Causation

Nachtrieb v. Law Offices of James M. Kelly, P.C. , 2017 IL App (2d) 160984-U

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In this unpublished opinion, the Second District affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim for lack of causation.  The court held that the plaintiff lacked standing to assert the underlying claim that his lawyer allegedly committed malpractice by failing to bring on his behalf.  Because the plaintiff had filed for bankruptcy and been discharged, the bankruptcy trustee owned the underlying claim.  As a result, the plaintiff’s lawyer could not have asserted it on the plaintiff’s behalf and, therefore,  did not damage the plaintiff by failing to do so.

Nachtrieb v. Law Offices of James M. Kelly, P.C., 2017 IL App (2d) 160984-U

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

 

Century-National Ins. Co. v. Schoen, 2017 IL App (1st) 163261-U

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim due to plaintiff’s inability to establish that the defendant lawyer’s conduct caused damages.

The suit alleged malpractice by two separate law firms who allegedly failed to give their insurance carrier client notice that the underlying plaintiff had made a policy limit settlement demand.  The underlying personal injury case was filed against an employer and employee.  The insurance carrier retained one law firm to represent the employer and a separate law firm to represent the employee.  During the underlying litigation, the plaintiff sent letters making policy-limit settlement demands  to both law firms.  The case did not settle and the plaintiff won a large jury verdict.  Thereafter, the employer assigned its rights against the insurance carrier to the underlying plaintiff, who brought a bad faith refusal to settle lawsuit against the insurance carrier.  The bad faith complaint’s allegations mentioned only the employer’s law firm and the employee’s law firm which also received the policy limit settlement demand letter.  The carrier settled the bad faith claim and then sued both law firms for malpractice.  The court affirmed the dismissal of the malpractice claim against the law firm not named in the bad faith complaint.  Even though the insurance carrier alleged it would have known of the settlement demand sent to the employer’s law firm if the employee’s law firm had given notice of the demand it received, the court held that was insufficient to establish causation.  The court further held that the employee’s law firm could not have proximately caused the insurance carrier’s injury because only the employer assigned its claim to the underlying plaintiff who brought the bad faith claim.

Century-National Ins. Co. v. Schoen, 2017 IL App (1st) 163261-U

 

King Koil Licensing Co. v. Harris, 2017 IL App (1st)

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The first district affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a law firm in a legal malpractice case.  It held, among other things, that the jury was allowed to find that a lawyer’s negligence in documenting the terms of a deal was not the cause of the client’s loss when the client had an opportunity to read the documents.

 

KING KOIL LICENSING COMPANY Plaintiff-Appellant v ROGER B HARRIS and FOX…

 

 

 

 

 

Brown v. Bacon, 2017 IL App (1st)

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim due to the complaints failure to allege causation.   The court held that plaintiffs’ loss had either; (a) already occurred when he retained lawyers, and thus they did not cause it; or (b) was caused by another party’s breach of contract as to which he still retained a viable cause of action.

Brown v. Bacon

 

 

West Bend Mutual Ins. Co. v. Schumacher

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim because it did not adequately allege causation and damages.   The court held that the allegations as to how the malpractice plaintiff would have prevailed in the underlying litigation but for the attorney’s malpractice were insufficiently specific to state a claim.

West Bend Mutual Ins. Co. v. Schumacher, Case No. 14-2731, 2016 WL 7395708 (7th Cir. Dec. 21, 2016)

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

Recent Illinois Case: Kirkliauskas v Vernor Moran LLC

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In this unpublished order, the First District reversed a grant of summary judgment. The court held that there were factual issues regarding whether defendants alleged malpractice caused plaintiffs’ losses. In particular, there were questions of fact regarding whether the plaintiffs would have been successful in recovering property they lost through a tax sale but for defendants failure to take timely action to protest a tax deed.

Kirkliauskas v Vernor Moran LLC, 2016 IL App (1st) 152470-U

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

Recent Illinois Case: KS Trucking Enterprise Inc v. Albukerk

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In this unpublished order, the First District affirmed the dismissal of a malpractice claim arising out of an underlying action that was dismissed by default after the defendant lawyer had withdrawn as counsel for the malpractice plaintiff.  The court held that: (a) the malpractice complaint did not sufficiently allege that there was an attorney client relationship at the time of the default dismissal; and (b) the complaint failed to allege causation despite the fact it alleged that the malpractice defendant waived certain procedural defenses because it did not allege that other substantive defenses would have succeeded.

KS Trucking Enterprise Inc v. Albukerk, 2015 IL App (1st) 151230-U

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