J.D., Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1988
A.B., University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 1985
Clients proactively seek Don Schoemaker to represent them in serious litigation given his reputation for zealous representation and skilled cross examination. With three decades of experience and a tenacious litigation approach, Don has successfully represented clients against claims involving professional malpractice, personal injury, product liability, discrimination and business litigation.
Don’s reputation to take a case to trial not only assists clients if they are forced to take that route, but also makes settlement at a reasonable amount a viable alternative. He has tried to verdict more than 95 matters, the majority in Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois. Don has tried catastrophic personal injury cases and commercial litigation involving Fortune 500 companies. He has represented a broad range of clients including individual physicians, medical groups and hospitals; manufacturing, agricultural and transportation businesses; attorneys and accountants.
As general counsel to several medical groups and small corporations, Don also advises them on day-to-day matters and how to comply with state and federal law to avoid distracting and costly disputes.
Don is a driving force on the firm’s technology committee and is dedicated to finding ways to add value for clients through efficient and effective use of technology, including document review/indexing, remote interviews and depositions of witnesses. He has substantial experience in supervising and managing mass tort litigation and using up-to-date technology in the cost-effective preparation and courtroom presentation of matters.
- Illinois State Bar Association
- The Missouri Bar
- St. Clair County (IL) Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute
- Boy Scouts International
- Chamber of Commerce
- Shiloh, Illinois, School Board past president
Honors & Awards
Honors & Awards
- Illinois Leading Lawyers, Medical Malpractice Defense, Personal Injury Defense
- The Best Lawyers in America, Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants, 2021
- Patient v. Surgeon, Jefferson County, Illinois. Defense verdict after jury trial involving a patient’s claim that the surgeon breached the standard of care in lacerating the median nerve during carpal tunnel surgery. Complete exoneration of the surgeon and his group.
- Parents v. Hospital, St. Clair County, Illinois. Mother was a passenger in a minivan on the Martin Luther King Bridge (Illinois side) when her vehicle was struck head-on by a drunk driver who was killed on impact. Mother was due to deliver a baby in three days, and at the crash scene, she had minor lower back/abdominal pain. Mother was taken to the closest ER, where ultrasound and external monitor showed no infant distress. She transferred that evening to a St. Louis hospital. Upon arrival, mother and fetus had normal heart rates and no adverse signs or symptoms. A half-hour after admission, the fetus began to exhibit stress. An emergency C-section was performed, and a partial placental abruption was noted. Infant passed shortly after birth. Parents sued numerous health care providers. Defendant Hospital was involved as the local trauma center in charge of emergency response. Trial judge denied a motion to dismiss, and years of discovery ensued involving 17 discovery depositions and nine expert witnesses testifying about the creation of ambulance protocols, the independent authority of regional trauma centers and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Plaintiff demanded $1 million in settlement from Hospital after all other defendants settled. Hospital refused and received summary judgment on the first day of trial.
- Distributing, Inc. v. Major Production Company, St. Clair County, Illinois. Plaintiff Distributing, Inc. was one of Major Production Company’s distributors. There were approximately seven other companies in the exact same business in southwestern Illinois. MPC also used Distributing, Inc. to do haulage for a flat rate to certain locations. MPC sent a letter saying it would do its own hauling to MPC’s direct customers. Plaintiff believed this would run them out of business, so they ceased operations. Even though MPC offered to buy out Distributing at a premium, Distributing refused to sell and instead closed operations. (Discovery revealed that this was a tactic to increase damages for the suit against MPC.) After MPC sent the letter, a different executive at MPC changed the policy and it never had its own drivers do the hauling. Plaintiff sued MPC alleging fraud for the letter and an “attempt” to run them out of business. Defendant denied the allegations.
- Guest v. Homeowner, Madison County, Illinois. A guest was visiting the home of a close friend and fell down 14 steps, resulting in severe bilateral fractures of both arms and the right shoulder, leading to medical bills of over $350,000. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s choice of floor design or flooring material was negligent and caused plaintiff to fall. Plaintiff demanded $500,000 to settle matter pre-trial. Case went to trial with a request by plaintiff to the jury for $1 million. Jury found for the Homeowner.
- Juice Company v. Bottling Company. St. Louis County, Missouri. Juice Company sued Bottling Company for breach of contract asserting $10 million in damages. Bottling Company counterclaimed for $1 million for failure of Juice Company to pay for product provided to Juice Company. Suit involved thousands of pages of documents, invoices and correspondence involving claims and counterclaims for theft, violation of intellectual property, destruction of property and damage to brand reputation. On the first day of trial, the matter resolved, resulting in a complete release from plaintiff to defendant for all of Juice Company’s claims (without any payment) and payment to manufacturer on its counterclaim.
- New Owner v. Old Owner. East St. Louis, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois Federal Court. Old Owner sold a promotion company to partner (New Owner). New Owner later discovered that while the sale was being negotiated, the Old Owner, in breach of his fiduciary duty and in violation of Illinois and Federal Computer Abuse and Fraud Acts, conspired with third parties to steal the company’s intellectual property by logging into and downloading the company’s electronic file system. Case involved electronic review of over 75,000 emails and forensic examination of computers. Plaintiff received monetary sanctions against defendant’s counsel for failure to comply with federal court rules, and after testimony from a third party that they had been told by Old Owner that defense counsel would drag the litigation out to “bankrupt” New Owner. New Owner recovered over $1.5 million in settlements.
News & Insights
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- National Business Institute video webcast, April 5, 2019
- “Utilizing Alternative Dispute Resolution Tactics in Employment Matters”National Business Institute, January 21, 2015
- "For Your Defense"Illinois EMS Region IV, January 1, 2011
- Southern Business Journal, June 2014
- Southern Business Journal, April 2012