Professional Liability

Carmen has strong experience in professional liability cases involving accusations of negligence or ethical lapses. He has defended lawyers, doctors, and dentists, and on the plaintiff side, he is aggressive in bringing claims against lawyers and other professionals when merited.

His own record is unblemished: In more than 30 years of practice, Carmen has never been accused of legal malpractice and has never been sanctioned by a court or the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. Not every lawyer can make the same claim. He and his team practice at the highest level, establishing credibility with trial judges when arguing professional liability cases for clients.

Legal Malpractice

Carmen understands how to present legal malpractice or attorney ethical lapses, especially involving other lawyers practicing franchising and dealership law. See this link to learn more about the firm’s Franchise experience.

Among the matters Carmen has directed regarding legal malpractice claims on the plaintiff side are:

  • A substantial settlement on behalf of his client victimized by the negligence of a prominent intellectual property law firm in failing to procure insurance coverage for the defense of an action against the client for copyright infringement. This case was egregious because what started as a bad mistake became a cover-up. Under cross-examination at their depositions, the defendant lawyers badly contradicted each other. The cover-up was exposed, and the case quickly settled.
  • Settlement of 100% of stock due his client after client was terminated as an employee and shareholder. The shareholder’s agreement pertaining to the stock was erroneously structured by a law firm in ways that would have imposed avoidable income taxes on the client.
  • In a case of lawyer ethics, a prominent CEO retained Carmen to resolve his fee dispute with his lawyers at a prominent matrimonial law firm and an equally prominent firm representing his wife in their divorce case. The two firms had collectively billed more than $3 million in fees while being unable to bring the case to a successfully negotiated conclusion.
  • Settlement of 100% of his client’s claim that a prominent attorney falsified real estate records to benefit a local charity.
  • As successor counsel defending a corporation charged with breach of contract in terminating its president, Carmen established collusion between the terminated executive and the company’s previous outside counsel regarding the company’s earlier inducement to retain the executive. This created a defense that predecessor counsel had not seen.

In other legal malpractice cases on the defense side, Carmen achieved the following:

  • In a case of alleged legal malpractice and fraud in the sale of securities, Carmen successfully defended a law firm accused of negligence and fraud in the sale of oil and gas investments. The lawyers had invested in the deal with their clients and allegedly received favorable treatment over the passive investors.
  • Carmen successfully defended partners in his former law firm from alleged negligence in closing a client’s purchase of a business. Allegedly, the client received a guaranty from the seller that was not enforeable.
  • Settlement involving a securities lawyer accused of malpractice and fraud in dealing with one of his clients.

Professional Liability in Health Care

Carmen defends doctors or dentists in claims arising on the business side of their practices. He has successfully represented physicians against hospitals seeking to revoke their privileges. He also defended a dentist accused of fraudulent insurance billing.

Rule 11 Sanctions in Litigation

Carmen and his team do not shrink from “hardball litigation” where attorneys engage in misconduct or where threats of sanctions are made to intimidate and gain leverage:

  • In Brandt v. Schal Associates, Inc., 960 F.2d 640, 649 (7th Cir. 1992), Carmen and his former partners obtained one of the largest sanctions ever awarded by a federal court under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 in favor of a construction management client firm frivolously sued under RICO for terminating a sub-contractor on three large-scale construction projects. After the federal judge issued a liability opinion that was over 100 pages long, the court held a three day evidentiary hearing to determine the sanction. The offending attorney presented expert evidence in mitigation he had allegedly suffered a silent heart attack and became clinically depressed when he read the lengthy liability opinion. The court rejected these arguments and awarded 100% of the fees in defense of the underlying RICO case plus 100% of the “fees on fees” in pursuing the Rule 11 motion. The entire award was affirmed on appeal.
  • Carmen and his former partners successfully defended lawyers in a client’s in-house legal department against a motion for Rule 11 sanctions. The corporate attorneys had sued a New Jersey construction firm with reputed ties to organized crime, alleging there had been a fraud scheme regarding regional store remodeling projects.
  • Successfully defended out-of-state counsel who asked him to serve as their local counsel when they were threatened with liability under 28 U.S.C. Section 1927 for alleged frivolous claims.