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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL V. SANDBERG PHOENIX & VON GOTARD, P.C. et al

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
3:12-cv-00242 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Ace American Insurance Company
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Southern District of Illinois
Date Filed: 
Mar 16 2012

"COUNT I - LEGAL MALPRACTICE
(Conventional Subrogation Claim by ACE Against All Defendants)

48. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference Paragraphs 1 through 47 as though set forth fully herein.

49. Defendants represented Safariland as counsel of record in the Brough case.

50. By virtue of their representation of Safariland, Defendants owed Safariland a duty of reasonable care and professional competence arising from the attorney-client relationship.

51. Defendants guaranteed that Safariland would be provided professional and competent representation.

52. Defendants also guaranteed to Safariland that it would "receive timely, responsive and cost-effective legal services," and Safariland's satisfaction with how they provided their services, promising to resolve any service-related issue to Safariland's reasonable satisfaction, even if it meant reducing Defendants' fees.

53. In their representation of Safariland in the Brough case, Defendants failed to satisfy their professional obligations and neglected to exercise a reasonable degree of professional care and skill, thereby breaching their duty of care to Safariland. Defendants' violations of their professional obligations and breach of their standard of care includes their repeated, egregious discovery violations during their representation of Safariland, and their failure to appropriately defend Safariland in the Brough case.

54. Defendants' misconduct violated various governing Rules of Professional Conduct, including but not limited to IRPC 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), and 3.3 (Candor Toward the Tribunal).

55. Defendants' egregious discovery violations caused the court in the Brough case to enter an order striking all of Safariland's pleadings, including all of its defenses, as a sanction for Defendants' actions. As a direct result of forfeiting all of its meritorious defenses, Safariland
lost the opportunity to try the case to obtain a defense verdict. Safariland was forced to settle with the Brough plaintiffs for a sum substantially greater than it would have had to pay but for Defendants' misconduct, causing it damages in the amount of the settlement and the additional attorney fees Safariland incurred due to Defendants' misconduct.

56. In addition, Defendants' failure to conduct the defense of Safariland using a reasonable degree of professional care also led to Safariland being found liable on one of the Broughs' liability theories and to Safariland not securing the dismissal of the Brough case prior
to trial. As a direct result of its disadvantaged position as the trial date approached, Safariland was forced to settle with the Brough plaintiffs for a sum substantially greater than it would have had to pay but for Defendants' breach of the standard of care. Accordingly, Defendants' breach of the standard of care caused Safariland damages in the full amount of the settlement and additional attorney fees Safariland incurred due to Defendants' malpractice.

57. But for Defendants' misconduct, which breached their duty of care to Safariland, Safariland would either have received a directed verdict or jury verdict in its favor, a favorable result on appeal, or it would have settled the Brough case for substantially less than the final settlement amount.

58. The striking of Safariland's meritorious defenses, which was a proximate result of Defendants' malpractice, was the legal cause of Safariland's injuries.

59. Safariland thus has a meritorious cause of action for legal malpractice against Defendants arising out of their negligent conduct and their breaches of their duties in representing Safariland during the Brough case.

60. ACE, as excess liability insurer to Safariland, paid a substantial sum toward the settlement in the Brough case pursuant to the ACE Policy and for attorney fees that were necessitated by the Defendants' discovery misconduct, as a direct and proximate result of Defendants' malpractice, thereby suffering injury in that amount.

61. ACE is a contractual subrogee of Safariland's claims against Defendants arising out of Defendants' legal malpractice during the Brough case, and is entitled to recover all sums ACE was required to expend due to the Defendants' malpractice.

62. ACE is therefore contractually subrogated to Safariland's rights of recovery from Defendants.

COUNT II - LEGAL MALPRACTICE
(Conventional Subrogation Claim by Federal Against All Defendants)

63. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference Paragraphs 1 through 60 as though set forth fully herein.

64. Defendants represented Safariland as counsel of record in the Brough case.

65. By virtue of their representation of Safariland, Defendants owed Safariland a duty of reasonable care and professional competence arising from the attorney-client relationship.

66. Defendants guaranteed that Safariland would be provided professional and competent representation.

67. Defendants also guaranteed to Safariland that it would "receive timely, responsive and cost-effective legal services," and Safariland's satisfaction with how they provided their services, promising to resolve any service-related issue to Safariland's reasonable satisfaction, even if it meant reducing Defendants' fees.

