Curt J. Schlom Partner




Curt Schlom is the regional managing partner of Wilson Elser’s Chicago office and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Curt is also a co-chair of the firm’s Product Liability, Prevention & Government Compliance Practice. Curt has a diverse civil defense practice that focuses on product liability, general liability, professional and medical malpractice and employment matters. An accomplished, committed and innovative attorney, he has been with Wilson Elser for his entire legal career.

A portion of Curt’s practice involves the defense of products manufactured in Taiwan, China and Japan, and he is a member of the firm’s Asia Practice. He also has significant experience with general and premises liability matters arising from the oil and gas industry, sports venues, trucking and transportation, and construction site accidents. Curt devotes a high level of energy and attention in helping his clients to manage difficult situations whenever and wherever they arise.

Curt has significant experience trying cases in various courts throughout the State of Illinois as lead or co-counsel, and has successfully argued appeals before the Seventh Circuit and the Illinois Appellate Court. He obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a major personal watercraft manufacturer in a first-of-its-kind, industry-wide case. In addition, Curt tried one of the largest personal injury cases in the United States in 2002 as recognized by the National Law Journal. He also has won dismissal of numerous malpractice lawsuits against professionals in a range of industries.

Areas of Focus

Product Liability
Curt has successfully defended numerous matters involving products manufactured in the United States and abroad, including recreational vehicles and sporting goods, industrial machinery, tools, and a variety of consumer products. He has served as national coordinating counsel with respect to product liability litigation and supervises such matters throughout the United States.

General Liability
In his general liability practice, Curt has extensive experience representing professional sports teams in a variety of premises liability cases. He currently serves as the regional coordinating counsel for a Fortune 100 oil company handling its injury cases. Curt also has represented construction companies, property managers, apartment complexes, retailers, hotels, malls, amusement parks, security firms and churches in construction-related and premises liability matters. In addition, he has represented numerous trucking and transportation companies in vehicular accident and cargo loss matters.

Professional Malpractice
Curt has represented doctors, nurses, therapists, clinics, dentists and other health care professionals in medical negligence actions, as well as real estate brokers, attorneys, accountants, design professionals and appraisers in professional liability matters.

Representative Matters

Product Liability

Handled product liability jury trial concerning alleged manufacturing defect in a motorcycle. Plaintiff claimed he was rendered a paraplegic after he lost control of his motorcycle while performing a double jump. Plaintiff further contended that his carburetor stuck during the course of the jump. Case appeared in National Law Journal’s top 100 verdicts in 2002. 

Won defense verdict in a product liability lawsuit involving a personal watercraft. Plaintiff claimed she sustained a rectal laceration, requiring a colostomy and causing infertility problems, as a result of a fall from watercraft while in motion. After two-week trial, the jury found that the product was not defective for lack of a passenger lanyard, and jet thrust did not cause her injury. 

Successfully defended product liability jury trial where plaintiff sought to recover for injuries she sustained while operating a golf cart. After a week of trial, case settled for nuisance value. 

Obtained summary judgment in favor of garage door manufacturer based upon lack of product defect. 

Won dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint based upon lack of jurisdiction in several separate product liability claims against Taiwanese product manufacturers. 

Won dismissal of product liability action involving alleged failure in valve. 

Won dismissal of suit against supplier of wire strander alleging injuries to a construction worker. 

Won dismissal of product liability suit involving allegations of a defective cruise control feature on riding lawn tractor. 

Obtained summary judgment in wrongful death product liability suit involving a golf cart. Court found that any alleged deficiencies in warning were open and obvious and that there was no evidence that alleged defects in steering and brakes existed at the time the golf cart left the control of the manufacturer. Appeal to Illinois Supreme Court denied. 

Won dismissal of product liability suit based upon learned intermediary doctrine. Plaintiff brought suit against pharmaceutical manufacturer after she allegedly suffered a stroke from ingesting prescription birth control medication. 

Won dismissal of product liability case involving claim of defective motorcycle based upon statute of limitations and lack of duty. 

