Rebecca M. Rothmann Partner

     

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Rebecca Rothmann has built a diverse civil litigation practice focused on professional liability defense and complex commercial matters. She has trial experience in the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois and in state court in Cook County, IL.

In the professional liability area, Rebecca is co-chair of the firm’s Specialty Professional Risks Practice Team. She primarily represents accountants and attorneys in defending malpractice claims involving a wide range of issues. In addition, Rebecca defends insurers and their agents and brokers in litigation and arbitrations involving a variety of claims, including ERISA, life and health insurance coverage disputes and those arising out of the sale of investment products. She has a growing practice representing property management companies, officers and directors, newspapers and other specialty professions.

Rebecca also has handled complex commercial litigation, employment disputes, employee dishonesty, and numerous other tort and statutory-based claims over the course of her career.

Areas of Focus

Professional Liability
Rebecca concentrates her practice in the defense of professional clients, including attorneys, accountants and insurance brokers. With an emphasis on legal malpractice, she has defended lawsuits against attorneys arising in a range of areas, including complex commercial transactions, real estate, probate and estate planning, divorce, personal injury, securities and patent/trademark law. Rebecca has represented attorney clients in disciplinary proceedings and is a frequent lecturer on issues related to risk management and lawyers professional liability.

Commercial Litigation
During her career, Rebecca has defended a wide range of contract, statutory and tort-based claims on behalf of corporate clients and their directors and officers. She also has represented owners and employers in claims arising from non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements. In her commercial litigation practice, Rebecca has represented clients in arbitration proceedings before the American Arbitration Association and defended adversary cases in bankruptcy court.

 

 

Representative Matters

Professional/Specialty Liability Defense

Vito Miulli and Bob Rado v. Law Offices of Warren Prescott, Ltd. and Warren Prescott, Case No: 2010 L 1510 (Circuit Court of DuPage County, IL, February 2, 2012): Obtained dismissal in malpractice case based on plaintiff’s nine-month delay in obtaining service.

Kroner v. Deer, Case No: 07-L-67184 (1st Dist. Appellate Court, August 25, 2011): Obtained summary judgment in favor of attorney and affirmed on appeal on grounds that the existence of actual damages was too speculative to establish a cause of action for legal malpractice.

Lawrence Rolak v. Dalton & Dalton (09-L-1081) (Circuit Court of Will County, IL, April 2011): Won dismissal of legal malpractice action arising out of complex commercial transaction based on arguments of unclean hands and proximate cause.

Joseph Johnson v. Niew Legal Partners, Inc. (10-L-1020) (Circuit Court of DuPage County, IL, March 2011): Won dismissal of legal malpractice claims based on argument that plaintiff’s claims did not arise from legal services and obtained dismissal of broker negligence claims based on argument that claims were statutorily barred.

Szal v. River Plaza Office Condominium Association, Gus Bahramis, and Masis Sarkisian (09-CH-037526) (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, August 2011): Won dismissal of claims against condominium association and board members based on argument no viable cause of action, proximate cause or damages.

Morris v Pacific Life Insurance Company et al., Case No. 07L17 ST (Circuit Court of Whiteside County, IL, March 10, 2011): Won dismissal with prejudice of claims for fraud and negligence arising from sale of insurance investment products.

Svela v. American General, et al. (07-L-35 ST); Schriener v. Pacific Life Insurance Company et al. (07-L-64); Beetz v. American General et al.(08-L-51 ST) (Circuit Court of Whiteside County, IL, March, 2011): Won multiple dismissals of all claims arising out of massive Ponzi scheme by life and annuity broker.

Paul et al. v. ING Financial Partners et al., 3-09-0588 (3rd Dist App. Ct) (Sept. 10, 2010); Moore v. American General Life Insurance Company et al., 3-09-0587 (3rd Dist App. Ct) (Sept. 10, 2010): Won dismissal of fraud and negligence claims involving agent’s Ponzi scheme wherein plaintiffs sought to hold various clients liable for investment fraud under agency theory.

Ball v. Kotter et al.,No 08-CV-1613 (N.D. Ill, Oct. 18, 2010): Obtained summary judgment for attorney on claim that negligence deprived Estate of legal interest in real property valued over $1 million for failure to present sufficient evidence on standard of care.

Bober v. Rothke et al.,08 L 6829 (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, Aug. 16, 2010) (appeal pending): Won dismissal of claim for professional negligence, fraud, conspiracy and abuse of process based on statute of limitations and other grounds.

Brown, Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of Steven Racz v. Synergy Law Firm et al., 07 C 6554 (N.D. Ill, July 16, 2010): Obtained summary judgment on Bankruptcy Trustee’s claim that attorney negligently advised debtor to set up irrevocable trust.

David Lehman v. Peter J. Berman, et al., No. 04 L 10587 (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL), appeal dismissed, No. 06-2397 (1st Dist. App. Ct.): Obtained dismissal of trespass, conversion, abuse of process and malicious prosecution claims against the defendant lawyer arising from his prosecution of a legal malpractice claim against the plaintiff. The trial court dismissed on June 2, 2005 the trespass and conversion claims as time-barred under the applicable statutes of limitations, dismissed on March 13, 2006 the malicious prosecution claim for failure to state a claim under Illinois law, and dismissed on July 24, 2006 the abuse of process claim as time-barred. The plaintiff appealed the dismissals, which appeal the appellate court dismissed for want of prosecution by Order dated February 5, 2007.

