hwaHENRY W. AUSTIN
Senior Attorney
Chicago, IL
P: 312.782.9920
F: 312.782.9965
hwaustin@kopkalaw.com
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Henry W. Austin, Jr. practices in the areas of auto, property and casualty and commercial insurance liability defense. Prior to joining the firm in 2002, he practiced law for a decade in Tidewater Virginia, in the areas of insurance defense, worker’s compensation defense and domestic relations law.  Henry has tried well over two hundred jury cases and successfully argued appeals before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois First District Appellate Court, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Virginia Supreme Court and Virginia Industrial Commission.  Prior to his private legal career, Henry served on active duty in the United States Navy JAG Corps for three years and is a recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal. He served as Commanding Officer of the reserve Legal Service Office unit in the Washington Navy Yard, and subsequently retired from the Naval Reserve as a Commander in 1998.

CASE HIGHLIGHTS

  • During his practice in Virginia, Henry won a reversal of an adverse jury verdict and dismissal of the case following argument in the Virginia Supreme Court, in a case involving the applicability of the “Fireman’s Rule” (assumption of risk as a matter of law) as it applied to an animal control officer bitten by a dog.
  • In Henry’s first trial in Illinois, he obtained a defense verdict in a rear-end collision case, arguing that the accident was caused by black ice and not any negligence of the defendant.
  • Henry won a summary judgment in Federal Court, in a §1983 Civil Rights case involving an arrest based on a mistaken identity. The dismissal was upheld after argument in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Henry obtained a defense verdict after admitting negligence in an auto accident case. He successfully argued that all of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries were the result of preexisting conditions, which the accident neither caused nor aggravated.

ADMISSIONS

Illinois 2002
Virginia 1982 (no longer active)
Texas 1980
U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

EDUCATION
University of Texas School of Law, J.D.
University of Texas, B.A.

MEMBERSHIPS
Phi Beta Kappa, 1977

REPRESENTATIVE CLIENTS
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
USAA Casualty Insurance Company
Infinity Insurance Company
Permanent General Assurance Company
Atain Specialty Insurance Company
First Acceptance Services, Inc.