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Illinois Attorneys Obtain Dismissal in Product Liability Claim

Chicago attorneys Scott D. Stephenson and Kunal M. Ganti obtained dismissal for our outdoor canopy supplier client on the grounds of jurisdiction in a strict product liability case with potential for high exposure.

In this case, the plaintiff originally sued the defendant/third-party plaintiff event company, alleging that it had negligently erected an outdoor canopy. The event company filed a third-party complaint for contribution to bring in our client as a third-party defendant.

In their complaint, defendant/third-party plaintiff alleged that the canopy was supplied by our client and it had struck the plaintiff in the head after it collapsed during inclement, windy weather. Subsequently, our client was named as a direct defendant in the underlying suit.

In response, our attorneys filed a motion to dismiss our client from both suits, arguing that the Circuit Court of Cook County lacked jurisdiction over our client. During the proceedings, the Cook County Court permitted written and oral discovery related to the jurisdictional issues in the case, and this included presenting our client’s corporate representative for deposition regarding our client’s connection to Illinois.

After fully briefing the motion to dismiss in October 2020, the Court issued a written opinion granting our attorneys’ motion to dismiss, ruling in our client’s favor. While plaintiff, in the underlying matter, did not appeal the decision, the defendant/third-party plaintiff filed a notice of appeal in November 2020. The appeal was then voluntarily dismissed in April 2021.

Scott is a trial attorney and handles complex commercial litigation for manufacturers, distributors and retailers in products liability cases, as well as manufacturers in toxic tort cases. He also represents owners, developers, general contractors and sub-contractors, and has extensive experience handling construction injury and defect cases, and premises liability claims. Additionally, Scott defends clients in trucking and commercial vehicle litigation.

Kunal focuses his practice on defending long-term care facilities and medical malpractice claims. He also represents manufacturers and employers in products liability, toxic tort and occupational injury cases. Additionally, Kunal defends workers’ compensation claims and has first chair experience before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.