David Perkins

Practice Groups:

Insurance Services

Civil Rights Litigation/Section 1983


Casualty/Tort Litigation

Design Professionals Litigation

Office Locations:

Peoria, IL



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  • Juris Doctor, University of Iowa College of Law, 1987
  • Bachelor of Arts-Social Justice, University of Illinois at Springfield, 1985 

Year Joined Firm



Heyl Royster


David Perkins (Shareholder)

Dave’s practice is focused on arson, fraud and first-party property claims; general tort litigation, civil rights, defense of design professionals, and municipal liability.

Dave authors a quarterly column for the Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly, the official journal of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel. He has also co-authored a chapter in the Property Insurance Handbook for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. Dave has also spoken on a wide variety of subjects, including the investigation of fire losses and first-party property claims, civil rights liability, and municipal liability.

Prior to joining Heyl Royster, Dave served as a law enforcement officer for seven years. During that time, he attended the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois as well as the Traffic Institute at Northwestern University. He has also chaired the Washington (IL) Police Commission. Following graduation from University of Iowa College of Law, Dave joined Heyl Royster's Peoria office.

Significant Cases

  • Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Mr. and Mrs. John Doe Circuit Court of McLean County, Illinois - The insureds owned a century old, three story brick warehouse which plaintiffs claimed was improperly maintained. The warehouse collapsed onto an adjacent commercial structure which housed an optical laboratory. Two laboratory employees were trapped inside the building for a period of time and all of the highly sensitive optical manufacturing equipment was damaged. A portion of the warehouse also collapsed onto an adjacent bridge and onto another structure utilized by a plumbing contractor. Seven claimants demanded damages in excess of $8,000,000. The matter was successfully mediated on 7/23/14 for less than 20% of the aggregate demand.
  • Jane Doe v. The Board of Education of Hall High School District 502, Daniel Oest, Patricia Lunn, Gary Vicini, The City of Spring Valley, Illinois and Douglas Bernabei 05-1348 Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in 2005. This civil rights lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Central District of Illinois. Jane Doe, a high school teacher, was accused of engaging in sexual relations with a male student. Chief Bernabei conducted an investigation which resulted in Doe being charged with various criminal offenses. The school terminated Doe's employment and she incurred approximately $300,000 in expenses defending against the criminal charges. Doe was found not guilty in the criminal trial. Thereafter, Doe filed a civil rights suit against our clients, Chief Bernabei and The City of Spring Valley. The civil rights Complaint requested $40,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000,000 in punitive damages. During discovery, plaintiff made a settlement demand of $9,500,000. We obtained summary judgment in 6 of the 7 counts but the trial court denied the entry of summary judgment with respect to a count alleging false arrest. We filed an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Appellate Court which reversed the trial court thereby disposing of all claims directed against Chief Bernabei and The City of Spring Valley. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari in 2011.
  • Vivian Murphy, Executor of the Estate of Joseph E. Murphy (Deceased) v. Ron Cline Trucking and James Stephens Filed in DeWitt County, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Illinois - A wrongful death case wherein it was alleged that the plaintiff sustained a subdural hematoma from a motor vehicle accident which eventually caused his death. The verdict was not guilty.
  • Joanne Meyer, as Executor of the Estate of Jack Meyer v. Coal Valley Fire Protection 93 L 327 (Rock Island County) Wrongful death case wherein it was claimed that emergency response personnel failed to properly respond to a 911 call which delayed treatment. The verdict was not guilty.
  • Cunningham v. Moody 99 L 25 (Henry County) 2002 The plaintiff claimed the defendant, a police officer, utilized excessive force when arresting and physically subduing the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed he brandished a baseball bat to defend himself from an imminent assault by three individuals who were part of a volatile crowd. The plaintiff claimed he heard someone from behind order him to drop the bat and that he was immediately maced and struck in the face before he had a reasonable opportunity to determine a police officer was the individual giving him the command. The defendant claimed he gave the plaintiff several warnings before utilizing physical force. The plaintiff sustained a small fracture of the jaw, soft tissue damage, and permanent nerve damage. The plaintiff asked the jury for $116,000. The verdict was not guilty.
  • Gibson v. Village of Oquawka 98 L 6 (Henderson County) Filed in Henderson County, Ninth Judicial Circuit of Illinois - A premises liability case wherein plaintiff sustained an injury which resulted in bilateral knee surgeries. The verdict was not guilty.
  • Sutton v. Heininger Tazewell County Case No. 14 L 54 - Defendant left a stop sign and failed to yield the right of way to the plaintiff who was traveling on the preferential roadway. Plaintiff claimed she sustained a lumbar injury and incurred $3,600 in medical bills. Plaintiff’s last demand was $10,500. The last offer was $1,000. Plaintiff demanded $17,000 at trial. Jury Verdict: Not guilty.
  • Gibson v. Frye 2012 case filed in the 10th Judicial Circuit, Tazewell County, Illinois. The plaintiff's motorcycle collided with an SUV operated by the defendant. Defendant entered a T-intersection and was turning left at a yield sign when the accident occurred. The plaintiff's movement was not controlled by a traffic control device. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained a fractured right clavicle, sprained wrist, and laceration to his lip. Verdict: Not Guilty
  • Dwayne Hoffer v. American Family Insurance 95 L 345 (Tazewell County) Filed in Tazewell County, Tenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois - A breach of contract and bad faith case against the insurer for alleged improper denial of a theft claim. The verdict was not guilty.
  • Bhattacharya v. Venture Stores, Inc., and Unarco Industries, Inc. 86 L 195 (Macon County) Filed in Macon County, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Illinois - Personal injury case involving an infant who was placed in a shopping cart which tipped over resulting in bilateral femur fractures. We received a directed verdict after the completion of the plaintiff's case.
  • Butler v. General Accident Insurance Company of America Putnam County, Tenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois - A breach of contract and bad faith case wherein it was asserted by the insureds that the defendant improperly denied their claim for the collapse of their basement walls. The verdict was not guilty.


