Thursday, February 14, 2013

Davis v. Loftus case brief

Davis v. Loftus case brief summary
334 Ill. App. 3d 761

SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff client sought consolidated review of orders of the Cook County Circuit Court (Illinois) that dismissed his contract claims against defendant attorneys, struck certain of the damages claims in his malpractice counts, and dismissed the malpractice action as against certain income partners in the attorneys' firm.

FACTS:
- The client retained the attorneys to represent him in a large real estate transaction.
-The party with whom he participated in a joint venture never paid the client the amounts due, and, allegedly because of the attorneys' mistakes in drafting the joint venture documents, there was some doubt as to whether the client would ever be able to collect the amounts.
-The client sued the attorneys, their firm, and every lawyer in it for malpractice and breach of contract.

HOLDING:
-The income partners did not qualify as partners. They had no rights to vote on management or conduct in business. Plus, their wages were set.

ANALYSIS:
-The appellate court held that because the malpractice and contract claims were essentially the same, the dismissal of the contract claims did not result in a final appealable order under Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 304, nor did the trial court's striking of certain claims for damages that were redundant of claims being made against the joint venturer.
-Finally, since those lawyers who were designated as income partners were paid flat salaries and had no role in managing the law firm, they were not liable for any judgment that might be entered against the partnership.
-In the case of several partners who claimed income partner status, however, the record was inadequate to determine whether that was in fact their status.

OUTCOME: The court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the dismissal of the contract claim and the striking of the damages claims, affirmed the dismissal as to certain of the alleged income partners and reversed it as to certain others, and remanded for the presentation of evidence concerning their status in the firm.

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