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James Hofert is an experienced trial lawyer who has a substantial practice in the areas of complex tort litigation, toxic tort, product liability, insurance bad faith and medical malpractice. His cases have involved alleged injury from exposure to inorganic acids (sulfuric and hydrofluoric acid) and caustic soda, as well as organic chemicals including chlorinated solvents, benzene and diacetyl. He has defended environmental law cases involving chlorinated hydrocarbons (chlorinated solvents, wood preservatives) brought under CERCLA, various state environmental statutes and common law actions.

Mr. Hofert has defended cases in both federal and state courts, including Illinois, California, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, Alabama, South Dakota, Michigan and Oregon. He has gone to verdict in jury trials in more than 80 lawsuits.

Professional Background

Mr. Hofert served as Assistant State’s Attorney General for the State of Illinois from 1979 to 1981

Professional Affiliations

  • Society of Trial Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Illinois State Bar Association

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by American Academy of Trial Attorneys as Premier 100 Trial Attorney 2015
  • Recognized as a Leading Lawyer in the category of Toxic Torts Defense Law
  • Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability
  • Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine
  • Selected for inclusion in the August 2008 Corporate Counsel Edition of Super Lawyers magazine, August 2008

Representative Matters

Mr. Hofert's representative toxic tort and environmental cases include:

  • Brian Hallock v. Polamone, No. 03 C 07-008244 (Circuit Court of Baltimore County,  Maryland): diacetyl exposure at a flavoring facility.

  • Irma Ortiz v. Flavor and Extract Manufacturing Association, No. BC 3264831 (Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, California): diacetyl exposure at a flavoring facility.

  • Alabama Great Southern Railroad v. Pearl River, et al., No. 95-1010 (U.S.D.C., E.D.La.): Environmental claims for soil and ground water contamination from pentachlorophenol.
  • Briargrove v. Pilgrim Enterprises, No. H-96-724 (U.S.D.C., S.D.Tex.): Perchloroethylene exposure.
  • Broderick Investments v. Monsanto, No. 86 CV 334 (Dist. Ct., Adams Cty., Colorado): Environmental claims for soil and ground water contamination from pentachlorophenol.
  • Burns v. McKesson Corporation: Third Judicial District, Madison County, Illinois Mesothelioma.
  • City of Merced v. R.A. Fields, No. 92 C 5627 (U.S.D.C., E.D.Cal.): Mass tort lawsuit involving property damage and personal injury claims arising out of alleged soil and groundwater contamination from chlorinated solvents.
  • Counts v. McKesson Corporation: 22nd Judicial Circuit, City of St. Louis, State of Missouri- Asbestosis.
  • Delores Murad v. Pilgrim, No. 96021802 (Dist. Ct., Harris City, Texas): Perchloroethylene exposure.
  • Derringer v. Wonder King: Blindness secondary to exposure to hydrofluoric acid and caustic soda.
  • Edward Hines Lumber Co. v. Vulcan, Hines Lumber Co. v. Vulcan, 685 F.Supp. 651 (N.D. Ill. 1988), aff’d. 861 F.2d 155 (7th Cir. 1988): Exposure to pentachlorophenol and arsenic salts.
  • Floyd v. VanWaters & Rogers: Inhalation injury from chlorine.
  • Jack Brown Cleaners, et al. v. Vic Manufacturing, et al., No. 98-04598 (Dist. Ct., Travis County, Texas): Mass tort lawsuit involving property damage and personal injury claims arising out of alleged soil and ground water contamination from chlorinated solvents.
  • Limanowski v. Ashland Chemical Co.: Brain damage and other injuries due to exposure to solvents in the workplace.
  • Lorentzen v. Anderson Pest Control: Northern District of Illinois—Chemical sensitivities allegedly caused by exposure to Talon G, a pesticide, and poor school building ventilation.
  • Mason v. National Interchem: Severe burns from hydrochloric acid exposure.
  • Monahan v. Vulcan: Alleged neurological injury due to heavy metal exposure.
  • Nesbitt Cleaners v. R.R. Street, et al., No. 97-58379 (Dist.Ct., Harris County, Texas): Mass tort lawsuit involving property damage and personal injury claims arising out of alleged soil and groundwater contamination from chlorinated solvents.
  • People of the State of California v. SelmaPressure Treating, et al., No. 328086-4 (Sup.Ct., Fresno City., Cal.): Claims for soil and ground water contamination from pentachlorophenol.
  • Pilgrim Cleaners, et al. v. Vulcan Materials Company, No. 95-54786 (Dist.Ct., Harris Cty., Texas): Mass tort lawsuit involving property damage and personal injury claims arising out of alleged soil and groundwater contamination from chlorinated solvents.
  • SSC v. Vulcan: Trichlorethylene exposure.
  • State of California v. Selma Pressure Treating, No. 328086-4 (Sup.Ct., Fresno Cty., Cal.): Exposure to pentachlorophenol and arsenic salts.
  • Sun Blossom v. Pilgrim, No. H-96-0405 (U.S.D.C., S.D. Tex.): Perchloroethylene exposure.
  • The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Co. v. Pearl River, No. 95-1010 (U.S. D.C., E.D. La.): Exposure to pentachlorophenol and arsenic salts.
  • W.B. Holding Corporation v. Specific Dynamics, No. 97-57964 (Dist. Ct., Harris Cty., Texas): Mass tort lawsuit involving property damage and personal injury claims arising out of alleged soil and ground water contamination from chlorinated solvents.
  • Werckenthein v. Amoco Chemical Co., et al.: Claims by laboratory chemist of liver cancer and rare skin disorders due to workplace exposure to solvents.