 

Life, Health, Disability & ERISA

Rich v. Principal Life Ins. Co., 222 Ill.2d 623, 862 N.E.2d 238, 2007 Ill. LEXIS 1157 (2007): Successfully argued before Illinois Supreme Court no coverage for plaintiff’s claim for lifetime disability benefits on basis claim was for a “sickness”, not an “injury”, and therefore subject to policy limitation.

Mutz v. Pacific Life Ins. Co.,1-05-3147 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. April 18, 2007): Won dismissal of plaintiff’s putative class action seeking statutory interest on life insurance claim since delay in payment due to good faith claim investigation.

Stilwell v. American General, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43095 (C.D. Ill. June 14, 2007) (J. McCuskey): Obtained summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim that life insurance benefits were wrongfully paid to creditors, the Court applying rules of construction to determine validity of assignments.

Bosco v. Prudential Insurance Co. of Am.,No. 96 CH 8032 (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, December 12, 2006): Obtained summary judgment on Consumer Fraud Act Claim brought by former judge arising from denial of life insurance policy application.

Taylor, et al. v. Prudential, et al., No. 49D03-0208-CT-001418 (Circuit Court of Marion County, IN, March 23, 2006) (J. McCarty): Won dismissal of plaintiff’s claims for securities fraud, unlawful practices by investment advisor, common law fraud and breach of fiduciary duty concerning security components of life insurance product.

Chimney v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, No. 03 C 6628 (N.D. Ill. April 20, 2005) (J. Zagel): Obtained summary judgment on ERISA disability benefits case.

Riordan v. Golden Rule,No. 4:02-CV-60605 (S.D. Iowa, May 23, 2005) (J. Sheilds): Defeated plaintiffs’ claims for benefits and won summary judgment on cross claim for rescission of health insurance policy based on material misrepresentations made on application.

 

Miscellaneous E&O Coverage

CNA Casualty of Cal. v. E.C. Fackler, Inc., et al., 361 Ill.App.3d 619, 836 N.E.2d 732 (1st Dist. 2005) petition denied 844 N.E.2d 964 (Ill. 2006): Obtained reversal of trial court, and judgment on appeal in favor of insurer client, finding there was no coverage for $5 million claim asserted by Insurance Commissioner as Liquidator of failed workers’ compensation trusts against trusts’ administrator based on exclusions for insolvency and governmental intervention.

 

Commercial Litigation

Aetna v Carr,2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13778 (N.D. Ill, December 30, 2010): Obtained summary judgment against defendant for common law and statutory fraud based claims.

Sanchez & Daniels v. Koresko & Assoc., et al. v. Krislov, et al., 503 F.3d 610 (7th Cir. 2007), affirming 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82222, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1186 (N.D. Ill. November 8, 2006, January 3, 2007) (J. Kennelly) aff’d 2007 U.S.App. LEXIS 22610 (7th Cir. September 24, 2007): Won dismissal of third-party claims brought against several parties for tortious interference, defamation, abuse of process, conspiracy, ERISA violations, RICO and other claims arising from the settlement of a nationwide insurance market practices class action.

Bock v. Computer Associates Intl., Inc. and Platinum Technology, Inc., No. 99 C 5967, 2000 WL 310288, 2000 WL 1053974, 257 F.3d 700 (7th Cir. 2001), 2001 WL 1195842 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 5, 2001); 2002 WL 511560 (N.D. Ill. April 3, 2002): Obtained a final judgment after trial, Seventh Circuit appeal, and remand, of $2 million for plaintiff client on claim under ERISA for severance benefits, including award of attorneys’ fees and costs.

Much v. Pacific Mutual Life Ins. Co., 266 F.3d 637 (7th Cir. 2001), reversing 1999 WL 146586 (N.D. Ill. February 26, 1999): Obtained reversal and judgment for client on appeal before Seventh Circuit after adverse judgment entered against client at trial on agents’ claims for past and future commissions on more than 200 life insurance policies pursuant to employer program that terminated agents, valued at potentially $2 million at time of trial.

Mutz Residuary Trust v. Pacific Life Insurance,No. 04 L 6941 (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, August 29, 2005) aff’d No. 1-05-3147 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. April 18, 2007): Defeated class action claims arising from alleged violation of Illinois Insurance Code based on argument of first impression that no private right of action existed and successfully dismissed contract claims based on timing of proof of loss. Affirmed on appeal.

Zellweger v. DOD Technologies, No. 03 CH 778, (Circuit Court of McHenry County, IL, June 17, 2005) (J. Caldwell) aff’d No. 2—05—0705 (Ill.App.2d Dist. January 25, 2005): Obtained dismissal of Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting DOD Technologies from using or employing any proprietary or trade secret information of Zellweger in its business and defeated motion for preliminary injunction, after three weeks of testimony. Affirmed on appeal.

Samarah Holding Co. v. Phoenix Container, Inc., No. 99 L 2064 (consolidated with 99 CH 3125) (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, December 30, 1999), removed while motion to reconsider pending, No. 01 C 9318 (N.D. Ill. May 31, 2002): Obtained dismissal of plaintiff’s claims for $1 million and other relief on basis promissory note not properly authorized by defendant’s Board of Directors pursuant to Nevada Business Corporation Act. Also obtained dismissal of related multimillion-dollar lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty by minority shareholder against other shareholders, Phoenix Container L.P., et al. v. James Florio, et al., 235 F.3d 352 (7th Cir. 2000) on remand to Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, No. 99 L 2065 (November 24, 2004) for lack of personal jurisdiction, and dismissal on the merits of related lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice, Samarah v. Schonfeld, No. 99 L 1730 (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, November 24, 2004).

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