Heyl Royster has announced that five attorneys have become partners with the firm: Brad Antonacci in the firm’s Rockford office; Shari Berry, John Heil and Andrew Keyt in the firm’s Peoria office; and Jennifer Johnson in the firm’s Edwardsville office.
Antonacci concentrates in the areas of workers' compensation and civil litigation. He has arbitrated many workers' compensation claims, as well as argued numerous reviews before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. He has also argued appeals of Workers’ Compensation Commission decisions before the circuit court.
Antonacci has spoken on employment layoffs and temporary total disability benefits and is a regular contributor to “Below the Red Line,” the firm’s workers’ compensation e-newsletter. He also co-authored, "Loaning Employer Not Liable . . . Personal Comfort Doctrine," for the Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008). In 2012, Antonacci was named to the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list.
He received his J.D. from Northern Illinois University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review, and a B.A. from the University of Illinois.
Berry defends and advises on employment matters, including discrimination, harassment, and civil rights claims. She has represented employers on claims brought by OSHA, the EEOC and state civil rights agencies. She is one of the leaders of Heyl Royster’s Railroad Practice Group and manages litigation involving crossing accidents and FELA claims.
Prior to Heyl Royster, Berry practiced at law firms in Texas and Missouri, where she defended employers in employment lawsuits, mediations and government investigations and represented national pharmaceutical companies in complex litigation. She has frequently counseled clients on employment and benefits issues and provided training to reduce employment-related claims. Berry also previously served as in-house counsel at Valero Energy Corporation, where she managed employment, benefits and labor litigation, and managed a portfolio of ADA public accommodation cases.
Early in her career, Berry worked in corporate public affairs at Caterpillar Inc. Berry is a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section, Employment Law and Litigation Committee, as well as a co-editor of the newsletter. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Washburn University School of Law and a B.S. from the University of Kansas.
Heil’s practice involves complex civil rights litigation, commercial litigation, tort litigation, and professional liability actions. His civil rights practice includes the defense of state law and federal Section 1983 actions leveled against law enforcement officers and other public officials. He is also heavily involved in commercial litigation on behalf of large and small corporate clients and the defense of catastrophic tort litigation cases. Prior to joining Heyl Royster, Heil served for 11 years as a trial attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney’s Office where he prepared and argued hundreds of motions, and handled more than 100 bench trials and 18 felony jury trials.
As a member of the Civil Actions Bureau, Heil defended Cook County, its elected officials and employees in state and federal court. Heil was part of a team charged with defending the State's Attorney and his Assistants in several high profile federal civil rights actions in the Northern District of Illinois.
Heil received his J.D. (with honors) from Chicago-Kent College of Law and his B.S., magna cum laude, from Bradley University.
Johnson concentrates her practice in the defense of asbestos and toxic tort claims, including products liability and premises liability claims that arise from occupational and environmental exposures, as well as agricultural arbitration matters. She represents corporate defendants in grain contract defaults and other disputes before the National Grain and Feed Association. Johnson has also defended clients in matters including product liability and professional liability.
From 2003 to 2006, Johnson practiced law in Memphis, Tenn. where she focused on the representation of employers and management in employment law and labor matters. Johnson received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Southern Illinois University School of Law and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Southern Illinois University.
Keyt concentrates his practice on the defense of asbestos and toxic tort claims arising from environmental and occupational exposures, including products and premises liability claims. He has defended numerous clients in asbestos and silica litigation, including equipment manufacturers, premises owners, miners and contractors. Keyt has served as lead defense counsel at trials, mediations and arbitrations.
In addition, Keyt has served as outside counsel to a number of public entities, particularly municipalities and townships.
Keyt received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Northern Illinois University School of Law and his B.S. from Illinois State University.