Train crossings built for much slower trains

The Southern Transcon line of train tracks where the deadly Amtrak derailment happened on June 27, 2022 was completed in 1908. Trains of that early 20th Century era travelled at approximately 40-60 miles per hour, so people who needed to drive across in rural locations had a reasonable amount of time to see the train approaching and cross safely - even if they were driving heavy, slow farm equipment. Fast forward a hundred years, and trains travel at increasingly faster speeds due to technology and the human need for speed, yet rural ...

The following blog contains references to sexual abuse and violence that may be challenging for some readers

Every 73 seconds someone in America experiences sexual abuse or violence. If this life-altering experience has happened to you or a loved one, it can be daunting and overwhelming deciding whether to come forward. You likely have many questions and concerns while you  decide your next steps. Whether it occurred recently or decades ago, there are some considerations that may help give you a better understanding of what to expect if you choose to come forward. 

What is Sexual Abuse or ...

Columbine.  Parkland.  Sandy Hook. Santa Fe.  Uvalde. This is no longer tolerable. All of these schools are now ingloriously known for the massacres that took the lives of so many precious children, causing a lifetime of grieving families and losing generations of talent, love, brainpower and smiles. I know so many people who are sick of hearing action must be taken, but by the time we are blue in the face debating the change which NEVER comes, another carnage happens.  And this disgusting cycle repeats.  Everyone needs to wake up and demand change.  

This rhetoric about our inability to enact ...

Recently “The Home Edit” star Clea Shearer bravely announced she has aggressive breast cancer, which is  a shock for anyone, even more so because she was younger than 40. Shearer said she had asked repeatedly for an appointment with her OBGYN after finding a lump but could not get in, so she refused to let her concerns wait and asked her primary care doctor to order the mammogram that led to her diagnosis. Her Stage 2 diagnosis of course, if delayed any further could’ve been even more dangerous. Shearer was fortunate to have self-detected her lump and her fierce self-advocacy may have ...

In 2019, more than 36,000 people died in motor vehicle collisions in the United States[1]. Then, in March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic shut the country down and had dramatically changed people’s daily lives for the better part of 2 years. While Americans drove less in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  estimates that fatalities from motor vehicle collisions are increasing at a rate not seen since World War II ended.

Between the late 1960s and 2019, fatalities from motor vehicle collisions had been falling ...

R&B Partner Michael Holden's approach to his work is methodical, committed and smart and he lets his results do the talking. Since joining the firm as a law clerk more than 15 years ago, he has risen through the ranks and been a dependable force, ultimately being named Partner in 2021. He plays a leadership role in the office, mentoring and supporting younger attorneys and conveying his deep knowledge about personal injury litigation.

Michael's practice primarily is focused on transportation and car accidents, workplace injury, premises and product liability, nursing home abuse and ...

Someone who experiences sexual violence, assault or harassment in the workplace will now have a powerful choice in how their claim is resolved, thanks to a new law passed by both houses of Congress in February of 2022. Instead of mandating a survivor must have their complaint resolved in an arbitration with their employer, those victims can now choose to have their case heard in court, in front of a jury of their peers. The passage of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act follows years of vigorous advocacy from organizations like the American ...

Companies with Illinois employees have been targeted in recent years with class action lawsuits under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). These lawsuits generally allege that employers have not and are not in compliance with BIPA’s notice and consent requirements before collecting or disclosing employees’ biometric information, including fingerprints, retina scans and facial recognition scans.

One of the defenses has been that such claims are preempted under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act as workplace injuries and, therefore, cannot be ...

Have you ever been fingerprinted or had your face scanned without signing a consent form?  At work, do you ever use a fingerprint or retina scanner to clock in or access part of a building? Has personal information you’ve provided ever been stored on an unsecure computer system? 

If you’ve been in any of these situations, your rights may have been violated because, in Illinois, your biometric information belongs to you and only you.

Illinois was the first state to regulate the collection and storage of biometric data. Generally, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA ...

