William W. Kurnik

William W. Kurnik

William W. Kurnik (“Bill”) is one of the principals in the firm and along with one of his partners, heads up the civil rights and public entity teams at their Illinois office. Bill is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the United States District Courts in Illinois and Indiana, and in the state courts of Illinois and Indiana. He handled his first civil rights case in 1976 giving him more than thirty-five years of experience in litigating civil rights cases and related state law claims, and has concentrated his personal practice in those areas. Areas of practice include both law enforcement and employment related civil rights cases under all of the employment civil rights acts as well as non-employment based civil rights claims. Of those federal district court cases in which there have been written opinions, a recent survey reports over 130 district court cases where he has appeared as lead counsel for the firm. The federal district court databases reflect that he has appeared in over 400 cases in Illinois and Indiana. He has briefed and argued over 45 cases in the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. While civil rights is his area of concentration, he has and continues to defend public entities in general tort cases as well and has “made law” in both the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Illinois and Indiana courts of review.

Bill has frequently lectured to practicing attorneys and to law enforcement administrators and has a Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of 5.0.


Most cases settle and despite a successful motion practice, Bill has tried close to 50 cases.  Here is a sampling of his cases.

Kresich v. City of Lake Station (N.D. IN).  Under-cover drug buy resulted in the plaintiff sustaining a four-part fracture of the proximal humerus that his treater described as having “exploded” from the throw to the ground by the arresting officer.  $137,000.00 in specials.  Defense verdict in April 2015.
View Outdoor v Town of Schererville (N.D. IN).  Plaintiff contended that amendment of code to prohibit billboards violated the First Amendment.  Summary Judgment for the defendant

Suchy v. City of Geneva (Ill. App.).  City not liable for drowning while the deceased was attempting to rescue a youth from the downstream “boil” of a dam under the open an obvious doctrine.

Rosentretter v Munding (N.D. IL).  During the course of a police pursuit of a motorcycle, and after the officer got on foot to investigate, he was struck by the motorcycle and said that this caused his gun to accidentally discharge striking the plaintiff in the back.  Defense verdict after three days of deliberation.

Peña v. Mattox (7th Cir.).  Plaintiff, 21-year old father of child conceived out of wedlock with a 15-year old girl, had no liberty interest in the relationship with the child protected by the due process clause.  The case, known as “Romeo in Joliet,” involved a conspiracy between a local judge (aunt of the young girl), her father, a local developer (Bill’s client), and the first assistant state’s attorney, all of whom had as their goal locking up the plaintiff to prevent him from being at the girl’s bedside when she delivered and gave the baby up for adoption.