Timeliness

Miller v. Davis , 2018 IL App (4th) 170337-U

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Mark Miller was committed to the Department of Human Services as a sexually violent person, but his commitment was reversed on appeal because of ineffective representation by his former trial attorney, W. Keith Davis.  For this, Miler sued Davis pro se for legal malpractice, filing his complaint on October 25, 2013.  Davis was not served until almost three years later on October 14, 2016, well after the two-year statute of limitations had lapsed.  Davis moved to dismiss with prejudice pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 103(b) for failure to exercise reasonable diligence in service.  The trial court granted Davis’ motion.

On appeal, the dismissal was affirmed.  The appellate court explained that Miller’s status as a pro se litigant did not exempt him from compliance with the same rules of procedure as a litigant represented by counsel.  Moreover, it noted that “there was a lengthy period of time, over two years, where Miller did nothing to move his case forward.”  Id. at ¶ 23.  Although the record indicated Davis knew of Miller’s complaint soon after it was filed, the appellate court held that “the presence of actual knowledge and the absence of prejudice do not require this court to find reasonable diligence” as they do not “outweigh the other factors.”  Id. at ¶ 24.

Miller v. Davis , 2018 IL App (4th) 170337-U

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

 

White v. Richert , 2018 WL 4101512

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Anna White filed a petition against her niece, attorney Elizabeth Richert, alleging violation of Richert’s duty of honesty and loyalty as White’s attorney and as trustee of a trust from which both women were to receive distributions.  Richert moved for summary judgment on both claims, arguing that they were time-barred.

With respect to White’s claim against Richert as an attorney, White affirmatively pleaded that she discovered the injury giving rise to her claim in February, 2013, but did not file her complaint until July, 2015.  Thus, the court held that the claim was time-barred. Illinois’ statute of limitations for actions “against an attorney arising out of an act or omission in the performance of professional services,” requires that they “be commenced within 2 years from the time the person bringing the action knew or reasonably should have known of the injury…”  Id. at 5; 735 ILCS 5/13-214.3.

As for White’s claim against Richert as a trustee, the court held that Illinois’ five-year catch-all provision applied, since “Illinois does not provide a specific statute of limitations for claims of breach of fiduciary duty by a trustee.”  Id. at 6; 735 ILCS 5/13-205. The Court held that the statute of limitations had not lapsed, since White could not have known about this claim against Richert until shortly before she amended her complaint in 2017 to include it, “when it became evident during discovery that there was more than one version” of the trust.  Id. at 7.

White v. Richert, 2018 WL 4101512

(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: Mustafa v. NSI International, Inc.

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The Northern District dismissed a legal malpractice claim in which a former employee attempted to sue her employer’s attorney. The court held that the attorney owed no duty to the former employee and that the claim was time barred.

Mustafa v. NSI International, Inc.,  2016 WL 6778888

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

Recent Illinois Case: In re Estate of Zeid v. Hays and Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa

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In this unpublished opinion, the First District analyzes several malpractice claims to determine whether they were properly dismissed as time barred.

For the most part, the analysis turned on whether the various claims related back to a timely filed complaint. In turn, that analysis turned on whether the various claims did or did not arise out of the same transaction as the timely complaint.

In re Estate of Zeid v. Hays and Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa, 2016 IL App (1st) 153275-U.

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