Victor J. Pioli: Representative Cases
- Secured a defense verdict in favor of a matrimonial law firm wherein plaintiff sought over $2 million in damages. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had advised her to enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) in which her share of the marital estate was less than what she was entitled to and that the defendant had failed to adequately assess the extent of marital assets. Plaintiff claimed that her settlement accounted for less than 35% of the marital assets. Defense contended that the plaintiff's share of the true value of the marital assets exceeded 50% because of her ex-husband's deferred compensation was valueless as it was completely unfunded. Defense argued that the plaintiff neither accounted for certain liabilities in the marital estate associated with her ex-husband's business interests and that the plaintiff's claims were time barred under the two-year statute of limitations applicable to legal malpractice cases.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of our client, one of the top wine importers in North America. The complaint, filed by a competitor, consisted of nine counts, among them: unfair competition, conspiracy and trade secret theft, defamation, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference of contracts. It was filed against our client and one of its employees, who previously had been terminated by the Plaintiff from her job as Midwest Regional Sales Manager. In its complaint, the Plaintiff believed that his former employee violated some unknown “ethical duty” to not compete against him – even though the employee was never subject to a non-compete agreement. Plaintiff further charged that our client and the employee – prior to her termination -- conspired to inappropriately convince Plaintiff’s wine suppliers to terminate their relationships with Plaintiff. However, six wine suppliers testified that their leaving Plaintiff had nothing to do with our client or its employee. In fact, two of the wine suppliers are pursuing legal action against the Plaintiff to recover sums Plaintiff still owes them. The Plaintiff could provide no evidence to support any of its other charges against our client and its employee. Given the lack of evidence, the Circuit Court of Cook County granted summary judgment in favor of the defense. (2014)
- Successfully defended a real estate law firm being sued for malpractice. Our client represented the buyer of a golf course property. On the day before the deal was to close, the acquirer of the golf course told our client that, as part of the transaction, they had negotiated an additional $250,000 note which was to be secured by a mortgage on a separate vacant lot in Frankfort, Illinois. It soon became apparent that the signatures necessary for the mortgage on the $250,000 note and mortgage could not be procured in time for the closing. Our client proceeded with the closing of the transaction after being given assurances that proper signatures on the $250,000 mortgage would be provided soon after the closing. Our client followed up after the closing, but was unable to procure the necessary signatures and record the $250,000 mortgage. The property that was subject to the $250,000 mortgage was eventually sold pursuant to a tax sale and the buyer of the golf course was unable to collect on the $250,000 note and mortgage. The buyer then sued our client, seeking $1 million relating to lost profits associated with the property and other damages. The jury in the malpractice case returned a verdict awarding damages to the plaintiff of less than $1200. (2013)
- In re the Estate of O’Malley Case No. 09 P 1884. Jury trial finding the decedent’s will and trust was invalid as it was made as a result of the undue influence of one of the decedent’s children. (2012)
- Received a favorable verdict in a federal court case defending the seller of an airplane. The purchaser of the airplane had alleged claims for breach of contract and fraud on the grounds that the plane was riddled with defects that were known to the seller and not disclosed prior to the sale. The purchaser of the plane sought damages in excess of $2 million. The defense offered to settle the matter for $25,000 prior to trial and the plaintiff asked for $2.5 million. At trial, the defense argued that the plane contained no more defects than would be expected for a used airplane and that the plane was always in an airworthy condition as deemed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The plaintiff contended that the airplane was not airworthy and that the plane had a substantial damage history that was not disclosed by defendant. After seven days of trial, the jury found in favor of defendant on the fraud claim and awarded only $40,696 for breach of contract.
- Oak Brook Bank v. Crowley Barrett & Karaba, Case No. 04 L 1249 Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division. Two-week jury trial. Defended a real estate law firm in this legal malpractice action where the lender sued its lawyers after a construction loan went sour. The plaintiff sought $17 million in damages and demanded the policy limits of $5 million for settlement. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty against all defendants. (2010). The case is on appeal.