Robert J. Dignam

Robert J. Dignam is an experienced civil and appellate lawyer in the areas of employment and labor law, and is also an established civil mediator. Mr. Dignam has attained an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest available designation for ethics and legal ability. He has also received the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award based on his “Quality of Service, Overall Value, Responsiveness, and Communication Ability.” Mr. Dignam has been repeatedly been recognized as an Indiana Super Lawyer in the area of Employment and Labor Law.

Mr. Dignam represents employers in state and federal court in Indiana, in federal court in Illinois, and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and other agencies. Mr. Dignam also serves as lead negotiator for management in labor negotiations, and assists clients with arbitration matters. Mr. Dignam has presented numerous continuing legal education seminars on employment law topics, including at the request of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. He has also authored articles addressing various areas of employment law.

Mr. Dignam regularly serves as a civil mediator. He has conducted mediations in numerous civil matters in a wide variety of cases pending in state and federal courts. Mr. Dignam has presented continuing legal education seminars about mediating employment law disputes, has helped teach future mediators at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and for many years served as an adjunct professor at Purdue University Northwest, teaching students employment law and human resources concepts, and communication skills and dispute resolution techniques in the workplace. Mr. Dignam is a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Council of the Indiana State Bar Association. Mr. Dignam also serves, at the request of parties in civil litigation, in the role of arbitrator.

Finally, a frequent activity of Mr. Dignam is service as a medical review panel chairman. In this capacity, he guides the parties through the panel process in accordance with the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.

Representative Trials and Appellate Decisions

Jury Trials:

  • Desmond v. Applegarth Dermatology, Porter Superior Court (2007). (Defense counsel in employment benefits case – Defense Verdict)
  • Wadley v. Okalocha, Lake Superior Court (2005). (Defense Counsel in medical malpractice case – Defense Verdict)
  • Harness v. Shirley Hildebrand and Starke Memorial Hospital, Starke Circuit Court (2005). (Defense counsel in medical malpractice case – Defense Verdict)
  • Ouellet v. Norma Odar and Calumet Anesthesiologists, Lake Superior Court (2002). (Defense Counsel in general negligence case involving fear of AIDS – Defense Verdict)
  • Brammer v. Spillman, St. Joseph Superior Court (2001). (Defense Counsel in dental malpractice case – Plaintiff’s Verdict limited to amount offered at mediation.)
  • Foster v. St. Anthony Medical Center, Lake Superior Court (1996). (Defense Counsel in food poisoning case – Directed Verdict for Defendant)
  • Johnson v. Wiseway, Newton Superior Court (1994).(Defense Counsel in slip and fall case – Defense Verdict)
  • Beauprey v. Porte, Porter Superior Court (1998). (Co-Defense Counsel in medical malpractice case – Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict for Defendants)
  • Felton v. Harrington, Porter Superior Court (1993). (Defense Counsel in auto accident case – Defense Verdict)
  • Brown v. Spartus Corporation, Newton Superior Court (1992).(Co-Plaintiffs’ Counsel in products liability subrogation case – Plaintiffs’ Verdict)
  • Tramm v. Porter Memorial Hospital, U.S. District Court, N.D. Ind. (1990). (Co-Defense Counsel in constitutional violation case – Verdict was 20% of plaintiff’s demand)
  • Carlin v. Dillabaugh, Lake Circuit Court (1990). (Co-Plaintiffs’ Counsel in house destruction case – Plaintiffs’ Verdict)
  • Area Interstate Trucking v. O’Kelly, Newton Superior Court (1990). (Co-Plaintiff’s Counsel in trucking accident case – Plaintiff’s Verdict)
  • Leverence v. Nunn, U.S. District Court, N.D. Ind. (1988).(Co-Defense Counsel in trucking accident case – Defense Verdict)
  • U.S.A v. Cyprion, U.S. District Court, N.D. Ind. (1986). (Co-counsel for the United States of America in criminal prosecution – Conviction of defendant)

Appellate Decisions:

