Editor's note: This article has been revised and updated from an earlier version to reflect a verdict and other decisions related to the lawsuit referenced herein.
A Cook County jury has ruled in favor of a lawyer accused of misleading a client into buying miszoned commercial properties.
On April 25, 2018, the jury returned a verdict in favor of attorney Kelli Fogarty and her firm, Fogarty and Fugate, in the dispute with plaintiff Thomas Edson.
Earlier that month, a Cook County judge had also granted summary judgment in favor of Fogarty's law partner, Dean Fugate, who had also been named as a defendant in the suit.
As part of the decisions, Edson was ordered to pay Fogarty and Fugate's costs in defending against the lawsuit.
Edson and his company, Chestnut Investment 1, had filed suit Oct. 14, 2014, in Cook County Circuit Court, against Fogarty and Fugate and other defendants, accusing a real estate brokerage of fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and accusing the lawyers of legal malpractice.
Specifically, Edson alleged he had been fraudulently induced into buying downtown units allegedly represented as commercial property even though they were not zoned for such use.
Other defendants named in the action included David Horwich and brokerage Prudential Rubloff.
According to the complaint, Edson purchased property on East Chestnut Street in Chicago in January 2013 or $600,000, which he said he was led to believe would fit a grocery store.
However, he said, after making the purchase, he learned the property was zoned "downtown residential," making it impossible for him to rent the space for a store of that proposed size.
The court, however, found the lawyers at no fault, and found in their favor in the dispute.
Edson was represented by Chicago attorney Julia D. Mannix.
Fogarty and Fugate were represented by attorneys Jim Spichen and Pat Eckler of Pretzel & Stouffer, in Chicago.
Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L010633.
This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. 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 represents only one side of the story.