The case is captioned American Inter-Fidelity Exchange v. Hope, 17 C 7934, the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois rejected a law firm’s summary judgment motion based on the doctrine of judicial error. Usually, if there is a judicial error, that would constitute a defense to a legal malpractice claim. Here, as we shall see, the district court rejected the defense.
The underlying facts and case were mundane – the insured Rypninskiy was involved in an auto accident with Joseph Hope. Hope sued Rypninskyi for negligence. Rypninskyi did not cooperate in the defense of the auto accident case. In particular, he did not show up for the trial. The key ruling in the underlying auto accident case occurred when Rypninskyi did not appear for trial. The trial court barred him from introducing certain evidence. Judgment was entered against him and no appeal was taken. Cassiday Schade argued that there was a judicial error in the trial court (when the court excluded the evidence).
Next, the insurer sued him, Joseph Hope and Joseph Hope’s bankruptcy trustee. The insurance company argued that Rypninskyi did not cooperate in the defense of the underlying case. Rypninskyi, in turn, sued Cassiday Schade, LLP, alleging that the law firm committed legal malpractice in the defense of the action.