One Cause, One Count, One Judgment: Drafting and Judging a Complaint that Complies with 735 ILCS 5/2-603
Adriana Mazutis (“Mazutis”) filed a multi-count complaint against Warren Lupel, Lawrence Karlin, and Lupel Wieninger, LLP (“Defendants”) for legal malpractice, among other things. Two counts were dismissed, at which point Mazutis voluntarily dismissed her suit and re-filed a six-count complaint. It included a count for legal malpractice. Defendants moved for summary judgment based on Mazutis’ failure to establish proximate causation, statute of limitations, and lack of evidence to show any negligence or misconduct on their part. The motion was granted, disposing of Mazutis’ case “in its entirety” despite the fact that the order only discussed the timeliness of the legal malpractice count and the question of proximate causation. Id. at ¶7. Mazutis appealed.
The appellate court noted at the outset that multiple counts within Mazutis’ complaint contained more than one cause of action and therefore violated 735 ILCS 5/2-603. This made it “almost impossible to discern the facts that relate to each claim.” Id. at ¶11. However, Defendants only addressed Mazutis’ legal malpractice claims in their motion for summary judgment. Consequently, the appellate court found “that the defendants’ motion and the circuit court’s order did not address all of the claims pled by the plaintiff, and it was, therefore, error to grant summary judgment on the entirety of the complaint.” Id. at ¶12. It then struck Mazutis’ complaint, and remanded with leave to file a new, concise complaint that complied with 735 ILCS 5/2-603.
(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)