PracticesClass Actions and Mass Torts
Labor and Employment
EducationMr. Pontikis received a B.A., with honors, in 1983 from DePaul University. He received his J.D. in 1986 from DePaul University School of Law.
AdmissionsMr. Pontikis was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1986 and also has been admitted to 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, Southern District of Illinois
Thomas J. Pontikis
The Religious and Charitable Risk Pooling Trust of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and Affiliates, et al. v. Henry Bros. Construction Management Services, LLCJanuary 29, 2020
Lipe Lyons defended its client against subrogation claims where Plaintiffs sought damages following an explosion at their property. Lipe Lyons secured a dismissal for its client.
Beverly Materials, LLC v Midwest Material Management, LLCApril 22, 2019
In a commercial eviction/business dispute, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Lipe Lyons' client after less than 10 minutes of deliberations. The plaintiff landlord sought eviction of its tenant. The defendant alleged the plaintiff sought eviction to retaliate against it and to shut down its business because it was competing with another business that an owner of the plaintiff started operating next to it just six weeks before the plaintiff filed suit. After the tenant signed the lease at issue, it helped the plaintiff develop the business that started just six weeks before the suit was filed, with the expectation that it would be allowed to operate the business once it opened to the public. However, the plaintiff's owner decided he would rather have the defendant remain where it is currently located and pay rent while he started another company to operate the compost facility and receive the revenue it generated. Internal correspondence and documents created by the plaintiff and its agents showed that they knew the defendant had a right under the lease to relocate its business and operate the compost facility. When the compost facility started operating, the defendant sent correspondence to the plaintiff stating that it had breached the lease. One month later, the plaintiff filed its lawsuit seeking eviction. After a week of trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant.
Durica et al. v Commonwealth Edison Co. et al.
Lipe Lyons successfully defended a large tree cutting contractor in a class action lawsuit alleging that our client, along with Commonwealth Edison, improperly removed trees from properties owned by the plaintiffs and members of the putative class. The class exceeded 5,500 members; it was defined as all individuals in the State of Illinois who own property underneath or adjacent to Commonwealth Edison power transmission lines. After we defeated Plaintiffs' motion for class certification, the case settled and was dismissed with prejudice.
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.
Estate of Ogiego v. Adjustable Forms LLC, et al.
Trial counsel for a crane company in a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of an accident that occurred during the erection of a tower crane in downtown Chicago. On the day of the accident, several ironworkers, and employee of the crane company, and an employee of the general contractor were assembling a 264-foot tower crane for the construction of a luxury condominium tower. For an unknown reason, the ironworker foreman inserted his body into a pinch point without telling anyone else where he was or what he was doing. A 25,000 pound piece of equipment then lowered onto his body, crushing his chest and transecting his aorta. The crane company admitted fault but contested causation. The general contractor denied fault. After a month-long trial, and Plaintiff’s request during closing argument for more than $90 million in damages, the jury returned a verdict $11 million, which was reduced to $10,175,000 due to the decedent’s contributory fault. The amount paid to Plaintiff was considerably less than her last settlement demand, and only slightly more than Defendants’ last offer.
Flores, et al. v. CNA & Cushman and Wakefield of Illinois
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Represent Cushman and Wakefield of Illinois in a premises liability lawsuit. Plaintiffs sued for the death of Mrs. Flores, who was killed while walking her daughter on a street in downtown Chicago. Case settled by CNA for $18 million.
General Electric Welding Rod Litigation
State courts in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. Obtained dismissal for client General Electric of individual and class action lawsuits throughout the United States involving product liability and conspiracy claims based on alleged defective welding products.
In Re: 2401 Willow Real Estate LLC
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Disposed of multiple mechanic’s lien claims against a real estate, fuel station and convenience store owner arising from the untimely bankruptcy filing by a general contractor.
Scheldt v. Terminix
Circuit Court of Champaign County, IL. Achieved verdict of not guilty for Terminix in a product liability/toxic tort case. Two plaintiffs alleged improper application of Dursban caused them to suffer multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome.
Doe v. General Electric, et al., Breast Implant Litigation, Circuit Court of Cook County, Il.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of client General Electric in breast implant cases in federal court.