Mr. Ocasek received his J.D. from DePaul University School of Law in 1979 and his B.A from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1976. Mr. Ocasek joined the firm in 1979 and represents clients at both the trial and appellate levels.
Mr. Ocasek has won numerous personal injury verdicts and settlements for his clients throughout the state of Illinois in a variety of areas, including wrongful death, medical and professional malpractice, product liability, construction negligence, premises liability and transportation liability. He has also obtained settlement of many significant cases including a seven-figure settlement of the only personal injury lawsuit occurring as a result of the Chicago Flood.
He is admitted to practice before the Illinois State Bar and the United States District Court and is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Fenwick Bar Association. He has provided service as a moot court appellate judge and as an independent and court-appointed arbitrator. He also serves as a Director on the Boards of community and regional organizations. He has also lectured at seminars of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
Cases of local and national significance
Mary S. v. 32 West Randolph Limited Partnership, et al., Mary S., a Cook County clerical worker, suffered a leg injury when she was descending 22 flights of a dark stairwell when the building was forced to evacuate during the Chicago Flood. The leg injury accelerated a diabetic related amputation below the knee. Mr. Ocasek filed an action against the building owners for inadequate life safety systems within the building. Investigation revealed that the building's failure to have an evacuation plan and inadequate emergency lighting caused her injuries. This result was featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Michelle G. v. Harrah's Casino, involved a casino dealer who severely injured her knee when required to quickly transfer buckets of coins from a bank to a cart. Investigation during this lawsuit revealed that the casino had conflicting mandates that employees must follow for safety of the money which required lifting procedures that were not safe for the workers. A Cook County jury awarded substantial damages based on Mr. Ocasek's argument that Ms. G. was not provided with a safe place to work as required by the Jones Act. The result was published in the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter and the National Law Journal.
Clark v. City of Chicago, involved a transport bus driver who crashed into the rear of an aviation truck repairing the roadway which enters O'Hare Airport, resulting in multiple fractures and nerve damage in the leg. With the aid of expert testimony regarding road construction, Mr. Ocasek successfully argued to a jury that the Department violated numerous road safety codes mandating traffic control and warnings to motorists, resulting in a substantial jury verdict in favor of Mr. Clark.
Construction Negligence: Mr. Ocasek has achieved numerous successful results for substantial damages for construction workers through litigation, including McAdoo v. Meadowood Bldrs. (jury verdict for crushed ankle from falling drywall stack); Johnson v. AirTech (jury verdict for arm fractures from unsafe scaffold); Samuel R. v. Walsh, et al., (1.35 million for failure to coordinate and correct unsafe work); Durham v. Amoco (knee reconstruction as a result of unsafe access to work area); Heelien v. CSR (ankle fusion as a result of unsafe job conditions); Kimble v. AMEC (back surgery as a result of unguarded deck opening); Batka v. Walsh Construction (neck surgery due to fall on site debris); Johnson v. AMEC (shoulder surgery due to improper storage); Madsen v. Jirsa Construction (failure to coordinate and control subcontractors’ work). Mr. Ocasek has authored and argued numerous court briefs and memoranda supporting his clients' right to a safe place to work.
Product Liability: Mr. Ocasek has achieved numerous successful results through litigation for substantial damages for consumers and workers injured by defective products, including Nguyen v. Brown (traumatic finger amputations in a forming press); Gettis v. Asplundh (multiple fractures and nerve damage of the arm from defective mechanical and hydraulic systems of a bucket truck); Davidson v. Standard (serious hand injuries due to a design defect in a conveyor system); Walski v. Bd. of Ed., (burn injuries from defective classroom chemistry equipment); Hansen v. Galion (defective access system on a road grader).
Premises Liability: Mr. Ocasek has achieved successful results for substantial damages through litigation for individuals injured due to premises defects, including Mary S. v. 32 West Randolph Building ($1.1 million for acceleration of diabetic amputation from unsafe evacuation); Josic v. Florsheim (jury verdict for multiple ankle fractures after fall from loading dock); Salmen v. A. Suburban (jury verdict for multiple wrist fractures from faulty storage and maintenance); Reisenmy v. Lewin (multiple ankle fractures from defective exterior stairs) Trocchio v. Thyssen (neck surgery from structural failure of elevator); Melendez v. Dominick’s (knee surgeries from defective roof access ladder).
Vehicular and Transportation Negligence: Mr. Ocasek has achieved numerous successful results by jury trial, mediation, arbitration, and settlement for clients injured in collisions, including Chatskis v. Schulte ($1.3 million for an elderly pedestrian struck by a vehicle); DeCastro v. Randell (six figure with structure for aggravation of laminectomy from low speed impact); Coronado v. National Oak ($1,735,000 for partial foot amputation from forklift).
Jones Act, Maritime: Mr. Ocasek has achieved several successful results for substantial damages for maritime employees through litigation, including Gaines v. Harrah's (knee injuries from employer's unsafe work policies and procedures): Paytosh v. Harrah's (necrotizing fasciitis flesh eating disease from employer's unsafe place to work and failure to provide supervision and medical care); Dorge v. Elsasser (arm deformity due to line entanglement on sailboat).