Bios

Henry Phillip Gruss

My greatest accomplishment in life is not in the courtroom or professional in nature.  I have been married for 41 years.  My wife, Dr. Valerie Gruss, is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science &
Institute of Healthcare Innovation at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  I consider my children, their spouses and their children to be the greatest source of my pride.  My son, Dr. Jason Gruss, is a physician.  His spouse, Kristin M. Gruss, is an attorney.   I am honored to work with her every day.  My daughter, Gena Gruss Romagnoli, is also an attorney.   Words cannot express how it feels to practice law with my daughter side-by-side.  Her husband is the administrative director of the Department of Surgery at the University of Illinois – Chicago Hospital.

On a professional level I have always wanted to be a lawyer.  I am very proud to be a trial lawyer.  I started law school in 1974.  I graduated and passed the bar in 1977.  From 1976 to 1980 I was an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago.   I personally tried over 30 trials as a defense attorney during those years.

From 1980 to 1983 I was an associate at Kroll & Rubin.   I personally tried 25 cases to verdict as a plaintiff attorney.   From 1983 to 1994 I was an associate at Leonard M. Ring and Associates.   I personally tried 30 cases to verdict as a plaintiff attorney during those years.   From 1994 to 2007 I was a sole practitioner at Henry Phillip Gruss Ltd.  I personally tried 10 cases to verdict as a plaintiff attorney during that period of time.   Since 2007 I practice with my daughter, Gena Gruss Romagnoli.  Together we have tried five cases to verdict.   From January 2012 until the present, I have also practiced with my daughter-in-law, Kristin M. Gruss.   Our first trial is scheduled for October 2012.

I have been a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) since 1983.   I was on the Board of Managers for many years, up until the year 2010.

From 1986 until 1997, I wrote, lectured and contributed to the legal literature on 15-20 occasions.  My publications include the following:

  • “Use of Power Point Presentations during Mediation,” 2008.
  • “Malpractice claims have declined,” Opinion page, Pioneer Press, June 24, 2004.
  • Guest Lecture, “How to Make a Plaintiff Trial Lawyer’s Life Miserable, Civil Procedure Class, Professor – Judge Joseph Casciato, DePaul University College of Law, 2004.
  • “The Broad Rule of Venue in Medical Negligence Actions,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Henry Phillip Gruss and Harry C. Lee.
  • “Medical Malpractice Actions,” ITLA Handbook Update.

My settlements and verdicts total in excess of one hundred million dollars over my career.

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Gena Gruss Romagnoli

Gena Gruss Romagnoli is Henry Phillip Gruss’ daughter. After graduating law school, she worked for a number of years as a defense attorney, representing defendants in medical negligence, premises liability and other personal injury matters. Since 2005, Ms. Romagnoli has been practicing with her father, Henry Phillip Gruss, representing injured persons and their families in medical malpractice, motor vehicle collision, premises liability and other personal injury matters. It has been a successful five years of practice with Gena and her father working as a team.

Recently, Gena worked with her father to reach a $6 million dollar settlement for a young child, Grace B., who was permanently disabled as a result of medical negligence at the time of her birth.  In 2012, she also was the lead attorney in reaching a $198,000 settlement in a motor vehicle case, and successfully was the lead trial attorney in a motor vehicle case that resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict. In 2011, Gena was the lead trial attorney in a medical negligence case against an individual doctor, Alvelo v. Bonzani, which resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict.

Gena completed her legal education at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she earned the top grade in her trial advocacy class. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which she attended on a full gymnastics scholarship. Gena also was active in dance throughout her childhood and is currently a Board Member of a not-for-profit organization, The Dance Foundation, which provides dance and academic scholarships to under-privileged children in the Chicago-land area. Gena devotes both her time and legal skills on behalf of The Dance Foundation.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Chicago Bar Association

Member since 2004

Illinois State Bar Association

Member since 2004

Women’s Bar Association of Illinois

Member since 2004

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

Member since 2007

EDUCATION

J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2004

B.A., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2000

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Kristin M. Gruss

Kristin M. Gruss joined the firm in January 2012, after practicing as a defense lawyer for 12 years.  She graduated magna cum laude from the John Marshall Law School in 1999, then started her practice at Johnson & Bell, where she worked for three years before moving to Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth.  She has successfully tried multiple medical malpractice cases to verdict.  Kristin also concentrates on motor vehicle accidents, products liability, professional liability and other personal injury matters.

Kristin is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.  She is also admitted to practice in the Northern District of Illinois.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

American Bar Association

Member since 1999

Chicago Bar Association

Member since 1999

Illinois State Bar Association

Member since 1999

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

Member since 2012

PUBLICATIONS

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Courtroom: Spoliation of Evidence in Illinois”, at 32 J. Marshall L. Rev. 325 (1999)

EDUCATION

The John Marshall Law School, 1996-1999

University of Michigan, 1992-1996

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Leticia Vargas

Leticia Vargas is the legal secretary and office manager for Henry Phillip Gruss Ltd.  Ms. Vargas has been a legal secretary for over 20 years and she has worked directly with Henry Phillip Gruss for the majority of her career, since 1988.

In order for a law office to operate in a competent and professional manner, it requires concerned and skillful professionals and staff.  Leticia Vargas is professional and skillful in everything she does.  She is intimately familiar with all of the cases in the office.  She knows each and every client.  And, they know her.  Frequently, the attorneys are out of the office, in court or at a deposition.  Ms. Vargas is always on the job.  Mrs. Vargas is bilingual (English and Spanish) and possesses great communications skills.  Mr. Gruss has often said, “I would be lost without her.”

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Frances Wiercinski

Another important member of our staff is Frances Wiercinski.  Fran is the younger sister of Henry Phillip Gruss.  For the past several years, Fran has worked occasionally in the office as an assistant to Mr. Gruss, an assistant to the other attorneys and as a back-up to Leticia Vargas.  Because a law office has many diverse responsibilities, it is important to have back-up personnel and assistance along the way.  Fran fills that role in the office.

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