Heyl Royster

Keith Fruehling

Practice Groups:

Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983 & Correctional Healthcare

Employment & Labor



Product Liability

Toxic Torts & Asbestos

Medical Malpractice Defense

Legal Malpractice Defense

Accountant and Realtor Malpractice

Office Locations:

Champaign, IL

Phone: 217.344.0060

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60 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2021 Leading Lawyers List - 08/04/2021

67 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2020 Leading Lawyers List - 07/30/2020

Heyl Royster Attorneys Recently Author Articles in Several Publications - 12/23/2019

64 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2019 Leading Lawyers’ List - 06/28/2019

Appellate Victory for Coles County - 10/16/2018

79 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 05/31/2018

60 Heyl Royster Attorneys on Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 06/29/2017

Fruehling Elected to New Term on ISBA Board of Governors - 05/04/2016

57 Heyl Royster Attorneys Recognized by Leading Lawyers - 04/22/2016

Attorneys Author Chapter on the Open Meetings Act for IICLE - 03/18/2016

Firm Attorneys Contribute to IDC Survey of Law - 08/08/2014

Heyl Royster Attorneys Author Articles for IDC Quarterly - 04/18/2014

Nine Additional Heyl Royster Attorneys Selected as Leading Lawyers - 07/26/2013

Fruehling Elected to ISBA Board of Governors - 05/10/2013

Heyl Royster Urbana Attorneys Selected to Chair Illinois State Bar Association Committees - 06/29/2012


  • Juris Doctor, The John Marshall Law School, 1993
  • Bachelor of Science-Finance, University of Illinois, 1990

Year Joined Firm




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Heyl Royster



Keith Fruehling (Shareholder)


Keith Fruehling is a shareholder in our growing Champaign office. He is the Chair of our firm’s Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983 & Correctional Healthcare Practice Group and he has extensive experience defending law enforcement officers, as well as correctional healthcare professionals and county jail correctional officers in lawsuits brought by prisoners and other detainees in federal and state courts. Keith is a highly successful litigator in many civil practice areas, including the defense of complex civil rights, medical malpractice, employment, construction, product liability, and toxic tort/asbestos claims in federal and state courts. He has taught, lectured, and published on federal and state civil practice issues.

Keith represents Fortune 500 companies, universities, sheriffs, county and municipal law enforcement officers, correctional officers, state and local governmental units, doctors, attorneys, veterinarians, real estate brokers/agents and other professionals, insurers, and local businesses. He managed the trial preparation of large groups of asbestos cases set for trial in Madison County, Illinois in which he defended product manufacturers, fiber suppliers, equipment manufacturers, contractors, and premises owners. Over his 20-year career, Keith has defended many significant damage cases and tried a number of cases to verdict. He has defended multiple multi-million dollar cases to verdict in trials spanning up to eight weeks, including helping to secure a not-guilty verdict for a corporate client in an aviation wrongful death case.

He recently completed his fourth term on the Illinois State Bar Association's Board of Governors (ISBA), is the past chair of the ISBA's Task Force on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, and was appointed by the President of the Illinois State Bar Association to the Future of the Courts Special Committee to coordinate the ISBA's efforts to identify and publicize threats to fair and impartial courts from lack of funding and education, and to consider measures to address this problem. Keith is the published author of several articles for Heyl Royster's Civil Rights and Governmental Newsletters as well as the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Defense Research Institute, and Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He routinely presents at conferences and seminars. His outstanding reputation for legal ability, professional ethics, client success, and dedication to the profession has been recognized by peer review and is recognized by the Martindale-Hubbell "AV Preeminent" rating.

Prior to joining Heyl Royster in 1997, Keith served as a Senior Assistant State's Attorney with Champaign County from 1994-1997. He continues a strong relationship with the State's Attorney's office and Champaign County Judiciary where he handles sensitive and complex cases as a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Champaign County Chief Judge. Over the past two decades, Keith has forged a leadership role in the legal profession serving as a delegate to the American Bar Association's (ABA) House of Delegates, member of the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and ISBA's Assembly. He also served as the Chair of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel's (IDC) Trial Academy and on the Defense Research Institute's (DRI) Task Force on the Independence of the Judiciary. He is the past-President of the Champaign County Bar Association.

