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Published Decisions

In Re the Estate of Ann L. Cuneo, 334 Ill.App.3d 594, 780 N.E.2d 325 (2nd Dist. 2002).

Nicholson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., No. 2-08-0639 (filed 3/23/10; corrected 4/14/10) (2nd Dist. 2010).

Tri City Family Services Selects Jason Schneider as Board President

The firm is pleased to announce that attorney Jason Schneider has been named President of the Tri City Family Services Board of Directors. Jason, who began serving on TCFS’s board in 2012, is an advocate for mental health and counseling services throughout the Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles community. Jason is committed to insuring that mental health treatment is available for all in our community. Read the full news account here.

Firm Welcomes Sara Ross as New Associate Attorney

Sara L. Ross, a 2013 graduate of The John Marshall Law School, is now an associate with John J. Malm & Associates. During law school, Sara received numerous academic and trial competition awards, including the Best Advocate Award at the National Trial Competition. Sara also served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Judge Irwin Solganick in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division. Previous to joining the firm, Sara clerked for another prominent personal injury law firm in Chicago. “Sara has demonstrated her talent and passion as a litigator over these past few months, earning a position as an associate. She joins our litigation team with valuable experience that will serve our clients very well.”

“SuperLawyers” Recognizes Attorneys John Malm and Jason Schneider

The firm is proud to receive recognition from SuperLawyers for 2014. John Malm recently reached a milestone of 20 years as a practicing attorney, and Jason Schneider, who is a third-year associate with the firm, has received the prestigious “Rising Stars” award for the second year in a row. “We are honored to receive the support and recognition of our colleagues,” John said.

Attorneys John Malm and Jason Schneider Give Lecture to College Paralegal Students

Attorneys Malm and Schneider recently gave a lecture to paralegal students at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. The topic, “Requesting and Reviewing Medical Records for Injury Litigation,” focuses on the important steps that should be taken in ordering, reviewing, and analyzing medical records in personal injury cases. The lecture will be presented again to the students of Paralegal Studies during Summer of 2014.

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Victims of Aurora, Illinois Motel Fire

Fire and injury lawyer, John J. Malm, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two victims of a fire that erupted at a motel in Aurora, Illinois on January 10, 2014. The lawsuit filed by Attorney Malm on behalf of victims alleges that the owners and operators of the motel failed to maintain a heater and failed to equip the motel with working smoke detectors. As a result, occupants of the motel suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized. “One of my clients was air lifted to Loyola in critical condition,” Mr. Malm explains. “Although he lived, he will suffer from his injuries for the rest of his life.” The lawsuit is pending in Kane County.

Firm’s New “Mid-Century” Designed Offices Utilize State-of-the-Art Technology

The firm recently completed construction and moved into its brand new offices in Naperville, Illinois. The new offices were designed by John Malm himself. “I have a fondness for architectural designs and furnishings from the 1950’s and 1960’s era. They are timeless art pieces unto themselves. We wanted our offices to be both functional and beautiful, and we have designed each office and conference room anticipating the expanded use of video technology in depositions and client meetings. The feedback from clients and counsel has been very positive.” As Malm explains, “It is important that our clients be comfortable here, and I hope that they will be.”

Jason Schneider's Recent ITLA Article Offers Strategies for Trial Lawyers in Dealing with Objections to Requests to Admit Facts

Jason Schneider's legal article, Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: A Practical Guide to Drafting Requests to Admit and Addressing Improper Objections and Denials in Personal Injury Case, was recently published by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. The article discusses useful litigation strategies that Jason has employed in discovery on difficult cases here at our firm. A request to admit facts is ordinarily used to require an opponent to admit facts into evidence and avoid costly depositions on the subjects admitted. Requests are used by trial lawyers as a litigation tool to save time and money during the discovery phase of a case. Too often, however, opponents simply object or refuse to answer requests. Jason's scholarly article shows trial lawyers how they can easily win motions and have unwarranted objections overruled, thus moving a client's case closer to trial or applying leverage for settlement. According to John Malm, "I have seen Jason turn some of our most difficult injury cases around with the pressure he is able to apply to our opponents by using these methods. His recipe gets medical records and bills admitted into evidence before trial. This wins motions and settles our client's cases."

Law Review Article Explores the Pitfalls of Cloud-Based Computing for Lawyers and Clients

The John Marshall Law Review recently published the scholarly legal article written by our firm’s law clerk, Tim Petersen, Cloudy with a Chance of Waiver: How Cloud Computing Complicates the Attorney-Client Privilege. Tim’s article carefully considers the legal issues facing law firms as they move toward cloud-based data storage of their client files. The article examines the current state of the law in the digital age and the possibility that the attorney-client privilege can be inadvertently waived by a law firm when it elects to store client communications in the cloud. Tim Petersen is a third year student at John Marshall and has been with our firm for the past two years. Tim is set to graduate in Spring, 2013.

