Shannon Law Group September 2019

312-578-9501 | SEPTEMBER 2019

In our July newsletter’s “Firm Update,” I let you know that we would be trying a case in Cook County arising out of the negligence of a company driver not securing his semitractor-trailer. On July 28, 2016, our client was working as a forklift operator at his employer’s warehouse at O’Hare International Airport. The defendant, the trucking company driver, backed his tractor-trailer up to a loading dock at the warehouse. The driver failed to lock his brakes or chock the wheels of his trailer. When filling out the warehouse paperwork, the driver misrepresented that he had used both trailer securement methods and that a forklift could safely enter his trailer. When our client attempted to drive his forklift into the docked trailer to unload the palletized freight, the unsecured trailer rolled away from the dock. Our client and his forklift crashed down to the pavement below, causing permanent spine injuries. permanent. His treating physicians also believed that the forklift crash aggravated preexisting arthritis in his lumbar spine. As a result of his injuries, our client underwent dozens of physical therapy sessions, several steroid injections, and has lived with daily pain and discomfort. Prior to this crash, our client was pursuing a new career as a union glazier, which presented far greater earnings potential. Due to his injuries and subsequent work restrictions, our client will never be able to work as a glazier. This crash cost him a career. Nearly three years after the crash, the case was assigned out to trial. The parties selected a jury of twelve Cook County citizens who stood ready to rule on the merits of the case. After jury selection, the parties reached a $4,825,000 settlement. We are pleased that our client will be able to plan for a new career and will have some sense of security in the future. TRIAL UPDATE Though our client did not have any surgeries, his treating orthopedic surgeons testified that his spinal injuries were

I could not be prouder of how our attorneys, Pat Cummings and Jon Svitak, prepared this case for trial. Our attorneys and staff worked diligently to ensure our client had his day in court. When we filed this case, we made a promise to our client that we would try the case and have a jury of his peers decide who was on the right side of this case. We stand ready to do the same in our other filed cases.

– Joe Shannon

312-578-9501 1

Published by The Newsletter Pro •


The summer weather is winding down, and people will be making the most of our warm weather by spending time outdoors. If your backyard and your home’s landscape are not the space you desire, I would be happy to help this fall. As a landscape designer, I enjoy customizing garden landscapes for the unique needs of my clientele. From making modifications to boost a home’s curb appeal to doing a complete redesign of full-yard plans, anything is possible. I also offer garden coaching: helping people to identify what is in their existing gardens, how to care for them, and what new plants to include. Please give me at call at 630-712-4842 or send me an email at to make an appointment. – Kate Refine Kate worked at SLG for the last two years. Although we are sad to see her go, we are happy she has launched what will be the preeminent landscape design firm in Chicagoland.


When a fatigued semitrailer driver falls asleep and barrels through stopped traffic on a highway, it’s obvious to everyone that the case would be considered a “trucking case.” However, there are many situations where it might not be so obvious. Many cases require an attorney with specialized knowledge of the trucking and commercial transportation industry to determine whether the case needs to be treated as a trucking case or a standard motor vehicle crash case. Why does it matter whether a case is a “trucking case” or a standard car crash case? In short, the difference lies in the rules that truck drivers have to follow. Every company that operates commercial motor vehicles for interstate business (and in-state business in most states) is governed by a long list of specialized rules and regulations, known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, aimed at ensuring these companies are operating safely.

A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is a term of art within the transportation industry and legal community. The definition of what constitutes a CMV can be so confounding that some companies may not even realize they’re operating CMVs. The two vehicle photos below come from two different cases that we have had in the last few years. What do the pictures have in common? Though not obvious, both of them meet the definition of a CMV under the federal regulations. (The pickup truck shown was hauling a trailer carrying another pickup truck.) Moreover, the owners of each vehicle had ZERO clue that the vehicles were CMVs and subject to far more stringent rules than your average vehicle. Because they didn’t bother learning that their vehicles were CMVs, they never bothered to adequately vet or train the drivers of these vehicles. Both drivers broke the safety rules governing their driving operations and catastrophically injured our clients.

These real-life examples highlight why it’s essential to consult with an attorney familiar with trucking rules and regulations, including an understanding of what makes a vehicle a CMV. If you’re not sure whether your crash case may actually be a trucking case, do not hesitate to call us and ask.

– Pat Cummings



On July 15, 2019, my uncle, Richard Heidecke, Jr., passed away at 70 years old after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. My Aunt Debbie, his wife of 48 years, took exceptional care of him to the end. She is an inspiration. He is also survived by my cousins, Richie and Mark, and their spouses, Amanda and Schweta, as well as his grandchildren: Mia, Brianna, and Rayden. My Uncle Rich was a brilliant man. He graduated at the top of his class at The John Marshall Law School and served on its law review 40 years before I did. He went on to become a very successful attorney due to his enormous capacity to help those in need. Whether you had bills piling up after an injury or you needed help drafting a will, Rich was smart enough to know what to do, no matter your situation, and he was compassionate enough to always have his doors open.

My uncle was never my lawyer. He was always just my uncle. My interactions with him did not revolve around the law or business, only family. He was a reserved man, at least in my observations, and I wish now that I had spent more time talking with him. But even just in my observations, I saw a man with important life lessons to give: how to take care of your family and how to continue living, loving, and working through the most difficult of times. He was a devout Catholic. He never missed a mass and served as a Eucharistic minister as long as he could. As was said repeatedly at his funeral service, Rich truly put God, his family, and his friends before himself. It is a comfort to know that he will be reunited with his daughter, Julie. Julie passed away in a car crash when she was 19 years old. I was only 9 years old at the time. For all of us, Julie has remained a constant reminder of the beauty that surrounds us. My aunt and uncle were quick to point out to me signs of her company in my and our family’s lives. I never took those moments for granted and still look for those signs.

I know that Rich missed Julie very much. I am grateful that he can now join her in peace.

– Jon Svitak


Directions 1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Transfer to individual serving ramekins. 3. In a different mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Mix in butter until it forms lumps roughly the size of a pea, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over filling. 4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve. CLASSIC APPLE CRISP Ingredients Filling: • 5 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour • 2 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tbsp lemon juice Topping: • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/3 cup brown sugar • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp salt • 6 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped Inspired by Food Network

Sept. 3 Sept. 7 Sept. 10 Sept. 11 Sept. 13

Tom and JoAnne’s 70th Wedding Anniversary SJA Cross-Country Meet at St. Irene St. Francis Tennis vs. Montini at St. Francis Irish Angels Golf Outing 10th Annual Eschtivus Classic at Tamarack Golf Course

Sept. 27 Sept. 27–29

Feast of St. Vincent de Paul Marquette Family Weekend

Every Saturday morning throughout the year, St. Joan of Arc Men’s Group meets from 7–8 a.m. in the St. Joan of Arc Parish Center. Please join us.




Phone: 312-578-9501

3550 Hobson Rd., Ste. 203 Woodridge, IL 60517


page 1 page 2

Trial Update

Kate Refine Designs: Creative Landscapes Is Your Case Actually a “Trucking Case”?

page 2

page 3 page 3 page 4

A Tribute to My Uncle Rich

Classic Apple Crisp

Photo of the Month



Joe with his daughter Clare at the BTN Big 10K on Sunday, Aug. 11


Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online