brown v. Morrison Holding Company
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL.: Achieved a settlement on behalf of a contractor who ran a café in a major Chicago area hospital. Plaintiff brought a lawsuit after she alleged she slipped and fell on an area of water left by a man mopping in the café. Plaintiff claimed injuries to both of her knees, both of her wrists and her back. She underwent arthroscopic surgery on one knee and her physicians opined she would need future surgery on her knee as well as her wrists. Plaintiff’s claim also included a ten month wage loss claim. Plaintiff’s initial demand was $425,000. After lengthy negotiations, the case settled for $125,000 – the amount of Plaintiff’s medical bills and wage loss claim.
O'Hara v. Target Corporation
U.S.D.C., Northern District of IL: Argued for and obtained summary judgment on behalf of a major retailer. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit after she allegedly slipped and fell on an overly waxed floor. The defendant argued that the plaintiff could not prove a dangerous condition existed at the time of her fall and that even if a dangerous condition existed, the defendant did not have actual or constructive notice of the condition. Further, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s claims were predicated purely on surmise, conjecture and guess and therefore, she could not prove the proximate cause of her injuries.
Shemshedinovska v.Target Corporation
18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County, IL: Argued for and obtained summary judgment on behalf of a major retailer in state court. This was the second summary judgment motion won on behalf of this client in a month. In this case, plaintiff argued that she slipped and fell on an excessively waxed floor. Plaintiff argued that both she and her husband, a post-occurrence witness, were qualified to render opinions regarding the overly waxed nature of the floor based on their twenty year history of owning their own janitorial services company. In opposition, defendants argued that plaintiff could not prove that a dangerous condition existed at the time of her fall and that even if a dangerous condition existed, the defendants did not have actual or constructive notice of the condition. Further, the defendants argued based on Kimbrough and its progeny, that plaintiff's claims were predicated solely on surmise, conjecture and guess. Therefore she could not prove the proximate cause of her injuries.
Vibin v. Paper Transport, et al.
U.S.D.C., Northern District of IL: Won a motion to quash a subpoena issued to a trucking company. The subpoena sought information from the client which would form the basis of a claim against it in a case involving a double fatality. In successfully quashing the subpoena, plaintiff was unable to obtain the information necessary to bring suit against our client. To date, the client has not been named as a defendant in the action.
Ross v. Konecranes, Inc., et al.
Currently defending a case involving complex products liability claims. Plaintiff brought a lawsuit against numerous defendants alleging a defect in an overhead crane, steel lifter and controller which resulted in a load of steel sheets being dropped on plaintiff. The resulting injury included significant crush injuries to the plaintiff’s legs, resulting in an amputation of one of the plaintiff’s legs.
Aiello v. Agrest, et al.
Currently defending a case of medical malpractice. Plaintiff brought a lawsuit alleging defendants failed to exercise reasonable care by failing to diagnose glaucoma in the plaintiff over the course of a two decade physician-patient relationship. Plaintiff’s claims involve allegations that defendants made alterations or additions to plaintiff’s chart.
Smith v. Ford, et al.
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL.: Achieved a settlement of a nominal amount on behalf of a crane company in a lawsuit brought by an ironworker. Plaintiff alleged that a load of steel decking weighing more than 5,000 pounds was swung into his leg, causing injury to his knee. Plaintiff underwent six surgeries to his knee and alleged that he would never work as an ironworker again. Summary judgment was granted on behalf of the crane company on Section 414 and Section 343 grounds. Thereafter, Plaintiff’s claim proceeded solely as a negligence claim. Plaintiff’s initial demand was $1.2 million plus a waiver of the workers’ compensation lien. Plaintiff lowered his demand prior to mediation to $800,000 plus a waiver of the workers’ compensation lien. The case settled at mediation for less than 7% of Plaintiff’s initial demand.
Dominick's Finer Foods, LLC v. Eurest Services, Inc.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois: This was a breach of contract suit brought against a Lipe Lyons client, a janitorial service, by Dominick’s with whom it had a contract for floor cleaning services. Dominick’s alleged that Eurest breached its contractual duty to defend and indemnify Dominick’s for the cost of defending a previous premises liability suit brought against both Dominick’s and Eurest. Dominick’s also alleged that Eurest failed to procure proper insurance for Dominick’s as required by the contract. The court granted Eurest’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that it did not owe a duty to defend the claim against Dominick’s because the underlying complaint alleged independent acts of negligence by Dominick’s which did not arise out of Eurest’ s negligence. The court also entered summary judgment for Eurest on a second count, alleging failure to procure insurance, because Eurest had purchased an insurance policy which covered Dominick’s as an additional insured and the carrier had refused to defend on the basis of the allegations of the complaint in the underlying premises liability case. The circuit court also denied the cross motion for summary judgment filed by Dominick’s. Dominick’s has filed a notice of appeal.
Ketterer v. Diebold, Inc., et al.
Circuit Court of Kane County, Illinois. Achieved "cost of defense" settlement for defendant automated teller manufacturer whose employee was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Plaintiff alleged that the employee caused the accident due to being distracted on his telephone. Plaintiff demanded upwards of $3,000,000 from the defendants for damages including over $400,000 in medical care.
Estate of Shannon v. Shur Packaging Systems, Inc.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Achieved "cost of defense" settlement for defendant manufacturer of a vertical lift and conveyer system for newspapers at the Chicago Tribune. Decedent was killed from severing injuries when he accidentally turned the system on when he climbed inside the system to clean.
Valle v. Gurnee Mills, LLC, et al.
Lake County, Illinois. Achieved a settlement on behalf of a property owner, property management company and janitorial services company for a large retail establishment in Lake County, Illinois. Plaintiff brought suit after she alleged she slipped and fell in water spilled onto the floor by an employee of the janitorial services company. Plaintiff suffered an injury to her knee, requiring surgery. Plaintiff also made a wage loss claim. The total amount of plaintiff’s medical bills and wage loss claim was $58,415. Plaintiff’s pre-suit demand was $325,000. The case settled for $30,000.
Carriedo v. Leopardo Companies
Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.: Obtained settlements of plaintiff’s personal injury claims against general contractor after one week of jury trial. Plaintiff alleged he sustained serious permanent injuries while working with a crane at a construction site in downtown Chicago. Trial was anticipated to last in excess of two weeks and involved more than two dozen witnesses including liability and damage experts.