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James E. Abbott

James E. Abbott


IL – Chicago
T: 312.781.6572 | F: 312.781.6630


Jim is an experienced trial attorney who concentrates his practice in defending professionals, businesses, nonprofit and municipal entities. He has tried cases throughout Illinois in state and federal courts. Additionally, he has been admitted pro hac vice for trials in multiple states as lead counsel or to serve as national/regional coordinating counsel.

Jim frequently takes on difficult but topical cases that garner media attention, such as opioid litigation as well as cases alleging negligence and abuse in churches, nonprofit and youth organizations. He also defends clients in catastrophic injury and wrongful death actions. Jim’s devotion to his clients and fearless demeanor in the courtroom is unwavering. As a result, Jim’s clients know that they can count on him to try any case, no matter the odds. In some cases, this includes asking him to appear late in high exposure cases after settlement negotiations have failed.

Jim applies his results-oriented attitude to his representation of professionals from all backgrounds. He regularly defends doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies and pharmacists, and long term care facilities in malpractice and regulatory matters. He has particular expertise in defending actions alleging complex medication errors. Jim also takes great pride in being a go-to advocate for those in his own profession–when other attorneys are sued for legal malpractice. He likewise defends accountants, architects and engineers in malpractice matters.

Jim understands that businesses face unique challenges when sued. He works tirelessly to make his clients relatable to a jury in order to combat a “David vs. Goliath” scenario in court. This approach has proved successful in his premises liability and products liability practice, which is focused on asbestos, mass tort and toxic tort litigation. He also defends clients in contract and warranty actions, non-compete claims, consumer fraud and unfair business practice actions. Jim handles class action defense and represents businesses in retaliatory discharge and discrimination actions, and participates on Litchfield Cavo LLP’s COVID-19 Resource Team.


  • Obtained favorable jury verdict for EMS company and the driver of its ambulance following an accident in which our client ran a red light and collided with Plaintiff’s vehicle, contributing to Plaintiff sustaining injuries; the Defense offered a high policy limit settlement, that Plaintiff rejected, and demanded more than $10 million. The jury ultimately awarded Plaintiff nearly $200,000 less than the policy limit that was offered by our client to settle.
    • Rebecca Tornga, v. American Ambulance, LLC, et al., 2023 WL 8112668
  • Obtained summary judgment after Plaintiff sustained injuries while walking through our security services client’s checkpoint; after the Court denied our motion for summary judgment, our Defense attorneys’ moved for reconsideration on grounds that the Court misapplied the law, and the Court reversed its prior ruling that our client’s metal detector was defective.
    • Howard Odes v. Andy Frain Services, Inc., 2019 L 007971, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL
  • Prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of attorney clients in “case within a case” legal malpractice action filed by multi-millionaire bond trader against his former attorneys. Plaintiff alleged that his former attorneys negligently handled an underlying accounting malpractice action filed on plaintiff’s behalf. Plaintiff alleged that the accounting and subsequent legal malpractice acts and omissions cost him enormous sums of money in the form of back taxes, fines and penalties with the IRS and Illinois Department of Revenue.
    • Baldwin v. Starr & Assoc., et al, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL
  • Prevailed on summary judgment for events promotion company client in heavily publicized wrongful death action in which 23 year old woman fell from a four story balcony at a prominent Chicago hotel and died while attending a large Halloween party of millennial age patrons, which defendant-client organized, promoted and managed.
    • Duskey v. Andrenaline Y2K, et. al., Circuit Court of Cook County, IL
  • Defense verdict for dentist client who allegedly failed to properly perform multiple extractions and dental implant surgery on a woman in her mid- 30s, which allegedly resulted in severe infection, comprehensive bone loss and permanent loss of numerous teeth. The jury also found in dentist client’s favor on an informed consent count.
    • Panszczyk v. ACDI, et al, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL
  • Summary judgment granted in favor of dental clinic client in an employment discrimination action.
    • Karagiannis v. Allcare Dental Mgt., LLC, U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D.Ill.
  • Successful binding arbitration for pharmacist/pharmacy clients significantly mitigated client’s damages. Following group settlement of case with numerous medical defendants stemming from alleged medication error that resulted in plaintiff’s permanent paraplegia, the defendants proceeded to binding arbitration to determine causal negligence attributable to each defendant in order to apportion the group settlement. Arbitration panel found pharmacy client had the least causal negligence among all of the defendants.
    • Antoine v. Roeschen’s Healthcare, et al, Ozaukee County, WI
  • Defense verdict for gastroenterologist client in wrongful death malpractice action alleging that gastroenterologist failed to timely diagnose and treat colon cancer following colonoscopy that revealed ulcerative colitis. The decedent was a 37 year old with a spouse and 4 young children. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for $16 million but awarded plaintiff nothing.
    • Estate of Bosco v. Orbeta, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL; Defense verdict upheld on appeal, (388 Ill.App.3d 450, 903 N.E.2d 756 (1st 2009))
  • Defense verdict on behalf of obstetrician client who attempted a vaginal birth after cesarean section (“VBAC”) delivery on a woman whose uterus ruptured, which resulted in the birth of a neurologically and physically impaired child. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for $25 million, and after 4 days of deliberation the jury found for obstetrician client.
    • Strino v. Lindemulder, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL
  • Represented the City of Chicago in eminent domain dispute over fair market value of private property wherein the City sought land for use as a new fire department building. Jury awarded property owner several hundred thousand dollars less than its asking price for the land.
    • Public Building Commission of Chicago v. SWM Ventures, Inc., Circuit Court of Cook County, IL
  • Verdict on behalf of insurance company client in declaratory judgment action in which policy holder, a chiropractor, brought counterclaim for breach of disability contract. Successfully argued that chiropractor was in fact able to perform his job duties, and jury found in favor of insurance company client.
    • General American Life Ins. Co. v. Klatz, U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D.Ill.
  • Following unsuccessful jury trial in high profile retaliatory discharge case, mitigated the verdict with a partially successful post trial motion on behalf of defendant Township client. Plaintiffs, a township police chief and a deputy, alleged that they were unlawfully fired by the township president because they assisted the U.S. Justice Department in an ongoing criminal investigation against the township’s president, who conspired to steal millions of dollars from township funds and was eventually convicted. The court partially granted judgment in favor of the Township on grounds that the jury verdict was inconsistent as to the 1st Amendment claim and due process property claim.
    • David Niebur & Phillip Bue v. Town of Cicero, et. al., 212 F.Supp.2d 790 U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill. (May 15, 2002)
  • Successfully briefed and argued complex contract action in the 5th District appellate court on behalf of financial services company client that purchased an annuity from the beneficiary of a structured settlement in exchange for lump sum payments to the beneficiary. In finding for the financial services company, the 5th District reversed the decision by the Circuit Court of Wayne County, which had blocked the annuity purchase.
    • In re Estate of William Shanan Powless, 315 Ill. App. 3d 859, 734 N.E.2d 111 (5th Dist. IL 2000)