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Morris v. Margulis & Grant, P.C.

718 N.E.2d 709 (1999)
Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District


Facts

Edward Morris (plaintiff) was charged in connection with the failure of Germania Bank, a St. Louis-based savings and loan. Morris consulted an attorney at the Bryan Cave law firm who had represented Morris in unrelated personal matters for several years about representing him in the bank matters. However, Bryan Cave represented Germania Bank, where Morris’s personal attorney was a director. The firm formally declined to represent Morris in the bank matters, did not enter an attorney-client agreement, claimed it received no confidential information, and claimed it never undertook the representation, although it aided in preparing a response to the enforcement action notice. Meanwhile, Morris’s Bryan Cave attorney stopped talking to him, and Morris retained other attorneys to represent him. After his criminal conviction, Morris sued Bryan Cave and its partners individually (defendants), asserting breach of attorney-client fiduciary duties. The trial court granted summary judgment for Bryan Cave on the ground that no attorney-client relationship existed between the firm and Morris in the bank matters. Morris appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Maag, J.)

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