Hon. Edward S. Harmening, (Ret.) - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Hon. Edward S. Harmening (Ret.)

Hon. Edward S. Harmening, (Ret.)

IllinoisNeutral Availability

Judge Harmening brings integrity, a drive for excellence and a balanced perspective to his practice as a senior mediator and arbitrator. In pretrial conferences, he settled hundreds of cases by cultivating respectful and pragmatic negotiations with both sides. Judge Harmening is experienced at resolving personal injury actions such as medical malpractice, product liability, mass torts and nursing home cases, as well as commercial disputes such as construction, legal malpractice, insurance coverage and employment. Attorneys who appeared before Judge Harmening in the Circuit Court of Cook County describe him as perpetually prepared, open-minded, always seeking to understand both sides and patient.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Auto Liability
  • Aviation
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action
  • Construction
  • Construction Accidents
  • Construction Defect
  • Contract
  • Defamation
  • Directors & Officers (D&O)
  • Discrimination
  • Eminent Domain
  • Employment
  • Engineering
  • Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Federal Employers Liability Act
  • Fraud
  • Government
  • Harassment
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Mass Torts
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Retaliatory Discharge
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Subrogation
  • Toxic Tort
  • Wrongful Death
  • Wrongful Termination

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Since joining ADR Systems in 2022, Judge Harmening has served as a full-time mediator and arbitrator
  • 14-year judicial career in the Circuit Court of Cook County, including Circuit Judge, Law Division Trial Section, 2015-2022; Law Division, Tax & Miscellaneous Remedies Section, 2013-2015; Municipal Division, 2008-2013
  • 14-year legal career including Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, rising to Deputy Supervisor, Civil Actions Bureau, 2003-2008; Senior Associate at Ellison, Nielson, Knibbs, Zehe & Antas, specializing in personal injury, employment, subrogation and complex coverage matters, 2000-2003; Associate at Clausen Miller, 1997-2000; Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, 1994-1997

Representative Cases

  • Contract and Fraud: breach of contract and fraud claims in failed business dealings; six-figure settlement
  • Contract: breach of contract concerning former business partners; six-figure settlement
  • Construction Injury: plaintiff suffered concussion and injuries to the low back and shoulder; six-figure settlement
  • Defamation: settled case that also included false light allegations
  • Legal Malpractice: matter settled for six-figures
  • Medical Malpractice: settled $30 million case involving alleged unauthorized surgeries on child with esophageal atresia, a birth defect in which the esophagus is not connected to the stomach; surgery led to a punctured pulmonary artery, resulting in brain damage and development of cerebral palsy
  • Medical Malpractice: plaintiff alleged the failure of OB team to monitor patient resulted in an unnecessary delay in delivery; infant suffered hypoxic event leading to brain injury
  • Medical Malpractice: plaintiff alleged an emergency C-section not performed timely, resulting in brain injury and death of newborn
  • Medical Malpractice: plaintiff alleged premature discharge from medical facility, thereby causing cardiopulmonary arrest and hypoxic injury
  • Medical Malpractice: plaintiff suffered aortic dissection that caused cardiac tamponade and death; alleged that providers failed to properly address the plaintiff’s symptoms; seven-figure settlement
  • Nursing Home: defendant allegedly failed to properly transfer resident from bed to commode, resulting in fall and surgery for revision of recent hip replacement
  • Nursing Home: resident developed stage-three pressure ulcers due to alleged failure to implement preventative measures
  • Nursing Home: plaintiff alleged unattended resident suffered fracture of humerus
  • Personal Injury: during surgery, child’s heart was perforated, requiring further surgery and eventual heart transplant; case settled for $11 million
  • Personal Injury: infant suffered severe brain damage during birth; infant died several months after birth
  • Personal Injury: plaintiff injured by service dog; six-figure settlement
  • Personal Injury: pedestrian, struck by auto, suffered fracture of tibia plateau and injury necessitated placement of plate and screws; case settled for $400,000
  • Personal Injury: alleged cryogenics tank failure resulting in the destruction of stored sperm
  • Personal Injury: pedestrian struck by vehicle, resulting in closed head injury; six-figure settlement
  • Premises Liability: slip and fall at business resulting in hip fracture; matter resolved for $245,000
  • Premises Liability: involved claim of failure to warn; plaintiff suffered hip fracture; case settled for $200,000
  • Premises Liability: alleged known defect to entrance at home caused fall and injury: plaintiff suffered broken ankle; six-figure settlement

Professional Activities and Awards

  • Former Hearing Board Member, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC)
  • Former Instructor, Federal Trial Bar
  • Judge of the Year Award, Illinois Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Member, Illinois Judges Association
  • Former Investigator, CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee
  • Volunteer Judge, National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition
  • Patron, Beverly Arts Center
  • Volunteer Soccer Coach, school, church and YMCA

Presentations and Publications

  • Presenter, “Civility,” Federal Civil Practice Committee
  • Presenter, “Defending Depositions,” CBA
  • Author, articles for the ISBA’s Pretrial Practice & Discovery Newsletter
  • Author, various in-house publications
  • Panelist, “Judicial Perspective on Practice in the Post-COVID Era,” ITLA Women’s Caucus Seminar
  • Panelist, “Pretrial Conferences,” 9th Annual Symposium with the Judges, Law Bulletin Seminars
  • Panelist, “Virtual Jury Trials? New Rules and Trends in the Courts,” 11th Annual Symposium with the Judges, Law Bulletin Seminar


  • JD, John Marshall Law School
    •  Cum Laude
  •  BS, Northern Illinois University


  • Illinois State Bar
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • US District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana


I was a sitting judge for over 14 years, have practiced law and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2022. Many attorneys have tried cases in my courtrooms or mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

I have a cousin’s son who is an Associate at Swanson Martin & Bell, and another cousin’s daughter who is an Associate at Levin & Perconti.

The disclosures listed above will not affect my neutrality in this dispute.

My sincere thanks to Judge Panter for settling a complex mediation. He is a true professional. When things were crumbling after seven hours of mediation, Judge Panter kept everyone engaged. His perseverance and skills were the keys to resolving this difficult case. Judge Panter is a phenomenal mediator. I will be using him again soon.

Scott Wolfman, Managing PartnerLaw Offices of Scott Wolfman