Heyl Royster

Christopher Drinkwine

Practice Groups:

Appellate Advocacy

Casualty/Tort Litigation

Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983 & Correctional Healthcare

Long Term Care/Nursing Homes

Product Liability

Professional Liability

Workers’ Compensation

Office Locations:

Rockford, IL

Phone: 815.963.4454

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Press Release: Heyl Royster Announces Five New Partners - 01/19/2022


  • Juris Doctor (cum laude), Northern Illinois University College of Law, 1996
  • Bachelor of Arts-Political Science, Northern Illinois University, 1992

Year Joined Firm




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Heyl Royster



Christopher Drinkwine (Partner)


Chris is the Co-Chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. He has experience in civil rights, employment law, medical malpractice, casualty/tort, products liability, workers compensation, insurance coverage, and professional liability.

After earning his J.D., cum laude, from Northern Illinois University College of Law, Chris served as an Assistant State’s Attorney. In that capacity, Chris gained experience in traffic, misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony prosecution and tried numerous cases to verdict. From there, Chris was recruited by the Honorable John W. Rapp, Jr. of the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, to serve as his law clerk. Chris continued in that role when the Honorable Frederick J. Kapala replaced Judge Rapp on the Illinois Appellate Court. Later, Judge Kapala promoted Chris to serve as his Senior Law Clerk when Judge Kapala was appointed to the federal bench. Prior to joining Heyl Royster, Chris worked closely with Judge Kapala in federal court for 12 years and gained extensive experience in all types of criminal and civil litigation including section 1983 civil rights claims, employment discrimination, ERISA, consumer protection, insurance coverage, patent, trademark, antitrust, habeas corpus, constitutional challenges to statutes, and breach of contract.

Chris has trained in basic and advanced trial advocacy with the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor, in Springfield, Illinois, and at the National District Attorney’s Advocacy Center, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Significant Cases

  • Anderson v. Anderson 2021 IL App (3d) 200497-U, The Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed the trial court's order holding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant and dismissing the plaintiffs’ complaint with prejudice.
  • Gregory A. White v. Gregg Scott 849 F. App’x 606 (7th Cir. 2021), The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants concluding that Plaintiff-detainee was not deprived of liberty without due process when required to wear black-box handcuffs when he left the detention facility.
  • Gaetjens v. City of Loves Park 4 F.4th 487 (7th Cir. 2021), The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants including the Winnebago County Animal Services Officers who seized 37 cats from a condemned home pursuant to the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement based on animals in imminent danger.
  • Porter v. Cub Cadet LLC 2020 IL App (2d) 190823, The Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed a trial court's order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss in a case where plaintiff claimed he suffered injuries due to the negligent design of a utility tractor manufactured by defendants. The appellate court found that plaintiff’s allegations that defendants deviated from the standard of care that other manufacturers in the industry followed at the time of manufacture was conclusory and unsupported by factual allegations. The court held that the trial court properly dismissed plaintiff’s negligent product design claim and failure to warm claim based on a voluntary-undertaking theory.
  • Sims v. Illinois Workers Compensation Commission 2019 IL App (1st) 190643WC-U, The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, Workers Compensation Division, affirmed the trial court’s judgment confirming the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s decision finding that the claimant’s condition of shoulder and spine ill-being were not causally related to her work injury and denied her request for an award of attorney fees and penalties.
  • Country Mutual Insurance Company v. Satter Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Illinois, 2018, The court entered a declaratory judgment that the insurer had no duty to defend on behalf of or to indemnify its insured because the policy’s injury-to-insured exception applied. The defendants did not take an appeal.


  • "Jackson v. Hammer: The Negative Implications of Failing to Define 'Customer List' in a Contract of Sale," ISBA, The Counselor (1994)
  • "Genender v. Erlich: Rescissionary Relief for Breach of the Implied Warranty of Habitability," ISBA, The Counselor (1995)
  • "Williamson v. Williamson: The Limitation of 'an Archaic Doctrine of Equity,'" ISBA, The Counselor (1996)
  • Malecki v. IWCC: The Importance of Securing a Complete Causation Opinion,” Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2022) - Read Article

Professional Associations

  • Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association
  • Winnebago County Bar Association

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit