Andrew Bell

Attorney

Phone

Email

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Office Location

211 Fulton Street
Suite 602
Peoria, IL 61602

Andrew is an experienced trial lawyer who focuses his practice on FELA claims and complex civil tort suits. He represents clients in railroad, trucking, first-party insurance, premises, general casualty, and medical malpractice claims. He has tried cases to verdict in both state and federal courts. In fact, Andrew was recognized for a Trial Excellence Award from the Jury Verdict Reporter following a not guilty verdict in a medical malpractice case where the plaintiff asked the jury for over $3 million. He has handled cases with demands as high as $40 million. Andrew has been recognized as an Emerging Lawyer in the State of Illinois and has authored several national publications. He is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Peoria Bar Association. Prior to joining Knight Nicastro MacKay LLC, he worked at a national defense firm focusing on complex civil litigation defense.

Andrew has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Peoria Claims Association. He has also volunteered on the Friends Board of Illinois CancerCare Foundation and the Tazewell County Children’s Advocacy Board. Away from work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

Trial Experience:

  • Manczur v. Auto Shop (Peoria County, Illinois 2013) – Plaintiff claimed that, as a result of negligent repairs, her car was rendered totally inoperable. She asked for replacement value of the car, over $6,000, and the jury awarded her $500, which was less than the pre-trial offer.
  • Robinson v. Russell (Peoria County, Illinois 2014) – Auto accident case where Defendant backed into car after pulling out of her driveway. Plaintiff claimed soft tissue injuries and asked for over $25,000 at trial. Jury returned a verdict finding Plaintiff was 50% at fault and awarded less than the pre-trial offer.
  • Banks v. Tazewell (USCD IL, 2014) – Plaintiff claimed a sheriff’s deputy used excessive force when applying his taser. Jury found the Defendant not guilty.
  • (Vermillion County, Illinois 2017) Represented emergency medicine physician, mid-level provider and their group in a jury trial. The case alleged failure to diagnose slipped capital femoral epiphysis in pediatric patient. Obtained summary judgment in favor of mid-level provider immediately prior to trial. At trial against our clients and co-defendant hospital, Plaintiff asked for $3.5 million. The jury deliberated for 40 minutes before returning a verdict in favor of all defendants.
  • (McLean County, Illinois 2018) Represented hospital in jury trial. The case alleged failure to diagnose bowel perforation during an emergency room visit. Patient, 74 year old male, returned to the emergency department seven hours after discharge and died two days later, leaving a wife and four adult children. Plaintiff brought claims against our hospital client based on apparent agency for the conduct of the co-defendant emergency room physician, institutional negligence and nursing negligence. Summary judgment obtained immediately prior to trial in favor of the institutional negligence claim. Plaintiff asked for $7.2 million at trial. The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning a verdict in favor of all defendants.
  • Simmons v. OSF (Peoria County, Illinois 2018) – Plaintiff claimed that ER nurse violently pulled her from seated position injuring her previously repaired shoulder. Jury deliberated for over two days before being declared mistrial due to a hung jury.
  • Martin v. Telecom Provider (Tazewell County, Illinois 2019) – Plaintiff was rear-ended on the interstate at highway speeds and sustained a concussion. Plaintiff continued to suffer from migraines following experimental surgery and injections. Before trial, Plaintiff demanded over $3 million. At trial, Plaintiff asked for “more than $1 million.” The jury awarded $625,000, where we had valued the case at all along before trial.
  • Joos v. Ragon (Tazewell County, 2018) – Defendant ran a stop sign and struck Plaintiff’s vehicle who had no traffic control device. Plaintiff claimed that he suffered a torn meniscus and required a knee replacement and could never return as a bricklayer. At trial, the Court entered a directed verdict on liability in favor of the Plaintiff. Despite the ruling, Defendant was still found not guilty on the issues of causation and damages.

 

Other Representative Matters:

