Illinois Appellate Court Holds That Defendant’s Solvency is Required Element of Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice Action

To plead a cause of action for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must allege facts that support a finding that (1) an attorney owed the plaintiff at duty arising from the attorney-client relationship, (2) the attorney breached that duty, and (3) the attorney’s breach proximately caused the plaintiff to sustain damages. Now, The Illinois Appellate Court recently held that the element of solvency is required in a legal malpractice action, as well. This means when a malpractice plaintiff seeks to recover for loss of a cause of action, he must adequately allege and later prove that the defendant in the underlying lawsuit would have had sufficient funds to compensate him had the attorney’s negligence not come into play and the plaintiff prevailed. The Appellate Court elaborated, stating the plaintiff need only show that the underlying defendant would have been capable of paying some of the damages at some point between the attorney’s malpractice and the end date of the judgment’s enforceability. See, Visvardis v. Ferleger, PC (1st Dist. 2007).