Mr. Hofert's representative bad faith cases include:

  • Shafer v. CUNA Mutual Insurance Company, Court No. H212145-7, Alameda County, State of California. First party bad faith case for failure to pay life insurance benefits.  Action for compensatory and punitive damages.
  • Sharon McElgunn v. CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, Docket No. Civ. 06-5061-KES, United States District Court, South Dakota, Western Division. First party bad faith case for non-ERISA disability benefits.
  • Michigan First Credit Union v. CUMIS, Docket No. 05-74423, United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division. First party bad faith case for failure to pay benefits arising out of breach of fiduciary duty by employees.
  • Richka Enterprises v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, Cause No. 012-00831A, Circuit Court, St. Louis, State of Missouri. Bad faith case arising out of third-party excess verdict as a consequence of an automobile accident.
  • Haupt v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, U.S. District Court No. 1:08-cv-00700, Federal District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Bad faith case arising out of third-party excess verdict by reason of pedestrian accident in Will County.
  • Mikel Berryman v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, Case No. 98 C 3119, United States District Court, Central District of Illinois. Third-party bad faith case arising from excess verdict as a consequence of single car accident.
  • Longview Fiber v. The Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Case No. 00 C 5730 RJB, United States District Court, Western District of Washington. First party bad faith case arising out of failure to pay benefits.
  • Peterson & Reese Enterprises v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, Case No. 97 C 02765, United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin. Bad faith case arising out of third-party excess verdict from product defect.
  • Bissell, Inc. v. Chubb Group and Federal Insurance Company, 1:07 CV 0431, District Court of Northern Michigan, Western Division. First party bad faith case for failure to pay under dishonesty provision of fidelity bond.

Mr. Hofert's representative medical malpractice cases include:

