| Practice Description: |
Joseph B. Carini, III, is co-chair of the Construction group, focusing on construction litigation, defending owners, project managers, general contractors and subcontractors in litigation involving personal injury accidents and construction-defect and design disputes.
A seasoned litigator, Mr. Carini has defended clients in varied and numerous wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases based on theories of general negligence, premises liability, product liability, and vehicular accidents. He also defends contractors and municipalities in litigation involving accidents arising out of highway construction, signage and signal maintenance.
Mr. Carini serves as an emergency on-site presence for his clients, responding to injuries and assisting in accident investigation and evidence preservation. He also conducts risk management seminars for management and workers, handles construction-related insurance coverage issues and provides contract review services.
Mr. Carini is a certified litigation management professional, having completed his certification at the Litigation Management Institute at Columbia Law School in New York. In addition, he has been honored by Super Lawyers, holds an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and is admitted to the Society of Trial Lawyers, where he serves on its board of directors.
Notable Cases and Results:
Secured a defense verdict for an inspecting architect in breach of contract case wherein plaintiffs sought $1.7 million in damages. In this case, the plaintiffs, who were first-time developers, were converting a three-flat building into condominiums. The “gut rehab” was nearing completion in 2009 when the contractor left the job, and the project was never finished. Shortly thereafter, the development was foreclosed upon by the bank financing the project. The plaintiffs filed lawsuits against the general contractor and the inspecting architect, among others. The lawsuit against Mr. Carini’s client alleged that the inspecting architect approved payment for work that wasn’t done or was done defectively and that these approved payments led to the failure of the development project. Mr. Carini argued that the inspections were not performed for the plaintiffs’ benefit and that there was no breach of contract. In addition, Mr. Carini argued that the foreclosure was caused solely by plaintiffs’ conduct. After a three-week trial, the plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury for $1.7 million from Mr. Carini’s client. The jury deliberated for 4 hours before returning a defense verdict.
Obtained a defense verdict in favor of a traffic signal maintenance contractor in a wrongful death case wherein the estate of the plaintiff sought $11 million in damages. The plaintiff, a 21-year-old father of a 15-month-old child, was killed in an auto collision with a semi-tractor truck that entered an intersection against a red light. One of the two red lights at the intersection was not illuminated. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant's failure to properly maintain the traffic signals contributed to causing the accident. The plaintiff also contended that the other red light was obscured by a telephone pole. The plaintiff charged that the light malfunction made the signals impossible to see which contributed to the crash, and contended that the condition existed for a lengthy period of time in violation of the defendant's maintenance contract with the State of Illinois. The plaintiff survived the crash for eight days and sought in excess of $11 million for the benefit of the child. Mr. Carini successfully argued that the sole proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of the truck driver, who was not a party in the lawsuit. The jury reached a defense verdict.
Obtained a defense verdict in favor of an electric company and its contractor in a personal injury case wherein plaintiff, an electrical contractor, sought $6.4 million in damages. The plaintiff was employed as a hoisting engineer and was operating a combo front-end loader and backhoe at an excavation site for a sewer project, when he struck an object in the street, causing the vehicle to come to a sudden and violent stop. The plaintiff was ejected from his seat and catapulted into the windshield, striking his head, and his left foot went through another window. Plaintiff contended that the object the backhoe struck was an I-beam that had been installed by the defendants to brace a power vault for the electric company's underground cables at the site. The plaintiff sustained a closed head injury, post-concussion syndrome, left shoulder SLAP tear requiring surgery, and lower back injuries ultimately resulting in fusion surgery four years after the accident. The defense contended that the beam was properly installed below grade, and that the plaintiff struck another object, not that installed by the defense. The defense also argued that the plaintiff was at fault for traveling too fast for conditions, such that he was catapulted from the operator’s position of his vehicle upon impact with the unknown object. Also, the defense contended that the lower back surgery was not related to the incident. The jury returned a defense verdict finding the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for causing the accident and injury.
Secured a defense verdict for a traffic signal maintenance contractor in suit brought by estate of deceased person killed crossing a street. The plaintiff contended that the timing of the pedestrian walk light was too short in violation of applicable codes. The defense contended the light was properly timed and that the accident was caused by plaintiff and driver conduct. The jury returned defense verdict.
U.S. District Court
Northern District of Illinois
Northern District of Indiana
Southern District of Illinois
U.S. Supreme Court
Year of Birth: 1963
Law School: The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1988
Undergraduate School: Marquette University, 1985
Bar/Professional Association Involvement:
The American Bar Association
Council on Litigation Management
Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
Council on Litigation Management
Construction Law Practice Group
Awards; Honors; Distinctions:
- Super Lawyers, 2007
- AV rating, Martindale-Hubbell
- Society of Trial Lawyers
- Leading Lawyers, Law Bulletin Media, 2014-present
Published Legal Writing:
Modifications to Form Contract and Construction Manager's Conduct Collapses Defense
United States Court of Appeals for Seventh Circuit Affirms OSHA Citation Based on Evidence That While Considered "Substantial" Was Neither Precise, Actual, Nor Considerable, Johnson & Bell Construction Newsletter, Winter 2013
Important Insurance Coverage Cases for Contractors
Construction Law in Illinois - A Primer
Targeted Tenders and Horizontal Exhaustion
OSHA Increases Penalties, Johnson & Bell, Ltd. Construction Law Alert, Fall 2010
Midwest Regional Editor, ALFA Construction Law Compendium, 2007 and 2009
Speaker, "Pinch Hitting: Choosing the Best Expert for Your Construction Case," Spring Symposium hosted by the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel and Illinois Insurance Association, Chicago, IL, April 4, 2014
Speaker, ALFA Construction Law Practice Group Seminar, “Product Failure Claims in Construction”, July 25-27, 2012
Speaker, “Accident Investigation Techniques Helpful to Defending Litigation”, Builders Association of Greater Chicago, Contractor Safety Forum, November 2011
Speaker, “Selection Use and Management of Expert Witnesses”, Council on Litigation Management, July 2011
Speaker, “Avoiding and Resolving Construction Disputes”, The International Association of Claims Professionals, June 2011
Program Chair and Speaker, Anatomy of a Case, Chicago ALFA Seminar
Speaker, Jury Selection from the Defense Perspective, Chicago Law Bulletin
Speaker, “Techniques to Minimize Exposure,” ALFA Seminar on Accident & OSHA Investigation
Clients rely on Johnson & Bell to defend their interests in court. Since 1975, we have developed a reputation for providing legal counsel that accomplishes our clients’ business objectives. Building on a track record of success handling major catastrophic personal injury cases, Johnson & Bell continues to represent numerous clients across a broad array of business concerns. We work with clients to mediate, settle or litigate their business issues. In addition, our lawyers represent clients in a wide range of commercial transactions and commercial litigation in both State and Federal court, locally and throughout the country.