Robert Finley's national civil defense litigation and trial practice focuses on defending businesses and insurers in high value and complex matters involving specialized tort, employment, and healthcare issues. In addition, he handles commercial causes of action between insurers and medical providers based upon breach of contract, fraud, bad faith, and statutory payment laws or plans. Robert's clients appreciate his cover-every-detail approach to their legal problems, as well as his aptitude for creativity and adaptability. These differentiating and complimentary attributes yield pragmatic risk and litigation management solutions, helping his clients achieve preferred, financially sound results. In addition to his substantial experience handling jury trials and appellate matters, Robert represents clients in mediations and arbitration hearings, and has been admitted pro hac vice in multiple courts throughout the country.
Robert has a wealth of experience in Medicaid third party liability and Medicare secondary payer compliance matters. He offers elite counsel to primary payers and other interested parties under auto, property/casualty, and no-fault policies, as well as workers compensation insurance plans involving:
- conditional payment resolution;
- Medicare Part C and D recovery claims;
- future medical settlement considerations;
- Section 111 reporting compliance/monetary penalties;
- statutory private causes of action; and
- related regulatory matters.
Further, he advises on all aspects of workplace injury cases, including:
- workers' compensation defense;
- post-settlement petitions and judgment enforcement actions;
- subrogation recovery;
- employers' liability and excess coverage interests;
- interplay between workers compensation laws; and
- other non-occupational disability plans.
He has also represented clients in regulatory matters before the Illinois Workers Compensation Insurance Compliance Division.
Robert further represents professional and amateur sports organizations in litigation, business transactions, and organizational matters.
Robert joined Hinshaw in 2003 and became a partner in 2008. He chairs the firm's Social Media for Trial Committee and developed Social Media Intelligence for Trial at Hinshaw & Culbertson (SMITHc) for obtaining and using social media evidence at trial.
While attending DePaul University College of Law, Robert was selected to study abroad at University College Dublin School of Law (Ireland), where he concentrated in comparative and European Union law studies and volunteered with a Dublin-based law firm in its litigation sector.
Prior to pursuing a career in law, Robert worked in the sports radio industry as a producer and reporter covering major spectator events, including the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, U.S. Open Golf Championship, NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
- Defense Research Institute (DRI), Member
- Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC), Member
- Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), Member
- ISBA Workers' Compensation Law Section Council, Ex-Officio (2018)
- ISBA Workers' Compensation Law Section Council, Chair (2017)
- ISBA Workers' Compensation Law Section Council, Vice-Chair (2016 – 2017)
- ISBA Workers' Compensation Law Section Council, Secretary (2015 – 2016)
- ISBA Workers' Compensation Law Section Council, Member (2012 – Present)
- Illinois Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association, Member
- Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, Member and Instructor (2013 – Present)
- Evaluation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, Investigator & Hearing Officer (2006 – 2011)
- American Bar Association's National Appellate Advocacy Competition and Regional Negotiation Competition, Judge (2003 – 2011)
Honors & Awards
- Recognized by his peers as a "Leading Lawyer" in the areas of: Arts, Entertainment & Sports Law; Personal Injury Defense Law: General; and Workers' Compensation Defense Law, 2019
- Recognized on the Rising Star list by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2008 – 2010
Robert's significant decisions include:
- Obtained summary judgment in Cook County, IL for driver against Plaintiff bicyclist, where co-defendant, driver's rear seat passenger, opened the vehicle door on the side available to Plaintiff because, although driver mumbled, "OK...Go ahead," the co-defendant did not hear or understand the driver prior to knowingly interfering with Plaintiff's path of travel in a marked bike lane, and mere status as a driver does not create a duty for opening doors under state vehicle code.
- Obtained summary judgment in Cook County, IL for driver against two rear-seat passenger Plaintiffs, where co-defendant driver, while experiencing bipolar disorder hallucinations, ignored red traffic control signals at an excessive rate of speed, because co-defendants actions were unforeseeable, driver nevertheless acted reasonably under the unexpected circumstances, and no evidence could ever support finding the driver as proximate cause of these Plaintiffs injuries.