  • Sabina Miller, et al. v. Edwards Hospital, et al., 05L1192, DuPage County. Alleged failure to timely diagnose necrotic small bowel and wrongful death of unborn baby Miller. Not guilty verdict for Hinshaw’s client, the general surgeon. Guilty verdict for co-defendant hospital, which paid $11.5 million.
  • Estate of Albert Fuchsen, deceased v. Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, Dr. Robert S. Lapporte, 01L-8899. Not guilty verdict for both defendants; estate had entered into a $150,000 - $700,000 high/low agreement with hospital and $100,000 - $700,000 high/low agreement with Dr. Lapporte.
  • Huyen Nguyen, n/k/a/ Cindy Trandai v. Earl R. Turner, DuPage Motor Coach Inc., divn. of VanCom-Illinois Inc.. 00L-6805. Deadlocked verdict for all defendants after nine hours of deliberations.
  • Erica Velez v. Dr. Steven Kooperman, Northwest Women’s Consultants S.C., 04L-1214.  Not guilty verdict for both defendants.
  • Estate of Anna Moss, deceased v. Dr. David Kintanar, Dr. Adolfo Maglaya, 02L-6836. Not guilty verdict for both defendants.
  • Estate of Joseph Jones, deceased v. St. Bernard Hospital, Dr. Gilbert Arevalo, Dr. Nagui Hanna, South Yale Emergy Physicians S.C., Dr. Douglas G. Bushell, D.O., Dr. Adolfo Maglaya, Dr. Adel Zayyad, 03L-6833. Not guilty verdict for all defendants.
  • William Scardina v. Dr. Shin Nam, et al., Court No. 95 L 5156—Alleged failure to diagnose bowel fistula. Defense verdict.
  • Estate of Laura Cullnan v. Dr. Barbara Brotine, et al.—Law Division, Cook County, Court No. 01 L 1860. Medical malpractice claim related to alleged failure to diagnose coronary artery disease in a 40 year old woman. Defense verdict.
  • Estate of Nicole Chuk v. Highland Park Hospital et al., Court No. 97 L 3949—Medical malpractice claim for alleged obstetrical malpractice resulting in death of newborn. Defense verdict.
  • Estate of Dennis Clark v. Westlake Community Hospital, et al. Court No. 97 L 12956. Medical malpractice claim relating to an alleged failure to diagnose cardiac ischemia. Defense verdict.
  • Estate of City of Spiros Giatras v. Dr. William Piccione, et al., Court No. 97 L 2534—Alleged medical malpractice relating to heart transplant. Defense verdict.
  • Estate of Ralph Fasano v. Dr. Theodore Gasteyer; Medical malpractice claim relating to an alleged failure to diagnose lung cancer. Defense verdict.
  • Estate of Janice Beyer v. Dr. Kenneth Wilcox, et al., Alleged medical malpractice claim relating to failure to diagnose astrocytoma. Verdict: $225,000.00 in a wrongful death case involving $700,000.00 offer.
  • Susan Zorvos v. Dr. Allen McCall, et al.,—Claimed surgical medical malpractice in relationship to performed L5-S1 hemilaminectomy. Defense verdict.
  • Cybil and Richard Gurgel v. Dr. Edward Rodriquez, et al. – Alleged surgical medical malpractice resulting in fistula. Defense verdict.
  • Solich v. Portis Cancer Prevention Center, et al.—Defense verdict as to Cancer Prevention Center in a failure to diagnose silicosis.
  • Estate of Denise O'Brien v. John Meyer, et al.,—Failure to diagnose lung cancer. Defense verdict.
  • Obonilla v. Dr. Young, et al.—An alleged failure to remove catheter during surgery. Defense verdict.
  • Woodley v. Roseland Community Hospital, et al.—Failure to diagnose ankle fracture. Defense verdict. 
  • Vieta v. Belhaven Nursing Home—Failure to diagnose peripheral vascular disease resulting in double amputation. Defense verdict.
  • Gordon v. Joel Shalowitz, et al.,— Failure to diagnose plaintiff's cardiovascular condition and control diabetes. Defense verdict.
  • Danner v. Grant Hospital,—Obstetrical medical malpractice relating to a failure to diagnose hypoxia. Defense verdict.

Presentations

Mr. Hofert speaks to a variety of organizations. His presentations include:

  • "Everyday Evidence Errors and Oversights," National Business Institute webcast, June 3, 2016.
  • "You May Know the Rules - But Can You Cleverly Respond to Objections and Utilized Exceptions?," National Business Institute webcast, Naperville, Illinois, May 26, 2016.
  • "Personal Injury 101," National Business Institute webcast, Naperville, Illinois, February 19, 2016.

  • "Expert Witnesses: Using Court Rules to Your Advantage," National Business
    Institute Webcast, October 2015
  • "The Rules of Evidence: A Practical Toolkit," National Business Institute seminar, Naperville, Illinois, February 2015.
  • "A Judge's View: Top Mistakes Made in Voir Dire/Jury Selection," National Business Institute seminar, Illinois, December 2014.
  • "Affordable Care Act Readmission Penalty: Legal Ramifications to Hospitals," American Society for Healthcare Risk Management Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, October 2013.
  • "Civil Court Judicial Forum: Advanced Discovery and Trial Practice," National Business Institute, Chicago, Illinois, June 2011.
  • "Ethical Considerations," National Business Institute seminar "Litigating Insurance Coverage Claims: From Start to Finish," Lisle, Illinois, May 2010.
  • “How to Respond to ‘Time Sensitive’ Demands from Plaintiff’s Counsel,” “What the ‘Good Faith’ Claim File Should Contain,” “Issues involving Staff Counsel Supervision of Outside Defense Counsel,” and “The Legislative Future,” papers and presentations, American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Staff Counsel Committee, live webinar, October 2009.
  • “Successful Courtroom Strategies,” National Business Institute seminar “Bad Faith Insurance Claims in Illinois,” Oak Brook, Illinois, March 2009 and Chicago, Illinois, June 2008.
  • “Consider the Ethical Consequences: It’s Legal, But Is It Right?,” National Business Institute seminar “Bad Faith Insurance Claims in Illinois,” Schaumburg, Illinois, June 2008.
  • “How Not to Respond to Catastrophic Loss,” Hinshaw’s 2007 Insurance Services Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, May 2007.
  • “Coverage Counsel’s Report—Claim Handling Liability,” Hinshaw Breakfast Briefing, Schaumburg, Illinois, March 2006.
  • “Litigating the ‘Bad Faith’ Claim,” Hinshaw’s “2006 Insurance Services Symposium: Creative Management of Claims and Coverage Disputes in a High-Risk Environment,” Chicago, Illinois, February 2006.

