Between 1999 and 2021, Jim hosted the Let’s Talk Law weekly radio show, featuring interviews with guests to talk about and answer legal-related questions. Several interviews are available below.
Some Classic “Let’s Talk Law” Podcasts
Jim and Doc talk with multiple callers, discussing a wide variety of legal topics, including a reminiscence of Jack Davis, the making of Legally Blonde 2, probate and real estate, using living trusts to avoid probate, a debate about the Attorney General, worker’s compensation, a case about police officers and adultery, the ever-popular weird laws, a DUI story, a mortgage fraud story, the Larry Nassar case, the Uber and Waymo settlement, the alimony/maintenance payment tax change, and child support and dependents.
Mike Drake, democratic candidate for Sangamon County States Attorney.
Mike is an extraordinarily good criminal lawyer, having served in the Cook County States Attorneys’ office, and serving as the Public Defender in Christian County Illinois.
Dan Wright, republican incumbent for Sangamon County States Attorney’s office. Dan had been with the Sangamon County States Attorney since 2016. He served as first assistant states attorney under John Milhiser. He also served as a partner the law firm Brown, Hay and Stephens, on the Capital Township Board, United Cerebral Palsy Board at Memorial Behavioral Health, and as board member of Crime Stoppers and Untied Way.
Dan is the recently appointed Sangamon County States attorney since John Milhiser was appointed US Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. We discussed the new position, what he plans to do in it, and a recent murder trial he prosecuted.
Pete has now had three settlements of a billion or over. He talked about the Lac Megantic train wreck. He also discussed medical implants and how to avoid bad ones.
Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs
Treasurer Frerichs talked about HB 302, which passed. It requires insurers to notify policyholders when someone dies. Prior to this, some insurers would refuse to notify beneficiaries of the policies that there was a policy in effect.
Many people who are beneficiaries do not realize that the owner of policy, often their parents, have a policy payable to the insured. Some insurance companies argued that it was too much work for them to notify beneficiaries, despite the fact that the insurers have a master list of people who died. The insurance companies use that master list to quit paying on annuities when people die, so the insurance companies can, and do, check the list when it is in their best interest to do so. Gov. Rauner threatened to veto the bill.
Andrew C. Hall
Andrew Hall has litigated regarding state sponsored terrorism. In 2010, he argued at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding families of Americans who were taken hostage and tortured following the first Gulf War.
He spoke about helping the families of U.S. sailors who died in the USS Cole attack. He recovered a multi-million dollar payment from the Sudanese government.
He also obtained a judgment for $316 million for the sailors who got injured in the bombing of the USS Cole against the Government of Sudan arising from its support of terrorism.
He spoke at length about his most recent verdict, a $2.8 billion judgment for a Cuban expatriate. The case involved the forced suicide by the Castro regime, and terror attacks against his family by the Cuban government.
James Hagle is a partner in the Champaign Illinois firm Frederick and Hagle. He tried to verdict the largest non-medical neglect case in Champaign County in Illinois. The case involved a lady who got hit by a bus. The jury awarded 2.6 million in past and future medical expenses, $355,804 for lost earnings, $1 million for pain and suffering, 1.5 million for past and future emotional distress, $2 million for past and future disability and $2 million for disfigurement. The Jury also gave the husband $400,000 for loss of society and companionship and $50,000 for loss of service. The Plaintiff lost both of her legs, after attempts to save one. The husband has to care for the wife in ways that are difficult for both parties.
Jim Interviewed Rick Friedman, author of Polarizing the Case and Rules of the Road, two books for Plaintiff’s lawyers. Rick is a partner in the law firm of Friedman and Rubin, a Seattle based Plaintiffs firm. He tried a case concerning the owner of the Springfield, Illinois based Gold Center, who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The jury awarded James Hausman 21 million dollars after he sustained a traumatic brain injury from a sliding door that hit him on a cruise ship. He, with Rick Friedman’s help, sued the cruise ship which had made the door shut quickly. Friedman said it appeared the cruise ship may have been trying to save on the electric bill. Plaintiff claimed to have lost his short term memory and require seizure medications for life.
After the trial the judge reversed the findings of the jury based on post-trial testimony of a former employee of Hausman. Friedman said he would go to trial again.