Bhavani Raveendran was named Partner of the firm in 2021 and brings both a keen intelligence and a passion for civil rights to her work. Bhavani has a long and growing list of success for clients, including being a key contributor to the historic $27 million settlement for the family of George Floyd. She is also proud of justice secured for others who have endured civil rights violations or experienced sexual abuse. Bhavani leads the Romanucci & Blandin civil rights team and works closely with Founding Partner Antonio Romanucci as well as Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law and other co-counsel.

She ...

While many companies, industries, and individuals have suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, personal automobile insurers have reported large windfalls. The reason is simple. In response to the threat caused by COVID-19, governors from across the country issued unprecedented executive orders wisely mandating that individuals stay at home unless they were engaging in specified essential activities. State-wide social distancing and stay-at-home measures led to a drastic reduction in driving and, when you extend this to its logical conclusion, decline in ...

In just the past three years, Illinois residents have seen and been the victims of an overwhelming number of chemical spills and environmental disasters raising serious health concerns. Those concerns, though, don’t always result in immediate health effects. After all, some of the most fatal and serious diseases caused by chemical exposures—like cancer—are latent, meaning they take time to develop and should be tested for and monitored for early detection and treatment. While some states’ court systems have allowed for the recovery of the expenses of such testing and ...

Romanucci & Blandin, LLC Attorney Michael R. Grieco has been named co-chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association’s (CBA) Tort Litigation Committee for the upcoming bar year.  

The Tort Litigation Committee is responsible for keeping members current on issues in the day-to-day practice of tort litigation in Cook and surrounding counties; studying and recommending changes to statues, and local and Supreme Court rules that affect the practices of tort litigators; and engaging in ongoing dialogue with representatives of the Cook County Court System to promote ...

At Romanucci & Blandin, we have a wide array of practice areas ranging from personal injury and medical malpractice, to civil rights cases and class actions. Working on such a diverse caseload is a privilege, but it also poses challenges that can only be overcome with diligence and organization. 

When presented with new, and often complex types of cases, it is vital for the attorney and their team to thoughtfully and efficiently come up with a case strategy. The case strategy must then be broken down into clear action items that allow for the most efficient route to a resolution in the case ...

In March 2021, our world was no longer as we knew it. It shut down, forcing business owners, including our law firm to re-imagine a new way of doing business. In a law firm setting, so much is gained by in-person communication, whether it be client meetings, depositions, collaboration amongst attorneys and staff, and mentoring, just to name a few.

In an instant, our law firm went strictly remote- transitioning from a significantly hands-on office and an intensively collaborative environment, to zoom meetings all day, every day. We learned a lot during this past year. We learned that our ...

Low-income victims of automobile collisions rely on Medicaid to cover their medical bills. But what happens when the hospitals and doctors who provide these victims medical care never send the bills to Medicaid? What happens when the medical providers try to make a dollar off of their misfortune rather than send the bills to Medicaid, even when the victims provide their Medicaid cards? What happens when the hospitals refuse repeated requests to do so?

Rather than billing Medicaid, unethical hospitals and doctors deliberately bypass Medicaid and place a lien – an interest over an ...

The law is always changing. Whether it be from legislative changes made by the government, judicial rulings by judges or arguments thoughtfully made by attorneys, the law constantly evolves.  

Romanucci & Blandin has made it a goal to keep up with the changes in the law and emphasize education amongst its attorneys and staff. To this end, the firm has made Continuing Legal Education (CLE) a priority for the office. To accomplish this, the firm holds in-house CLE seminars throughout the year to stay apprised of the relevant issues within the law, not only in the practice areas in which the ...

In recent weeks, our team at Romanucci & Blandin filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, for permanent damage to our client’s vision caused by the prescription medication, Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium or PPS). It is just the latest of lawsuits against one of America’s most notorious lawbreakers and its subsidiaries, like Janssen Pharmaceuticals, whose products have caused cancer (Talc), addiction (Opioids), bleeding events (Xarelto), kidney damage (Invokana), metal poisoning (hip implants), and male breast ...

Members of the Illinois General Assembly;

Solitary confinement or long-term punitive segregation is a psychological wasteland. It is an environment that not only causes inmates to psychologically deteriorate - it causes undue horror and stress for those that work there too.