“Employees of Private Security Firm Granted Qualified Immunity in Section 1983 Action,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article

"Officers Sued for False Arrest After Arresting Company President," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article

"Seventh Circuit Addresses Public Employee Speech," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article

"Qualified Immunity Applied to Prosecutors and Police Officers Who Failed to Disclose Inadmissible Evidence About Alternative Murder Suspects," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article

"Fourth Amendment Protections Applied to Medical Care Provided to Pre-Gerstein Arrestees," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) - Download Article

"U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Application of Strict Scrutiny of Racial Classifications in Higher Education Admissions Decisions," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article

"Failure to Discover Razorblade in Detainee's Wallet Insufficient to Establish a Fourteenth Amendment Claim in Rosario v. Brawn," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article

"No Further Duty to Investigate After Establishing Probable Cause," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2011) - Download Article

"Pretrial Detainee Suicide and Section 1983 Claims," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2010) - Download Article

"Reaffirmation That Officers Have No Duty to Complete a Full Investigation Before Arrest," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2009) - Download Article

"Types of Coverage Available – The Nature of Property" chapter in Property Insurance Handbook, Illinois Institute for Continuing Education (1998) 

Click here to view full list.

Public Speaking

“The Duty to Settle, Bad Faith, and Ethics”
Insurance Coverage Institute: Downstate 2018

“Material Misrepresentations and Fraudulent Receipts”
Greater Peoria Claims Association 2017

“After the Big Salary is Gone: Property Section”
Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2017

“Spoliation of Evidence”
Auto Owners Annual Regional Claims Conference 2016

“Risk Transfer and Application of the Illinois Contribution Act”
Cincinnati Insurance Regional Claims Meeting 2015

“Recent Developments in Property Insurance”
Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015

“Local Governmental Entity Liability under the Tort Immunity Act”
Peoria County Bar Association Spring Seminar 2015

“Legal Aspects of Arson Investigations”
Central Illinois Fire Investigators Association 2015

“Recent Developments in Property Insurance”
Heyl Royster 29th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2014

“Property Insurance Case Law Update”
Heyl Royster 26th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2011

“Mapping out the Course: Property Law Update, Including First-Party Bad Faith”
Heyl Royster 19th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2004

“Property Law Update”
Heyl Royster 18th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2003

“Property Case Law Update”
Heyl Royster 16th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2001

“Property Case Law Update”
Heyl Royster 15th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2000

Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois in the areas of Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law; and Personal Injury Defense Law: General. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.
  • Named to the Illinois Super Lawyers list (2013-2019). The Super Lawyers selection process is based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Only five percent of the lawyers in each state earn this designation.

Professional Associations

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

Court Admissions

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

Community Involvement

Pillars Society, Heart of Illinois United Way