Bank Breach of Contract: Patterson Wins Where Prior Law Firm Fails

Three months before the scheduled trial, a New York law firm was to represent a guarantor being sued for $8 million. The case was linked to the largest mixed-use real estate development project in the world. The lawyer who hired us said that “the case was an unmitigated disaster and that they needed us to mitigate it.” A similar case had already been lost by another firm, but a procedural technicality permitted the second case to proceed as if it were the first. We offered $3.5 million to settle, but because of our predecessor firm’s prior loss, our offer was refused. We went to trial arguing that the bank was guilty of bad faith for refusing to approve leases and improperly declaring a default. The bank offered evidence of more than $1 million in attorney fees incurred. After cross-examination, however, this evidence was stricken by the judge. The jury then found that our client was not liable to pay anything. Compare Chemical Bank v. Paul, 244 Ill. App. 2d 772, 614 N.E.2d 436 (1st Dist. 1993), with Chemical Bank v. American National Bank, 180 Ill. App. 3d 219, 535 N.E.2d 940 (1st Dist. 1989).

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