- Successfully defended workers compensation insurance pool and its insured home builder denying former employee's claims to increased disability, lifetime total disability, and medical expenses. Appellate court affirmed decision of Commission.
- Consulting subject matter expert for Applicable Plan successfully disputing Medicare conditional payment claim by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) resulting in CMS reconsidering and withdrawing its claim in full at administrative level.
- Successfully defended workers compensation insurer and its insured in a case of first impression against medical provider's quasi contractual claim based on pre-certification letter for surgical procedure. Appellate Court reversed trial court which erred finding unambiguous promise to pay an amount greater than final award of Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. Plaintiffs' writ denied by Illinois supreme court.
Reported decision from Illinois Appellate Court affirming trial court's 2-619 dismissal of Plaintiff's Motion to Enforce Judgment as premature due to pending corollary proceeding on administrative review.
- Resolved post-settlement bad faith petition by obtaining favorable advisory opinion from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) permitting use of allocated Medicare settlement funds to pay for treatment incurred by beneficiary during period after final State commission settlement order but before Federal agency completed its review proceedings.
Reported decision from Illinois appellate court on an employer's liability for total disability benefits where there is evidence the employee/ beneficiary is working in a reasonably stable labor market.
- Obtained favorable post-trial relief in federal district court after jury's itemized verdict finding Defendant trucking company liable to Medicare-eligible Plaintiff for past and future medical expenses totaling $219,375. Chief Judge granted Defendants' Post-Trial Motion on Medicare Secondary Payer issues, ordering judgement for past and future medical expenses payable to court clerk and conditioning release of funds on adequate documentation from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
- Successfully defended motor vehicle case in Baltimore, Maryland where company manager operating company car for personal reasons on interstate highway, in excess of speed limit, unsuccessfully changed lanes at exit ramp. The Plaintiff, an unrestrained backseat passenger, was directing the driver on where to go. The car flipped over several times, ejecting Plaintiff who suffered multiple thoracic and lumbar spinal fractures and herniated disks. Plaintiff demanded $750,000. The jury was instructed Plaintiff's failure to wear a seat belt could not be used in determining if she was contributorily negligent. Jury returned special verdict finding both Defendant driver negligent and Plaintiff contributorily negligent. However, since Maryland is one of three states following the "contributory negligence is a complete bar" rule, Plaintiff recovered nothing.
- Successfully defended national pest control company against civil trespass case in Santa Fe, New Mexico where a residential service technician applied pesticide to the house and adjacent land of property owner who not only was not a customer. Also at the time of the pesticide application the property owner was totally disabled as a result of pre-existing workplace chemical exposure to same pesticides. Jury rejected Plaintiff's $890,000 case based on lack of proximate cause.
- Successfully defended motor vehicle case in rural Pennsylvania where company truck driver pulled out from a stop sign in front of the Plaintiff motorcyclist ascending the crest of the roadway resulting in knee and hip injuries. Jury rejected Plaintiff's claim of negligence and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant driver. State appellate court reinstated jury verdict for the defense and vacated trial court's judgement order notwithstanding verdict.
- Case of first impression developing analytical framework for applying American Medical Association impairment guides under Illinois Workers' Compensation Act following 2011 reforms.
- Case of first impression regarding application of the state's medical fee schedule, and limits on construction worker's overtime pay as a basis for benefit rate calculations.
- Successfully reversed workers' compensation administrative decision finding permanent, total disability and subsequently dismissed opponent's appeal on jurisdictional grounds.
Robert is frequently invited to speak on defense litigation, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, and workers compensation topics. He is also an instructor at Hinshaw University, the firm's nationwide attorney training and education program, where he teaches the Negotiation and Settlement Release Workshops.
