Heyl Royster


Choose by Alphabet


Select an Area of Practice

Select an Office

Enter Keyword(s)

Heyl Royster



Jennifer Johnson (Shareholder)


Jennifer focuses her practice on the defense of asbestos and toxic tort claims, including the defense of products and premises liability claims arising from occupational and environmental exposures. Her practice includes a special emphasis in representing companies not traditionally involved in asbestos litigation. She has also represented corporate defendants in grain contract defaults and other disputes before the National Grain and Feed Association. 

From 1996 to 2002, Jennifer practiced in Heyl Royster's Edwardsville office where she handled the defense of a variety of cases, including insurance defense, products liability, professional liability and toxic tort matters. From 2003 to 2006, Jennifer practiced law in Memphis, TN, where her practice focused on the representation of employers and management in employment and labor matters. During her time in Tennessee, Jennifer presented several seminars on employment law-related issues. Jennifer returned to Heyl Royster as an Of Counsel attorney in 2007, and became a partner with the firm in 2013.

On January 1, 2019, Jennifer was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules committee for a three year term. This committee studies and recommends new supreme court rules or modifications to existing rules.

Jennifer serves on the Madison County Bar Association's Student Internship Committee, which provides high school students legal internship opportunities. She also serves on the firm's Diversity Committee.

Significant Cases

  • Laurel Hiatt v. Higbee, Inc., et al. Madison County, Illinois, 12-L-1553. This was a personal injury action brought by a living plaintiff alleging asbestos-related mesothelioma. The client objected to jurisdiction in Illinois, asserting it did not "do business" in Illinois as contemplated by the Long-Arm statute. The issue before the court involved whether this manufacturing defendant, which had some sales in Illinois but no other Illinois contacts, could be subject to jurisdiction in Illinois for plaintiff's alleged asbestos-related injury, when the alleged injury occurred outside of Illinois. In calendar year 2012, the firm's client had sales of $260,000 (less than 2% of its total sales) in Illinois. In finding that there was no general jurisdiction over the defendant, the court noted that sales alone do not justify exercising personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant.  The court also commented that the client's sales in Illinois were insignificant vis-à-vis their relation to the percentage that the Illinois' population represents to the rest of the country. Upon the Court's ruling, plaintiff's counsel agreed to voluntarily dismiss the client from 30 additional cases.  This result effectively removed the client from asbestos litigation in Madison County, IL.
  • Eduard Alexander Gutierrez v. Nathan Etters 07 L 20, Franklin County, IL Plaintiff claimed permanent bilateral knee injury from this auto accident, in which defendant admitted liability for the accident but denied the damages.
  • Long v. Cottrell, Inc. 982-10046, U.S.D.C., E.D. Mo Plaintiff was an auto hauler who allegedly sustained a back injury while untying a truck on a car carrier made by Cottrell.  Defense verdict.
  • VanHoose v. Phillip Environmental Structural Work Act case involving whether client provided an unsafe workplace when plaintiff used a man lift to move a steel plate, and whether our client was "in charge of plaintiff's work;" trial lasted 5 days.  The result was plaintiff's verdict - 90% fault of third party defendant, 3% to property owner and 7% to our client, a subcontractor on the premises.
  • Brown v. Crabtree Auto/pedestrian collision case involving catastrophic injuries to plaintiff.  Result was plaintiff's verdict, reduced by 50% for plaintiff's contributory negligence.  Net award was $750,000.  Case was tried on a high/low agreement, this number fell within that range.


  • "Current Issues in Illinois Law," published by Employment Law Update (2007)

Public Speaking

  • “Trends in Industrial and Cosmetic Talc Litigation”
    HarrisMartin’s Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference 2022
  • “When Social Media Becomes Socially Awkward”
    Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2016

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2022): Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.

Professional Associations

  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Madison County Bar Association 
  • The Missouri Bar Association 

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois and Missouri
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois