Standard of Care
The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied a plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment in a legal malpractice case. The plaintiff argued that a Last Will and Testament drafted by his attorneys was ambiguous. The court held that it whether drafting an ambiguous will was a breach of the standard of care was a question for the jury.
The First District held that summary judgment was improperly entered in favor of a malpractice plaintiff. In the underlying case, the malpractice plaintiff was found liable for attorneys’ fees even though she was not a defendant in the only count under which fees could be awarded. The malpractice defendants failed to make this argument in the underlying case.
The First District reversed the trial court’s summary judgment decision because the malpractice plaintiff: (a) failed to offer expert evidence that the malpractice defendants did not meet the standard of care; and (b) possibly was contributorily negligent.
The First District also rejected the malpractice defendants’ argument that summary judgment should have been entered in their favor. The court held that whether the malpractice plaintiff could have appealed the attorneys’ fee award was a question of fact not appropriate for summary judgment. The court similarly held that other proximate cause arguments raised issues of fact.
(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)
Land v. Auler, 186 Ill. App. 3d 382, 542 N.E.2d 509 (4th Dist. 1989)
Spivack, Shulman & Goldman v. Foremst Liquor Store, Inc., 124 Ill. App. 3d 676, 465 N.E.2d 500 (1st Dist. 1984)
Spivack, Shulman & Goldman v. Foremst Liquor Store, Inc., 124 Ill. App. 3d 676, 465 N.E.2d 500 (1st Dist. 1984) (judgment)
Smith v. Kurtzman, 106 Ill. App. 3d 712, 436 N.E.2d 1 (1st Dist. 1982)
DeSeno v. Becker, 291 Ill. App. 3d 421, 683 N.E.2d 159 (1st Dist. 1997) (consider at time of breach; lawyer need not advise of remote possibilities)