A Texas lawyer seeks to dismiss a woman’s legal malpractice suit for lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that he has no ties to Illinois.
Yvonne Bailey, formerly known as Yvonne Strupper, filed the lawsuit on Aug. 17 against Edward P. Cano of San Antonio.
In her complaint, Bailey claims she was entitled to survival benefits of her ex-husband Guy Strupper following his death in October 2014. She alleges Cano told her she was entitled to the benefits, but she was unable to obtain them.
She accuses Cano of misrepresentation and failing to ensure that the benefits would go to her.
Cano filed an affidavit explaining that he has been a Texas lawyer since 1985 and was hired to represent the plaintiff in her divorce case in San Antonio.
He argues that he was hired to represent the plaintiff by her son-in-law while he was in Texas bailing Bailey out of jail in December 2000. Bailey provided her consent and permission for Cano to act as her counsel in the divorce case.
Cano alleges Bailey has a history of emotional and mental health issues and psychological disorders.
She was supposed to return to Florida with her son-in-law until her divorce case was complete, but she left and was presumably in Illinois. Cano claims she disappeared for months and then showed up without notice at her son-in-law's home in Florida with a stranger, “who was essentially a vagrant,” after her divorce was finalized. She allegedly disappeared after that.
“The last time I saw or had communication with Mrs. Strupper, she showed up at my law office in downtown San Antonio, Texas, without notice, demanding that I drop what I was doing and go to court right then and there. I told her I could not and would not.
“Mrs. Strupper, in the lobby of my law office emptied a bottle prescription medication in her hand and swallowed a handful of pills. I stopped Ms. Strupper from trying to swallow a second handful of pills.
“Mrs. Strupper then exited my front door to my office and ran into the middle the (sic) Flores Street and tried to get herself run over by passing cars. I brought Mrs. Strupper back into my lobby locked the door so she would not hurt herself …” Cano’s affidavit states.
The defendant alleges Strupper was taken away in an ambulance and he never heard from her again until she filed suit against him.
Cano filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction on Feb. 17.
He is representing himself pro se.
Cano argues that he is not and has never been a resident of Illinois and has never done business in Illinois.
He argues that the only contact he had with the State of Illinois was when he tried to locate his client, the plaintiff, after he was hired. The plaintiff uses this as grounds for jurisdiction.
Cano argues that these facts are not enough minimum contacts to support personal jurisdiction.
He adds that the standard care by Texas lawyers and Texas law would apply in this case.
The plaintiff seeks judgment of more than $75,000, plus interest and legal costs. She is represented by Thomas Maag of Maag Law Firm in Wood River.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-1161