Recent Illinois Cases

Recent Illinois Case: Terra Foundation for American Art v. DLA Piper LLP

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The First District affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice case on statute of repose grounds.  The court held that, in both transactional and litigation malpractice cases, the statute of repose begins to run when the event giving rise to the malpractice claim occurs, regardless of whether an injury has occurred or been recognized.  The court rejected the argument that the statute does not begin to run in transactional malpractice cases until the last act of representation.

Terra Foundation for American Art v. DLA Piper LLP, 2016 IL App (1st) 153285.

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

Recent Illinois Case: Ferris, Thompson and Zweig, Ltd. v. Esposito

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The Second District reversed the dismissal of a complaint asserting breach of a fee-splitting agreement between attorneys. The circuit court had dismissed the complaint because the agreement did not affirmatively state that both lawyers agreed to assume joint financial responsibility in representing the client.

The Second District analyzed the history of Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(e) and concluded that the written agreement did not have to contain financial responsibility language to be enforceable.

Ferris, Thompson and Zweig, Ltd. v. Esposito, 2016 IL App (2d) 151148.

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

Recent Illinois Case: In re Estate of Zeid v. Hays and Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District analyzes several malpractice claims to determine whether they were properly dismissed as time barred.

For the most part, the analysis turned on whether the various claims related back to a timely filed complaint. In turn, that analysis turned on whether the various claims did or did not arise out of the same transaction as the timely complaint.

In re Estate of Zeid v. Hays and Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa, 2016 IL App (1st) 153275-U.

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

Recent Illinois Case: White v. Richert

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The Northern District of Illinois refused to dismiss a claim on the basis of a release given by a client to her lawyer because the complaint alleged that the release was void because it resulted from the lawyer’s breach of her fiduciary duties.

The court also refused to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds because there were factual issues regarding when the statute began to run.

White v. Richert, 2016 WL 3582083.

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

Recent Illinois Case: Conney v. Quarles & Brady LLP

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District affirmed the confirmation of an arbitration award against a law firm. The law firm had agreed to allow its client to select an arbitrator to resolve the parties’ fee dispute and specifically agreed that the client could select one of his other lawyers involved in the underlying case.

After the client selected one of those lawyers to be the arbitrator and the arbitrator ruled against the firm, the firm claimed that the arbitrator was biased. The court held that the firm could not challenge the award based on bias because it knew of the arbitrator’s relationship with the client when it consented to him being an arbitrator.

The court also rejected the law firm’s argument that the arbitrator went beyond arbitrating the fee dispute and considered allegations of negligence.

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Conney v. Quarles & Brady LLP, 2016 IL App (1st) 150505-U.

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

Recent Illinois Case: Bay Industrial Safety Services, Inc. v. Robert Wilson

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The Southern District of Illinois held that the assignment of a malpractice claim that occurred when a plaintiff filed for bankruptcy did not violate the rule against assigning malpractice claims, and that the Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession maintained standing to prosecute the claim for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate.

Bay Industrial Safety Services, Inc. v. Robert Wilson, 2016 WL 3541389

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

Recent Illinois Case: Moreno v. Martin

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In this unpublished opinion, the Second District affirmed the dismissal of legal malpractice and breach of contract claims. The court held that the legal malpractice claim was properly dismissed because the plaintiff failed to plead that the attorney owed him a duty to give the “missing” advice because the lawyer’s retainer agreement limited the scope of his representation. The court held that the allegations in the complaint conflicted with the terms of the retainer agreement and the terms of the retainer agreement control. The court affirmed the dismissal of the breach of contract claim because the complaint failed to plead that the plaintiff had fully performed his obligations under the contract.

Moreno v. Martin, 2016 IL App (2d) 150729-U

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

Recent Illinois Case: Harmata v. Scott & Kraus LLC

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim on statute of repose grounds.   The court noted that the statute of repose is not tolled by the discovery rule and begins to run when the event giving rise to the claim occurs, regardless of whether the plaintiff’s injury has been realized.   The court also held that the attorneys did not waive or forfeit  their statute of repose defense when they asserted an attorney’s lien after the expiration of the repose period.

Harmata v. Scott & Kraus LLC, 2016 IL App (1st) 152359-U

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

Recent Illinois Case: Rocha v. Rudd

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim because the plaintiff’s underlying case was still viable when he discharged the defendant attorneys and hired new counsel to represent him in that case.

Rocha v. Rudd, 2016 WL 3435302

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

Recent Illinois Case: Dobbins v. Zager

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In this unpublished order, the First District affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim on statute of repose grounds.   The court held that neither equitable estoppel nor fraudulent concealment saved the claim.  The court emphasized that misrepresentations that toll the statute of repose must be different from the representations that constitute the alleged malpractice.

Dobbins v. Zager, 2016 IL App (1st) 151175-U

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