Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Joseph R. Marconi, secured dismissal with prejudice for his matrimonial law firm client in a heated dispute with a former client. In this dispute, the matrimonial law firm represented a client in a highly litigious divorce action in Kane County and through its appeal. Thereafter, the law firm withdrew. The matrimonial law firm then filed a Final Fee Petition pursuant to Section 508 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The former client was represented by a new attorney in the Fee Petition. The former client never filed a response to the Fee Petition, only filing a legal malpractice action six days before the hearing on the Fee Petition -- which sought damages in excess of $2M. After the hearing on the Fee Petition, the Court entered an order awarding the matrimonial law firm its fees and costs in the full amount set forth in the Fee Petition.
Marconi filed a Motion to Dismiss the legal malpractice action under the doctrine of res judicata because the matters raised in the legal malpractice action could have, and indeed, must have been offered to oppose the matrimonial law firm’s Fee Petition. The Court agreed and dismissed the legal malpractice action with prejudice.