Prof. Kionka was appellate counsel for the plaintiff class in Maag v. Quinn, one of four consolidated class actions challenging Illinois Public Act 97-695, which required retirees to begin contributing to premiums for post-retirement health insurance. He was one of the two lawyers who argued orally in the Illinois Supreme Court in September 2013 on behalf of the plaintiffs in all four cases. The Illinois Supreme Court, agreeing with his arguments, held the statute unconsitutional under Ill. Const. art. 13 § 5. The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision is Kanerva v. Weems, 2014 IL 115811.
The cases then returned to the Sangamon County Circuit Court for implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision, including refunding the premiums unlawfully collected between July 1, 2013 and October 2014. Prof. Kionka was appointed one of four Class Counsel, who represent the 92,000 class members. Refunds totaling over $60 million were distributed to retirees and survivors.
Prof. Kionka was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Fifth District Roundtable Luncheon of the Appellate Lawyers Association held in Collinsville, Illinois on March 21, 2010. He was presented with a plaque which reads: “Appellate Lawyers Association Honors Edward J. Kionka, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University School of Law, In Appreciation for Forty Years of Outstanding Appellate Advocacy Before the Illinois Appellate Courts and Illinois Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals, and for his Service as President of the Appellate Lawyers Association and as Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Presented at the Fifth District Luncheon and Judicial Roundtable, May 21, 2010.” The presenters included Presiding Justice Richard P. Goldenhersh of the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District; Louis E. Costa, retired Clerk of the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District; and William P. Hardy, an officer of the Appellate Lawyers Association. Both Costa and Hardy are former students of Prof. Kionka.
During the 2003-04 academic year, Prof. Kionka was a visiting professor of law at St. Louis University School of Law, where he taught Civil Procedure I and II, Evidence, and a senior writing seminar, Appellate Courts. During the 2004-05 academic year, Prof. Kionka visited at Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb, Illinois, where he taught Torts I and II. During the 2005-06 academic year, he taught Evidence and a seminar, Appellate Courts and the Appellate Process, at Oklahoma City University School of Law. In August, 2006, he returned to the Northern Illinois University law faculty, where he taught Civil Procedure and Conflict of Laws. During the fall semester, 2007, he taught Civil Procedure I at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. During the spring semester, 2008, he taught Evidence at Chase College of Law (Northern Kentucky University). During the 2008–09 academic year, he taught Torts and Federal Courts at the University of Georgia Law School. In 2009-11, he taught Torts, Evidence, and Federal Courts at Stetson University College of Law at Gulfport, Florida. He visited twice at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida, first in 2011-12 and again in 2018-19, where he taught Civil Procedure, Evidence, and Federal Courts.
Prof. Kionka frequently teaches brief writing, oral argument, and appellate advocacy to lawyers attending training programs sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association, the Appellate Lawyers Association, and the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.
Prof. Kionka’s article, “Through the Looking Glass: Humpty Dumpty and Opinions That Aren’t,” is published in the Winter 2003-04 issue of The Appellate Advocate, the newsletter of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The article deals with the problem of unpublished appellate court decisions. His article, “Things To Do (Or Not) To Address the Medical Malpractice Insurance Problem,” appeared in the Northern Illinois University Law Review. The article was part of his presentation at a symposium on the medical malpractice insurance and litigation problem presented at Northern Illinois University in April, 2006.
Limitation of Fields of Practice
Under the Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Supreme Court of Illinois, a lawyer or law firm may designate certain fields or areas of the law in which the lawyer or firm concentrates or limits the practice of law. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law, nor does it recognize certifications of expertise in any phase of the practice of law. None of the memberships, awards, or recognitions mentioned herein should be understood as a requirement for the practice of law in Illinois or as a certification of special expertise recognized by the Illinois Supreme Court. See Ill. Sup. Court Rule of Professional Conduct 7.4.
Courthouse, Illinois Appellate Court, Mt. Vernon
The magnificent historic building shown on our home page, located at 14th and Main Streets in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, is the courthouse of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District. Prof. Kionka has often represented clients and argued cases in this court. The first unit of this building was completed in 1857, when it served as the courthouse for the Southern Division of the Illinois Supreme Court. We believe that one case heard there was State of Illinois vs. Illinois Central Railroad Co., reported in 27 Ill. 64 (1861), in which Abraham Lincoln represented the railroad, and George B. McClellan, then a vice-president of the railroad (and later one of Lincoln’s Civil War generals) had been a witness at trial. The building is on the register of historic buildings worthy of careful preservation in the Library of Congress. More information here.