Devon C. Bruce
Mr. Bruce has obtained multiple million-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients over the 25 years that he has practiced law.
Mr. Bruce began his career after graduating from the University of Illinois Law School as a law clerk to the Illinois Supreme Court. After finishing his clerkship, Mr. Bruce began at Power, Rogers & Smith in 1993. Since that time, Mr. Bruce has obtained record-breaking recoveries on behalf of clients in two separate areas of the law, medical malpractice and accounting/banking negligence.
The Rita Crundwell Case
In 2013, Mr. Bruce obtained the largest reported settlement for municipal embezzlement in the history of the United States. Mr. Bruce recovered over $40 million dollars on behalf of the City of Dixon after the Treasurer, Rita Crundwell, stole nearly $54 million dollars in City funds.
The U.S. Marshall’s office recovered $10 million dollars by the sale of Rita Crundwell’s horses, farms and other assets and Mr. Bruce recovered an additional $40 million dollars in a lawsuit he pursued on behalf of the taxpayers of the City of Dixon.
Mr. Bruce recovered from the accounting firms which performed the City of Dixon audits as well as against the bank where the transactions occurred for violating banking standards. A documentary film entitled, “All the Queen’s Horses” was produced following the Rita Crundwell saga which features Mr. Bruce and describes the lawsuit and his recovery on behalf of the taxpayers of the City of Dixon. In October of 2014, Mr. Bruce gave the keynote address to the City Club of Chicago regarding the case.
Ground-Breaking Case Results
In 2017, Mr. Bruce obtained the largest reported medical malpractice settlement in Illinois. In that case, Mr. Bruce recovered $47.5 million dollars on behalf of his client, who was a four-year-old boy, rendered a quad amputee after a bacterial infection which went undiagnosed by medical staff for over a 32-hour stay in a hospital.
According to the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter at that time, this was the highest medical malpractice settlement ever in the history of Illinois.
I addition to this case, Mr. Bruce has successfully represented many victims of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence in his 25-year career including; wrongful death, failure to diagnose cancer, failure to diagnose cardiac condition, numerous birth injury cases, respiratory distress, nursing errors, and orthopedic and surgical injuries.
Mr. Bruce also continues to represent catastrophically injured plaintiffs in the area of trucking, automobile, premises liability, product liability as well as victims of embezzlement in instances of accounting and banking malpractice.
Prior to working at Power, Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., 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.
Associations & Achievements
Mr. Bruce is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, American
Trial Lawyers Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago
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.
Attorney Devon Bruce has recovered funds from one of the accounting firms that worked for the Village of Burnham during the time that Nancy Dobrowski was an employee at the village. Nancy Dobrowski, the longtime village clerk of the Village of Burnham, pled guilty to embezzling approximately $685,000 from the village over a series of years.
Mr. Bruce frequently represents plaintiffs including corporations, physician groups, and municipalities in accounting malpractice cases. Mr. Bruce has successfully recovered well over 40 million dollars in accounting malpractice and banking malpractice cases for a number of clients.
Illinois State Board of Investment, 2010 - present
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
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
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
S. v. Undisclosed Defendants 14 L 12147 (Cook)
Settlement prior to trial for $47,500,000.00
This medical malpractice case was the largest reported settlement in Cook County in 2016. The plaintiff was a 4-year-old child who suffered serious injured after his physicians failed to diagnose and treat a bacterial infection. Mr. Bruce is continuing to pursue the case against the remaining defendants in this case. Not only is this the largest medical malpractice settlement for any case in 2016 in Cook County but one of the largest medical malpractice actions ever obtained.
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.
Motor Vehicle Negligence No. 98 L 4793
A Barrington Hills police officer stopped suddenly on Route 63, purportedly to chase a speeder going in the opposite direction. The sudden stop caused another vehicle to swerve and strike Plaintiff’s car head-on. Plaintiff was 8 months pregnant and despite an emergency c-section, the fetus suffered brain damage.
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.
- 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
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
- Leading Lawyers Magazine 2016, Top 100 Lawyers
- 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
- Recognized as Illinois Super Lawyers 2005 and 2009-Present
- 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.