Heyl Royster



Heyl Royster Partners Matt Booker and Mike Kokal Successfully Try Cases


Mike Kokal and Matt Booker, partners in the firm's Springfield office, have recently tried cases to successful verdicts.

Mike Kokal tried an auto accident case in St. Clair County that resulted in a defense verdict. Plaintiff's attorney had asked the jury for more than $500,000 at the completion of the four-day trial. In this rear-end auto collision case, the court entered summary judgment on liability in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged he had three neck surgeries and was disabled after the accident and suffered from depression, pain, and headaches, and an inability to walk without a cane.

Mike Kokal also tried a auto/motorcycle case in Adams County where the insured car pulled in front of a motorcycle. The insured driver was ticketed for the accident. Plaintiff claimed scarring, disability at work, continued pain with joint effusion and other soft tissue injuries. The $25,000 verdict was significantly below plaintiff's lowest settlement demand prior to trial.



Matt Booker tried a vehicular case in Sangamon County. The insured driver turned the wrong way onto a one-way street, directly in front of an oncoming motorcycle. The rider of motorcycle was thrown off the motorcycle and over the hood of the defendant's vehicle. The plaintiff was transported via ambulance to a local emergency room where he was evaluated for non-life threatening injuries, including a broken bone in his foot. The plaintiff continued to have follow-up care, culminating in an extended course of chiropractic treatment. The plaintiff claimed $12,500 in medical bills (including the chiropractic care), $10,500 in lost wages, $15,000 in pain and suffering, and $20,000 for loss of normal life. Evidence was introduced at trial, however, of photographs of the plaintiff recovered from a social-networking site. These photographs documented plaintiff participating in high-speed motorcycle races after the accident in question. The jury awarded $9,500 in medical bills (jury excluded any recovery for chiropractic treatment), $1,000 in lost wages, $500 for pain and suffering and $0 for loss of normal life. The verdict was significantly below plaintiff's final settlement demand.



Matt Booker also tried a nursing home case in Sangamon County. The daughter of the deceased nursing home resident filed suit over alleged poor treatment. Specifically, the daughter of the decedent claimed multiple violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act which resulted in multiple pressure sores on the decedent. The pressure sores were alleged to have caused the death of the resident. Plaintiff also submitted evidence that on 79 separate occasions, the facility failed to follow treatment orders from the physician. Defense argued the pressure ulcers were unavoidable. Plaintiff claimed $33,500 in medical expenses before the death of the resident. A Sangamon County jury awarded $100,000 total; an award for the medical expenses was given, as well as $66,500 for emotional distress for the resident. Zero dollars were awarded for pain and suffering and $0 was awarded for loss of society of the next of kin. The total jury award was several hundred thousand dollars below plaintiff's "final" settlement demand.