Leskera moves to dismiss Lutman legal malpractice suit

Amelia Flood Apr. 6, 2011, 1:51am


Collinsville attorney John Leskera is moving to dismiss a legal malpractice suit filed against him earlier this year by his former client, bar owner Gary Lutman.

In his April 1 motion to dismiss the suit, Leskera claims that Lutman fails to state a cause of action in his suit and that alleging "but for" Leskera's actions does not satisfy the law's requirements.

Lutman is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 per count on claims that Leskera bungled at least two of Lutman's legal matters while serving as his attorney.

Lutman claims that Leskera's negligence led to the dismissal of a 2009 suit he filed against the Village of Maryville, its police department and several officials related to alleged violations of Lutman's civil rights.

He also claims that Leskera botched an appeal in another legal matter.

Leskera represented Lutman in at least two legal actions.

Both actions are tied to a dispute over a business between Lutman, his ex-wife and a former business partner.

The appeal related to the dispute over the business.

The 2009 lawsuit against the Maryville defendants arose when Lutman was arrested by the village's police for trespassing.

He claimed in the 2009 suit that he was arrested without cause and solely on his ex-wife's say-so.

The charges were dropped.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis dismissed the 2009 case last year citing the statute of limitations.

In the April 1 motion, Leskera contends that the plaintiff's claims aren't supported.

He also claims that Lutman's claims don't meet the standards for legal malpractice under Illinois law because they do not specify whether or not Lutman's legal pursuits would have ultimately been successful.

Leskera also takes issue with allegations in Lutman's complaints that center on what he claims were violations of Illinois Supreme Court rules.

"The rules of legal ethics do not establish a separate duty or cause of action," Leskera's motion to dismiss reads. "The mere fact that an attorney may have violated professional ethics rules does not, in and of itself, give rise to a cause of action for damages."

In the alternative, Leskera asks that allegations related to the rules of ethics be stricken from Lutman's complaint.

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian presides.

Roy Dripps represents Lutman.

Al Pranaitis represents Leskera.

The case is Madison case number 2011-L-031.

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