Fiduciary Duty

Swervo Entertainment Group, LLC v. Mensch

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The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed in part and refused to dismiss portions of a complaint against an attorney.   The attorney allegedly agreed to hold an advance deposit in escrow and release it if the attorney’s client and the depositor did not reach an agreement.    An agreement was not reached, but the attorney did not release the funds allegedly deposited in escrow.   The court held that the plaintiff stated a claim for fraud (the attorney allegedly never intended to return the funds) and breach of the escrow agreement.   The court further held that the plaintiff’s claim for negligence was barred by the Moorman doctrine, its claim for breach of fiduciary duty was duplicative of the claim for breach of the escrow agreement, its quasi-contract claim was barred by the existence of an actual contract and its claim for attorneys’ fees was barred by the “American rule” barring attorneys’ fees in ordinary litigation.

Swervo Entertainment Group v. Mensch

Hill v. Simmons

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District held that a complaint against a lawyer was properly dismissed as time-barred.   The court held that the plaintiff’s claims for fraud, aiding and abetting fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy were properly subject to the two year attorney statute of limitations, and that the statute began to run when the plaintiff learned of the lawyer’s alleged misrepresentations.

Hill v. Simmons, 2017 IL App (1st) 160577-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: First American Title Insurance Co. v. Dundee Reger LLC v. Hallam

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The Northern District of Illinois addressed third-party claims against a law firm asserting legal malpractice and, in the alternative, breach of contract and promissory estoppel.  The third-party defendant moved to dismiss the breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims as duplicative of the legal malpractice claim.  The court held that, under Illinois law, duplicative breach of fiduciary duty claims should be dismissed but breach of contract claims, even if duplicative, may be plead in the alternative.  The motion to dismiss was denied.

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

First American Title Insurance Co. v. Dundee Reger, LLC et al. v. Peter G. Hallam, 2016 WL 1359374

Recent Illinois Case: Janousek v. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

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The First District affirmed the grant of summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds. The court held that the plaintiff’s suspicions that his attorney was aiding and abetting a client’s breach of fiduciary duty was sufficient knowledge to commence the statute. The court also held that the defendant attorneys did not improperly use the attorney client privilege to shield relevant information plaintiff needed to discover his claim.

Janousek v. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, 2015 IL App (1st) 142989

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

Recent Illinois Case: In re Kevin J. Barry, Debtor

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In this case, the Bankruptcy Court addressed a situation in which the debtor attorney signed a witnesses’ name to a will.  When the lawyer later admitted what he had done, the will was invalidated.  The intended beneficiary of the will sued the lawyer.  The Bankruptcy Court held that the resulting debt was not dischargeable by the lawyer in bankruptcy.

In re: Kevin J. Barry, Debtor;  Joan Galloni v. Kevin J. Barry and Barry Law Group, P.C., 2015 WL 5895403

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

Calhoun v. Rane, 234 Ill. App. 3d 90, 599 N.E.2d 1318 (1st Dist. 1992)

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Calhoun v. Rane, 234 Ill. App. 3d 90, 599 N.E.2d 1318 (1st Dist. 1992) (fiduciary duty claim duplicative of negligence claim; no duty to advise of own malpractice)