Professional Liability

We understand the unique needs of professionals who face professional liability claims and government, regulatory, criminal, and ethics investigations.  We regularly represent accountants, attorneys, appraisers, insurance brokers, tax preparers, bookkeepers, corporate and bank officers and directors, stockbrokers, and other professionals.  Our representation takes into account each professional’s unique circumstances to employ strategies focused on obtaining the best possible resolution of the matter while defending the professional’s reputation, licensure, and livelihood. 

We aggressively litigate claims brought by clients and third-parties including cases alleging negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.  We represent our clients in investigations and confidential interviews conducted in criminal and civil matters by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, state and local law enforcement, self-regulatory organizations, professional organizations, and inspectors general.  And we represent professionals who must respond to subpoenas and other process in cases to which they are not parties.

We also counsel our professional clients before disputes arise about issues involving compliance with professional standards, regulatory matters, and maintaining policies that minimize risk and liability exposure.  For example, we counsel accountants regarding issues involving tax accounting and the audit process, requirements for maintaining proper documentation and work papers, and compliance with GAAP, GAAS, and PCAOB standards.  And we counsel attorneys about ethical issues and the application of professional standards.

Our attorneys regularly speak and write about new developments that impact professionals.  We also represent professional organizations that advocate on behalf of their professions. 

Representative Matters

  • In Center Partners, Ltd. v. Growth Head GP, LLC, 2012 IL 113107, 981 N.E. 2d 345 (Nov. 29, 2012), the Supreme Court of Illinois found in favor of our clients in an appeal involving the scope of the attorney-client privilege.
  • We won a complete defense verdict on behalf of our accounting firm client following a jury trial after obtaining pre-trial summary judgment on other counts in Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky, Inc. v. Crowe Chizek & Co. LLC, 277 S.W. 3d 255 (Ky. Ct. App. 2008) and Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky, Inc. v. Crowe Horwath, 390 S.W. 3d 830 (Ky. Ct. App. 2012), review denied (Feb. 13, 2013). 
  • We obtained dismissal of claims alleging that our accounting firm client provided negligent tax advice in Inphoto Surveillance, Inc. v. Crowe, Chizek & Co., LLP, 338 Ill. App. 3d 929, 788 N.E. 2d 216 (Ill. App. Ct. 2003).
  • We represented our client in interviews as part of a confidential SEC investigation. The SEC closed the investigation without taking any enforcement action.
  • We represented our client in interviews as part of a confidential IRS civil and criminal investigation.  The IRS closed the investigation without taking any enforcement action.
  • We obtained dismissal of claims against our law firm client in Champion Laboratories, Inc. v. Rothstein, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • We obtained dismissal of all claims against our accounting firm client in Wright v. Sutton, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
  • We filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Center for Audit Quality in Silverman v. Motorola, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • We favorably resolved all claims on behalf of our accounting firm client in McRaith v. BDO Seidman, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
  • We favorably resolved all claims against our accounting firm client in Oak Brook Bank v. Crowley, Barrett & Karaba, Ltd., Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
  • We favorably resolved all claims against our accounting firm client in First Commerce Bancorp, Inc. v. Crowe Chizek & Company LLC, Pulaski County Circuit Court, Kentucky.
  • We currently represent insurance brokers in defending against negligence claims in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
  • We currently represent an international law firm in defending against a third-party contribution action in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
  • We currently represent an international financial firm in defending against negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Recent Publications and Presentations

  • Appellate Courts Divided Over Statute of Limitations on Claims Against Attorneys, John M. Fitzgerald, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Nov. 13, 2013).
  • Illinois Law Limits Claims by Non-clients Against Accountants, John J. Barber, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Oct. 28, 2013).
  • Appellate Court Finds Legal Malpractice Claim Time-Barred, John M. Fitzgerald, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Sept. 23, 2013).
  • Oral Contracts Increase Accountants’ Exposure to Breach of Duty Claims, John J. Barber, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Aug. 19, 2013).
  • New Limits on Subject Matter Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege, Hon. Gino L. DiVito, Brian C. Haussmann and John M. Fitzgerald, Illinois Bar Journal (July 2013).
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