Devon C. Bruce


Devon C. Bruce is a Partner with the Chicago personal injury law firm of Power, Rogers & Smith, practicing in the area of personal injury and wrongful death. Mr. Bruce is also active in practicing accounting and banking malpractice, he also prosecutes qui tam actions for fraud committed against the United States and the State of Illinois. Mr. Bruce is one of the leading personal injury attorneys in Illinois that specializes in appellate advocacy on behalf of tort victims.

In 2014, Mr Bruce resolved over $29.5 million dollars for his clients including: $8.5 million medical malpractice lawsuit arising out of lack of nursing care for an elderly woman; $7 million for failure to treat premature baby in NICU unit in Rockford; $4.7 million of the failure to monitor an elderly woman’s airway in a hospice facility resulting in death. Mr. Bruce was also privileged to give the key note address at the City Club of Chicago regarding his representation of the City of Dixon case in which he obtained $40 million dollars for the City of Dixon. Anyone interested can watch the speech at: The City of Dixon: How Rita Crundwell Stole 53 Million Dollars and How Most of it was Retrieved

On December 29, 2014, Mr Bruce won an appellate victory when the appellate court reversed the trail court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim. In that case, the plaintiff was severely injured in a manufacturing setting and the trial court had dismissed the case as matter of law. Mr. Bruce filed briefs and argued the matter to the appellate court and prevailed. Now the matter can be decided by a jury.

Mr. Bruce has been an invited guest speaker on the issues of embezzlement, accounting malpractice and banking malpractice to a number of organizations which include: The City Club of Chicago; Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and at the Loyola University Law School.

In 2015, Mr. Bruce obtained a significant recovery for a physicians group in a banking malpractice case. The case arose out of an employee of the physician’s group who stole health insurance checks made payable to the physician’s groups. The bank improperly allowed the employee/embezzler to then open fraudulent accounts and cash the checks in the medical group’s name.

Mr. Bruce is also representing a radiology group in an accounting malpractice action arising from overbilling and unfounded charges being approved by the group’s accounting firm.This has been reported as the largest civil recovery for a municipality arising out of an embezzlement in the country.”

Mr. Bruce is currently representing over 50 farmers and farming entities in individual actions against Syngenta, a Swiss corporation. The Syngenta litigation arose out of false sales and marketing of a genetically modified seed corn manufactured by Syngenta and sold into the United States which caused significant economic damage to Illinois farmers.

In 2013, Mr. Bruce, as second chair together with Joseph A. Power, Jr., obtained a $35,000,000 settlement for a minor in a medical malpractice case. At three months of age, the minor was improperly intubated by defendant Physician at defendant Medical Center, causing subglottic stenosis. The subglottic stenosis subsequently required the minor to have a tracheostomy. A few months later, while receiving treatment at a separate hospital, the minor suffered an anoxic event when the tracheostomy tube occluded. The minor plaintiff did not receive proper oxygenation at the second hospital for approximately 12-15 minutes, resulting in permanent damage. The Minor Plaintiff is now a spastic quadriplegic, he suffers from cortical blindness and requires a gastrostomy tube and 24 hour nursing care.

Partner Devon Bruce has settled an accounting and banking malpractice case on behalf of the City of Dixon for a gross settlement of $40,000,000.00. The case arose out of the largest reported municipal embezzlement of a municipality in the United States. The treasurer of the City of Dixon, Rita Crundwell, stole over $53 million dollars from the City. Mr Bruce brought the action on behalf of the City against several accountants and accounting firms for the negligent performance of the annual audit of the City as well as the failure to report irregularities in the personal tax returns of Rita Crundwell which several of the defendants also performed. Mr Bruce also alleged that the defendant Fifth Third Bank violated numerous reasonably commercial accounting standards in the banking industry including: allowing Rita Crundwell to improperly open an account in the name of the City of Dixon; failing to disclose the existence of the account at issue in the annual bank confirmations and not monitoring its clients accounts for various red flags which would have identified Rita Crundwell’s theft. It has been reported that the City will also be reimbursed approximately $10 million dollars from the sale of her assets by the federal government. In October of 2014, Mr. Bruce gave the keynote address to the City Club of Chicago regarding the case.

