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Cleveland v. Rotman

297 F.3d 569 (2002)

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Cleveland v. Rotman

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

297 F.3d 569 (2002)

Facts

Robert Cleveland, an attorney, had a 15-year-long dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As a result, Cleveland’s social-security income had been confiscated, the IRS had placed a levy on a client-settlement account, and Cleveland had been disbarred and was in debt and suicidal. Cleveland retained attorney Michael Rotman (defendant) to help resolve the dispute. Rotman advised Cleveland to file estimated tax returns. The IRS subsequently notified Cleveland that it intended to conduct another audit. Cleveland’s therapist got the audit postponed. Nearly a year later, shortly before the audit, Cleveland killed himself. Rose Cleveland, Cleveland’s wife and executrix of Cleveland’s estate (Cleveland’s estate) (plaintiff) sued Rotman for malpractice, alleging that Rotman’s advice triggered the second IRS audit, which prompted Cleveland’s suicide. The district court dismissed the complaint. Cleveland’s estate appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Evans, J.)

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