Heyl Royster


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Heyl Royster



Gary Schwab (Partner)


Gary concentrates his practice in the defense of motor vehicle (auto and trucking), premises, professional liability, Dram Shop Act, and municipal liability claims. He has defended insurance agents against malpractice claims, and represented insurers in first-party and third-party insurance coverage claims. He has represented insurers at arbitrations involving uninsured and underinsured motorist claims. He has also served as an arbitrator, both at the request of the insurer or the insured, at arbitrations involving insurance coverage. He has represented the Springfield Park District in cases involving the Tort Immunity Act, and defended pharmacists on behalf of a major pharmaceutical retail chain against charges of incorrectly dispensing prescription drugs.

Gary has handled litigation in state and federal courts, as well as tried matters before governmental agencies, such as the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. He also serves as General Counsel for a residential condominium development association.

Gary has spent his legal career with Heyl Royster, first in the firm’s Peoria office and then he has been resident in the firm’s Springfield office since 1986.

Significant Cases

  • Murphy v. Springfield Park District 2019 IL App (4th) 180662 Held that when an injury occurs on recreational property owned by a public entity, Section 3-106 (requiring proof that the public entity engaged in willful and wanton conduct), and not Section 3-102 (requiring proof that the public entity had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition upon the property) of the Tort Immunity Act governs whether the public entity is liable. In this case, the park district had upright bollards blocking vehicles from accessing its bike path. Unbeknownst to the park district, someone had removed a bollard, thereby exposing its collared base, which stuck up 4 to 5 inches from the pavement in the middle of the bike path. The plaintiff, a bicyclist, collided with the exposed collar, lost control of his bicycle and sustained serious personal injuries. There was no evidence that the park district had removed the bollard, or was aware that the bollard had been removed, and nothing indicated that the bollard was exceptionally dangerous, either in place or on the rare occasions that it was missing, as no injury had ever occurred as a result of a bollard being down. Summary judgment in favor of the park district was affirmed since there was no evidence from which one could conclude that the park district had acted in a willful and wanton manner.
  • City of Springfield v. Hashman 332 Ill. App. 3d 748 (4th Dist. 2002) Application of various provisions of the Illinois Municipal Code and city ordinances governing the ability of a municipality such as the City of Springfield to prevent pollution of its public water supply (Lake Springfield), and even if that entails going beyond its corporate limit to do so. 
  • General Cas. Co. of Illinois v. Juhl 283 Ill. App. 3d 376 (4th Dist. 1996) A 7-1/2 month delay on the part of the insured in notifying the excess insurer of a possible excess verdict against the insured was not notice given "promptly" as required by the insurance policy, and as a matter of law such delay was unreasonable and nullified the policy.
  • Bubb v. Springfield School Dist. 186 167 Ill. 2d 372 (1995) This was a case of first impression. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the recreational immunity set forth in Section 3-106 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act applies to preclude liability if the property upon which the plaintiff sustains an injury was intended or permitted to be used for recreational purposes, regardless of the specific use of the property at the time of injury or the primary purpose of the property.
  • Page v. Blank 262 Ill. App. 3d 580 (4th Dist. 1994) Discusses what duty a landowner owes to protect the safety of children, and concludes that a landowner owes no duty and is not liable to a 12 year old who suffers a loss of vision in an eye, when the child struck a nail with a hammer and the nail bounced into his eye while building a skate board ramp on the defendant's premises.
  • Watson v. J.C. Penney Co., Inc. 237 Ill. App. 3d 976 (4th Dist. 1992) The court refuses to overrule the natural accumulation rule which was applied to preclude the plaintiff from obtaining a recovery for a slip and fall on a natural accumulation of ice.
  • Harris v. Walker 119 Ill. 2d 542 (1988) The Illinois Supreme Court held that a person who rents a horse and thereafter sustains injuries while horseback riding cannot obtain a recovery from the riding stable for a claimed violation of the Animal Control Act, as a renter of a horse is not within the class of persons the legislature intended to protect when it enacted the Animal Control Act. In addition, an exculpatory release signed by the Plaintiff is enforceable to release the riding stable from negligence liability.
  • Prudential Property & Cas. Ins. v. Scott 161 Ill. App. 3d 372 (4th Dist. 1987) Interpretation and application of a family exclusion clause in an automobile insurance policy.

Public Speaking

  • “Handling of Bad Faith Claims”
    Land of Lincoln CPCU Society Chapter 2018

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois.  Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Sangamon County Bar Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute 

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Community Involvement

  • Board Member and Volunteer, Boy Scouts of America, Abraham Lincoln Council
  • Former Board Member and Legal Advisor, Springfield Air Rendezvous (air show)