Attorney sued for malpractice, allegedly failing to inform a client of court decisions

Joel Brakken Dec. 10, 2013, 6:45pm

A man is suing his attorney for failing to properly represent him in a discrimination case.

Daniel McCauley filed a lawsuit Oct. 30 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Robert A. Habib, citing legal malpractice.

The plaintiff says he owns A Taste of Heaven, 5401 N. Clark St., and retained Habib as an attorney to represent him in a lawsuit filed by a former employee. McCauley says on April 14, 2006, Maria Flores filed a complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations alleging that McCauley harassed and fired Flores because of her age, nationality and sex. According to the complaint, during settlement negotiations of the case, on Dec. 3, 2008, Habib filed an emergency motion to reschedule the settlement conference, claiming the plaintiff could not attend due to an unexpected work emergency. The complaint claims that the motion was filed too late in the day and the CCCHR's staff did not receive the motion until the morning of the settlement conference. The complaint claims that Habib was fined $250 for his behavior and CCCHR decided not to set a new settlement conference, therefore depriving McCauley of the opportunity to settle the dispute.

McCauley says a pre-hearing conference was set for May 7, 2009, and neither he nor Habib atteneded the hearing because Habib failed to inform McCauley of the hearing. As a result, the hearing officer defaulted McCauley and Taste of Heaven, and Habib also failed to inform him he had been defaulted.

The complaint states that on Jan. 19, 2011, CCCHR ordered McCauley to pay Flores $69,773.27 in attorney fees and costs and allegedly Habib failed to give the plaintiff a copy of the order, instead calling and telling McCauley he had lost but that Habib planned to appeal. Following an appeal petition, CCCHR fined McCauley and imposed further fines of $100 per day for each day the fines remained unpaid, yet Habib allegedly did not tell McCauley of the order and the appeal was later denied.

McCauley is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and all sums of money owed to Flores due to the alleged malpractice. He is being represented in the case by attorneys Adam Goodman and Wesley Johnson of Goodman Tovrov Hardy & Johnson LLC.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2013L012002.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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