A representative list of Mr. Bruce’s verdicts and settlements are set forth below.

Prior to working at Power Rogers & Smith, P.C., Mr. Bruce clerked for a Justice on the Illinois Supreme Court. As a result of that experience, Mr. Bruce handles many of the Chicago personal injury law firm's appeals. Mr. Bruce has won numerous matters in the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court. In 2005, Mr. Bruce argued and won a case before the Illinois Supreme Court in the matter of Gillen v. State Farm Insurance Co., 215 Ill.2d 381 (2005). In Gillen Mr. Bruce represented a widow of a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. State Farm Insurance argued that their financial obligation under the insurance contract paid for by the plaintiff should be reduced by the monies the widow recovered from the City of Chicago. The Illinois Supreme Court Affirmed Mr. Bruce's position that State Farm Insurance should not offset or reduce the monies it owed to the widow.

Mr. Bruce is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Mr. Bruce was named in 2009 by the Chicago lawyer magazine as the 40 Lawyers under 40 and has been selected every year from 2011-2015 as a Leading Lawyer by his peers.
  • Verdicts & Settlements

    D. v. Clifton, Larsen, Allen, PC 12 L12 (Lee) 2013

    Settlement prior to trial for $40,000,000.00

    This case involves the embezzlement of $53 million dollars from the City of Dixon by Rita Crundwell, who served as comptroller and treasurer of Dixon, Illinois, from 1983 to April 2012. This was reported to be the largest embezzlement of a municipality in the history of the United States. Plaintiff, the City of Dixon, brought a negligence action against Clifton, Larsen, Allen, Fifth Third Bank and Janis Card & Associates. Clifton, Larsen, Allen was the accounting firm hired by the City of Dixon to perform the City’s annual audits throughout the time period of Rita Crundwell’s theft. Plaintiff alleged that Clifton was negligent in that it failed to discover the theft of the money during the performance of their annual audits. Clifton was further negligent in not reporting and/or investigating numerous irregularities in Rita Crundwell’s tax returns. Fifth Third Bank and its predecessor banks held multiple City of Dixon accounts as well as a “secret” account improperly opened in the City of Dixon’s name by Rita Crundwell which she used to deposit the stolen City of Dixon funds. Rita Crundwell then used the account to pay for numerous personal items such as jewelry, automobiles and to finance her equestrian business. Plaintiff alleged that Fifth Third Bank was negligent in allowing Rita Crundwell to open the secret account and also failed to disclose the existence of this account in annual bank confirmations to the City’s accountants. Plaintiff alleged that Janis Card & Associates was negligent in failing to identify the theft and by entering into a joint venture with Clifton, Larsen, Allen to perform the City of Dixon audits after 2005.

    T. v. Undisclosed Defendants08 L 7156 (Cook) 2013

    Settlement prior to trial for $35,000,000.00

    (2nd Chair with Joseph A. Power, Jr.)

    Minor plaintiff at three months of age was intubated by defendant physician. Plaintiff alleges that defendant doctor and undisclosed hospital were negligent in the failure to intubate Dalian causing subglottic stenosis. The subglottic stenosis subsequently required the plaintiff to have a tracheostomy. In September of 2006, the minor plaintiff was hospitalized at a separate hospital when the tracheostomy tube occluded and caused an anoxic event. Plaintiff did not receive proper oxygenation for approximately 12-15 minutes. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to monitor the plaintiff while hospitalized.

    H. v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 11 L 3640 (Cook County) (2014)

    Settlement Prior to Trial: $8,500,000.00

    On June 23, 2010, the Plaintiff suffered an arrest and subsequent lack of oxygen resulting in a brain injury. Plaintiff alleged that the cause of her arrest and oxygen deprivation was an occluded tracheostomy tube which was not addressed in a timely fashion by the Defendant Hospital staff. Plaintiff suffered a severe brain injury. Plaintiff's past medical bills at the time of settlement were approximately $1.8 Million.