Publications

Mr. Hofert is the past editor of the Toxic Tort Section in IDC Quarterly. He is also editor of Toxic Tort and Medical Malpractice in Hinshaw Reports. He has been involved in numerous publications, including:

  • "A Judge's View: Top Mistakes Made in Voir Dire/Jury Selection," co-author, National Business Institute, December 2014.
  • "GHS Adoption in the Face of Daubert" co-author, Occupational Health & Safety, vol. 83, No. 5, May 2014.

  • "The Case for Federal Oversight of EHR Vendors to Promote Interoperability and Usability," co-author,  Electronic Health Reporter, February 10, 2014.
  • "Sharing of Secure Patient Information Requires Strong Breach and Notification Policies," co-author, Electronic Health Reporter, January 15, 2014.
  • "Risk Management Concerns Arising Out of HITECH and the Hospital Re-admission Penalties Program," co-author, Electronic Health Reporter, November 14, 2013.
  • "Commentary: the case for extending MU Stage 2," co-author, Government Health IT, August 30, 2013.
  • "Healthcare Risk Management Challenges Created by Federal Regulation of Electronic Medical Records and Care Management," Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, July 16, 2013.
  • Commentary: Concerns About Quality Improvement Organizations Actions Around Meaningful Use," co-author, Government Health IT, June 25, 2013.
  • "Commentary: Delving Into HIPAA Breach Notification," co-author, Government Health IT, May 1, 2013.
  • "Commentary: The Litigation and Risk-Management Concerns Meaningful Use Triggers," co-author, Government Health IT, March 29, 2013.
  • Time-Sensitive Settlement Demands,” co-author, American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s The Brief, Vol. 40, No. 3, Spring 2011.
  • “Time-Sensitive Demands,” co-author, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Committee on Insurance Coverage Litigation’s Coverage, Vol. 20, No. 2, March/April 2010.
  • "State and National Activity in Nursing Home Litigation," National Business Institute. To be published in March, 2005.
  • "Damages in Illinois Civil Trial Practice," National Business Institute. No. 24061 (2005).
  • "Corporate Liability and Institutional Negligence," National Business Institute, Medical Malpractice in Illinois, No. 02U5713, 02/03.
  • "Defense of the Malpractice Case at Trial," National Business Institute, Medical Malpractice in Illinois, No. 02U5713, 02/03.
  • "Initial Assessment and Evaluation of a Malpractice Case: Defendant's View," National Business Institute, Medical Malpractice in Illinois, No. 02U5713, 02/03.
  • "Fear of Cancer and Medical Monitoring Claims Arising out of C.E.R.C.L.A," IDC Quarterly, Volume 13, No. 1, 2003.
  • "Product Stewardship Initiatives and Limiting Legal Liability," IDC Quarterly, Volume 12, No. 1, 2002.
  • "Does the Hazard Communication Standard Create a Common Law Duty in Illinois," IDC Quarterly, Volume 10, No. 2, 2001.
  • "Change in Proof of Causation in Asbestos Cases?," IDC Quarterly, Volume 10, No.1, 2001.
  • "Does the Federal Hazard Communication Standard Establish a Duty of Care?," IDC Quarterly, Volume 11, No. 2, 2001.
  • "A More Liberal Standard For Medical Causation," IDC Quarterly, Volume 11. No. 1, 2001.
  • "Causation in Toxic Tort Cases," IDC Quarterly, Volume 10. No. 3, 2000.

Hinshaw Publications

Education

J.D., cum laude, Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1979

B.S., Biochemistry, Grinnell College, 1976

B.A., Grinnell College, 1976

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