12
Nov2013

Second District Appellate Court Finds Villa Park Lawyer Guilty of Legal Malpractice

Lewis John Craft, now retired, is being ordered to pay his former client $80,000 for his role in a failed real estate transaction that cost his client, Dennis Moore, $100,000.

Moore retained Craft to assist him in the sale of a house he built. Next to that home was an empty lot that he also owned. Moore was eager to sell what he called “the improved lot” before the empty lot so that he wouldn’t run the risk of having something built on the empty lot that would take away from the value of the home.

After reaching a purchase agreement with the couple who wanted to purchase the improved lot, Moore had Craft take care of the final details of the sale as well as conveying the property. This is where things went wrong.

Craft told the couple that the empty lot was included in the purchase of the home. Upon learning that a neighbor was interested in purchasing the vacant lot, Moore called Craft to inquire as to the whereabouts of the deed (which he should have already received). Craft never responded to his request.

Soon after, Moore learned that someone else had paid the property taxes on the lot, thus coming to the realization that he was not the owner. Moore filed suit and was able to settle with the couple he sold the improved lot to.

The potential buyers told Moore that they were no longer interested in purchasing the property, and he then filed suit against Craft for damages. According to the suit, Moore was owed damages for the value of the time between 2005 and 2012 (during which he did not have ownership of the property).

Appraisers during the trial estimated Moore’s losses over that time span to be $100,000, and the jury awarded him $80,000.

The appellate court denied the assertions of Craft’s appeal (which stated that the award was a compromise and thus should be reneged and that there was no proof that Moore’s sale would have actually taken place).

The Patterson Law Firm handles an array of professional negligence cases, and we are particularly experienced when it comes to legal malpractice. If you think you are a victim of legal malpractice or would like to learn more about what our firm has to offer visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call (312) 223-1699.

 

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