Donald G. Peterson
Donald Peterson is of counsel Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. Mr. Peterson is among a few lawyers to have appeared both before the United States Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, in addition to trying many cases to juries in the state and federal trial courts.
Mr. Peterson’s depth of legal experience in business, engineering, financial, and insurance issues spans a wide range of civil litigation and dispute resolution. His trial and appellate practice concentrates on claims of professional liability. In representing design professionals, accountants and lawyers, he assists in claim avoidance and provides lawsuit defense. He joined the firm in 2000.
Mr. Peterson is retained by lawyer and accountant professional liability insurers and by self-insured and insured design professionals. He represents enterprises throughout the United States and from Europe. He has had over 100 jury verdicts and a variety of trial experience, including lawsuits on design and construction of public, commercial, high rise, and industrial structures. In his law practice, he also has managed construction claims and counsels on the avoidance of legal malpractice, accounting malpractice, and construction claims.
Northwestern University School of Law (J.D.)
Miami University (Ohio) (B.A.)
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – Trial Bar
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
Appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court for nine years to the Supreme Court Rules Committee
Included on the Illinois Super Lawyers® list (2007-2011)
AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
Best’s Listed Recommended Attorney
Recipient of the Board of Governors Award of the Illinois State Bar Association
Leading Lawyer — Illinois Leading Lawyers Network
MEMBERSHIPS / ASSOCIATIONS
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Illinois State Bar Association
- — Board of Governors
- — Chair, Civil Practice Section Council
- — Chair, Mandatory CLE Committee
- — Member, Professional Conduct Standing Committee for ten years
- — Chair, Professional Quality in the Practice of Law Committee
Member, Chicago Bar Association
- — Chair, Judiciary Committee
Member, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
Member, Society of Trial Lawyers
- — Board of Directors
Member, Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois
- — Board of Directors
Member, Professional Liability Underwriting Society
Legal Forum Participant, American Council of Engineering Companies
Associate Member, American Institute of Architects
Arbitrator, International Chamber of Commerce – USCIB
Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County
Judicial Estoppel Based on a Judicial Admission Should be Decided on a Dispositive Motion, 18 IDC Quarterly 48 (2008). Read More.
Avoiding Legal Malpractice, 38 CBA Record 20 (2006).
Editor, Illinois Bar Journal (for two years)
Editor, Trial Briefs Newsletter, Illinois State Bar Association (for six years)
SPEECHES AND PRESENTATIONS
Professional Liability: Both Sides of a Legal Malpractice Claim, presentation before the West Suburban Bar Association (May 14, 2012 ).
Legal Ethics and Legal Malpractice in Handling a Workers’ Compensation Claim, Address before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association (May 9, 2011).
Speaker for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Council of Professional Engineers, National Institute of Municipal Law Officers, and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors programs and seminars on topics of civil practice, litigation, and professional liability
Teacher, “Trial Skills for Practicing Attorneys”
Civil rights wrongful death. Before the U.S. Supreme Court, obtained review by writ of certiorari and prevailed in reversing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and in affirming the trial court in the denial of plaintiff’s statutory attorney fees against defendant police officers in a wrongful death civil rights suit.
Trucking catastrophic injury. Before the Illinois Supreme Court, obtained review by petition for leave to appeal for a truck fleet lessor and mooted a $21 million judgment.
Construction injury. Before the Illinois Supreme Court, obtained review by petition for leave to appeal the 4-year statute of limitations for a construction injury.
Construction catastrophic injury. Before the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, prevailed by using the 2-year Contribution Act statute of limitations for a concrete erector to defeat a claim for a catastrophic injury.
Federal civil engineering project insurance coverage. Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, prevailed by an affirmance for an Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging contractor of insurance coverage for a catastrophic injury claim.
Firefighter injury product liability. Before the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, prevailed by reversing the trial court and thereby barring a product liability claim for the fire helmet of the plaintiff firefighter.
FLSA class action. Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, prevailed for the employee class members by affirming the trial court in applying the Fair Labor Standards Act to a public entity for wage and hour claims.
Motor vehicle catastrophic injury. Before the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, prevailed for a motor vehicle insurer by affirmance of a motion to dismiss in a suit which sought payment of a $15 million judgment.
Construction defects. Before the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, prevailed by a directed jury verdict, affirmed on appeal, for a precast concrete fabricator in a building construction defects claim that resulted in a $8,346,889 consequential and punitive damages verdict against the general contractor.
Sewer construction gas explosion wrongful death. Prevailed for a sewer contractor by a directed jury verdict on a claim for the wrongful death of a bystander from a gas explosion of the street during excavation. Not appealed.
Consumer product liability injury. Prevailed by a not guilty jury verdict for a hair dryer manufacturer in a wrongful death products suit. Affirmed on appeal.
Machine tool product liability. Before the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, prevailed by a not guilty jury verdict for a press brake manufacturer in a product liability arm crushing injury suit. Affirmed on appeal.
Safety equipment product liability. Prevailed by a not guilty jury verdict for a safety eyeglasses manufacturer in product liability eye loss suit. Affirmed on appeal.
Civil rights wrongful death. Before the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, prevailed for defendant police officers with a $60,000 jury verdict in a civil rights wrongful death claim for the police shooting of the deceased in his home.
OTHER LITIGATION SUBJECT MATTERS
Commercial high rise construction defect. Resolved for a general contractor a high rise construction design defect suit without a trial.
Residential high rise construction defect. Resolved for a design professional a high rise construction design defect suit without a trial.
Municipal structure construction defect. Prevailed for a design professional by a motion to dismiss the owner’s claim of design defect in a municipal center structure. Affirmed on appeal.
Public water reservoir construction defect. Before the owner sued the contractor, resolved for a design professional a defect claim in a water reservoir failure during construction.
Sewer design of annexed residential development. Prevailed for a design professional by a motion to dismiss the developer’s claim for damages for a post-annexation, failed development project. Not appealed.
Super fund site environmental insurance. Before the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, obtained for the policyholder the insurer’s liability coverage for a superfund site without a trial.
Matrimonial law malpractice. Prevailed by motion to dismiss in a suit for attorney fees which were allegedly incurred because of legal malpractice in including a modification clause in a marital settlement agreement.
Shareholder dispute accounting malpractice. Resolved for the defendant accounting firm the claim of its corporate client’s minority shareholder of lost profits, allegedly caused by reviewed financial statements.
Workers’ compensation law malpractice. Resolved for the defendant workers’ compensation lawyers their client’s claim for alleged workers’ compensation benefits that had been released by a lump sum settlement.