A guest on the air April 18, 2015, Tom Calisle discussed the Illinois State Bar Association’s law day call a lawyer event. We also discussed his area of experience, bankruptcy law.
George Patrick, Indiana workers compensation attorney discussing the differences between the Indiana Workers Compensation system and the one in Illinois.
Governor George Ryan
Governor George Ryan was a guest on the show regarding the death penalty the day after he was on national show Dateline. He was later sent to prison. He discussed why he commuted the sentences of everyone on death row in Illinois. He had been a proponent of the death penalty. As governor he changed his mind. He did not feel that he could be certain which of the convicts was really guilty, given Illinois’ record on wrongful convictions.
Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman
Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman was on the air when she was a candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court. She won and is now a justice for the Illinois Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Justice Karmeier
Supreme Court Justice Karmeier was on the air when he was a candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court. He won and is now a justice in what was one of the costliest Supreme Court elections in the nation. Sandra Day O’Connor mentions the race as a reason to reduce the influence of money in judicial elections. Karmeier defeated Judge Maag for the seat. Maag had agreed to be on the radio show, but failed to show up.
Don Barret is truly one of the most interesting lawyers around. He was lead counsel in the lead counsel in Avery v State Farm. This was, and I believe is still, the largest verdict against an insurance company ever. He was the first guest I had on the show. It was my first show and I was nervous. He was instrumental in helping state attorneys general throughout the nation in prosecuting tobacco litigation to recoup the losses the states incur, (because they have to pay the medical bills) as a result of tobacco use. He took a lead role in tobacco litigation, helping to represent numerous states recoup their loss from tobacco. He has been featured on 60 minutes.
David Berardinelli was featured in Business Week for his book “From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves” about Allstate. He represented people in a bad faith claims against Allstate. In the litigation the court ordered Allstate to turn over their adjuster training manuals. He took notes, because he was prohibited from copying them. He wrote the book about the training slides of Allstate for their adjusters. He says Allstate says that if the claimant, including their insured, fails to agree to a low settlement, Allstate goes from the good hands people to a company wearing boxing gloves. He says that if the claimant does not take an unfairly low settlement they Allstate adjusters are told to litigate as hard as possible. Allstate was then ordered to turn over the slides in litigation. Rather than do so it incurred fines of $25,000 per day and quit writing insurance in Florida. It has since begun to write business in Florida again. He wrote an article about Allstate’s conduct. His books are available for purchase.
Greg Adamski and Karen Conti
This is a husband and wife legal team who were John Wayne Gacy’s lawyer on the last leg of his appeals. Surprisingly, they liked Gacy. They said he was funny. They tell of a practical joke Gacy helped to pull on Greg.
Author of the book “The Malpractice Myth.” He is a professor of law and director of the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut School of Law. He has worked as a consultant for insurance companies. His father and father in law are doctors, he is not pro-plaintiff. He discusses the studies, by groups like Harvard, who published the Harvard Medical Practice Study, the Institute of Medicines’ studies and a great deal of the research available on medical malpractice. His book is sobering; he says we have a malpractice “epidemic” and that the malpractice suits are, in general, a reaction to the fact that there are so many horrible medical errors.
Sangamon County candidate for sheriff to explain his upcoming election. Wes won the election. He is a longtime friend, as I worked with him state attorney’s office and public defenders office back in 1980s.
Sangamon County States Attorney John Schmidt and Steve Wienhoeft, an associate states attorney.
They prosecuted Mark Winger, a sensational murder case. Mark was a well educated engineer who had decided to murder his wife. Steve Weinhoeft was the lead prosecutor. The case made national news. Winger claimed to have caught a BART transportation driver murdering his wife. He shot and killed the BART driver. He almost got away with the killing, but he got greedy. He sued BART for the death of his wife. The BART lawyer, John Nolan, hired an investigator who concluded that the blood spatter evidence was not consistent with Winger’s description of the events. Based on the new evidence the civil suit got dismissed and the evidence was turned over to the Sangamon County States Attorney’s office. Steve Weinhoeft explained the events, as he prosecuted Winger.
Lawyer for Jeffery Dahlmer in Milwaukee Wisconsin He said Dahlmer was a soft-spoked man who the jailers liked. Boyle said he had handled the most cases involving serial killers. He had prosecuted and defended serial killers.
