Proven Success In The Courtroom
Donald E. Stellato Sr. is an experienced trial lawyer intimately familiar with the law, strategy and discovery tactics for settlement and trial of personal injury and wrongful death matters. Over his career, he has personally taken more than 50 cases to jury trial verdict involving cases with damages of the most severe kind. In addition, he has personally supervised more than 250 other cases to jury trial verdict with partners and associates at his firm. Indeed, some of his trial results have been recognized as record or significant jury verdicts with some noteworthy and successful results as follows:
1984 Blacconeri v Aguayo (Cook)
This verdict established a State of Illinois record that still stands. It was a pedestrian/auto accident case involving 15 fractures. It is significant for the largest percentage of comparative fault (99%) assessed by a jury against a plaintiff in a personal injury trial. It was also affirmed on appeal. See 478 N.E.2d 546 (1985).
1985 Estate of Pilolla v Trezise (Cook)
This was a wrongful death case arising out of a fatal pedestrian/auto accident. The jury found the decedent 49% at fault in causing her own death, denied the surviving husband any recovery due to a recent separation, and awarded extremely minimal damages to four adult children. Opposing counsel was a former ITLA President.
1987 Evans v Marcoh Investment (Cook)
This case involved an invitee customer who was seriously injured at a commercial water slide. There was extensive expert testimony on both aquatic safety and rare medical complications. A favorable verdict was obtained after a 17-day jury trial.
1992 Frantz v Per Mar Security (Cook)
This case involved a night shift worker who sued a security company and its guards for severe injuries stemming from a criminal assault on the protected premises. A favorable verdict was obtained after a lengthy jury trial with extensive expert testimony on security procedures and protocol and various medical issues.
1994 Estate of Craig v Jewel Food Stores (Rolling Meadows)
This was a classic slip-and-fall case involving a customer in a grocery store. A fracture allegedly led to a fatal pulmonary embolism in this wrongful death case. The jury rejected the claims of negligence and a causal relationship between the event and the death.
1994 Amu v K-Mart (Cook)
This was basically a civil rights case. A shopper sued the store for battery, false arrest, and malicious prosecution. Both compensatory and punitive damages were sought and the assets of the corporate defendant became an issue as a result of the latter damages claim. However, absolutely nothing was awarded.
In 1996, the Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin began publishing an annual list of the “top” jury verdicts. Each year ten or so jury trial verdicts were highlighted as outstanding results. At least four such outstanding jury trial results belong to Mr. Stellato as follows:
1996 Shahsavar v Siske (Cook)
This difficult case involved severe injury claims including brain damage arising out of an intersectional auto accident. Both liability and damages were contested issues in the trial. Extensive expert testimony was given on cognitive matters and independent medical examinations as well as accident reconstruction. A complete exoneration of the defense was obtained. Additionally, and importantly, this result was not only honored as a “top” defense verdict in 1996, but was later selected in 2012 by the distinguished publisher of the verdict reporter as one of the five most outstanding defense verdicts published in the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter during the previous 15 years! See “Defense Verdicts of Note – My Arbitrary and Unscientific Selections” by John Kirkton, Illinois Jury Verdicts 2010-2011, P.8 (2012).
1996 Estate of Rivas v El Hogar Del Nino (Cook)
This was a tragic educational malpractice case involving the death of a child. On a field trip with students to a skating rink, a six year old on skates fell and suffered a severe head injury. After a nine-month coma, he expired. Numerous expert witnesses testified in the fields of recreation, education and medicine. This defense verdict was also selected as one of the “top” jury trial results for this year.
1998 Bottcher v Wernquist (McHenry)
This was a work injury case where a worker fell off of a roof. He was impaled on a post resulting in serious and unique injuries, medical care and treatment. This was one of the “top” defense verdicts for this year.
2007 Mallen v Regional Distribution (Cook)
This was a motorcycle/truck accident case with severe injuries. A respectable high school teacher was on a motorcycle when he “laid it down” to avoid what he thought was going to be a collision with a turning delivery truck. No contact was actually made between the vehicles. High speed was only circumstantial but persuasive enough to obtain a favorable “top” verdict.
Put Success To Work For You
As indicated by the diverse sampling of cases Mr. Stellato has taken to jury trial verdict, he has handled virtually every type of tort litigation over his career. Being licensed in both state and federal courts, the scope of his representation of clients has also covered most every court and county in Illinois with particular emphasis on the litigious counties in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. In addition, acting as national counsel for various insurance companies, Mr. Stellato has furthermore consulted on numerous matters that pend in other jurisdictions.