    B. v. Undisclosed Healthcare Providers, 10 L 304 (Winnebago County) (2014)

    Settlement Prior to Trial: $7,000,000.00

    Plaintiff was born at 25.5 weeks. At 11 days of life, plaintiff contracted three blood borne infections. Plaintiff deteriorated and ultimately suffered a hypoxic event as a result of the infection. Plaintiff developed periventricular leukomalacia or PVL. Plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent in performing the hygiene and sanitary procedures in the NICU unit which led to plaintiff’s infection. Plaintiff further alleged that the defendant Dr. Siddiqui, a neonatologist, and the nursing staff failed to respond timely to identify and treat the infections. Plaintiff alleged that the cause of plaintiff’s PVL was the hypoxic event arising from the infection and not the plaintiff’s prematurity. Plaintiff has been diagnosed with permanent brain damage and requires 24 hour care. Plaintiff’s medical bills to date exceed $1,000,000.00. Defendant contended that the risk of infection is common in neonates, that the PVL was caused by the plaintiff’s prematurity of 25.5 weeks and not the infection and that the plaintiff has a substantially reduced life expectancy.

    B. v. Unnamed Major Research Hospital, 10 L 6609 (2010)

    Settlement prior to trial for $6,859,000.00

    Medical Negligence. Plaintiff was a patient at a Major Research Hospital where she was hospitalized for an outpatient procedure on her airway. The procedure was uneventful, but later her tracheostomy tube became dislodged and the nursing staff failed to react in a timely and proper fashion. As a result, the plaintiff suffered an anoxic event. Plaintiff suffered serious personal injuries, conscious pain and suffering and her subsequent death on April 18th, 2010.

    D. v. Elite Cartage, et. al., 08 L 8426 (Cook County)(2012)

    Settlement prior to trial for $6,850,000.00

    Plaintiff sustained significant personal injuries when he was struck as a pedestrian in a parking lot by a commercial trailer. The trailer had separated from a tractor driving across the parking lot and struck Mr. Derlis as he stood faced in the opposite direction placing a package in the trunk of his car. The trailer’s brakes were significantly out of adjustment and were fully defective. Plaintiff suffered a L4-L5 fracture/dislocation which required spinal fusion/instrumentation, left L4-L5 nerve root injury, partial avulsion of cauda equina on the left side, a left lower pole renal tear with grade 4 trauma involving collecting system, stent placement and nephrostomy tube placement.

    M v. Undisclosed Municipal Entities, 08 L 4604 (Cook County) (2009)

    Settlement prior to trial for $5,525,000.00.

    Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle traveling eastbound on 127th Street at or near the intersection of 127th Street and Kedzie in the Village of Blue Island, Illinois when the defendant officer entered the intersection, ignored the traffic device which was illuminated red for northbound traffic, failed to yield the right-of-way for the plaintiff's vehicle and violently collided into the passenger side of the plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant was willful and wanton in deciding to initiate and continue the pursuit. Plaintiff suffered multiple injuries including blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen, pulmonary contusions, fractured ribs, fractured pelvis, nerve damage, ruptured spleen, fractured thumb and disfigurement. Plaintiff was hospitalized for over 30 days and underwent multiple surgeries due to her injuries.

  • Education

    • J.D., University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, Illinois, 1993
    • B.A., University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, 1990
    • University College Cork Cork, Ireland, 1988
  • Memberships

    • Illinois State Bar Association
      • Member, Task Force on Unauthorized Practice of Law;
      • Former Chairman, Young Lawyers Division;
    • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
      • Member, Supreme Court Appeals Committee;
      • Member, Amicus Curiae Committee;
      • Member, Legislative Committee
    • American Bar Association
    • Appellate Lawyers Association
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
      • Member, Lead Paint Committee, Chicago Bar Association
    • University of Illinois College of Law
      • Former Chairman, Alumni Advisory Board;
      • Former Chairman, Fundraising Committee;
      • Member, Cribbet Society, 1988 - present
    • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
    • Chicago Inn of Court
      • Former Member, 1997-1998
  • Appointments