Won dismissal of wrongful death product liability case where plaintiff alleged that manufacturer’s trailer was defective for lack of side underride protection. Decision was affirmed on appeal by the First District Illinois Appellate Court; cert. denied by Illinois Supreme Court. 

Won dismissal of Taiwanese bicycle pedal manufacturer from product liability suit filed in Illinois state court based upon lack of jurisdiction. Affirmed on appeal. PLA to the Illinois Supreme Court was denied. 

Won dismissal of German crane ladder supplier from product liability suit based upon lack of jurisdiction. 

Won dismissal of engine supplier in “no mow in reverse” case involving riding lawn mower accident that led to a catastrophic injury of minor. 

Won dismissal with prejudice of pool heater manufacturer for claims of defect following a carbon monoxide leak in indoor pool heater.

General Liability

Handled jury trial involving a contribution claim for the delivery of contaminated corn syrup against trucking company and a food grade truck tank wash company. The jury apportioned 60 percent of fault to other parties in case. 

Won defense verdict in favor of defendant driver following a jury trial. Plaintiff alleged that she made a protected left turn after red light and that defendant, who was speeding at the time, ran the red light and struck her vehicle causing a severe leg injury requiring numerous surgeries. 

Won defense verdict in favor of defendant chemical company following a jury trial after the jury found that a company employee was not within the scope of his employment even though he was on his way to a meeting for the company when he suffered an insulin blackout and struck a woman on a bus bench. 

Successfully defended boat owner’s claim against a marina for property damages. Trial found damages less than half of what plaintiffs sought. 

Won defense verdict in favor of a retailer and against estate of individual seeking recovery against retailer for claims brought under Illinois Dram Shop Act. 

Successfully defended a church in premises liability jury trial in which plaintiff settled prior to closing arguments for less than one-third of original demand. 

Won dismissal of plaintiff’s claims against a fraternity under the Gender Violence Act. Decision was affirmed on appeal in the First District Appellate Court.

Obtained summary judgment in favor of general contractor for injuries sustained by subcontractor employee. The court found that condition that caused plaintiff to fall was open and obvious as a matter of law. Decision was affirmed on appeal by the Second District Appellate Court; Illinois Supreme Court denied Petition for Leave to Appeal. 

Obtained summary judgment or dismissal in favor of defendant oil company in numerous cases involving slip and fall accidents at service stations. 

Obtained summary judgment for defendant tenant in construction injury lawsuit. 

Won dismissal of slip and fall lawsuit against the Chicago Bulls and United Center. 

Obtained summary judgment in favor of retailer following slip and fall on premises based upon open and obvious and trespass defenses. Decision affirmed on appeal by the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District. 

Obtained summary judgment in favor of lessee and owner of hockey arena in slip and fall case based upon lack of notice defense. 

Obtained summary judgment in favor of snow removal company defendant following injuries to plaintiff after slip and fall on ice. Subsequent third party complaint filed by condominium association against defendant also was dismissed based upon early summary judgment ruling against plaintiff, which found that defendant owed no duty to plaintiff and therefore no duty to condo association. 

Successful handled binding arbitration involving trucking accident in Indiana. The arbitrators awarded plaintiff substantially less than settlement demand.

Professional Liability

Won dismissal on behalf of cardiologist in wrongful death action stemming from allegations of failure to properly interpret a cardiac stress test. 

Won dismissal of home health care company and nursing staff in wrongful death case in which estate alleged a failure to diagnose infection led to decedent’s death. 

Won dismissal of architect in construction injury case arising from fall in unprotected trench. 

Won dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint against real estate agent for claims of fraud and misrepresentation stemming from sale of condo unit. 

Won dismissal of architect in personal injury case arising out of slip and fall accident at a commercial/residential building. 

Won dismissal of contribution claim against real estate broker and agent involving claims of negligence stemming from sale of property. 

Won dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint for breach of contract and contribution stemming from alleged misrepresentations in a disclosure report from sale of home. 

Won dismissal of complaint for fraud and misrepresentation against real estate broker stemming from lease of property. 

Won dismissal of third party complaint against apartment placement company for purported violations under City ordinance.