Goldberg Segalla’s Donald Patrick Eckler Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Illinois Defense Counsel

Goldberg Segalla’s Donald Patrick Eckler Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Illinois Defense Counsel

January 5, 2022

Donald Patrick Eckler, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Management and Professional Liability group in Chicago, has written and filed an amicus curiae brief for the Illinois Supreme Court regarding the protection of civil defense attorneys from the assessment of punitive damages.

Pat’s brief, on behalf of the Illinois Defense Counsel (IDC), argues that the court should reverse the decision of the Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fifth District in the matter of Midwest Sanitary Service, Inc. v. Sandberg, Phoenix, & Van Gontard, P.C. which allows the plaintiffs to recover the punitive damages portion of a jury verdict in a legal malpractice case.

The IDC is made up of about 600 Illinois attorneys who devote a substantial portion of their practice to the representation of business, corporate, insurance, professional, governmental, and other individual defendants in civil litigation. For more than 50 years, it has been the mission of the IDC to ensure civil justice with integrity, civility, and professional competence.

From the application:

The IDC has a substantial interest in maintaining the continuity, uniformity and predictability of Illinois law. The IDC respectfully submits that this Court should employ the reasoning of its decision in Tri-G, Inc. v. Burke, Bosselman & Weaver, 222 Ill.2d 218 (2006) and thereby apply the same interpretation of 735 ILCS 5/2-1115 to protect civil defense lawyers from the assessment of punitive damages that it previously has used to shield plaintiffs’ lawyers. This will promote uniformity in the law for all lawyers no matter who they represent. Moreover, the decision in this case will directly affect the interests of IDC members who, if the lower courts’ decisions are affirmed, will be subject to punitive damages for alleged mere negligence.

Pat sits on the Illinois Defense Counsel Board of Directors and is Chair of its Legislative Committee. Pat is also President of the Professional Liability Defense Federation.


Donald Patrick Eckler is a highly experienced litigator who focuses his practice on defending lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, and other professionals in a variety of civil disputes in state and federal courts across Illinois and Indiana. His practice ranges from representing insurers in coverage disputes to defending professionals, businesses, and tort defendants in complex litigation. Pat’s commercial litigation experience involves complex contract disputes and class-action lawsuits. His coverage practice for insurers and the insured involves commercial general liability and personal lines policies, issues involving the duty to defend and indemnify, bad faith, and the application of exclusions.