    Illinois State Board of Investment, 2010 - present

    • Chairman

    Navy Pier, Inc. Board 2010 - present

    American Ireland Fund Board Member, Chicago, 2010 - present

    • Vice Chairman

    Walter Payton Liver Center Board Member, 2010 to present

    Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, 2009 - 2010

    • Chairman, Finance

    State of Illinois Merit Board, 2005 - 2009

    University of Illinois, Board of Trustees Member, 2003 - 2009

    • Chairman, Budget & Audit Committee February, 2003 - 2009
    • Chairman, Legal Affairs Committee, February 2003 - 2009
    • University of Illinois is a $4.1 billion dollar body politic with campuses in Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, Rockford and Peoria, IL

    Academic Appointment

    Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, 2004 - present

    • Teaching comprehensive pre-trial civil litigation course for 2nd and 3rd year law students

    Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Oversight Committee, 1997 - present

  • Honors & Awards

    • 2014 Jury Verdict Reporter Award for Highest Verdict or Settlement in a Dog Bite Case
    • 2013 Recipient, Chicago Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, in recognition of service to reduce fraud world wide
    • 2009 Honoree, 40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch
    • 1999 Recipient, Illinois Trial Lawyers' Association, for Appreciation of Volunteer Work of Writing Amicus Curiae Briefs to the Illinois Supreme Court
    • 1998 Recipient, Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, for the Successful Challenge to the Illinois Tort Reform Act of 1995 in Best v. Taylor Machine Works
    • Selected by a polling of all active lawyers across Illinois as a Super Lawyer in personal injury litigation. This distinction is awarded to 5% of all Illinois attorneys.
  • Additional Info

    Representative Appeals

    R. v. United/Goedecke, 238 Ill. 2d 582 (2010)

    R. v. Wyeth, 377 Ill.App.3d 20 (1st Dist. 2007)

    G. v. State Farm Insurance, 215 Ill.2d 381 (Ill., 2005)

    S. v. Mercury Marine, 537 U.S. 51 (U.S.Ill., 2002)

    L. v. Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation, 327 Ill.App.3d 801 (3nd Dist. 2002)

    S. v. Chicago Park District, 323 Ill.App.3d 574 (Ill., 2001)

    G. v. Chicago Transit Authority, 312 Ill.App.3d 1005 (Ill.App.1st Dist. 2001)


    • "Rita Crundwell - The Inside Story!" Illinois Association of Court Clerks, September 16, 2014
    • "The $54 Million Question: A Debate Over the Auditing Firm's Role in Discovering Fraud," Illinois Cetified Public Accountant Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, April 29, 2014
    • "Rita Crundwell - The Inside Story!" Illinois Association of County Officials, April 28, 2014
    • "Inside the Daley Center from a Plaintiff's Perspective", Loyola University Chicago School of Law, October 5, 2012
    • "Presentation on Illinois State Board of Investment", City of Chicago, March 5, 2012
    • "Nuts & Bolts of Opening Statements" Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, March 25, 2011
    • "Updates and Developments in Medical Negligence Actions in Ireland" Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, November 20, 2010
    • "Ethics Jurisprudence - How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Medical Malpractice" University of Illinois College of Medicine, October 27, 2010
    • "Special Issues in Catastrophic Injury Cases - Liens and Settlements" Illinois Trial Lawyers Associates, April 5, 2008
    • "Your Attack on the Affidavit" The Chicago Bar Association, December 17, 2007 and December 6, 2006
    • "Attacking the Affidavit", together with Judge Diane Larsen, Chicago Bar Association Seminar, December 16, 2005, October 20, 2003, October 23, 2002
    • "Jury Selection, Anatomy of a Trial" Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, February 16, 2004
    • "Wrongful Death Evidence," Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Education Fund Evidence Seminar, May 5, 2001
    • "Maximizing Damages," Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Product Liability Seminar, February 19, 2001
    • "Civil Discovery in Medical Malpractice Cases in the United States" and "The Importance of Jury Trials in Vicil Cases," Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, April 2000.
    • "Firearms/Food Products," Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Education Fund Product Liability - Premises Liability Litigation Seminar, February 21, 2000

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