DBMS takes lead against Illinois six-person jury ruling

December 22, 2015

Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth were lead trial counsel in the successful argument against the law that limits to six the number jurors in Illinois civil trials, arguably the most significant constitutional ruling in Illinois legal proceedings in the past several decades.
The constitutionality of the issue, known as Public Act 98-1132, was raised in many cases since it took effect on June 1. Kakos v. Butler – in which DBMS represented a defendant on a medical malpractice issue – was chosen as the test case to address the issues at play. 
DBMS’ Robert Smyth and Laura Coffey wrote the comprehensive brief on the unconstitutionality of mandating a six-person jury. Much of their brief was adopted in the authoritative 27-page ruling by Cook County Associate Judge William Gomolinski, in which he struck down the existing law ruling that the requirement of a six-person jury in lieu of the traditional 12-person jury violated Section 13 of the Illinois Constitution
“This is a gratifying day for Illinois litigants who want to have a fair trial,” Smyth said. “Although plaintiff’s counsel has expressed plans to appeal, we are confident the Illinois Supreme Court will uphold the ruling.” 

Read coverage from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin here. The ruling has also been covered by the Associated Press, Crain's Chicago Business and Law360.