Seven-year-old Plainfield Boy Suffers Pit Bull Attack

The Will County dog bite lawyers at John Malm & Associates have been retained by the family of a 7-year-old Plainfield boy, who suffered numerous laceration injuries a result of pit bull attack. The boy was riding his bicycle when he was suddenly attacked. Inexplicably, the animal was let on a chain that allowed it to reach the sidewalk, where the boy was attacked. The vicious breed, also known as an “American Staffordshire Terrier,” is responsible for an increasing number of attacks in the Naperville and Plainfield area. The Will County Animal Control Department conducted a hearing and found the animal to be dangerous. Attorney John Malm has submitted a claim against the dog owner’s insurance carrier, which is currently pending. The family hopes to reach an out-of-court settlement with the dog’s owner very soon.

Pit Bull Attack Severely Injures 13-year-old Naperville Boy

Naperville personal injury lawyer John Malm has been hired by the family of a 13-year-old Naperville boy, who suffered serious injuries as a result of an attack by a friend’s Staffordshire Terrier, or “pit bull.” The boy suffered multiple, severe laceration and puncture wounds after the dog latched on to the boy’s arm and bit him over 30 times. The Will County Animal Control Department has undertaken an investigation into the incident. According to Attorney John Malm, “pit bulls are a dangerous breed. They account for the majority of all dog attacks resulting in bodily harm, yet pit bulls make up less than 5% of the dog population in the United States. Over 70% of dog bites are suffered to the extremities, such as arms, legs, and hands, and nearly 70% of dog attacks are suffered by children.”

Tractor Trailer Jack-Knifes, Spills Diesel Fuel Resulting in Car Accident in Cook County

Naperville personal injury lawyer, John J. Malm, has been retained by a Naperville woman who suffered serious lumbar spine injuries due to a trucking accident near Chicago, Illinois. The woman, who was traveling northbound on I-55 in Cook County, lost control of her vehicle and struck an embankment after her car traveled over diesel fuel, which had been spilled upon the expressway by a jack-knifed semi tractor trailer. The operator of the 18-wheeler told police that road conditions, including icy pavement, contributed to a sudden loss of traction when the driver of the semi attempted a sudden braking maneuver. Loss of traction is the leading cause of jack-knifing of a tractor trailers. When road conditions, including icy pavement, exist, a driver of a semi truck must exercise extra caution and operate the truck at a slower speed, suitable for road conditions. A claim for damages against the insurance carrier for the truck is pending.

Parking Lot Defect Concealed by Inadequate Lighting Results in Trip and Fall Injury in Will County

Naperville premises liability attorney, John J. Malm, has been retained to represent a Will County woman, who suffered shoulder injuries after falling in a Will County parking lot. The woman, who caught her foot and tripped on a defect in the asphalt parking lot, was unable to observe the condition of the parking lot, due to inadequate lighting. When a peril, such as a trip hazard, is concealed by an owner or occupier of land, by failing to adequately illuminate the hazard at night, Illinois Courts have found that improper lighting may be a basis of a cause of action sounding in negligence. “Concealed perils” or defects that are hidden by inadequate or poor lighting can dramatically increase the likelihood that someone walking may fail to see or appreciate the risk of harm – even if the defect would pose no hazard by day. Settlement negotiations with the property owner's insurance carrier are pending.

Pit bull attack in DuPage County results in permanent injuries to young boy

DuPage County dog bite lawyer, John Malm , has been retained by the father of 17 year old DuPage County boy to present a claim for damages on behalf of his son, who suffered severe injuries when he was attacked by a friend's pit bull at their home, nearly 8 years ago. The boy, who was 10 years old at the time, had been playing in the friend's backyard when it began to rain and the boys headed toward the house. The family's Staffordshire terrier (pit bull) chased and tacked the boy, viciously biting the small boy on the head and torso. The dog, which continued to bite the little boy, would not let go until its owner physically intervened and stopped the attack. DuPage Animal Control investigated the attack, and the dog was destroyed. Naperville personal injury attorney, John Malm, has presented a claim to the dog owner's liability insurance carrier on behalf of the victim, now 17. The claim seeks damages for the injuries suffered in the 2004 attack. Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, the owner of a dog that, unprovoked, attacks or bites someone may be civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the attack, even if the animal was not known to have ever attacked anyone previously. In every instance of a dog bite, it is important to contact Animal Control so that a report can be made and potentially dangerous animals can be identified to prevent attacks on others.

