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Jason L. Kennedy

Shareholder | jkennedy@smsm.com
Shareholder | Chicago, IL
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Jason L. Kennedy serves on the firm's Executive Committee and as Chairman of the firm's Toxic Tort Litigation Practice Group. He practices in the area of tort defense litigation with an emphasis in complex mass tort litigation, involving both products liability and premises liability claims. Mr. Kennedy also has significant experience representing clients in professional liability matters specific to architects and engineers, as well as construction and environmental litigation matters. He has been actively involved in trials and appeals in Indiana, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming. Mr. Kennedy oversees and manages the Indiana asbestos litigation for the firm, serving as both national and local counsel for a variety of Fortune 500 companies.

Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated
  • Recognized as an Illinois Leading Lawyer (a designation limited to less than 5% of all lawyers licensed to practice law in Illinois), nominated and selected by peers in the legal community, 2013-2016.
  • Selected for inclusion in the Illinois Super Lawyers list (no more than 2.5% of lawyers in the state are selected), nominated and selected by peers in the legal community, 2013, 2014
  • Order of the Barristers, 1996
  • Sherman Minton Moot Court Board, 1995-1996
  • National Moot Court Team, Indiana University Law School, 1995
  • Finalist, Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition, 1995

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • International Institute of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law (IINREEL)
  • Legal Deputy Sheriff, Monroe County, Indiana Sheriff's Department, 2007-2014
  • Litigation Counsel of America, 2010 Fellow
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Indiana Bar Association
  • Indiana University Alumni Association
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • New York State Bar Association

Representative Matters

  • Stanley v. MidAmerican Energy Co., et al., Case: 1:12-cv-06073 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, October 22, 2013) Obtained summary judgment for utility company client on the basis that, as a property owner, it  did not owe a duty to warn the plaintiff, the employee of an independent contractor, of exposure to asbestos because it did not control the construction methods of two of its power plants in Iowa. A copy of the opinion can be found here.
  • Utilities Optimization Group, L.L.C. v. TIN, Inc., d/b/a Temple-Inland Case No. 10-40471 (United States Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit, August 8, 2011) achieved a reversal of adverse jury verdict with a rendered judgment in favor of client in a commercial contract dispute arising in Texas. The U.S. Court of Appeals held that there was insufficient evidence of actual or apparent authority to bind Temple-Inland to changes made in scope of work by a contractor. A copy of the Fifth Circuit's opinion can be found here.
  • Connie Brumley v. Commonwealth Business College Education Corp., 945 N.E.2d 770 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011) dismissal and compelled arbitration of claims filed against client affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals. Two groups of plaintiffs sought class action status and damages for alleged fraudulent representations and inducement relating to a surgical training program. Indiana Court of Appeals held that Plaintiffs claims were governed by arbitration provisions contained in enrollment contract and affirmed dismissal of claims.
  • Roger Van Fossen v. MidAmerican Energy Company, et al. In a case of first impression in Iowa premises liability law, the Supreme Court of Iowa affirmed summary judgment in favor of two property owners in an alleged household asbestos exposure case involving the spouse of an independent contractor's employee. The Iowa Supreme Court found that the companies owed no duty to warn the family members of independent contractors. The court's decision reaffirms the principle that the primary responsibility for overseeing the safety of a contractor's employees rests with the contractor itself.
  • Successfully defended a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Kovach v. Caligor Midwest, et al., a products liability case before the Indiana Supreme Court.
  • Succeeded in getting a plaintiff's expert and screening company evidence barred from trial in an asbestos/silica/"mixed dust" case.
  • James O'Boyle v. MidAmerican Energy Company, et al. - Obtained summary judgment for a property owner in a case brought by an employee of an independent contractor in an asbestos exposure case. This case is the first of its kind in Iowa.
  • Testified on behalf of the Indiana Energy Association before the Indiana Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters concerning proposed legislation dealing with hazardous substance litigation in Indiana.
  • Recently filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Indiana Manufacturers Association in the wrongful death case of Elbrink v. ALCOA, et al., where plaintiff claimed her husband died from lung cancer as a result of inhaling asbestos fibers while performing construction work at factories, schools, power stations, hospitals and other facilities in Indiana.  The amicus curiae brief explains the history of asbestos litigation and includes a discussion of the knowledge of various trade unions.  Finally, the brief argues for the application of existing causation standards to asbestos cases.
  • Vieira v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, tried case to verdict on behalf of client in products liability action; plaintiff asked jury for $825,000 and jury returned favorable verdict; judgment entered on behalf of defendant for zero dollars.

Published Appellate Opinions

White v. Garlock Sealing Technologies, 398 Ill.App.3d 610, 924 N.E.2d 53 (4th Dist. 2010).

Roger Van Fossen v. MidAmerican Energy Company, et al. 777 N.W.2d 689 (Iowa 2009).

Kovach v. Caligor Midwest, et al., 913 N.E.2d 193 (Ind. 2009).

PSI Energy, Inc. v. Roberts Jr., 829 N.E.2d 943 (Ind. 2005) - amicus curiae brief submitted on behalf of Appellant premises owner in case which established favorable Indiana law on the obligations of a premises owner to the employees of third-party contractors.

Roberts Jr. v. ALCOA, Inc., et al 811 N.E.2d 466 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004) - dismissal of Plaintiffs' attempts to impose courtroom costs upon clients upheld on appeal to Indiana Court of Appeals.

Harris v. AC&S, Inc., 785 N.E.2d 1087 (Ind. 2003) - summary judgment for client upheld on appeal to Indiana Supreme Court.

Fulk v. Allied Signal, Inc., 755 N.E.2d 1190 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001) - summary judgment for client upheld on appeal to Indiana Court of Appeals.

Poirier v. A.P. Green Services, Inc., 754 N.E.2d 1007 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001) - summary judgment for client upheld on appeal to Indiana Court of Appeals.

News


SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Fireman’s Fund/Allianz Insurance Webinar, “Evidentiary Standards – Daubert and Frye” (October 30, 2014).

Resolute Mock Trial, Perrin Conferences, Boston, MA (April 18, 2013).

Co-Chair, Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit, Miami Beach, FL (November 7, 2012).

Perrin Conferences' Asbestos Litigation Conference: A National Overview and Outlook, "Perspective on Premises Liability" (September 13-15, 2010).

Mealey's National Asbestos Litigation SuperConference, "Venue: The Phenomenon and Impact of the 'Selected Jurisdiction'" (September 22-24, 2008).

HarrisMartin's Asbestos Litigation Conference: Peripheral No More, Part II, Beverly Hills, CA (March 2007).

Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana's Annual Meeting, "Asbestos and Silica Litigation - Update" (November 17, 2006).

Contributor

"Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Compensation," by Lloyd Dixon and Geoffrey McGovern, RAND Corporation (2011).

quoted

"Cancer-causing asbestos at center of complex Indiana legal battle," by Kristine Guerra, The Indianapolis Star (April 4, 2016).

Blog Posts

Education

Indiana University, B.S. (Business Management), 1992

Indiana University, J.D., 1996

Admissions

  • Illinois, 1996
    Indiana, 1996
    Iowa, 2013
    Missouri, 2013
    New York, 2004
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2010
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 2012
    U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2011
    U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1997
    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1997
    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 1996
    U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 1996
    U.S. Tax Court, 1996