Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Victor J. Pioli, and Associate Attorney, Ramses Jalalpour, secured a defense jury verdict in favor of deceased attorney, J. Richard Hisaw, and his law firm in a legal negligence case involving a foreclosed commercial property. The plaintiff asked for $500,000 in damages. Attorneys Pioli and Jalalpour achieved the jury verdict despite the fact that two of their three key witnesses, including their client, are deceased. Mr. Hisaw passed away unexpectedly on December 5, 2017. In addition, George Collins, who served as Mr. Hisaw’s attorney and witnessed certain underlying events relevant to the dispute, passed away in October 2016.
In this case, the plaintiff, who is a chiropractic doctor, and her father owned a commercial property. They had a “balloon” payment at the end of their commercial mortgage that they didn’t pay. The bank foreclosed on the property and obtained a deficiency judgment for $210,000 against the plaintiff, which she paid. The plaintiff claimed our client didn’t advise her and she didn’t otherwise know that she could have sold the property before the foreclosure occurred. The plaintiff estimated that she could have sold the commercial property for a $270,000 profit. Because of the foreclosure judgment against her, the lost value of the potential property sale and other expenses, the plaintiff sought $500,000 in damages.
The defense countered that Mr. Hisaw did in fact advise the plaintiff that she could and should sell the commercial property. The defense also asserted that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent when she refused repeated requests by her father to sell the property before and after the foreclosure suit had been filed. This defense was bolstered by the testimony of plaintiff’s brother, who described various attempts by him and his father to convince the plaintiff to sell the property in light of the mortgage default. After eight days of trial, the jury reached a verdict in favor of deceased attorney, J. Richard Hisaw, and his firm, J. Richard Hisaw & Associates. See the front-page article about this case in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (sub. req.)