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If you have a plaintiff’s case, don’t wait ten years to serve your lien!

The case is captioned Camelot, Inc. v. Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd., 2017 IL App (2d) 170038-U. The Burke firm had handled shareholder litigation for the plaintiffs. That litigation ended in 2004. Ten years after the representation ended, in 2014, it attempted to serve a lien on certain real property owned by the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs sued for declaratory judgment.Plaintiffs obtained summary judgment that the lien was invalid.

The Appellate Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment and held that the lien claim was invalid under the Illinois Attorneys Lien Act 770 ILCS 5/1. The court found a number of problems with the lien claim. First, the lien was asserted ten years after the representation ended, in violation of Illinois law. ¬∂23. Second, the court held that the “Act does not provide a remedy of foreclosure.” ¬∂24. The court also held that it lacked jurisdiction¬†to consider the lawyers’ equitable lien claim.

Comment: It took chutzpah to assert a lien on a parcel of real estate ten years after the attorney-client relationship ended. In my view this lien claim was frivolous and the lawyers should have paid the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees.

Ed Clinton, Jr.

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