Attorney accepts invitation to address class

By Rob Heselbarth

A successful trial attorney who recently won a case in DeKalb County for a judgment of over $6.9 million has accepted an invitation from NIU students to speak on campus.

Kevin Burke, attorney at law from the law offices of Corboy and Demetrio, will speak at an open presentation at 2 p.m. on April 13 in room 170 of Swen Parson Hall.

NIU students enrolled in Communications Studies 496, a legal communications class, attended a three-week medical malpractice trial at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.

Burke was the attorney for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Luedtke, a case that began more than 10 years ago.

The plaintiffs in the case were the parents of a boy who is a blind quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.

The lawsuit claimed that the child’s physical condition is a direct result of lack of oxygen to the child’s brain during delivery, as a result of professional negligence on behalf of the doctor, the nurse and the hospital where the child was born.

The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on March 24 and awarded them more than $6,950,000 in damages.

Jack Parker, associate professor of communication studies, said students from his class asked Burke to speak at NIU because they were impressed with his performance in the courtroom.

“Burke really captivated the students and grabbed their attention,” Parker said. “He is a top-flight attorney and the students were lucky enough to witness him in action.”

Dale Clark, a junior finance major, said Burke’s presentation will be a chance for people to see an extremely successful trial lawyer speak about the communication process in the courtroom.

“One point I hope he will key in on is the rising cost of health care in the United States and how cases like this one attribute to those costs,” Clark said. “Students will be missing a great deal if they miss this lawyer talk.”

He said Burke’s case was well thought out and very well structured.

“The defense really didn’t have a chance from the first day of the trial. His performance was flawless,” Clark said. “He played on the emotions of the jury throughout the whole trial.”

Robert Glover, a junior political science major, said he and the other students were not sure if Burke would accept their invitation to speak on campus.

“He surprised us when he said he’d be happy to speak to our class,” Glover said. “All NIU students and faculty are welcome to come and see him talk. It will be a great thing to see.

“Burke is very eloquent in the courtroom and has a great handle on the ideas of the law,” he said.