I spent two decades in solitary confinement in the Illinois Department of Corrections. I lost my social identity in solitary confinement. I felt rejected, lost and alone. In desperate attempts at a sense of humanity, I used to mutilate my neck, arms, legs and private parts. I used to put razors in my eyes that ...

One of the fundamental assumptions in America is that if, for some unfortunate reason, you or someone you love is seriously injured or, heaven forbid, loses their life because of another person or organization, then you can ultimately find some justice in the court system. Maybe it’s in the form of criminal charges and a conviction. Or, in the case of civil litigation, it can be financial compensation to help make things right – pay for lost wages, future medical bills, pain and suffering. Money can never fully make up for what was damaged or lost, but it can bring badly needed resources ...

At Romanucci & Blandin, we have the distinct privilege of representing clients in some of the largest and most devastating cases from around the world: the Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash in Ethiopia; mass shootings in Las Vegas and Orlando; and claims nationwide for cancer caused by products like Roundup and Zantac. These cases bring together individuals who have all been injured, sickened, or otherwise harmed or killed by a common cause. Our firm is proud to not only seek justice for those people, but lead groups of law firms in that pursuit in such other high-profile cases as:

  • Sterigenics toxic ...

On June 5, 2020, Governor Pritzker signed into law the Covid-19 Presumption Bill which stated that for purposes of the Illinois Workers Compensation Act or Occupational Disease Act, for front-line Workers and first responders who were exposed to and contracted Covid-19, there will be a rebuttable presumption that the exposure and contraction of the virus arose out of and was in the course of their employment, and that the disease was causally related to their employment – meaning it will be presumed that it was contracted at work, and no further proof will be necessary. This ...

On December 29, 2020, American Airlines passengers bravely boarded a scheduled flight from Miami to New York on a Boeing 737 MAX 8. This was the first time in 21-months that the MAX 8 had flown passengers in the U.S., paving the way for more flights — and more passengers — to be flown on the jet. By the end of February, it is estimated that nearly 100 daily flights in the United States will be flown by the MAX 8, with United, Southwest, and Alaska also resuming service in the first quarter of the year.1 Soon, it will be harder to avoid the MAX 8.

Since the Boeing 737 MAX 8 was grounded back in March ...

Workplace injuries are commonplace in our country regardless of industry or occupation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were over 2.8 million workplace injuries reported in the United States in 2019. Included in that number is over 5,000 fatal injuries, and over 850,000 nonfatal injuries that caused a worker to miss at least one day of work. The most common types of workplace injuries are overexertion, falls/slips/trips, contact with objects or machinery, workplace violence, and transportation accidents.

Workplace injuries can happen for a number of reasons ...

Imagine hearing that your once healthy two-year-old has lead poisoning, which may have caused permanent brain damage. It is every parent’s worst nightmare, and a nightmare one of our clients is currently living. When you hear this terrible news, the first questions you may ask is how did this happen? How was my child exposed to lead? Will he ever be back to normal? How could this have been prevented?

Lead-based paint was widely used in the United States because of its durability. In 1972, the federal government banned the manufacture and consumer uses of lead-based house paint after ...

The Third Dist. IL Appellate court decision, Armstead v. National Freight, Inc.(2020 IL App (3d) 170777), may have significant ramifications for Workers' Compensation (WC)practitioners (and Pro Se claimants) because the court held that plaintiff’s personal injury (3rd party) claim was barred by collateral estoppel based on the description of the injuries in the Pennsylvania WC settlement contract. Here, the plaintiff agreed that his injury was a “right knee strain” and did not list all other claimed injuries that he may claim in the Personal Injury case. To my ...

Sexual violence is the most violent crime a person can survive. The key word here – is survive. These acts of violence are terrifyingly present in our society. One out of five women and one out of ten men will experience rape or attempted rape in their lives.1 Rates of sexual violence are even higher among lesbian women, gay men, and bisexual women.2 Despite these immense numbers, survivors who take the daunting but brave step to come forward and hold their perpetrator accountable, often face a criminal system that fails them.  

