ADR Systems


Hon. Donald J. Suriano, (Ret.)


Judge Suriano joins ADR Systems with a great depth of legal experience, presiding over nearly 1,000 jury trials and a multitude of settlement conferences as a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Judge Suriano was also a very active pre-trial settlement judge who settled the majority of his cases. Those who practiced before him laud his efficient court management skills and describe him as a highly effective jurist. Judge Suriano has vast experience in auto liability, construction accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, premises liability, property damage and wrongful death cases.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Aviation
  • Construction
  • Construction Accidents
  • Contract
  • Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)
  • Fee Dispute
  • Fiduciary Duty
  • Fraud
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Mass Torts
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Subrogation
  • Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claims (UM&UIM)
  • Wrongful Death

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2016, Judge Suriano has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 20-year judicial career including Law Division, Jury Trial 2006-2016; Motion Call 2005-2006; First Municipal District, 1996-2005
  • 12-year legal career including senior counsel at the Chicago Park District, litigation division, and private practice
  • 40-hour mediation training course, Circuit Court of Cook County

Representative Cases

  • FELA: train conductor’s heel amputated by moving train; $22.5 million jury verdict
  • Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death: physicians failed to diagnose heart attack
  • Medical Malpractice: trial involved death of a newborn and resulted in a hung jury; achieved creative settlement with the parties agreeing to settle for $90,000 for each juror voting in favor of the plaintiff
  • Medical Malpractice: man died two days after knee replacement surgery which caused a fatal myocardial infarction
  • Nursing Home: resident woman found to have broken hip and bed sores
  • Personal Injury: Illinois Supreme Court assignment of all of the hundreds of cases filed in the State of Illinois against the manufacturer of a hormone replacement drug; coordination of extensive discovery and pre-trial motions
  • Premises Liability: settled case during second week of trial where window washer stepped off roof and fell to the ground while washing hospital windows
  • Premises Liability: settled case during jury deliberations of a two week trial regarding retail store employee who slipped on cleaning solution left by cleaning contractors and suffered from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Wrongful Death: ten consolidated lawsuits involving the deaths of the crew of a cargo plane which crashed in Afghanistan and left no survivors
  • Wrongful Death: highway worker killed by driver of a double tractor-trailer with $22.6 million jury verdict; plaintiff consented to $14.2 million remittitur
  • Wrongful Death: blind man killed by train; affirmed on appeal and published opinion is an authoritative case regarding social media and blogging jurors

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • Member, Justinian Society of Lawyers
  • Member, American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Professional Activities and Awards
  • Judicial Recognition Award, Italian American Political Coalition

Presentations and Publications

  • Guest Lecturer, “Anatomy of a Motor Vehicle Crash,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE)
  • Presenter, “Do’s and Don’ts of a Jury Trial,” CBA Tort Litigation Committee
  • Presenter, “Annual Symposium with the Judges,” Law Bulletin Seminars
  • Presenter, “Case Examination: Fatality at Railroad Station,” Law Bulletin Seminars
  • Guest Lecturer, “Career Day,” Lane Technical High School


  • JD, John Marshall Law School
  • BA, University of Illinois at Chicago


  • Illinois State Bar
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Federal Trial Bar

With Judge Ward's assistance, we were able to obtain an amicable resolution of the case.  Just as when he was sitting on the bench, Judge Ward showed understanding, temperance and intelligence in addressing the issues.  Settlement was fair and adequate the nature and extent of injury.  I would not hesitate to use ADR Systems’ assistance in the future.

Ronald J. Gold, Esq.Law Office of Baltazar Mendoza