Judgment

A Plaintiff’s Responsibilities: Keeping Appointments, Presenting Expert Testimony, and Providing Records

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Loxley Johnson (“Johnson”), the sole proprietor of L.A. Transportation (“LAT”), stood accused of vendor fraud and theft.  He hired Stephen Komie (“Komie”) to represent him during the corresponding investigation by the Illinois Attorney General; paying Komie $5,000 in advance and signing a retainer agreement.  On Komie’s advice, Johnson agreed to extend the statute of limitations on the claims against him so a more thorough investigation could be conducted.  When a grand jury finally issued an indictment, Johnson signed a second retainer agreement to include the indictment within the scope of Komie’s representation.  The state later notified Johnson that there would be an administrative hearing at which LAT could be heard, but neither Johnson nor Komie appeared.  With that, LAT was defaulted, monetary damages were imposed, and both LAT and Johnson were excluded from certain state programs.  Komie then withdrew as Johnson’s counsel due to “irreconcilable differences.”  Id. at ¶13.  Johnson sued Komie for legal malpractice, accusing him of negligent representation and breaching their retainer contract when Komie failed to appear at the administrative hearing.  Id. at ¶1.  Komie filed a counterclaim for outstanding legal fees.  After a bench trial, the trial court found in favor of Komie on the malpractice claim and on his fee claim.

Appearing pro se, Johnson made multiple unsuccessful arguments.  First, he asserted that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment regarding Komie’s negligent recommendation that Johnson extend the statute of limitations and Komie’s allegedly bad-faith withdrawal.  The appellate court disagreed, holding that “absent an expert opinion” that Johnson never provided, “it is impossible for plaintiff to establish the applicable standard of care and whether defendant deviated from that standard.”  Id. at ¶39.  Next, Johnson argued that Komie’s victory on his counterclaim was against the manifest weight of the evidence.  Here, the appellate court was not able to properly examine the issue because Johnson had not provided a report of the relevant trial proceedings.  Johnson’s last argument as to Komie’s ineffective representation in the form of failing to appear at the administrative hearing was similarly flawed.  Moreover, the appellate court pointed out that “it is every litigant’s duty to follow the progress of his case, rather than to merely assume that counsel is doing all that is necessary and proper.”  Id. at ¶48.

Johnson v. Komie , 2019 IL App (1st) 171189-U

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

 

Pastry Partners, Inc. v. Greenswag

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District affirmed the grant of summary judgment for the defendants on statute of limitations grounds.   The court held that the plaintiff knew of its injury before an adverse judgment was entered against it and that the statute began to run before the judgment was entered.   The court also rejected the plaintiff’s arguments based upon equitable tolling, equitable estoppel and judicial estoppel.

Pastry Partners, Inc. v. Greenswag, 2016 IL App (1st) 152259-U

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

Recent Illinois Case: Navar v. Tribler, Orpett and Meyer, P.C.

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In this unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal of three claims against lawyers. A breach of contract claim was properly dismissed because the plaintiff failed to identify a specific contract term that was breached. The malpractice claim was properly dismissed because the complained of acts involved judgment and not malpractice. The fraud claim was properly dismissed because predictions of future events do not constitute fraud. The Appellate Court also affirmed the trial court’s refusal to allow a further amendment.

Navar v. Tribler, Orpett and Meyer, P.C., 2015 IL App (1st) 142641-U

(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)

Gelsomino v. Gorov, 149 Ill. App. 3d 809, 502 N.E.2d 264 (1st Dist. 1986)

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Gelsomino v. Gorov, 149 Ill. App. 3d 809, 502 N.E.2d 264 (1st Dist. 1986)

DeSeno v. Becker, 291 Ill. App. 3d 421, 683 N.E.2d 159 (1st Dist. 1997)

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DeSeno v. Becker, 291 Ill. App. 3d 421, 683 N.E.2d 159 (1st Dist. 1997) (consider at time of breach; lawyer need not advise of remote possibilities)

Oda v. Highway Ins. Co., 44 Ill. App. 2d 235, 194 N.E.2d 489 (1st Dist. 1963)

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Oda v. Highway Ins. Co., 44 Ill. App. 2d 235, 194 N.E.2d 489 (1st Dist. 1963)

O’Brien & Assocs., P.C. v. Tim Thompson, Inc., 274 Ill. App. 3d 472, 653 N.E.2d 956 (2d Dist. 1995)

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O’Brien & Assocs., P.C. v. Tim Thompson, Inc., 274 Ill. App. 3d 472, 653 N.E.2d 956 (2d Dist. 1995)