His recent presentations include:
- Panelist, "Leveraging Settlement with MSAs in Mediation," National Alliance of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals (NAMSAP) 2019 Educational Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, September 18, 2019
- "Medicaid Third Party Liability: Resolving State Agency and MCO Claims," RISE! 3rd Annual Medicare Secondary Payer Conditional Payment Forum, Washington DC, August 27, 2019
- "Medicare Set-Asides in Personal Injury ‒ New Developments," National Business Institute, Teleconference, June 5, 2019
- "Technology & Transportation: Legal Issues in App-Based Ride Sharing," Hinshaw University, Chicago, Illinois, May 29, 2019
- "Mitigation of Medicare Settlement Risk and Costs Through Clinical and Pharmacological Controls," 2019 CLM Workers Compensation Conference, Chicago, Illinois, May 22, 2019
- Co-Presenter, "Medicare Advantage Plan Update – Trends and Case Law," 4th Annual RISE! Medicare Secondary Payer Master Class, The Essential Guide to the Latest Developments in Mandatory Insurer Reporting, Conditional Payments, Medicare Set-Asides and Medicaid Secondary Payer, Miami, Florida, February 27, 2019
- Co-Presenter, "Advantages and Disadvantages of Professional Administration," 4th Annual RISE! Medicare Secondary Payer Master Class, The Essential Guide to the Latest Developments in Mandatory Insurer Reporting, Conditional Payments, Medicare Set-Asides and Medicaid Secondary Payer, Miami, Florida, February 27, 2019
- "Medicare Set-Asides in Personal Injury – New Developments," National Business Institute, Teleconference, October 2018
- "Medicaid Secondary Payer and Third Party Liability," Healthcare Education Associates, Washington D.C., June 2018
- Panelist, "Best Practice Tips on MAP, Assignees, Providers, and Beneficiary Claims," Healthcare Education Associates, Washington D.C., June 2018
- "A Lawyer's Brief on Hiring an Expert Witness," National Business Institute, Naperville, Illinois, March 2018
- "Ethical Considerations for Working with Experts," National Business Institute, Naperville, Illinois, March 2018
- "Medicaid: Introduction, State by State Comparison and Case Law Update on Reimbursement Issues," Healthcare Education Associates, Dallas, Texas, February 2018
- Moderator, "Workers Compensation Update - Spring 2018," Illinois State Bar Association, February 2018
- "The Future Starts Today: Addressing MSP Compliance in Liability Cases," National Institute for Medicare and Medicaid Education, Miami, Florida, February 2018
- "Case Law Update: Ten You Need to Know in 2017," Illinois State Bar Association, Advanced Workers Compensation CLE, Chicago, Illinois, October 2017
- "Healthcare Business Law: Changes You Need to Know," National Business Institute, Webinar, March 2017
- "How To Prepare Your Case for Trial," Illinois State Bar Association, Advanced Workers Compensation CLE, Chicago, Illinois, October 2016
- "Addressing Medicare Compliance in Liability, Property and Casualty Cases," National Institute for Medicare and Medicaid Education, Chicago, Illinois, September 2016
- "Medicare: Conditional Payment Claims, Mandatory Reporting and MSAs," CLM Alliance at Kemper Insurance Company, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 2016
- "Healthcare Business Law: Changes You Need to Know," National Business Institute, Webinar, May 2016
- "Simplifying Medicare Secondary Payer Law," Winnebago County Bar Association, Rockford, Illinois, May 2016
- "AMA Exams and Usage at IWCC," Illinois State Bar Association Advanced Workers Compensation Law CLE, Fairview Heights, Illinois, February 2016
- "Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability Income: Applicable Plan Appeal Rights, Medicare Part C/D recovery actions, and Drafting Settlement Terms" Illinois State Bar Association Advanced Workers Compensation Law CLE, Chicago, Illinois, October 2015
- "Structured Settlements," CLM Alliance at Kemper Insurance Company, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 2015
- "Liability and MSP Act Update," National Institute for Medicare & Medicaid Education, Chicago, Illinois, September 2015