Less than half a ...

Romanucci & Blandin is proud to share the firm was ranked among the top ten law firms in the state of Illinois, settling cases totaling $38,850,000 between July 2019 and June 2020. The news was published in Chicago Lawyer Magazine’s 2020 Settlement Report which shares the results from the Jury Verdict Reporter’s annual analysis.

This year’s report features 118 firms with settlements of $500,000 or more between July 2019 and June 2020. According to Chicago Lawyer, thanks to COVID-19 closing the courts – the number of settlements in the 2020 Jury Verdict Reporter Settlement ...

So much has changed since March 2020 – the world around us, our neighborhoods, gathering spaces, our jobs, our schools, and homes. Life in the midst of COVID-19 has sparked fear, frustration, and anxiety, as well as an onslaught of litigation.

One notable area litigation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is disputes about whether commercial insurance policies cover business interruption losses.  Businesses across the country have sued their insurance companies arguing that their insurance policies should cover losses incurred as a result of the presence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 ...

You have suffered an unjustified wrong and after doing some research you find: “I’m not the only one.” Immediately, the phrase “class action” comes to mind. But that is not the only legal path to justice, and in some cases a class action does not make sense, a mass tort does, instead. So what is a class action and why do some cases get filed as class actions while others do not?

A class action is a type of lawsuit where one person or group of people (the class representative(s)) represent the rights of others (the class members) who were victims of a similar wrong and suffered similar ...

More than 250,000 people die every year in the United States due to medical mistakes, according to a recent study by Johns Hopkins, making those mistakes the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. For patients who are victims of a medical mistake, there are strict time limits in each state in which a lawsuit must be filed. These are known as statutes of limitation and statutes of repose. If a lawsuit is not filed within these time limits, the lawsuit can be dismissed, even if it is an otherwise valid claim. The specific statute of limitations, in any case, will depend on ...

With everyone staying closer to home this summer, it’s important to be aware of the dangers on playgrounds and in other common places that could cause injuries to children.  Stay safe this summer by following our proposed safety guidelines below:

Adult Supervision

  • Adult Supervision is a MUST. Young children are not always able to measure distances and have difficulty foreseeing dangerous situations.
  • Playground Design Safety: The most important factors in evaluating the safety of any playground are proper surface, design and spacing, and equipment inspection and maintenance.

The team at Romanucci & Blandin, like all of our law firm peers, has been navigating this incredible time by adapting to work from home, continuing to advocate for our clients and keep our staff connected.

With the Governor of Illinois now moving us into the next stage of recovery, we are all trying to plan for the re-opening of our offices while keeping people distanced and healthy yet productive.  At R&B, we have created a Return to Office model that we feel accomplishes all of those goals by using a staff rotation, allowing some team members to continue to work fully remote and installing ...

The economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic is cratering the restaurant and retail sectors, where the necessary government shutdown for non-essential businesses has quickly crippled thousands of companies. Unlike many other businesses that have a robust online component, restaurants, of course, are an in-person experience and are all about sharing: sharing a physical space, being served by a wait staff that handles your plates and beverages, and eating food prepared by other people. The social distancing guidelines have made all of that impossible, and even those ...

In these unprecedented times, many people are struggling with both the loneliness of the stay-at-home order as well as with the fear of an uncertain world and an unknown health threat.  In these challenging days, many wellness experts or other gurus offer their views on how to get through dark times. However, the some truly inspiring perspective comes from someone who has known even greater isolation and fear - during more than twenty years in solitary confinement in prison.

Anthony Gay was released in 2018 after more than two decades in a cell the size of a parking spot with nearly complete ...

I write to let you know about a positive development for many workers who have been on the front lines of COVID-19 and have contracted the virus in the current pandemic. For many of those COVID-19 first responders and front-line workers, there is the real possibility that they could have been exposed to the virus in the course of their work, and now the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has acknowledged that risk and will allow those workers to more easily obtain benefits under the IL Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). It’s important to note that in this pandemic the ...

