Writing Persuasively

Pointers on Appeal

© By William Lazarus 1.  Consider whether the appeal makes sense. Why are you likely to beat the odds that the trial court will be affirmed? Do you have an issue particularly worthy of challenge? If so, is your case a good vehicle for raising that issue? If you’ve won below, what are the weak [...]

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Focus on drunk driving

On Stage Productions, a West Chicago striptease club, claimed it was immune from any accountability for its role in encouraging patron John D. Homatas to drink beyond drunkenness and then directing him to drive away after he vomited in the bathroom. Homatas soon crashed, killing three people. In March 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit against On Stage to proceed. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association submitted a friend-of-the-court brief written by William Lazarus for the court’s consideration.

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High court rejects immunity claim

A West Chicago striptease club, argued it could not be held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that it forced a sick, drunk customer to drive away. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Illinois Supreme Court. The brief, written by William Lazarus, begins: “On Stage Productions, Inc. banks on its own lawlessness in arguing that its wanton behavior is immune from the rule of law.” On March 18, 2010, the high court ruled in plaintiffs’ favor, allowing the case to proceed. Simmons v. Homatas, 236 Ill.2d 459 (2010). The body of ITLA’s brief follows.

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Sexual battery claim against physician before high court.

Did Dr. Schroeder’s alleged battery of a patient arise out of patient care? The patient’s right to sue the hospital where the act occurred hinges on the answer. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association submitted its proposed friend-of-the-court brief written by William Lazarus on the issue.

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Approaching the Appeal

©By William Lazarus Trial lawyers are masters at pounding the facts and persuading the jury.  Oral advocacy dominates the trial. A skillful advocate builds the evidence, raising the drama as the trial develops. The resulting emotional impact, as well as the evidence itself, drives the verdict. Appeals are a different creature. The brief is the [...]

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Franciose v. Jones

Franciose v. Jones – On May 29, 2009, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld our verdict on behalf of plaintiff Aaron Jones. One issue in the appeal was co-defendant Ray Ramirez’s contention that Jones unreasonably put himself in danger, making the rescue doctrine inapplicable. Portions our facts statement and legal argument follow.

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Brief in scope of employment appeal

This appellate brief, which Lazarus wrote on a contingency fee basis, argues that an employee was acting within the scope of his employment as he drove from his home in Plainfield, Ill., carrying construction tools as required to that day’s jobsite at McCormick Place. Plaintiff now is seeking leave to appeal in the Illinois Supreme Court.

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Refocusing with replies

The steel mill argued the plaintiff was its employee. But the purchase order indicated Darryl was nothing more than a part supplied by his real employer. The documents added grist to our reply on appeal.

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Safeguarding dangerous design – a brief sample

Due to her unbending insistence on the “open and obvious” doctrine, the judge was unwilling to consider how the design defects related to the hazard and the resulting tragedy. Unwilling to consider the realities, the judge insisted upon transcendental proof in the name of science. Indiana law,however, is not so finicky in cases where hazards are clear.
A case description and sample from our brief follow.

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Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the State of Indiana v. Howard

We represented the parents of Amber Howard, who drove her car off a steep drop-off at the edge of a highway under construction one dark night. Required barrels and safety cones were not set out to mark the hazard. In an interlocutory appeal from the denial of summary judgment, INDOT argued that its only duty [...]

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