P&W Defeats Allegations of Attorney–Client Relationship

Posted by Bradford S. Purcell | Nov 01, 2017 | 0Comments

Tom Underwood, Mike Sanders, and R.J. VanSwol obtained an appellate ruling in favor of an attorney who was alleged to have breached a fiduciary duty by representing his wife, who was also a lawyer, in a suit against the law firm she was leaving. The alleged successor to the firm and another partner claimed that P&W's client had also represented the firm during its organization process. The trial court granted summary judgment to P&W's client on the basis that the plaintiffs had not shown how his representation of his wife had proximately caused the plaintiffs damages, as any other attorney could have taken his wife's case. The First District of the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed on the alternative ground, argued by P&W, that collateral estoppel precluded the plaintiffs' argument that P&W's client had ever had an attorney–client relationship with his wife's former firm, and that the plaintiffs could not prevail on their claims because he had no duties to the firm. Depke v. Kitzinger, 2017 IL App (1st) 163336-U.

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