Dear friends and clients,

Here at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC we are meeting this extraordinary time with both confidence and measured caution. We have taken substantial steps to ensure that the spread of the Covid-19 will be limited in its effects of any contamination on our team. We wanted to share with you the leadership steps we have taken to ensure the continuity of our important work on your behalf.

In accordance to the guidelines set by the CDC, our office will shift to full remote work beginning later today. Our superior office and communications technology, resilience and the ...

There have been promising developments in recent months for anyone involved in a workers’ compensation (WC) case in Illinois. WC attorneys are pleased to see some much needed and overdue resources added to speed resolution of more WC cases in the state. The appointment of new arbitrators and an enhanced process for documents mean new efficiencies and more prompt conclusions for parties.  

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) arbitrators conduct judicial hearings, render awards and decisions, and approve settlement contracts in accordance with statutory ...

The cost of the tragic 737 Max continues to increase, with Boeing bleeding money to get it back in the air. Beyond dollars, Boeing has lost the confidence of consumers, who will forever be wary to put themselves or their loved ones on a 737 Max, regardless of how safe the company claims it is. 

Boeing CEO David L. Calhoun needs to simply stop. Focus efforts on repairing your corporate culture, which according to recent memos is at best broken and, at worst, corrupt. Go back to go forward. Earlier 737 models have a solid safety record, which businesses, individuals and economies around the world ...

For over 30 years I have been fighting for victims of catastrophic neglect and misconduct. In the last decade, we have seen a tripling of cases in the medical neglect arena - doctors, nurses and health systems making repeated life-and-death mistakes, leaving babies, children and adults permanently and unnecessarily harmed. Research has shown medical negligence is now the third leading cause of death in the United States. 

A case we recently settled exposed some of that negligence in the healthcare ecosystem that ultimately cost a young mother her life.  With the case now settled – at ...

On Friday, June 7, 2019, Antonio M. Romanucci, founding partner at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC was installed as the 66th President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) at its annual convention at the JW Marriott Chicago.

Since 1995, Romanucci has been an active member of ITLA.  He was elected to the Board of Managers in 2003 and has served on ITLA’s Executive Committee as well as ITLA’s Nominating Committee.

“As a trial attorney, it is my life’s mission to make a difference in the lives of my clients while changing society to better protect us all. If it weren’t for ...

A new study from the Booth School at the University of Chicago estimates ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, have become significant contributors to   the rise in fatal traffic accidents. They are not only increasing street congestion and hurting transit companies, but are killing people. An article from Streetsblog notes that the increase in congestion is partly because drivers spend 40 to 60 percent of their time circling without passengers, which is known as “deadheading.” Uber and Lyft have increased traffic deaths by 2-3 percent nationally, which is 1,100 additional ...

Romanucci & Blandin, LLC is proud to be recognized in the 2017 annual list of “Top 100” verdicts, released by VerdictSearch and ALM. The firm’s record breaking $44.7 million jury verdict in LaPorta v. City of Chicago is ranked as #42 on this year’s list of highest verdicts throughout the nation.

In October of 2017, the jury impaneled before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber issued its verdict, finding Chicago Police Officer Patrick Kelly responsible for shooting Romanucci & Blandin client, Michael LaPorta, and the City responsible for failing to investigate its ...

When the term “civil rights” is invoked, many think of images of Martin Luther King, Jr. standing at the forefront of a street march protesting or standing at a podium challenging the leaders of this country for equality and inclusion. However, the reality is that civil rights is far older than MLK and from its genesis, it has evolved into something far more prevalent which dominates the news headlines of today.

How ,any times do you think you have recited the pledge of allegiance? Surely, in the hundreds if not the thousands of times. How many times have you said the words “and liberty ...

Having recently crossed the 30 year line as a practicing attorney and staying committed throughout my career representing only criminal defendants and victims injured through the wrongs of others, I have learned quite a bit about our city streets, both literally and figuratively. Coupled with my love of politics and that I have lived and worked in Chicago almost my entire life, I feel viscerally connected to the city I love and the one I call home.

Because I am now considered old by law school grads and anyone under the age of 40, many of these young lawyers come to me for counseling on ...

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