  • Rashid v. BNSF (2014) Represented BNSF in a Warren County, Illinois FELA case. Because of an aggressive defense of the case, Plaintiff filed a motion to dismiss his claims against the railroad. The railroad obtained a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice from plaintiff, resulting in no payment by the railroad on the case.
  • Higgins v. BNSF US Central District of Illinois, 12 CV 3072, 2014 WL 2598815: Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that his osteoarthritic knee was caused by working as a laborer and machinist for over 34 years with the railroad. He spent the last part of his career as a machinist in the diesel pit and then later as a "ready-side" machinist preparing locomotive consists for departure. Plaintiff ultimately underwent a total knee replacement and retired, claiming that he could not do the work. Defendant's biomechanical expert found that Plaintiff's job duties were reasonably safe, that the forces of said job duties did not expose Plaintiff to osteoarthritis, and that the injury was not foreseeable. Defendant's orthopedic expert opined that Plaintiff's condition could be explained by non-occupational factors. The railroad moved for summary judgment arguing that there was no evidence of negligence, that it was unforeseeable that the work would result in a degenerated knee, and that Plaintiff had failed to prove, even under the relaxed standards of the FELA, a causal relationship between the work and the knee degeneration. The Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment finding that Plaintiff failed to provide any genuine issue of material fact with respect to causation, foreseeability, and negligence.
  • Davis v. BNSF – Obtained summary judgment for client on Locomotive Inspection Act and common negligence claims at the trial court level. This was reversed by the Third District Appellate Court. Case was later tried to a defense verdict.
  • Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Mr. and Mrs. John Doe Circuit Court of McLean County, Illinois - The insureds owned a century old, three story brick warehouse which plaintiffs claimed was improperly maintained. The warehouse collapsed onto an adjacent commercial structure which housed an optical laboratory. Two laboratory employees were trapped inside the building for a period of time and all of the highly sensitive optical manufacturing equipment was damaged. A portion of the warehouse also collapsed onto an adjacent bridge and onto another structure utilized by a plumbing contractor. Seven claimants demanded damages in excess of $8,000,000. The matter was successfully mediated on 7/23/14 for less than 20% of the aggregate demand.
  • Hammond v. System Transport, Inc. 942 F.Supp.2d 867 (C.D. Ill. 2013) Rural intersection accident involving post-impact fire. Double fatality with admitted liability. Prior to trial, court ruled that evidence of any negligent acts leading up to the accident were irrelevant. However, the manner of death was within the scope of damages allowable for grief, sorrow and mental suffering under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Despite no evidence suggesting either decedent survived the impact, plaintiffs' counsel argued various facts regarding the subsequent fire was relevant. Despite some of the aggravating evidence associated with the fire post-occurrence, court ruled that it could not exclude all evidence associated with the manner of death or the events surrounding the accident. This was an issue of first impression in Illinois.
  • Ms. B v. Insurance Company Circuit Court of Tazewell County, Illinois (2017) Plaintiffs’ insurance policy lapsed after failing to make timely premium payments. Twenty-one hours after the policy had lapsed, a fire destroyed plaintiffs’ home. Plaintiffs paid their insurance premiums immediately following the fire. The defendant insurer advised the insured that the policy was not in force on the day of the fire and refunded a portion of the premium. Plaintiffs filed suit for breach of contract and bad faith against the insurer and agent. The agent was quickly dismissed from the suit. Plaintiffs argued that there were issues of waiver and that the insurer had a pattern and practice of accepting late payments without a disruption in coverage. Alternatively, plaintiffs argued that they made advanced premium payments, therefore the cancellation was improper. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Mr. Z v. Insurance Company Circuit Court of Peoria County, Illinois (2016) An insured claimed that his pipe had burst in his rental property causing a significant loss. The insurer denied the claim after learning that the insured had failed to maintain heat and/or winterize the pipes as required by the insurance policy. The insured offered several new theories for the loss which were ultimately proven false by testimony of various witnesses and utility providers. As a result, summary judgment was granted by the trial court finding that the policy exclusion applied and that the insurance company did not act in bad faith.
  • Reeder v. Auto Owners Ins. Co. 2016 IL App (3d) 150252-U Obtained summary judgment in favor of Auto Owners in a case where plaintiffs claimed they were entitled to coverage under an insurance policy issued to the prior owner of car. The firm also argued the case before the Third District Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court's order, holding that following the sale of the car, the prior owners had no insurable interest in the vehicle. In addition, the court found that the omnibus clause of the policy could not be interpreted as offering coverage to the purchasers of the car.

 

Practice Areas

  • FELA Claims
  • Complex Civil Tort Suits

Education

    Bar Admissions

    Past Positions

    Honors

    • Trial Excellence Award
    • Emerging Lawyer in the State of Illinois

    Classes & Seminars

    • CYA 101: When Do I Contact a Lawyer – After the Accident?, Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show, 2015
    • Instructor – International Association of Arson Investigators, Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony Course , 2016
    • NARTC College of Trial Advocacy Graduate, 2015

    Pro-Bono Activities

    • Friends Board of Illinois CancerCare Foundation
    • Tazewell County Children’s Advocacy Board

    Published Works

    • Evidentiary Issues Involving Grief, Sorrow and Mental Suffering, DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee, 2014
    • Illinois Appellate Court Erodes the 'Unavoidable Collision' Doctrine, National Law Review, 2015
    • 2016 Survey of Law – Insurance Law Cases, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, 2016

    Fraternities or Sororities

    Representative Clients

    Representative Cases

    Certified Legal Specialties

    Professional Associations

    • Illinois State Bar Association
    • Peoria Bar Association
    • Greater Peoria Claims Association, Board of Directors

    Current Employment Positions

    • Attorney

    Ancillary Businesses

    References 

    Languages