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Thul v. OneWest Bank

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
2013 WL 212926 (2013)


Facts

Three attorneys with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom (Skadden) participated in preparing a brief supporting a motion by OneWest Bank (defendant) to dismiss a civil complaint filed by Thul (plaintiff). The brief cited opinions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as well as non-binding trial-court precedent. However, the brief failed to cite a particular Seventh Circuit opinion that directly contradicted the legal position advanced in the brief. The district court ordered the three attorneys to show cause why they should not be sanctioned for failing to identify the adverse legal authority. The attorneys filed a written response prior to appearing in person before the court. In the written response, senior attorneys Beisner and Miller absolved associate attorney Fuchs of any responsibility, asserting that he was not the main author of the brief or involved in performing legal research for the brief. Beisner and Miller apologized for the failure to cite the adverse opinion but stated that they believed it to be distinguishable from the legal issues addressed in the brief. The written response also indicated that the case had resolved in a settlement that included a provision for the Skadden firm to compensate Thul’s attorneys for their time spent responding to OneWest’s motion to dismiss. Beisner and Miller repeated their apology to the court and Thul’s counsel when they appeared in person. One day after the attorneys’ appearances, the court issued an order to address its findings of fact and ruling on sanctions.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kennelly, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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