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

I was extremely pleased with a recent mediation at ADR Systems. The mediators constitute a veritable "who's who" of top-notch practitioners and former jurists with a wealth of experience across the legal spectrum.  I strongly recommend ADR Systems for even the most complex and contentious of cases.

Hillard M. Sterling, Esq.Sterling Tech Law | Waveland Law Group, LLC