Federal Court Victory for Attorney
Pretzel & Stouffer partners Matthew J. Egan and Brendan Nelligan recently prevailed in federal court on behalf of the firm’s client, an attorney, who had been appointed by a state circuit court judge to serve as the child’s representative in a contentious domestic relations case to which the plaintiff was a party. The plaintiff, who was also the petitioner in a long-running Chapter 11 proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, filed suit against the attorney and others in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging claims for negligence, civil conspiracy, and RICO violations regarding the attorney’s actions in the state court domestic relations case and in plaintiff’s bankruptcy case. The case was transferred from the District Court to the Bankruptcy Court as an adversary action. Matt and Brendan moved to dismiss all of the plaintiff’s claims against the attorney based on the domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction, the absolute immunity of a court-appointed child representative for actions taken in a representative capacity, and for failing to state any plausible claim for relief. The court agreed with each of the arguments Matt and Brendan advanced and dismissed, with prejudice, all of the plaintiff’s claims against the attorney.