68. In their representation of Safariland in the Brough case, Defendants failed to satisfy their professional obligations and neglected to exercise a reasonable degree of professional care and skill, thereby breaching their duty of care to Safariland. Defendants' violations of their professional obligations and breach of their standard of care includes their repeated, egregious discovery violations during their representation of Safariland, and their failure to appropriately defend Safariland in the Brough case.

69. Defendants' conduct violated various governing rules of professional conduct, including but not limited to IRPC 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), and 3.3 (Candor Toward the Tribunal).

70. Defendants' egregious discovery violations caused the court in the Brough case to enter an order striking all of Safariland's pleadings, including all of its defenses, as a sanction for Defendants' actions. As a direct result of forfeiting all of its meritorious defenses, Safariland lost the opportunity to try the case to obtain a defense verdict. Safariland was forced to settle with the Brough plaintiffs for a sum substantially greater than it would have had to pay but for Defendants' misconduct, causing it damages in the amount of the settlement and the additional attorney fees Safariland incurred due to Defendants' misconduct.

71. In addition, Defendants' failure to conduct the defense of Safariland using a reasonable degree of professional care also led to Safariland being found liable on one of the Broughs' liability theories and to Safariland not securing the dismissal of the Brough case prior
to trial. As a direct result of its disadvantaged position as the trial date approached, Safariland was forced to settle with the Brough plaintiffs for a sum substantially greater than it would have had to pay but for Defendants' breach of the standard of care. Accordingly, Defendants' breach of the standard of care caused Safariland damages in the amount of the settlement and additional attorney fees Safariland incurred due to Defendants' malpractice.

72. But for Defendants' misconduct, which breached their duty of care to Safariland, Safariland would either have received a directed verdict or jury verdict in its favor, a favorable result on appeal, or it would have settled the Brough case for substantially less than the final settlement amount.

73. The striking of Safariland's meritorious defenses, which was a proximate result of Defendants' malpractice, was the legal cause of Safariland's injuries.

74. Safariland thus has a meritorious cause of action for legal malpractice against Defendants arising out of their negligent conduct in representing Safariland during the Brough case.

75. Federal, pursuant to the Federal Primary Policy and Federal Excess Policy it issued, paid a substantial sum toward the settlement in the Brough case and for attorney fees that were necessitated by the Defendants' discovery misconduct, as a direct and proximate result of Defendants' malpractice, thereby suffering injury in that amount.

76. Federal is a contractual subrogee of Safariland's claims against Defendants arising out of Defendants' legal malpractice during the Brough case, and is entitled to recover all sums Federal was required to expend due to the Defendants' malpractice.

77. Federal is therefore contractually subrogated to Safariland's rights of recovery from Defendants.

COUNT III - LEGAL MALPRACTICE
(Equitable Subrogation Claim by ACE Against All Defendants)

78. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference Paragraphs 1 through 73 as though set forth fully herein, including but not limited to the allegations in Paragraphs 48 through 60 regarding Defendants' legal malpractice.

79. ACE, on behalf of Safariland, has paid substantial sums in satisfaction of Safariland's settlement with the Broughs, as well as other damages caused by Defendants' legal malpractice.

80. ACE did not voluntarily pay these sums but was obligated to do so under the Excess Liability Catastrophe Policy.

81. Defendants are primarily liable for the payment of these sums due to their malpractice during the Brough case.

82. Safariland has a right to recover from Defendants that ACE seeks to enforce.

83. ACE is equitably subrogated to Safariland's rights of recovery from Defendants.

COUNT IV - LEGAL MALPRACTICE
(Equitable Subrogation Claim by Federal Against All Defendants)

84. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference Paragraphs 1 through 79 as though set forth fully herein, including but not limited to the allegations in Paragraphs 61 through 73 regarding Defendants' legal malpractice.

85. Federal, on behalf of Safariland, has paid substantial sums in satisfaction of Safariland's settlement with the Broughs, as well as other damages caused by Defendants' legal malpractice.

86. Federal did not voluntarily pay these sums but was obligated to do so under the Federal Primary Policy and the Federal Excess Policy.

87. Defendants are primarily liable for the payment of these sums due to their malpractice during the Brough case.

88. Safariland has a right to recover from Defendants that Federal seeks to enforce.

89. Federal is equitably subrogated to Safariland's rights of recovery from Defendants."

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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