In 2002, Keith was recognized as a "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the ISBA. In 2007, Keith was named one of the "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Publishing Company. In 2013, he was selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. The Leading Lawyers Network surveys lawyers, asking them which of their peers, indeed their competitors, they would recommend to a family member or friend if they could not take a case within their area of law or geographic region. To maintain the quality and credibility of the survey, lawyers cannot nominate themselves or anyone at their own law firm. Based upon survey nominations and approval by an Advisory Board, only the top 5% of lawyers are nominated and eligible for membership in the Leading Lawyers Network in the State of Illinois.

Significant Cases

  • Bond v. Atkinson - We represented law enforcement officials in a civil rights lawsuit where plaintiff contended that the defendants violated her constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by treating requests from victims of domestic violence with less priority than other crimes, and failing to remove guns from her home without a court order. The federal claims were dismissed.
  • Est. of Janet Hahn v. Health Professionals, Ltd. (HPL) And Champaign County, Illinois - We represented jail health care providers and county officials in a federal civil rights lawsuit where plaintiff contended that the defendants violated her rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by acting with deliberate indifference and/or common negligence towards her diabetic condition. The federal court granted summary judgment to both HPL and the County on all federal claims. The Estate of Janet Hahn appealed that decision to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals where we successfully defended the appeal with that court affirming the District Court’s decision. Plaintiff then attempted to appeal to the United States Supreme Court by filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept the case and the judgment stood in favor of the jail health care providers and county officials.
  • Estate of Leon Rademacher v. Teledyne Industries, Inc., Teledyne Continental Motor, et al. - Estate brought Wrongful Death and Survival Act case on behalf of successful farmer, young husband and father against aviation mechanic and other defendants alleging negligence and product liability caused plane operated by friend to crash land. Following a six-week trial, the jury returned a not-guilty verdict on behalf of our client.
  • A.F.S.C.M.E. v. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich - Illinois Governor made the executive decision to close the Pontiac Prison – part of the Illinois Department of Corrections system. In response, The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (A.F.S.C.M.E.) and others filed suit against the Governor and other defendants claiming the Governor did not have the right to take that action and sought a writ of mandamus Order commanding the Governor to reverse his decision and to continue operating the prison. A.F.S.C.M.E. also sought a temporary restraining Order (T.R.O.) preventing the Governor or the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections from taking any action consistent with closing the prison until the court ruled on the plaintiff's request for the writ. We responded to the plaintiff's T.R.O. asking the court to deny the issuance of the T.R.O. and filed a Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff's Complaint for Writ of Mandamus. The court denied the request for the temporary restraining order. The court later dismissed the entire cause of action brought by plaintiffs.
  • Land v. Montgomery Health Care - Three hundred class action plaintiffs brought medical malpractice case alleging negligent and intentional acts against the defendant. Defendant denied the allegations of the various class members. After an eight week trial involving 25 members of the class, the parties reached a favorable, settlement agreement.
  • Melvina Hopkins, as Mother and Next Friend of Charles Lee, a Minor, et al. v. Bergman, et al. - Mother and next friend of Minor brought negligence case against driver of a local school district school bus and driver of a private vehicle following accident where elementary school student stepped off of bus and was hit and injured by the private vehicle. After extensive discovery and mediation, the parties reached a favorable, settlement agreement.
  • Estate of Beavers v. Champaign County v. Evercom Systems - Estate of former inmate that committed suicide brought Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit in federal court alleging that County defendants and private telephone company were deliberately indifferent to the inmate's safety. After thorough discovery and mediation, the parties reached a favorable, settlement agreement.


