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Literally Taking the Case

In their December 2020 Illinois Bar Journal article, attorneys Andrew R. Schwartz and John Cerney present the following scenario: Without first consulting its lawyers, your firm’s major client, Hapless Client, LLC, entered into a horrible one-sided contract with Sketchy Business, Inc. To make matters worse, Sketchy just filed a contract claim against Hapless to enforce that contract, and Sketchy’s complaint seeks massive damages that could put Hapless out of business permanently. An interview with Hapless confirms the truth of the essential allegations of the complaint. Since the complaint states a viable claim, a motion to dismiss will fail. Litigation might buy Hapless some time, but Sketchy will likely win on summary judgment. Settlement appears doubtful: Sketchy knows the strength of its case, and its settlement demand exceeds Hapless’ ability to pay. You know this desperate situation will require creative thinking and, lo and behold, your research about Sketchy shows that it has a long and colorful history in the courts, including an unsatisfied adverse judgment in favor of J. Creditor, LLC. Here, a rather unusual strategy presents itself: Purchase J. Creditor’s judgment against Sketchy. With that judgment, Hapless can then seize Sketchy’s claim, i.e. its “chose in action” against Hapless. Schwartz and Cerney outline precisely how this maneuver works (and is one based on the authors’ real-life experience).

Read the full article: Literally Taking the Case (Reprinted from the December issue of the Illinois Bar Journal.)

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