  • Simpson v. Franciscan Alliance, 827 F.3d 656 (7th Cir. 2016) ) – Affirming summary judgment for employer in alleged race, gender, age and disability discrimination case.
  • Hill v. Sisters of St. James Hospital and Health Centers, 2013 WL 593954 (N.D. Ill. 2013) – Summary judgment for employer in alleged race discrimination and FMLA retaliation case.
  • King v. Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, 2012 WL 165809 (N.D. Ill. 2012) – Summary judgment for employer in alleged race discrimination and retaliation case.
  • Syfu v. Quinn, 826 N.E.2d 699 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005) – Reversed and remanded with instructions to enter summary judgment for client in medical malpractice case based on failure of plaintiff to produce expert testimony to refute unanimous panel opinion.
  • Levy v. Newell, 822 N.E.2d 234 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005) – Reversed and remanded with instructions to enter summary judgment for client in medical malpractice case based on statute of limitations defense. (Co-Appellee’s Counsel was Partner, Michelle P. Burchett)
  • Stahl v. St. Anthony Medical Center, 2004 WL 1445937 (7th Cir. 2004) ) – Affirming summary judgment for employer in alleged gender discrimination case.
  • Christian v. St. Anthony’s Medical Center, 117 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 1997); cert denied 118 S. Ct. 1304 (1998) – Affirming summary judgment for employer in alleged disability discrimination case.
  • Lavery v. Southlake Center for Mental Health, 566 N.E. 2d 1055 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991) – Affirming summary judgment for employer in alleged wrongful discharge case.

Publications and Presentations:

Publication Title Date
ICLEF Seminar National Business Institute Seminar 2017
Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Monitoring Social Media Use 2012
Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act 2011
Professional Education Systems, Inc. Indiana Evidence Workshop – Contributing Author 1998-2008
National Business Institute Seminar Advanced Discovery for the Litigation Paralegal in Indiana 2000

Presentations:

Title Conference Date
The EEOC and ADA in a Law Firm Setting The Business of Law 2017
Mediating Employment Law Cases Indiana Continuing Legal Education Seminar 2016
Mediating Employment Law Cases Human Resources Law From Start to Finish 2015
Employer Discipline of Employees for Social Media Activity Employment and Labor Law Section Meeting 2015
The Americans with Disabilities Act – A Historical Perspective Indiana Civil Rights Comm. Disability Law 101 2015
Medical Malpractice Litigation From the Perspective of the Panel Chair Lake County Bar Assoc. Hardball Litigator Seminar 2014
How to Stay out of Hot Water Lakeshore Public Media Management Training 2013
How to Stay out of Hot Water Indiana Continuing Legal Education Seminar 2013
Sexual Harassment, A Historical Perspective Indiana Continuing Legal Education Seminar 2013
How to Stay out of Hot Water Franciscan Alliance Management Training 2013
Indiana Unemployment Benefits Construction Advancement Foundation Training 2011
Indiana Unemployment Benefits NWI SHRM Human Resources Update 2011
Indiana Mechanics Liens Plumbing and Piping Contractors of Northern Indiana Training 2010
Indiana Evidence Indiana Evidence Workshop 1998-2008
Warranties of Habitability in Indiana Legal Update for Construction Professionals 2006
Avoiding Sexual Harassment Claims in the Workplace Continuing Medical Education Seminar 2003
Litigation for Indiana Paralegals Continuing Paralegal Education 2000

Honors

  • 2017 Indiana Super Lawyer – Labor and Employment Law
  • 2016 Indiana Super Lawyer – Labor and Employment Law
  • 2015 Indiana Super Lawyer – Labor and Employment Law
  • 2014-present Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Status
  • 2014-present AVVO Lawyer Rating by Peers: 10.0/10.
  • 2012 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award

Education

  • Graduate degree: Doctor of Jurisprudence, May 18, 1986; Valparaiso University School of Law, Valparaiso, Indiana.
  • Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, May 23, 1983; Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois.

Bar Memberships

State of Indiana; United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; and United States Supreme Court.

Association Memberships

Indiana State Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Council Member of Indiana State Bar Association; Lake County Bar Association; Indiana Association of Mediators; and Society for Human Resources Management of Northwest Indiana.

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