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ISBA Mutual Insurance asks to avoid covering Niro IP lawyer being sued in Calif. for breach of fiduciary duty


By The Cook County Record | Dec 12, 2019

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CHICAGO — Lawyer liability insurance company, The Illinois State Bar Association Mutual Insurance Company, is asking a judge to declare it has no obligation to defend Chicago intellectual property attorney Christopher Niro against a lawsuit in California, accusing him of breaching his fiduciary duty, among other claims.

On Nov. 15, ISBA Mutual filed a complaint  in Cook County Circuit Court against Christopher Niro and Brachium Inc., seeking a declaratory judgment.

In the complaint, ISBA Mutual noted Niro is among the defendants facing an action by Brachium in Contra Costa County Superior Court in California, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and breach of an advisor agreement. 

Christopher Niro | Niro Law Group

According to ISBA Mutual's complaint, Brachium has alleged Niro worked as an advisor in April of 2014 while employed "by a law firm not insured by the ISBA Mutual." The complaint does not identify that law firm. 

Niro now serves as one of the founding partners of the Niro Law Group, of Chicago. However, according to his biography posted on the Niro Law Group website, Niro had formerly worked for the IP firm of Niro, Haller & Niro, of Chicago, for 6 years.

According to the ISBA Mutual complaint lawsuit, Brachium has alleged Niro breached his advisor agreement by failing to disclose compensation he earned from certain investors and failed to advise the Brachium Board about "material terms of a proposed deal" and advised the board to "execute a term sheet" from an investor, but did not supply all documents. The plaintiffs claim Niro put "his personal interests ahead of his alleged disclosure obligation."

ISBA Mutual asserts the insurance policy held by Niro through Niro Law Group excludes coverage for events alleged to have occurred before 2016.

ISBA Mutual is seeking a judgment declaring it has no duty or obligation to defend and other just relief. The insurer is represented by Robert Chemers of Pretzel & Stouffer, in Chicago. 

Circuit Court of Cook County case number 2019CH13252

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Organizations in this Story

Isba MutualNiro Law, Ltd.Circuit Court of Cook CountyPretzel & Stouffer

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