In Illinois, there are two parts to the statute of limitations. First, you have two years from the time you discover your injury to sue a lawyer. Second, you cannot sue the lawyer based on an action that he took more than 6 years prior to the date you file your case. The two-year and six-year rules prevent many malpractice plaintiffs from suing. They also protect lawyers who gave advice long ago, when the law may have been different.
Saunders v. Hedrick, 20 C 6835 (N.D. IL) decided on February 18, 2021, is a classic example of how these statutes work in practice. Saunders was fired from his job as a corrections officer in 2010. He retained Hedrick who negotiated a settlement for him in 2012. In 2020, Saunders discovered that because he took a settlement his pension would be reduced. He then sued Hedrick for legal malpractice. The court held the case was time-barred because the advice to settle was given in 2012, about 8 years before the lawsuit was filed. Saunders argued that the lawyer fraudulently concealed the error from him. The court rejected that argument because Saunders was unable to plead any false representation by Hedrick that could form the basis of fraudulent concealment. Result: case dismissed.
If you have question about a legal malpractice case, do not hesitate to contact us at 312-357-1515.