Damage

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: Bachewicz v. Holland & Knight

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to a law firm.

The court held that the case was time-barred despite the plaintiff’s argument that he did not know the amount of his damages until less than two years from the time he brought his claim. The court held that it is not necessary to know the amount of damages for the statute of limitations to begin to run.

The court also held that the plaintiff failed to create a genuine issue of fact sufficient to defeat summary judgment because he did not identify the documents that allegedly led him to discover his damages.

Finally, the court affirmed summary judgment for the defendants on the plaintiff’s legal malpractice claim arising out of a transfer of real estate with which the defendants assisted because the plaintiff admitted that the transfer occurred after the attorney-client relationship had terminated.

Bachewicz v. Holland & Knight, 2016 IL App (1st) 153394-U

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

Recent Illinois Case: Goldfine v. Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Perlman

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The Illinois Supreme Court addressed malpractice damages arising out of the negligent failure to preserve an Illinois Securities Law Claim. The Court held that, had the lawyers properly preserved the Securities Law Claim, statutory damages would have been awarded. Thus, actual damages in the malpractice action included the statutory damages, such as interest and attorneys’ fees, that would have been awarded pursuant to the Securities Law Claim.

The Court rejected the defendants’ argument that such damages were barred by Illinois’ prohibition on awarding punitive damages against attorneys. The Court also held that interest should be awarded from the date of the purchase of stock through the date that the plaintiff settled the underlying claim, not through the date of the malpractice judgment. Finally, the court held that interest should be calculated before the underlying settlement is deducted from the malpractice damages.

Goldfine v. Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Perlman, 2014 IL 116362

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

Recent Illinois Case: Hyatt Johnson USA 2004 LLC v. Goldsmith

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In this unpublished order, the First District affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the defendants.

The malpractice claims related to the drafting of investment documents and settlement documents. The Appellate Court affirmed dismissal of the claims based upon the investment documents. The plaintiffs asserted that the documents resulted in the appointment of a receiver and sought to recover the fees paid to the receiver. The court, however, held that the plaintiffs were not damaged because there was no evidence that the receiver’s fees were greater than the fees that would have been paid to a manager.

The court also held that the criminal theft of funds from the entity was an intervening cause prohibiting the plaintiffs from establishing proximate cause because there was no evidence that the theft was foreseeable.

The court reversed summary judgment on the malpractice claims related to the settlement documents. The court held that if the defendants’ negligence in drafting the settlement documents allowed funds to be transferred to an entity not entitled to the funds, the plaintiffs will be able to prove “specific and identifiable damages” associated with their efforts to recover those funds.

Hyatt Johnson USA 2004 LLC v. Goldsmith, 2016 IL App (1st) 151622-U 

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

Recent Illinois Case: Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Deerfield Construction, Inc.

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The federal district court dismissed a breach of fiduciary duty claim as duplicative of a malpractice claim. The court, however, refused to dismiss the malpractice claim in which the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent in their representation during the underlying case and failed to give notice to the plaintiff’s excess insurer who refused to cover the plaintiff’s loss arising out of the underlying judgment.

The defendants argued that the malpractice claim was premature because the plaintiff/insured had not suffered any injury and would not unless and until the coverage dispute with the excess insurer was decided in favor of the insurer.

The Court rejected that argument holding that the “injury has occurred, and it will remain until some other party actually pays the judgment.” (Emphasis in original).

Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Deerfield Construction, Inc., 2016 WL 2977274

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

Recent Illinois Case: MCZ Development Corp. v. Dickinson Wright

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The Northern District of Illinois, applying Illinois law, dismissed this legal malpractice case, in part, because the plaintiffs: (a) had been successful in underlying litigation and thus could not prove their case within a case; and (b) had not yet suffered actual damages because a final determination had not been issued in another underlying case.

MCZ Development Corp., et al. v. Dickinson Wright, PLLC, et al., 2015 WL 7008134

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

Recent Illinois Case: First Bank and Trust v. Crowley, Barrett & Karaba

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Dismissal based on the statute of limitations reversed. The Appellate Court held there were issues of fact regarding when the plaintiff bank was injured. The court explained that the bank was not damaged by an inaccurate legal description of real estate in a foreclosure judgment at the time the judgment was entered because the judgment was in the bank’s favor. Rather, the bank was damaged when it had to expend funds to correct the error.

First Bank and Trust Company of Illinois v. Crowley, Barrett & Karaba, Ltd., 2015 IL App (1st) 141985-U

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