Roger Clayton

Practice Groups:

Professional Regulation/Licensure

Qui Tam (Whistleblower)


Medical Malpractice Defense

Office Locations:

Peoria, IL



Email Me


  • Juris Doctor, Southern Illinois University, 1978
  • Bachelor of Arts-Business (magna cum laude), Bradley University, 1975 

Year Joined Firm



Heyl Royster


Roger Clayton (Shareholder)

Roger is the Chair of the firm’s statewide Healthcare Practice and Professional Regulation/Licensure Practice, and co-Chair of the Qui Tam (Whistleblower) Practice. His primary focus is healthcare law, representing physicians, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare organizations in a broad range of issues including licensure, fraud and abuse, corporate compliance, contracting, policies and procedures, staff concerns, and defense of malpractice and other litigation.

Roger is also a leader in the use of technology in the legal profession. He has developed two iPad apps for attorneys: “Second Chair Mobile,” a case/file management tool and “Second Chair Mobile Jury,” a jury selection app. He has tried multi-week complex medical malpractice cases completely paperless, and he frequently travels across the country for expert witness depositions carrying nothing more than his iPad.

Roger’s extensive litigation experience includes defending more than 700 medical and hospital cases, taking a significant number to verdict. In recent years, he has developed a special focus on brain-injured infant cases and other catastrophic loss cases. Many of his cases are against leading Chicago and national counsel where damages sought against his target defendants often reach tens of millions of dollars. Although always prepared to try these cases when necessary, Roger is a skilled negotiator and has had great success mediating many of these cases.

Roger has taught master's-level courses in healthcare law and is a frequent national speaker on healthcare issues, medical malpractice, and risk prevention to insurers, medical associations, professional groups, and healthcare institutions. He co-authored the chapter on trials in the Medical Malpractice Handbook published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. Roger also co-authored a chapter for The Law of Medical Practice in Illinois published by West Publishing. He also authors the “Health Law” column in the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel Quarterly.

Roger has spent his entire legal career with Heyl Royster, beginning in 1978 in the Peoria office. He is a Past President of the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys, which consists of more than 600 healthcare attorneys from throughout the state. He is also a Past President of the Illinois Society of Healthcare Risk Management and the Abraham Lincoln Court.

Roger is ranked an AV preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell; he has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America (Medical Malpractice – Defendants) since 2015; he is a Leading Lawyer in Illinois (based on a survey of Illinois attorneys conducted by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin); and has been ranked an Illinois "Super Lawyer” since 2014.

Significant Cases

  • Witherell v. Weimer 85 Ill. 2d 146 (1981) Estoppel to assert statute of limitations based upon ongoing treatment with defendant physicians; also allowed testimony of pharmacist on a physician duty of care in prescribing medications.
  • Walter v. Hill 156 Ill. App. 3d 708 (3d Dist. 1987) Failure to file affidavit of merit with medical malpractice complaint when filed did not preclude filing affidavit after statute of limitations had run.
  • Hartford v. Gulf 837 F.2d 767 (7th Cir. 1988) Interpretation of conflicting additional insured clauses in insurance policies.
  • Fawcett v. Reinertsen 131 Ill. 2d 380 (1989) Extent of allowable questioning of a defendant physician.
  • Batten v. Retz 182 Ill. App. 3d 425 (3d Dist. 1989) It was not an abuse of discretion by the trial court in a medical malpractice action to dismiss plaintiff's complaint with prejudice and deny leave to amend even though required certificate of merit was only two days late in being filed. 
  • Case v. Galesburg Cottage Hospital 227 Ill. 2d 207 (2007) Time that elapses between voluntary dismissal of a plaintiff's complaint and its refiling pursuant to the limitation saving statute is not to be considered by a court when ruling on a motion to dismiss based on plaintiff's failure to exercise reasonable diligence to obtain service.
  • Post v. Methodist Medical Center of Illinois (3d Dist. 2008) Interpretation of 735 ILCS 5/622 certificate of merit requirements. 
  • Helfers-Beitz v. Degleman 406 Ill. App. 3d 264, 939 N.E.2d 1087 (3d Dist. 2010) Hospital not responsible for physician's acts of sexual misconduct nor for negligent hiring, credentialing or retention where hospital made reasonable inquiry.


