The widow of Barry Lind, a trader and financier who made millions on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and held a leading role in transforming the CME into its current form, has sued the couple’s longtime lawyers, Michael O. Hartz and the firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, alleging they helped her husband hide multiple affairs and order his estate to benefit the other women and greatly reduce his wife's inheritance.
Terri Lind filed suit April 30 in Cook County Circuit Court against Hartz and the rest of the Chicago-based Katten firm, alleging malpractice against the lawyers.
Terri has asked the court to award her more than $15 million in damages for the firm’s alleged breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence.
The case arose in the wake of the Jan. 24, 2013, death of Barry Lind, of Winnetka, who was struck by a car in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where he also had a home. He was 74.
Barry had made his fortune on the CME, beginning as a floor trader at the exchange before becoming one of the founding partners of the futures trading firm of Lind-Waldock in 1965, according to profiles published in various publications. Over the ensuing decades, published reports credited him with taking a leading role in helping the CME begin and complete its “transformation into a modern financial exchange,” leveraging rapidly developing technology to automate futures trading on the exchange.
At the time of his death, he was serving as managing partner of private equity group, Silver Young Capital.
During his life and following his death, he was noted for his charitable work, including the creation of the Rose Lind Charitable Trust, which promoted medical research and increasing access to health care.
He was inducted into the Futures Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
In her complaint, Terri, who had married Barry in 1980, alleges in the weeks following his death, she learned her late husband had been engaging in “romantic relationships” with other women. Terri said she learned her husband had been quietly making “substantial gifts” to these other women, including adding some as beneficiaries to a life insurance policy on himself and of a trust in his name.
And Terri’s complaint further alleges Barry had deceived her into signing many of the tax returns on which the gifts to the other women were reported, which resulted in the gifts counting against her lifetime maximum allowable exemption from gift taxes, impacting her ability to leave tax-exempt gifts of her own to her three children, including her two children from a previous relationship and the Linds’ own daughter, Joanna.
However, Barry had amended his will in 2008, which, through “various trusts,” resulted in him leaving “the overwhelming majority of his estate” to the Linds’ daughter, Joanna, and not to Terri, according to the complaint. This, she said, boosted the tax exposure to the estates, while ensuring she “would be left with little or nothing to care for her own needs, much less to gift to her children or grandchildren during the remainder of her life or upon her death, rendering her estate plan meaningless.”
Terri alleges Hartz and the Katten firm, who she said had jointly represented the Linds since 1989, were assisting Barry in concealing the allegedly illicit “romantic relationships” and various changes to Barry’s will, trusts, life insurance policies and other elements of his estate. She noted the lawyers often walked her through the process of signing the gift tax returns, allegedly abusing her trust to conceal the reports of the gifts to the other women in plain sight.
She said the lawyers participated in Barry's alleged subterfuge to prevent her from divorcing Barry and to keep the Linds as clients.
As a joint client of the firm, Terri alleges the Katten lawyers had a duty to either disclose the allegedly secret adverse actions being taken against her, or withdraw from representing her.
“Had Terri known prior to Barry’s death of the matters described above, of which Hartz and KMR had knowledge, Terri would have terminated her relationship with them and would have demanded that Hartz and KMR terminate their representation of Barry,” the complaint states. “Had Terri known prior to Barry’s death of the matters described above, Terri also would have divorced Barry, which Hartz and KMR knew or should have known.”
Terri Lind is represented in the action by attorney Richard H. Lehman, of Chicago.