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Oldenburg and Boeckman Prevail in Defending Immunity in COVID-19 Cases

HeplerBroom attorney Anne Oldenburg HeplerBroom attorney LaDonna Boeckman

Anne Oldenburg and LaDonna Boeckman, partners with the Chicago office’s professional liability group, in conjunction with appellate counsel and a constitutional law scholar, obtained two victories for health care institutions and providers in lawsuits filed alleging injury or death as a result of the novel COVID-19 virus during the early months of the global pandemic. Both decisions addressed the immunity provision for negligence claims contained within Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-19 issued on April 1, 2020.

In early August, the Circuit Court of DuPage County issued a ruling applying the immunity protections of Executive Order 2020-19 in favor of a long-term care facility. The plaintiffs in these cases alleged that the residents died due to failures of the healthcare providers to stop the transmission of COVID-19. However, the DuPage County Court found that the facility was rendering assistance to the State of Illinois’ effort to fight COVID-19 such that immunity for negligence claims applied.

A week later, the Second District Appellate Court issued a decision on a certified question from another consolidation of cases from Kane County that seek compensation for the deaths of long-term care residents as a result of contracting COVID-19 during the early months of the pandemic. In deciding the certified question, the Appellate Court upheld the immunity provision of Executive Order 2020-19 for ordinary negligence claims against health care providers and health care facilities that rendered assistance to the State of Illinois during the pandemic.

The decision from the Circuit Court of DuPage County can be read here.

 The decision from the Second District Appellate Court can be found here:

Boeckman focuses her practice on the defense of medical and dental professionals, as well as healthcare law and premises liability matters. She has been named to Best Lawyers’ list of Ones to Watch and is the former recipient of a Jury Verdict Reporter Trial Lawyer Excellence Award for an outstanding defense verdict in a dental malpractice matter.

Oldenburg also focuses her practice on the defense of medical and dental malpractice, as well as nursing home matters. In addition, she represents professionals before licensing boards. She has received numerous honors in her career, including most recently being named the recipient of a 2023 Medical Professional Liability Association’s Industry Defender Award and being one of only three lawyers in the U.S. nominated for OMSNIC/Fortress’ Defense Attorney of the Year. She has been named to numerous lists of top-rated lawyers, including Best Lawyers in America, Illinois Leading Lawyers, Illinois Super Lawyers, and Top 50 Female Lawyers in Illinois. Oldenburg is rated an AV Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.


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