Dan Churney Aug. 8, 2015, 2:30pm

A lawsuit brought by a one-time client, who acted as his own attorney, against the Katten Muchin law firm, of Chicago, was dismissed after the man, after filing the lawsuit, opted not to continue to press the case in which he claimed the firm had misled him about their legal skills, torpedoing a fraud lawsuit.

Michael R. Berry had lodged a five-count complaint Aug. 3, 2015, alleging lawyer Christian Kemnitz and the firm at which he practices, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, committed legal malpractice, fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary obligation and promissory estoppel. Berry, who lives in Cypress, Texas, filed the suit pro se. Berry is head of MRB Holdings LLC, of Houston.

Kemnitz is a partner in Katten Muchin Rosenman, which is a Chicago-based 41-year-old firm that employs 650 lawyers and has offices in six states, as well as in Great Britain and China.

Berry’s action against Kemnitz and the Katten law firm had centered on an action Berry brought on May 5, 2011, in Cook County Circuit Court. In that case, Berry filed a fraud suit against Nicolas Kernene, of west suburban St. Charles, and Kernene’s business services company, Twisted Sun, Inc. Berry had leveled allegations of securities fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty against Kernene and Twisted Sun in that case.

Berry was represented in that case by Katten Muchin Rosenman until the firm withdrew on July 25, 2013. The case lingered until Cook County Associate Judge Thomas R. Mulroy Jr. dismissed Berry’s complaint Jan. 21, 2014, for want of prosecution.

In this instance, Berry's legal malpractice action was similarly dismissed on Nov. 19, 2015, also for want of prosecution.

In the now dismissed action, Berry had alleged Kemnitz and the Katten firm “enticed” him into hiring them to fight Kernene, by allegedly deceiving him as to their capabilities, so as to unjustly enrich themselves at both his expense and at the expense of the administration of justice. Berry claimed he learned of Kemnitz’s and the firm’s “true intentions” after they pulled out of the Twisted Sun case and turned over to him their file on the case.

As an alleged example of the defendants’ alleged perfidy, Berry said they agreed with opposing counsel – during the allegedly “unduly long” discovery process – to have a protective order placed over information that Berry needed to substantiate his claims against Twisted Sun. In reality, the information did not qualify for protected status, according to Berry, which he discovered after a 20-minute review of the material.

Berry further claimed his attorneys couldn’t see the heart of his case against Twisted Sun.

“Kemnitz and Katten were never capable of identification of the apparent fraud that is the underlying foundations of Berry’s pursuit of the civil matter,” Berry contended.

Berry added he “spent a considerable amount of time and money” in assisting his attorneys in pursuing his case against Twisted Sun.

Berry, who had said he desired a jury trial, wanted defendants to repay the unspecified amount of money he paid them and to pay unspecified punitive damages, as well as fees and costs in bringing the suit and compensatory damages to be “proven at trail (sic).”

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Cook County Circuit Court
50 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

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