  • Represented physicians and nurses in disciplinary proceedings before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
  • Represented large multi-specialty physician group in sale of group to hospital.
  • Represented hospitals and physicians in purchase of physician practices.
  • Drafted medical staff bylaws, codes of ethics, HIPAA and corporate compliance programs, and contracts for numerous hospitals.
  • Represented hospitals and physicians in medical staff privilege proceedings.
  • Represented hospitals against actions by governmental agencies including, but not limited to, charity care, cost reporting, and EMTALA violations.


“Battery Claim Arising From Use of New Medical Device Dismissed,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2019)

“First District Holds Expert Redesignated as Consultant Is Entitled to Consultant’s Privilege Against Disclosure,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2019)

“Liability Law,” The Law of Medical Practice in Illinois, 3d, Vol. 21, Illinois Practice Series (2019)

“Products Liability, and Birth-Related Causes of Action,” sections in The Law of Medical Practice in Illinois, 3d, Vol. 21, Illinois Practice Series (2018)

“Certain Patient Records Deemed Privileged Under Patient Safety Act,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article

"Trial," chapter in Medical Malpractice, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2018) - Read Excerpt

“Appellate Court Addresses Standard for Proximate cause Opinion Testimony and Plaintiff’s Use of Voluntary Dismissal as a Tool to Disclose Additional Experts,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article

“Isn’t Every Party Entitled to be Represented by its Own Attorney? Take Note of Gapinski v. Gujrati,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article

“Hospitals Beware: Apparent Agency Claims May Arise From Treatment Rendered at Offsite, Independent Clinics,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article

"Timeshare Arrangements Exception to Stark Law Offers Opportunities in Rural/Underserved Communities," American Bar Association, Health Law Litigation (2016)

"Appellate Court Addresses Issue of First Impression Concerning Apparent Agency, Consent Forms and a Non-English Speaking Patient," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article

"Illinois Supreme Court Addresses Various Privilege Claims in the Case of a Negligent Credentialing Claim in Klaine v. Southern Illinois Hospital Services," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article 

Click here to view full list.

Public Speaking

“Defending Licensing Disciplinary Actions”
Illinois Provider Trust Annual Meeting 2018

“Get on Board! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!”
Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), Annual Conference 2017

“Recent Trends in Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Actions”
Heyl Royster's 32nd Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2017

“Physician Lease Arrangements: New Rules”
Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), Annual Conference 2016

“Legal Options for Specialty Physician Contracting”
Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) Webinar 2016

“How to Prepare Physicians and Nurses for Deposition and Trial Testimony When They Are Overly Emotional About the Case”
Illinois Society of Healthcare Risk Management Annual Meeting 2013

“Update On Corporate Compliance”
Proctor Hospital 2012

“Defense Handling of Day In the Life Videos”
Illinois Defense Counsel Spring Symposium (Chicago) 2012

“Guilty/Not Guilty - It’s Up to You!”
Family Practice Residency Program 2009

“Health Law 101”
Community Memorial Hospital 2009

Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Chosen as one of the Best Lawyers in America (2015-2020): Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.
  • Named to the Illinois Super Lawyers list (2014-2020). 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. 
  • Mentioned in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine for successful resolution of hospital catastrophic injury case.

Professional Associations

  • Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys (Past President)
  • Illinois Society of Healthcare Risk Management (Past President)
  • Abraham Lincoln Court (Past President)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC Quarterly Health Law columnist)
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Peoria County Bar Association

Court Admissions

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

Community Involvement

  • Graduate, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School
  • Sponsor, Peoria Area Youth Tennis Programs
  • Heart of Illinois United Way Pillars Society