Lawsuit filed Cook County after parking lot slip and fall results in injury

Naperville slip and fall attorney, John Malm , has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a North Aurora man who suffered injuries after falling in an icy parking lot in suburban Cook County. The premises liability lawsuit seeks damages for the injuries suffered by the man when he was directed to move his car to the far end of an icy parking lot before snow clearing efforts were safely completed. The parking lot, which had been plowed, but not salted, became icy due to snow removal efforts, which created an unnatural accumulation of ice. In Illinois, injured persons may seek legal redress for injuries suffered due to slip and fall incidents when the hazardous condition is man-made. There is generally no liability for a hazardous condition created by falling snow or freezing rain (known as a "natural accumulation"); however, once snow removal efforts result in a hazardous condition (also known as an "unnatural accumulation" of ice or snow), the owner or occupier of the property may be liable. Sometimes, a cause of action may lie when an icy or dangerous condition is created in an area where persons are expected to enter the property (otherwise known as a duty to provide a safe means of ingress or egress). Naperville personal injury lawyer, John Malm, encourages anyone who believes that they have fallen due to snow and ice to consult with an attorney right away.

Superheated glass enclosed fireplace in lobby of Illinois hotel results in burn injuries to toddler

Illinois premises liability attorney John Malm has filed a lawsuit seeking civil damages on behalf of the family of a toddler who suffered painful burn injuries to both hands when the child came in contact with a fireplace recently. The glass encased gas-powered fireplace was situated in the lobby of a hotel. However, there was no protective screen in front of the fireplace to prevent small children, who were expected to play there, from contacting the superheated glass, which is believed to have been in excess of 500°F. The child suffered palmar-type burn injuries to both hands, requiring months of medical treatment. Burn injuries can often be prevented through the use of simple safety measures. In the case of gas fireplaces, it is best to place an inexpensive protective screen in front of any fireplace when children are present. The lawsuit filed by Naperville injury lawyer, John J. Malm, seeks damages for the permanent burn injuries suffered by the toddler as a result of the hotel's carelessness in failing to guard against the extremely dangerous condition in its lobby.

Settlement reached in insurance coverage dispute after motorcycle accident in Cook County

Naperville car accident lawyer and insurance coverage litigator, John Malm, has reached a settlement on behalf of a client who suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident on Route 38 in suburban Cook County. The man, who was struck in an intersection, was thrown approximately 40 feet from his motorcycle upon impact. He underwent multiple surgeries to treat numerous orthopedic injuries, including laceration injuries suffered to his arm and knee, as a result of the accident. An investigation revealed that the driver of the striking vehicle no longer resided at the primary residence identified in his automobile liability insurance policy. The insurance carrier, who provided liability coverage to the striking motorist, sought to deny coverage to its policy holder due to his failure to notify the carrier of the change. The carrier argued that because the vehicle was being kept at a location different than the residence location identified in the policy, the driver was no longer insured with the same $250,000 coverage limits; instead, the policy provided only $25,000 in coverage as though the driver was merely a permitted user, rather than a named insured. Presented with this issue, Illinois insurance coverage attorney John Malm identified an inconsistency between the policy language and the language used by the carrier in the declarations of coverage issued earlier the same year. An inconsistency or "ambiguity" in a contract of insurance is generally construed against the insurance carrier who drafted the contract, and not against the policy holder. When an ambiguity arises, a liability insurance carrier who refuses to settle an otherwise valid claim may be held accountable to both the Plaintiff and the Defendant for exemplary damages and attorney's fees for "bad faith".

Lawsuit filed after vicious box cutter attack at Kankakee night club

A Kankakee man, who survived a vicious attack inside a Kankakee night club last year, has retained Naperville personal injury lawyer, John J. Malm, to file a lawsuit against the owner of the club after an intoxicated patron came after him wielding a box cutter. The client, who suffered severe laceration injuries to his neck, seeks compensation for the injuries he suffered when employees at the club restrained the dangerous attacker, but let him go before the man could safely leave the premises. The lawsuit filed in the Kankakee Circuit Court alleges that security personnel at the club undertook to restrain the dangerous and intoxicated attacker after the two men initially scuffled inside the club; however, security personnel released the attacker before the victim could safely leave. Under the Illinois Dram Shop Act, a person who is injured by an intoxicated person has a right of action against the seller of the intoxicating liquor. In addition, Illinois law provides that someone injured by a quarrelsome, disorderly, or vicious person inside a bar or tavern may have a claim against the owner of the establishment when employees fail to protect against the misconduct of such persons. A tavern keeper, or innkeeper, may owe a high duty of care to patrons inside the establishment under certain circumstances.