Candidate for sheriff of Sangamon County. He was discussing his qualifications. Wes Barr defeated him in 2014.
Joe Hartzler from the US Attorneys office
He was one of the lawyers who prosecuted the Oklahoma city bomber. He discussed the case.
Sangamon County Judicial candidates
- Honorable Sue Myerscough, when she was running for office. She is now serving as a federal district judge.
- Honorable Judge Patrick Kelly, when he was running for a judicial office. Judge Kelly currently serves on the bench as a Sangamon County Circuit Judge.
- Ann Robert, who was running against judge Patrick Kelly. She is a respected attorney in Springfield.
Chris Kolker was an attorney who tried his first jury trial against Galliant Warrior Insurance. He alleged bad faith and won over a million dollars, a large verdict for a lawyer’s first case. He told a story of the defense lawyer, who was much older, threatening him and trying to intimidate him. He has since become a friend of our founder, James Ackerman, through the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He is an outstanding lawyer.
Monroe McWard is a local attorney who discussed his murder case from the defense standpoint.
Perry Browder is an attorney who handles asbestos claims. He is a friend of our founder, James Ackerman, through the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
Dennis Gingold spoke regarding a settlement of 3.4 Billion with native Americans for what was horrible conduct of US government in many respects. Among the conduct was gross mismanagement of the trust fund the government administered for the natives.
Paula Holderman, President of ISBA and Chief Attorney Development Officer, Winston and Strawn, discussed the Illinois State Bar Association ask a lawyer day, which is coming up next week in 2014.
Molly O’Niel discussed a case against Ford Motor. Ford Was Excoriated for lying to the court and the government.
Ivan Bodensteiner is a law professor from Valparaiso University, who discussed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court decided its constitutionality.
Prosecutors for high profile cases
- The Prosecutor for Indiana case involving a nurse who killed hospital patients because he didn’t like old people.
- Prosecutor in the Skakel case which involved John Kenedys cousin who was charged with raping and killing a girl when he was in his teens. (He was in 40s at time of charge and still charged as a minor). Skakel’s the Supreme Court of Connecticut vacated the conviction in May of 2018, based on ineffective assistance of counsel.
Jon Hanlon from the Appellate Defenders Office was on the radio with me concerning death penalty reform. He has handled numerous death penalty cases. He helped exonerate 4 wrongfully convicted people, Rolando Cruz, Randy Steidl, Joseph Burrows, and Ronald Kitchen. He is the director of the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project
A local Springfield lawyer who filed class suit against Department of Human Services. He discussed the case in detail.
Jane Van Hoos
At the time a Sangamon County board member regarding a tax cap for seniors
One of the lead counsels in State Farm v Avery, a case where State Farm was found to owe 1.3 billion to policy holders. The jury found that State Farm forced policy holders to use imitation parts on their automobile, rather than original equipment manufactured parts. 1.3 billion represented the damages State Farm caused their policy holders
Michael B Hyman
Michael B Hyman was also lead counsel in Avery v State farm, who also handled Mcdonalds vegetarian case, which claimed that McDonalds lied about the ingredients it used in french fries, among other things
From the Clifford Law office in Chicago. He was President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He discussed the medical malpractice reform passing in 2005. He correctly predicted the supreme court would find the reforms unconstitutional
University of Missouri Author of study about medical malpractice awards and juries
When Bruce was the President of Illinois Trial Lawyers Association regarding the case concerning caps on non-economic damages as is it went up through the courts
1st Assistant States Attorney in Sangamon County, Illinois, regarding his verdict involving a policeman who was killed by a drunk driver. The drunk blew a .05. Illinois law says that a person is presumed under the influence at .08.
President of the Illinois Judges Assoc regarding the programs of the Illinois Judges Association.
From the Sangamon County public defenders office and her shaken baby case. The defendant was found not guilty and exonerated.
One of the few non-lawyers to be guests on the show discussed the upcoming musical “Men in Tights” which featured local judges, lawyers, and businessmen, who appeared in tights on stage in a humorous play.
After he retired in 2014, I have Leo on the air to discuss his long career as same County states Atty. And as a circuit judge. He had a lot of interesting stories, especially if serving as a judge. Leo and I served in the Sangamon County States Attorneys office back in 1986 to 1988.
Chair Judicial Evaluation Committee Outside Cook County for the Illinois State Bar Association