Defendant’s Failure to Preserve Silent Negates His Legal Malpractice Claim | Novack and Macey LLP

On May possibly 12, 2022, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Initial District resolved 3Purple Grp. of Illinois, LLC v. Johnson, 2022 IL Application (1st) 200593-U, ¶ 2. The feeling is the newest final decision relevant to a complex and drawn out dispute involving former business associates, Edwin Johnson (“Johnson”) and Igor B. Oystacher (“Oystacher”), and their proprietary buying and selling company, 3Red Group of Illinois, LLC (“3Pink Group”). Id. On June 17, 2013, 3Pink Team terminated Johnson’s employment, professing he misused company funds and dedicated fraud. Id., ¶ 5. On August 15, 2013, the parties entered into a “Confidential Settlement Agreement and Reciprocal Release” (the “settlement agreement”) to solve all disputes relating to Johnson’s termination. Id. “In link with the termination of his employment, on June 27, 2014, Johnson submitted a complaint for lawful malpractice against the legislation business of Gardiner Koch Weisberg and Wrona (“Koch Law”) (the “Koch litigation”) Id., ¶ 7. Johnson was represented by Jefferey O. Katz and The Patterson Regulation Agency, LLC (collectively “Patterson Law”). Even though represented by Patterson Legislation, Johnson responded to Koch Law’s motion to dismiss and attached a duplicate of the settlement arrangement without submitting it underneath steal in violation of the protecting get entered in the circumstance. Id.

On December 10, 2014, Oystacher and 3Crimson Team filed match versus Johnson alleging that he breached the settlement settlement by disclosing private info. Id., ¶ 2. In response, Johnson submitted accommodate versus his previous attorneys, Patterson Law, arguing that they have been liable for the impermissible disclosure. The 3rd-bash grievance set forth five counts: indemnity, contribution, legal malpractice, fraud and defamation. “On May 27, 2015, the circuit court docket entered an buy consolidating the Koch litigation and the immediate litigation for discovery uses.” Id., ¶ 9.

“The functions proceeded to interact in discovery, in which Johnson admitted that his lawyers in the Koch litigation inadvertently submitted a pleading which contained the settlement settlement as an exhibit, but claimed that he experienced no awareness of their steps at the time.” Id., ¶ 10. Meanwhile, Johnson failed to comply with other discovery requests – his refusals resulted in comprehensive litigation. Id. “[O]ver the program of the litigation, 5 motions for sanctions had been granted, such as one for legal professional costs in the volume of $500 and one more in the amount of $12,462, both due to Johnson’s noncompliance with the circuit court’s discovery orders.” Id. In addition to these monetary sanctions, the demo court docket held that Johnson’s actions demonstrated “egregious and contumacious disregard for this Court’s authority” and “barred Johnson ‘from introducing any and all evidence denying his disclosure of confidential information about Plaintiffs and the Confidential Settlement Settlement to the press, in lawsuits, or to any third party except these kinds of disclosure was needed by approach of regulation.’” Id., ¶ 11.

On March 7, 2017, Patterson Law submitted a movement to dismiss Johnson’s grievance “claiming (1) Johnson could not create that the Patterson parties proximately caused his damages, as the damages were being a direct result of Johnson’s have conduct all through the litigation (2) Johnson’s fraud and defamation claims had been barred by the legal professional litigation privilege and had been duplicative of the legal malpractice counts and (3) Johnson’s defamation assert was barred by the statute of limitations.” Id., ¶ 24. The trial court docket dismissed counts I and II with prejudice and (2) dismissed counts III, IV, and V “with depart to replead.” Id., ¶ 31. The courtroom reasoned that simply because Johnson was prohibited from denying that he disclosed confidential data in violation of the settlement arrangement he could not prove that Patterson Legislation proximately caused his damages. Id., ¶ 25. The courtroom additional: “Johnson’s actions in discovery matters was an intervening cause breaking the chain of causation.” Id.

“On August 8, 2017, Johnson filed a motion to reconsider the dismissal of counts I and II of the 3rd-occasion criticism.” Id., ¶ 33. In assist of reconsideration, Johnson argued that he was in the course of action of captivating the discovery sanctions and hence the court’s determination to grant the motion to dismiss was “inappropriate or, at best, untimely.” Id. On December 5, 2017, the circuit courtroom entered an purchase granting Johnson’s motion to reconsider in portion, striking the words and phrases “with prejudice” in relation to counts I and II. Id., ¶ 34.

On January 9, 2018, Johnson filed an amended 3rd-party criticism against Patterson Law alleging the similar 5 counts: indemnity, contribution, authorized malpractice, fraud, and defamation. Id., ¶ 36. Patterson Law all over again filed a motion to dismiss the grievance asserting that Johnson’s amendments did nothing at all to remedy the problems of the authentic grievance. The demo court entered and continued the movement awaiting the Appellate Court’s selection relating to the sanctions imposed in opposition to Johnson. Id., ¶ 38. The Appellate Court docket affirmed the circuit court’s sanction purchase. Following that final decision, on September 17, 2019, the court docket granted Patterson Law’s movement to dismiss the amended third-occasion complaint. Id. Johnson then appealed.

The Appellate Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision. In regards to the authorized malpractice claim, the Appellate Courtroom mentioned that in purchase to state a claim for lawful malpractice the plaintiff will have to plead and show “actual damages.” Id., ¶ 64. The Court concluded that Johnson’s amended grievance did not establish that but for Patterson Regulation, he would not have been “hauled into court docket.” Id., ¶ 65. As an alternative, the Courtroom found that Plaintiffs Oystacher and 3Red Team did not just accuse Johnson of violating the settlement settlement in the Koch litigation, but somewhat alleged four individual violations such as disclosing private information to the push. Id., ¶ 67. Offered that the steps of Patterson Legislation ended up not the only purpose Plaintiffs filed fit, he failed to condition a assert for lawful malpractice. The Courtroom reasoned that Johnson’s actions ended up the superseding induce and he was liable for this own damages.

3Crimson Group of Illinois, LLC v. Johnson, 2022 IL Application (1st) 200593-U

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