Lawyers at DBMS successfully litigate a wide variety of civil cases and argue appeals in some of the most challenging jurisdictions in the country.

Appellate Professional Liability

Pro se plaintiff v. Legal Aid Clinic

12/14/2020
Client:

Legal Aid Clinic

Outcome:

Entry of Injunction Upheld on Appeal

Synopsis:

DBMS obtained a temporary injunction against a pro se plaintiff due to the litigant’s repeated, frivolous filings against a Legal Clinic and two of the clinic’s attorneys.  The plaintiff filed an interlocutory appeal of the temporary injunction order, and DBMS secured an appellate victory: the Second District of the Appellate Court ruled that the DuPage County Circuit Court properly exercised its jurisdiction to enjoin the plaintiff from future, related filings against the Legal Clinic and its employees.

In January 2019, the plaintiff filed a 25-count complaint against numerous individual and institutional defendants, including the Legal Clinic and its attorneys who were represented by DBMS.  Throughout the course of the litigation, the plaintiff sent harassing emails to the defendants and their counsel.  Despite several warnings from the DuPage County judge, the plaintiff continued to engage in harassing and frivolous conduct by sending threatening emails and initiating duplicative claims against the defendants in state court, federal court, and state administrative agencies. Shopping for a favorable forum, the plaintiff also filed an identical lawsuit in Will County. In conjunction with counsel for the co-defendants, DBMS filed a motion for injunctive relief against the plaintiff. The circuit court granted the motion and entered an order barring the plaintiff from initiating or proceeding with any other, further or additional actions against the defendants or related parties in any Illinois state court or administrative agency.  The plaintiff filed an interlocutory appeal of the circuit court’s injunction order.

In its decision, the appellate court addressed whether the circuit court had authority to enjoin the plaintiff and whether the circuit court erred in enjoining the plaintiff from prosecuting the Will County action.  First, in reliance on well-established case law, the appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s authority to enjoin the plaintiff from initiating future, related claims against the defendants.  Next, the appellate court considered the plaintiff’s lengthy litigation history and harassing conduct and held that the circuit court properly exercised its discretion to enjoin the plaintiff from prosecuting the Will County lawsuit.  The appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s determination that the plaintiff initiated the Will County suit for an improper purpose and found the circuit court’s injunction order was appropriately tailored to prevent the plaintiff from abusing the judicial system through duplicative and frivolous actions.  The Second District concluded by admonishing the plaintiff and reminding him that Illinois courts are not to be abused or used as an instrument for personal vendettas.