Another Glass Vase Injury Reported

Illinois Product liability lawyer, John Malm, has been retained to represent a Wisconsin man who was injured when a 20” vase purchased from Michael’s Stores, Inc. suddenly shattered in his hand. The Chinese-made glass vase is believed to be one manufactured by Gerson, which was subject to a CPSC recall in 2010. The man suffered serious laceration injuries to his hand, including tendon and nerve damage, necessitating surgery. The claim being pursued by attorney Malm seeks damages for laceration injuries, including nerve and tendon damage, which are permanent. The incident, like others that have been widely reported in the past few years, occurred suddenly and without notice, by merely holding the product.

CPSC Recalls Glass Vases from Michael’s Stores

November 15, 2011. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a product safety recall of Ashland Glass Vases. See, http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12040.html. According to the CPSC, the recall was initiated due to numerous reports that the glass vases can break or fracture simply by holding the vases. The vases pose a serious laceration hazard to consumers. The CPSC describes the vases as “rectangular and made of clear glass.” The vases are 12 inches tall, 8 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep. The vases were sold exclusively at Michaels Stores for about $20. Injured consumers are advised to keep receipts and to carefully package and retain broken vases as evidence.

Illinois product liability lawyer, John J. Malm, believes that the safety recall is necessary to protect consumers. “The thin glass sometimes used in this type of vase presents an unseen danger. My clients have suffered permanent tendon injuries and nerve damage from other recalled vases. In one instance, our engineering consultant found that a vase had been made with glass thinner than an ordinary light bulb. This is not apparent to purchasers who may be injured by holding the vases.”

CPSC Recalls Glass Vases from Michael’s Stores

The CPSC previously recalled similar 20” vases made by The Gerson Company in 2010. Those vases were also sold at Michael’s Stores in the U.S. The CPSC estimates that 203,000 of the 20”, rectangular -shaped vases that were sold in the U.S. are now subject to recall. The CPSC explained that the recalled 20” vases are made of clear glass and measure about 4″ wide x 20″ tall. The vases were sold for about $15.

Naperville injury lawyer, John J. Malm, has represented victims of glass products and laceration injuries, including injuries from vases purchased at Michael’s Stores.

Firm Welcomes New Associate

The Law Offices of John J. Malm welcomes Jason P. Schneider as a new associate. Jason is a 2011 graduate of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Jason is an exceptional young attorney. He graduated magna cum laude and served on both the John Marshall Law Review and the Dominick L. Gabrielle Moot Court Team while attending law school.

In addition to academic honors, Jason was selected and served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Judge Jeffrey Lawrence in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division. He also clerked for over two years at two preeminent Chicago personal injury law firms.

“I am pleased to have Jason at our firm,” John Malm stated. “He begins his work as a licensed attorney ahead of many of his colleagues, having already obtained valuable litigation experience as a judicial extern and as a law clerk with some well-known firms. Jason will be an asset to our firm and to our firm’s clients.”

Jury Awards $1.4 Million to Mother Who Witnessed Baby's Decapitation During Delivery

A Louisville, Kentucky jury has found against two doctors and awarded nearly $1.4 Million to our client, a young mother, who tragically witnessed the sudden decapitation of her baby during premature delivery. The jury found for the woman and against the doctors, awarding her $1,362,000 in damages for the severe emotional injuries she suffered, including post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") as a result of medical malpractice. Illinois birth injury lawyer, John J. Malm, was one of the attorneys retained to represent the client. Co-counsel, Mark Mathys, conducted the lengthy trial in Kentucky.

The lawsuit was filed claiming damages for injuries suffered by the Aurora woman due to mistakes that were made by her doctors in Kentucky, which resulted in birth injuries and wrongful death. The woman was hospitalized for pre-term labor. Her care was mishandled by doctors who improperly managed the placement and removal of a cerclage, a string-like device that is looped around the cervix to prevent a premature birth. It was argued that, when spontaneous delivery occurred prematurely, the device acted like a noose around the baby's neck, resulting in decapitation. Read more about this case.

