The Estate of Powell v. Wunsch, P.C.

Illinois Appellate Court
Civil Court
Legal Malpractice
Case Number: 
2013 IL App (1st) 121854
Decision Date: 
Friday, March 29, 2013
1st Dist.
Cook Co., 3d Div.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part; remanded.
The next of kin are the exclusive intended beneficiaries of a wrongful death cause of action and the attorneys litigating that case owe a duty to the next of kin, even in the absence of a direct attorney-client relationship. The beneficiaries in a wrongful death action are not the same as individual beneficiaries of a decedent's estate, where a potential conflict of interest may arise between the estate's interest and the interest of each beneficiary of the estate. Plaintiff sufficiently pled proximate cause element of legal malpractice claim, as he alleged that a guardian would have been appointed to protect his interest in settlement absent Defendants' negligence and he would not have been deprived of settlement funds. (HYMAN and PIERCE, concurring.)