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SRC Attorneys Successful in Recent Engineering Litigation Appeals

Jeffrey T. Kubes, Thomas W. Mulcahy and Clare J. Quish Successfully Win Appeal on Behalf of an Engineer.

Jeffrey T. Kubes, Thomas W. Mulcahy and Clare J. Quish successfully defended an appeal on behalf of John E. Warmelink, the former Town Engineer for the Town of Merrillville, Indiana. Harvey, Jr., v. Town of Merrillville, et al., No. 11-1041 (7th Cir. July 11, 2011). The appeal centered on a retention pond within a subdivision of Merrillville, Indiana. Plaintiffs brought claims against the Town, Warmelink, and numerous employees of the Town, among others, alleging violations of their equal protection rights under Section 1983, negligence and various other claims. The district court granted summary judgment to Warmelink and several other defendants on plaintiffs' Section 1983 claims, holding that plaintiffs could not prove an essential element of those claims. Specifically, the court held that plaintiffs' Section 1983 equal protection claim failed because plaintiffs could not identify a similarly-situated class that the Town, Warmelink and the other defendants treated more favorably. The district court also held that plaintiffs failed to show that Warmelink and the other defendants deprived them of their right to equal protection.

Following oral argument by Clare J. Quish, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Warmelink and unanimously affirmed the district court's decision. The Seventh Circuit held that plaintiffs could not prove that they were treated differently than similarly-situated members of an unprotected class and thus, their Section 1983 claim failed. The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that their First Amendment rights to free speech were violated and dismissed all of plaintiffs' remaining claims against Warmelink.

For a copy of the opinion, click here.


Judgment Affirmed — Jeffrey T. Kubes, Clare J. Quish and Ryan T. Johnson Successfully Uphold Grant of Summary Judgment to Traffic Engineer on Appeal. 

Jeffrey T. Kubes, Clare J. Quish and Ryan T. Johnson successfully defended an appeal on behalf of Wilbur Smith Associates, Inc. ("WSA"), a traffic engineering firm. Martinez v. Illinois State Toll Highway Authority et al., No. 1-10-1742 (Ill. App. Ct., First Dist., June 29, 2011). This appeal arose from a fatal traffic accident at a toll plaza on Interstate 294. The driver of a semi-tractor trailer loaded with steel accidently inhaled bleach fumes while driving and crashed into plaintiffs' stopped vehicle. Plaintiffs sued the driver, his employer, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority ("ISTHA"), WSA and CTE. Plaintiffs alleged that ISTHA, WSA and CTE negligently designed and constructed the toll plaza and improperly located the truck I-Pass lane next to a manual car lane. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of WSA on all of plaintiffs' claims, holding that the sole proximate cause of plaintiffs' accident was the actions of the truck driver who became unconscious and drove his out-of-control truck into plaintiffs' vehicle.

In a unanimous decision, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, ruled for WSA and affirmed the trial court's judgment. The appellate court held that, although it was foreseeable that a driver could lose control of his truck and crash into a toll plaza, the driver in this case did not lose control because of the location of the truck I-Pass lane. Rather, the sole proximate cause of the plaintiffs' accident was the truck driver's act of driving his out-of-control truck into plaintiffs' vehicle, and not any alleged actions or omissions of WSA.

For a copy of the Rule 23 decision, click here.

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