Pleading

Short v. Grayson

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The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted in part and denied in part motions to dismiss legal malpractice claims. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim that his attorneys committed malpractice by failing to bring derivative claims in the underlying action because the plaintiff had sold his stock in the relevant company before initiating the underlying litigation and, thus, lacked standing to bring any derivative claims on its behalf. The court further dismissed a claim that the plaintiff alleged should have been asserted against an individual because the statute of limitations on that claim had expired before the defendant attorney took over the underlying case for the plaintiff. The court denied the motion as to the plaintiff’s various other claims generally holding that the plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts to survive the motions to dismiss.

Short v. Grayson , No. 16 C 2150, 2017 WL 977001 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 14, 2017)

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.)

Cwik v. Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.

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In this unpublished order, the First District held that the plaintiff had failed to allege that he would have won his underlying petitions but for the defendant lawyer’s malpractice.   The court held it was not enough for the plaintiff to allege that he would have defeated the underlying defendant’s motions to dismiss but for the lawyer’s negligence, he needed to allege that he ultimately would have succeeded on the petitions themselves.

Cwik v. Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., 2017 IL App (1st) 153143-U

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

Stevens v. Sharif

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The court held that the plaintiff failed to state a claim against a lawyer, in part, because she failed to allege the existence of an attorney client relationship.   The fact that the plaintiff was represented by other counsel made it implausible that the defendant lawyer represented her.   The court further held that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations.   The claim accrued when the underlying bankruptcy court made its initial decision; accrual did not depend upon the result of the subsequent appeal.

Stevens v. Sharif, No. 15 C 1405, 2017 WL 449175 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 2, 2017)

(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: Mitchell v. Parkhurst

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In this unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court held that a malpractice plaintiff failed to plead that the alleged malpractice caused her injury because she failed to plead sufficient facts about the underlying case. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant lawyers committed malpractice representing her in a sex discrimination case. The Appellate Court held that she had to plead sufficient facts to show that her underlying case was meritorious; it was not enough to plead that she was treated worse than similarly situated males; she had to plead details about her job, the males’ jobs and their salaries, etc.

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

Mitchell v. Parkhurst: 2016 IL App (1st) 150786-U

Recent Illinois Case: Peterson v. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

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This recent case reversed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim against a law firm that provided transactional services to a client that was defrauded through a Ponzi scheme.

Peterson v. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, No. 14-3632, 2015 WL 4092323 (7th Cir. July 7, 2015)

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