  • “Supreme Court: Probable Cause Defeats a First Amendment Retaliation Claim . . . Except When It Doesn’t,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2019)
  • "Introduction to the Open Meetings Act," chapter in Illinois Sunshine Laws, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2016)
  • "Survey of Local Government Law Cases," Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel's 2013 Survey of Law (2014) - Download Article
  • "Tort Immunity Act," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2014) – Download Article
  • "Ethical Issues for Government Attorneys," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2014) - Read Article
  • "Introduction to the Open Meetings Act," chapter in Illinois' Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011, 2013)
  • "Employee Manuals: Managing Expectations/Complying with the Law," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
  • "Public Unions and the Collective Bargaining Process," Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
  • "A New Court Opinion on the Open Meetings Act: Is Your Notice, Agenda, and Meeting Site Good Enough for a Special Meeting?" Heyl Royster Governmental Newsletter (2010) - Download Article
  • "Without Fear or Fervor," Defense Research Institute Judicial Task Force - Contributing author.  The paper explored the current issues facing modern judiciary and methods of constructively addressing those issues. (2007)

Public Speaking

  • “Illinois Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act”
    Illinois Association of County Board Members – Government Leaders Training Webinar 2021
  • “Janus Supreme Court Ruling & Civil Rights: Glisson Decision”
    Illinois Association of County Board Members Seminar 2018
  • “The Open Meetings Act, explained”
    Heyl Royster 2018
  • “New Employment Laws Update”
    Illinois Association of County Board Members 2017
  • “Cyber Liability for Public Entities”
    Heyl Royster’s Governmental Holiday Seminar 2017
  • “The Essentials on Police Litigation: From Start to Finish”
    National Business Institute 2016
  • “Body Worn Cameras and the Future of Excessive Force Litigation”
    Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2016
  • “Public Duty Rule Panel/Tort Immunity”
    Heyl Royster's 31st Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2016
  • “Medical Cannabis: A Primer For Employers and Governmental Entities”
    Heyl Royster Lunch & Learn Seminar/Webinar 2014
  • “Setting the Lineup: The Construction Contract and GL Insurance: 10 Things Every Attorney Should Know”
    IDC Spring Symposium 2014
  • “Liability Issues Training”
    McDonough County, Illinois Sheriff's Office 2014
  • Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois in the areas of Personal Injury Defense Law: General; Products Liability Defense Law; and Professional Malpractice Law: Including Legal/Technical/Financial. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.
  • "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Illinois State Bar Association in 2002 in recognition of significant dedication and contribution in the legal profession.
  • In 2007, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Publishing Company honored Keith by selecting him as one of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch." This prestigious award recognizes exceptional lawyering skills, significant contributions to the legal profession and substantial involvement in local community.

Professional Associations

  • Illinois State Bar Association (Board of Governors 2016-2018, 2013-2015, 2002-2008; Former Chairman of the ISBA Task Force on the Unauthorized Practice of Law; Former Chair, Assembly Finance Committee; Advertising, Public Relations, Personnel and Scope and Correlation Committees; Former member of Governance Committee; Under Age 35 Representative from the ISBA to the American Bar Association House of Delegates (1999-2008); Former Board liaison to multiple Section Councils; Bar Leadership Conference Special Committee on selecting an electronic research provider; Member - Civil, Legislative and Health Care Law Sections)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Chairman of the Trial Academy Committee 2002-2007)
  • Defense Research Institute (served on the Judicial Task Force which drafted a report entitled "Without Fear or Fervor," a basic overview of the issues currently facing the judiciary and how to begin constructively addressing long term solutions) former member
  • American Bar Association (House of Delegates June 2000 - August 2007)
  • Champaign County Bar Association (President 2001-2002)

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Community Involvement

  • Carle and Health Alliance Medical Plans Compliance Committees (Member)
  • Fighting Illini Men’s Varsity Baseball Dugout Club Board (Past President)
  • Champaign St. Matthew School Education and Athletic Commissions (Former Member)
  • Former coach and supporter to students and local youth in soccer, basketball and baseball for the Champaign St. Matthew School, Champaign Park District, Kiwanis Club, Champaign Tribe Baseball, Champaign Thunder and Blues basketball and the YMCA and cheerleading for Champaign Centennial High School.