Left-turning Motorist Causes Intersection Accident with MotorcycleMotorcycle accident attorney, John Malm, was recently retained by man who was seriously injured by a careless, left-turning motorist when he was struck and seriously injured while traveling through an intersection in Cook County. According to police investigators, the driver of the car never saw the motorcycle. Illinois law requires that a driver turning left at an intersection must yield right-of-way to approaching traffic. 625 ILCS 5/11-902. At intersections, motorcycles are at a greater danger than cars. Despite the exercise of care, the safety of law-abiding motorcyclists is often placed at risk by the inattention of automobile drivers. Approximately three-fourths of injury-causing motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle, usually a passenger automobile, according to the report, Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, published by the University of Southern California's Traffic safety Center, also know as the "Hurt Study."Bicyclist Fatally Injured in Motor Vehicle Accident

Naperville car accident attorney, John J. Malm, was recently retained by the family of a young man who was tragically struck and killed on his bicycle. According to John Malm, "the evidence, including the report of police investigators, will show that the young man was riding his bicycle within a pedestrian crosswalk at the time of the incident." Under Illinois law, bicyclists are entitled to the same rights as pedestrians. 625 ILCS 5/11-1512. Approximately 80% of all pedestrian accidents occur in a crosswalk, according to a recent newspaper article detailing a Chicago traffic study of car accidents and pedestrian accidents reported since 2005.

Augustana Grads Separated by Twenty-Two Years Work Together to Serve Justice

Attorney John Malm and fellow Augustana College alum, Tim Peterson, were pleased to be the subject of a feature article in the August Magazine recently. The two "Vikings" worked together to prepare for a jury trial in a highly-publicized case. According to Malm, "Tim has been an asset to our litigation team this year." You may read the full text of the article here.

Missing Contract Proved By “Course Of Dealing”?

How can the terms of a contract be proved when the written agreement itself can no longer be found? Sometimes the way the parties act can reveals that a contract exists, and even the specific terms under which the parties agreed to be bound. A form of evidence (known as “parol evidence”) that a court may consider when an agreement has not been reduced to a clear and unambiguous writing is the “course of dealing” that exists between the parties. How the parties acted toward each other before the dispute arose is probative of whether and how the parties intended to be bound.

Attorney John J. Malm recently settled a lawsuit in which he argued that a “course of dealing” established the intent of the parties to be bound to a decades-old agreement, after contract documents originally signed by the parties could no longer be found, and the people who had signed the documents nearly two generations earlier were no longer living. Mr. Malm’s client sought declaratory relief and alleged a breach of contract based on a decades-old “course of dealing.” The defendant asserted it had no legal liability to the fund, pointing to the fact that no signed documents proving its association in the risk pool could any longer be produced by record-keepers.

Mr. Malm produced copies of invoices, cover letters, receipts and cancelled checks demonstrating that the parties’ course of dealing -- in repeatedly accepting both the liabilities and benefits of membership in the fund over a period of years -- was consistent with the existence of an agreement to be mutually bound by the contract. A confidential settlement was reached before hearing on a motion for summary judgment.

The Illinois Appellate Court’s Recent Decision in Nicholson v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co.   is a win for automobile insurance policyholders in Illinois.

The Illinois Supreme Court has denied an appeal by State Farm Insurance, thus, allowing to stand the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court in Nicholson v. State Farm Insurance, No. 2-08-0639 (2nd Dist. 2010)  construing the obligations of an insurance carrier to provide underinsured motorist coverage pursuant to section 143a--2 of the Illinois Insurance Code  (Code) (215 ILCS 5/143a--2 (West 1998). Under the decision, “whenever liability coverage is increased above that provided under the previous policy, insurers must again offer UM coverage equal to liability coverage and obtain a signed election declining such equal coverage.” The decision represents an expansion of consumer rights for purchasers of automobile insurance in Illinois.

Attorney John J. Malm proudly served as trial and appellate counsel to the Nicholson family, who tragically lost both of their parents when their vehicle accidentally crossed the center line and became involved in a head-on collision. Evidence obtained in the lengthy coverage battle with State Farm included an admission by State Farm’s agent that its underwriting file had been discarded, and that the written election of coverage form was not obtained by the State Farm at the time the coverage changes were issued in the subsequent policy.

Careless instruction during “take-down” maneuver in martial arts class results in injury.

Attorney John J. Malm was recently retained by the family of a young boy who was injured as a result of a careless incident at a martial arts training facility in DuPage County. The child, who was being taught and demonstrated a “take-down” maneuver in class, was abruptly dropped to the floor by an adult instructor. The claim seeks damages for serious injuries suffered by the child. Many sports injuries -- even in martial arts -- can be prevented with proper instruction and by following safety guidelines.

Distracted Driving causes injuries to pedestrian.

Attorney John J. Malm was recently retained by an elderly man who became another victim of distracted driving when he was struck and seriously injured while crossing a street in a Cook County suburb. A woman on her cell phone struck the pedestrian in a cross-walk. Driver inattention is a major contributor to highway crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  estimates that at least 21% of police-reported crashes involve some form of driver inattention. In 2008, Nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving distracted driving.