- "Emerging Trends under Medicare Secondary Payer Law," Panelist, American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds (AASCIF), San Francisco, California, July 2015
- "Medicare Secondary Payer Act: Implications and Impact on Litigation - A 2015 Perspective," The Knowledge Group, Webcast, June 2015
- "Bermuda Triangle: Mastering Leaves of Absence and Accommodation Issues under the ADA, the FMLA and Workers' Compensation Law," Hinshaw's Annual Labor & Employment Symposium, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2014
- "Drafting Settlement Agreements and Releases," Guest Instructor at Loyola University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois, October 2014
- "Liability Cases and Medicare Secondary Payer Act: Introduction to Best Practices," Kinsale Insurance, Richmond, Virginia, October 2014
- "Evidence at Trial," Illinois State Bar Association Advanced Workers Compensation Law CLE, Chicago, Illinois, October 2014
- "An Introduction to Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income," National Institute for Medicare & Medicaid Education, Chicago, Illinois, September 2014
- "Conditional Payment Resolution," National Institute for Medicare & Medicaid Education, Chicago, Illinois, September 2014
- "Liability and MSP Act," National Institute for Medicare & Medicaid Education, Chicago, Illinois, September 2014
- "MSP Act & Ethics," National Institute for Medicare & Medicaid Education, Chicago, Illinois, September 2014
- "Selection, Use & Management of Expert Witnesses," CLM Alliance at Kemper Insurance Company, Charlotte, North Carolina, August 2014
Robert created Hinshaw's Mr. Medicare: Rx for Compliance publication, which provides resources, analysis, and perspective on Medicare Secondary Payer laws.
Relying on his extensive knowledge and experience with Medicare and Medicaid compliance, Robert regularly contributes to the Flagship Services Group blog. His most recent posts include:
- "Ghostbusters," Flagship Services Group blog, November 1, 2019
- "How far is too far when negotiating Medicare release terms?," Flagship Services Group blog, October 7, 2019
- "Treasury Trove," Flagship Services Group blog, September 17, 2019
- "CMS Favors Professionally Administered Lump Sum MSA," Flagship Services Group blog, September 5, 2019
- "Top 10 MSP Compliance Waypoints in 2019," Flagship Services Group blog, August 12, 2019
Robert's other publications include:
- "50 State Primer on Medicaid Recovery Laws," Hinshaw's 50 State Series, 2nd Edition, August 2019; 1st Edition, December 2016
- "Pens v. Bolts: What accidents are made of," Workers Compensation Law, Illinois State Bar Association, Vol. 54, No. 4, March 2017
- "Circuit Court Jurisdiction in Declaratory Actions Involving Third-party Tort Settlements and Pending IWCC Applications," Workers Compensation Law, Illinois State Bar Association, Vol. 53, No. 1, September 2015
- "When Do You Qualify as a Traveling Employee," Workers Compensation Law, Illinois State Bar Association, Vol. 53, No. 1, September 2015
- "50 State Survey: Workers' Compensation Benefits Eligibility for Intoxicated or Impaired Employees," Hinshaw's 50 State Series, January 2012
- August 8, 2019
- May 2, 2017
- Robert Finley Appointed to Serve as the Vice-Chair of the ISBA Workers' Compensation Law Section CouncilApril 18, 2016
- June 8, 2011
- January 9, 2014Medical Litigation Alert
- July 11, 2011
- February 1, 2010
Robert volunteers his personal time with a number of vital organizations including:
- Chicago Jets Hockey Club
- Galway, Ireland Committee, Chicago Sister Cities International
- Misericordia Home / Heart of Mercy
- Near South Youth Athletics, Team Coach
- Old St. Patrick's Church of Chicago
- Skinner North Classical School, Basketball Coach
Robert was also a member of Hinshaw's Host Committee for the 2018 Reception and Luncheon honoring Ireland's 13th Prime Minister, Mr. Enda Kenny.
J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 2001
B.A., Marquette University, 1995
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois