Representative Matters

Craig Liljestrand has extensive experience in the areas of toxic tort, products liability and environmental litigation. He is recognized for his litigation and trial skills in the areas of asbestos, silica, welding fumes, lead paint and occupational disease claims. His client base is expansive, and includes Fortune 500 companies in which he has successfully defended various industrial product and equipment manufacturers, contractors and premises owners in numerous toxic tort/environmental cases throughout the country. Mr. Liljestrand and his Team were recently victorious and made favorable new law in the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of employers involved in toxic/ mass tort litigation.  

Mr. Liljestrand also has extensive experience with multi-district litigation (MDL), and is recognized for his ability to handle litigation that is national in jurisdiction. In addition, he counsels and advises clients on toxic tort issues in purchase and sale agreements for commercial real estate. Mr. Liljestrand also is the regional counsel for a major industrial manufacturer.

Professional Background

Mr. Liljestrand has been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer every year since 2012. He has published a monthly column within the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, entitled, "Toxic Tort Talk," for many years. He has served on the firm's Associate Evaluation Committee, Executive Committee and has also served as an instructor in the firm's training program for associate attorneys, Hinshaw University. Mr. Liljestrand is active professionally and is an active member of the Defense Research Institute. 

Before joining Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Mr. Liljestrand was a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Doyle A. Rowland in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. He was on the Executive Editorial Board for the law review (Software Law Journal) during law school.

Professional Affiliations

  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
    • North Illinois State Chair, 2021-2022
    • Vice Chair for Membership for the Toxic & Hazardous Substances Committee, 2021-2022
    • Vice Chair for Programs & Projects for the Toxic & Hazardous Substances Committee, 2020-2021
    • Vice Chair of Newsletters for the Toxic & Hazardous Substances Committee, 2019-2020
  • Federal Bar Association (FBA), Community Service and Outreach Committee, Member, 2018 – 2021
  • Federal Bar Association (FBA), Chicago, IL Chapter
  • Federal Bar Association (FBA), Grand Rapids, MI Chapter

Honors & Awards

  • Selected by his peers and named by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer Magazine as one of the top "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch," 2005
  • Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability
  • Member of the Leading Lawyers Network, where he was selected by his peers as a "Leading Lawyer" in the areas of Products Liability Defense Law and Toxic Torts Defense Law, 2011 – 2019
  • Recognized on the Super Lawyers list by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2012 – 2021

Representative Matters

  • Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 43 N.E.3d 108 (IL. Sup. Ct. 2015). Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff cannot sue former employer in tort in an asbestos/toxic tort action.
  • Berry v. American Standard, Inc., 888 N.E.2d 740 (5th Dist. 2008). Summary Judgment. Denial of the use of deceased plaintiff’s discovery deposition as admissible evidence to defeat defendant's summary judgment motion.



Mr. Liljestrand frequently speaks before organizations and clients on various legal issues. His presentations have included:

  • Co-Presenter, "How Personal Jurisdiction is Slowly Reshaping Toxic Tort Litigation" IADC webinar, May 1, 2019
  • "The State of the Asbestos Market," American Conference Institute's 23rd National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Chicago, Illinois, May 2018
  • "Single Fiber/Any Exposure/Each & Every Exposure, and Punitive Damages," American Conference Institute's 21st National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Chicago, Illinois, June 2016
  • "Former Employee Lawsuits: Latest on Filings Against Former Employers in Common Law Tort Action," American Conference Institute's 20th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 2016
  • "The Interplay Between Workers Compensation and Asbestos, Examining the Folta Case in IL, Impact of the Exclusivity Rule in Different Jurisdictions, Insurance Coverage Issues, Expert Witnesses and State of the Art Defense," American Conference Institute's 19th National Advanced Forum On Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Chicago, Illinois, June 2015
  • "Problem Child: Chicago," ExecuSummit's 1st Annual Asbestos Litigation Strategies, Uncasville, Connecticut, December 2014
  • "Setting the Stage: Emerging Claims and Parties, Settlement and Verdict of Mesothelioma and Other Cases, Punitives, Key California Nuances, Drastic Differences Between Jurisdictions, the Effects of Tort Reform, the Latest Nuances on the Defense of Lack of Causation, and What to Expect for 2014," American Conference Institute's 16th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, San Francisco, California, January 2014
  • "Looking Back and Ahead: Emerging Claims and Parties, Key State Nuances, Drastic Differences Between Friendly and Hostile Jurisdictions, the Effects of Tort Reform, and What to Expect for Second Half of 2013," American Conference Institute's 14th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, co-chair, Chicago, Illinois, June 2013
  • "The Best and Worst Jurisdictions for Asbestos Litigants, Key State-by-State Nuances, and Forum Shopping," American Conference Institute's 13th Annual Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 2013
  • "View from the Bench: Federal and State Judges Speak Out on Current Litigation Trends, Successful Plaintiff Claims and Defense Strategies," American Conference Institute's 12th Annual Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 2012
  • "Component Supplier Litigation: What You Now Need to Know to Craft a Solid Defense," American Conference Institute's 11th Annual Advanced Forum on Litigating and Managing Asbestos Claims, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 2010
  • "Repetitive Stress Injuries - Current Events," for Zurich Insurance Company, 1998
  • "Product Liability and Intellectual Property Law in the United States of America for Electronic Videogames," Sumitomo Insurance Company, 1996
  • "Background on EMF's and Defense Attorney's Perspective on Recent Health Studies and Cases on Electromagnetic Fields (EMF): Emerging Area of Litigation," Sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association - Environmental Law & Energy Committee, 1995


Mr. Liljestrand frequently publishes legal articles in the areas of toxic tort and environmental litigation. One of his articles was referenced and cited to by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Matter of Musick, 143 N.J. 206, 670 A.2d 11 (1996).

His article, "Silica and the 'Sophisticated User Doctrine' – Avoiding Legal Sand Traps under the Duty to Warn," was published as a chapter in "Exploring Toxic Tort and Environmental Liability Claims," by the Defense Research Institute in 2007.

Since 2012, Mr. Liljestrand has published a monthly column within the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin titled, "Toxic Tort Talk." A selection of his most recent columns includes:

Mr. Liljestand's other publications include:

  • "Can Asbestos Ever Be Mitigated From Illinois Courts? Illuminating asbestos' pathway out of the Land of Lincoln." ISBA's Illinois Bar Journal, March 2020
  • "Judicial Profile: Hon. Rubén Castillo Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois," The Federal Lawyer, November/December 2019
  • "Judicial Profile: Hon. Phillip J. Green, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan," The Federal Lawyer, July/August 2019
  • "Tort is Not an Option in Illinois Employee Asbestos Exposure," co-author, Product Liability Law360, Employment Law360 and Midwest Law360, June 28, 2012
  • "Missouri Court Holds That State's Workers' Compensation Law Not Exclusive Remedy for Occupational Diseases," DRI The Voice 42, October 19, 2011
  • "Delaware Joins Trend of States Rejecting 'Take Home' Asbestos Claims," 10 DRI The Voice 34, August 24, 2011
  • "California Court of Appeals Refuses to Give a 'Sophisticated Purchased Defense' Instruction to the Jury on Failure to Warn," 9 DRI The Voice 50, December 15, 2010
  • "State Legislatures Continue Their Attack: Banning the Use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in Baby Bottles and Containers," 9 DRI The Voice 10, March 10, 2010
  • "Texas Supreme Court Now Requires Trial Court to Detail Its Reasons for Granting a New Trial," 8 DRI The Voice29, July 22, 2009
  • "Nolan v. Weil-McLain: Was It Worth the Wait? Yes, If You Have a Sole Proximate Cause Defense," co-author, 8 DRI The Voice 14, April 22, 2009
  • "Federal Appeals Court Finds that Asbestos Bystander Exposure was Not Foreseeable under Kentucky Law," 8 DRI The Voice 14, April 8, 2009
  • "Ohio Property Owners are Immune from all Secondhand Asbestos Exposure Cases," 8 DRI The Voice 14, April 8, 2009
  • "The Chilling Effect of Collateral Estoppel: An Investigative Look Back at the Workers' Compensation File May Put the Plaintiff's Toxic Tort Action on Ice," 8 DRI The Voice 4, January 28, 2009; posted to the Workers' Compensation Law Blog: Larsons Case Law Developments, July 31, 2009
  • "Mississippi Affirms Reversal of Multimillion-Dollar Benzene Suit Based on the Absence of Any Causation Evidence," Legal Insights, an AIG Domestic Claims publication, Fall 2008
  • "Oregon Hands Toxic Torts Defendants a Big Win," 3 In-House Defense Quarterly 11, Summer 2008
  • "California Adopts the 'Sophisticated User Defense': Toxic Tort Defendants Now Have a Powerful and Viable Defense in Their Arsenal," co-author, 50 For the Defense (DRI) 4, May 2008
  • "Exposure to Welding Fumes: Are The Welding Industry's Risk Management Practices Ready to Face This Growing Litigation Threat?" co-author, 49 For the Defense (DRI) 16, June 2007
  • "Silica and the 'Sophisticated User Doctrine': Avoiding Legal Sand Traps under the Duty to Warn," 47 For the Defense (DRI) 61, July 2005
  • "Silica and the Sophisticated User Doctrine: Keeping the Silica Manufacturer/Supplier Out of the Legal Quicksand," 46 For the Defense (DRI) 24, September 2004
  • "Silica and the Sophisticated User Doctrine: Defending the Manufacturer/Supplier against a Sandstorm of Litigation," 2 Mealey's Litigation Report 7, March 2004
  • "And The Defense Wins!!," 3 DRI The Voice 10, March 10-16, 2004. Defense Victory Commentary for Viacom, Inc.
  • "Neglecting Mandatory Asbestos Reinspections Could Lead To Liability For Schools," 91 Illinois Bar Journal 571, November 2003. Reprinted in 48 The Missouri Association of Legal Secretaries 3, Winter 2003
  • "Complex Bill to Resolve Asbestos Cases Loses Support," Chicago Lawyer, interview and commentary, September 2003
  • The Asbestos Compensation Fairness Act," 45 For the Defense (DRI) 20, June 2003
  • "The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Cell Phone Towers: Possible Preclusion of Private Causes of Action for EMF Health Issues," 18 Toxics Law Reporter 160, February 13, 2003
  • "The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Cell Phone Towers," 1 Asset & Risk Management Forum, Issue 2, Summer 2002
  • "Asbestos In Schools: No Room For Tardiness In Performing The Mandatory Reinspections Under AHERA," 3 The Report Card, Issue 1, April 2002
  • "Cell Phone Suits Have No Basis in Science or Law," 15 Legal Backgrounder No. 55, Washington Legal Foundation, December 15, 2000
  • "Lead Paint Litigation & 'Medical Monitoring' Class Actions," 1 Toxic Exposure Litigation, Issue 2, November 2000
  • "Courts Reshape Conspiracy Litigation in Illinois," 1 Toxic Exposure Litigation, Issue 1, June 2000
  • "Defending the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Strict Liability in Illinois," 84 Illinois Bar Journal 364, July 1996
  • "Electromagnetic Fields (EMF's) and the Potential for Injury: Real Danger Or Overreaction?," 62 Defense Counsel Journal 323, July 1995
  • "Repetitive Stress Injuries and the Computer Keyboard: If There Still Is No Causal Relationship between Use and Injury, Is it Wise to Warn?," 13 John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law 391, Spring 1995
  • "The Aids Epidemic in America's Prisons: Have the Courts Correctly Diagnosed a Cure for Inmates with Aids?," 71 Michigan Bar Journal 1174-77, November 1992

Hinshaw Publications

Community/Civic Activities

  • Triage Cancer, Legal Advisory Council, Member
  • GiGi's Playhouse (Children with Down Syndrome), Volunteer

J.D., The John Marshall Law School, 1990

  • Member, Law Review for the Software Law Journal
  • Member, Law Review Executive Editorial Board

B.A., with honors, Eastern Illinois University, 1987