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PATRICIA M. 
NOONAN

Partner

pnoonan@heplerbroom.com

312-477-0702

Chicago, IL

 

Areas of Practice

  • Professional Liability
  • Legal Malpractice

Education

  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1988
  • Chicago State University, Bachelor of Arts, 1985

Admissions

  • Illinois (1988)
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (1989)
  • U.S. District Court, Federal Trial Bar (2001)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit (2001)

Practice Description


Patricia M. Noonan is a partner with the firm. She concentrates her practice on the defense of professional liability claims, with an emphasis on legal malpractice claims and appellate practice, as well as experience in a variety of litigation areas and insurance coverage matters. She has tried numerous cases through verdict and appeals in the Illinois appellate courts and up to the Illinois Supreme Court.  Ms. Noonan actively presents and publishes in the field of legal malpractice.

Previously, Ms. Noonan served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Robert Chapman Buckley of the 1st District Illinois Appellate Court.

Law School Honors/Involvement


  • University of Illinois Law Review
    • Administrative Editor
  • Rickert Scholarship Award
  • Moot Court Legal Brief Award
  • Legal Research and Writing Award

Professional Association Involvement


  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel

Published Legal Writing


  • “The Perils of Electronics in the Courtroom,” PSIC Website (July 2016).
  • “Protecting Against Unfounded Malpractice Claims by a Deceased Client’s Estate,” PSIC Website (April 2016).
  • “Avoiding Statute of Limitations Pitfalls,” PSIC Website (October 2015).
  • Co-author, “Desk Reference for Illinois Legal Malpractice Claims.” (Updated 2009).
  • Co-author, “Long-Arm Jurisdiction in Legal Malpractice,” Defense Research Institute (April 1997).
  • “The Case Within the Case: A Partial Solution to Speculative Damage Claims,” IDC Quarterly (1996, Vol. 6 No. 3).
  • “Limits to the Statutory Bar on Punitive Damages in Legal Malpractice Actions,” IDC Quarterly (1996, Vol. 6, No. 3).
  • “State Personal Jurisdictional Requirements/Class Action Non-Aggregation Rule,” 1987 U.Ill.L.Rev. 445 (cited as “Worth Reading” in National Law Journal March 27, 1989 at 42.)

Legal Lectures


  • “Preventing Malpractice Claims and Ethical Complaints in Your Practice,” MCLE Course, Chicago IL (November 21, 2013).
  • Co-presenter, “Legal Malpractice Actions: Understanding the Complexities of the Claim,” Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Chicago IL (December 10, 2009).

Representative Legal Malpractice Claims


Cook County, Commercial Calendar (concluded July 2016 by defense cost settlement). Defended law firm alleging legal malpractice in handling of client’s fraudulent transfer action in Florida federal district court and involuntary bankruptcy proceedings in Florida. Successfully litigated motions and obtained partial summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice on related malpractice claims. After the conclusion of expert depositions and on the eve of trial, a defense cost settlement was reached on the remaining legal malpractice claim seeking $2 million in the loss of a privately held stock.

Cook County, Commercial Calendar, First District Appellate Court (concluded September 2015, circuit court’s summary judgment ruling affirmed). Defended appellate attorneys against claims of appellate malpractice and trial court malpractice and the alleged loss of an underlying tortious interference with the Plaintiff companies’ lending contracts with a bank and the alleged loss of real property on the Chicago River purported to be worth over $7 million. Plaintiff demanded law firm’s $5 million policy limits and threatened attorney’s personal assets throughout the litigation. Successfully litigated motions for summary judgment on the outcome of the appeal, duties of the appellate attorneys in the trial court, and the merits of the underlying case. First District Appellate Court affirmed summary judgment rulings.

Cook County, Commercial Calendar (concluded November 2014 by voluntary dismissal with prejudice). Defended legal malpractice action alleging law firm negligently prepared a UCC-1 Financing Statement for its client Bank in a multi-million dollar lending transaction, which allegedly caused the Bank to lose its secured priority status during the borrower’s bankruptcy proceedings and resulting damages alleged to be over $1.6 million. The Bank and borrowers reached a settlement agreement during the underlying bankruptcy proceedings, which included a provision to jointly pursue legal malpractice actions against their attorneys. The circuit court originally denied a filed motion to dismiss the action as barred by public policy due to the collusive nature of the underlying settlement agreement. Successfully obtained a dismissal of the borrower’s legal malpractice against the Bank’s attorneys based upon a ruling that the legal assignment was prohibited under Illinois law. After taking depositions of the bankruptcy trustee and other fact witnesses, filed a joint motion to dismiss based upon newly discovered evidence that the borrowers were the real party in interest in the action, and a motion for sanctions under Rule 137. The Plaintiff Bank proposed it would voluntarily dismiss the legal malpractice action in exchange for the law firm’s withdrawal of the motion for sanctions.

Pre-suit claim (concluded September 2014 by settlement). Defended attorney in pre-suit claims by commercial insurance carriers who settled a federal contract action for $175,000 after federal Judge Zagel issued sanctions against the insured and insured’s cumis counsel barring introduction of evidence in the action. Carriers demanded $360,000 for the paid settlement and attorney’s fees paid to rectify the alleged malpractice. Raised numerous defenses to the success of the threatened legal malpractice action, including the carriers’ lack of standing to bring the claim against cumis counsel. Threatened action settled for $50,000.

Representative Appeals


2015 IL App (1st) 142787. Circuit court’s summary judgment rulings in favor of Chicago law firm affirmed in legal malpractice action alleging loss of an underlying tortious interference with the Plaintiff companies’ lending contracts with a bank and alleging damages over $7 million.

2015 IL App (1st) 123771-U. Appeal of a defense verdict in a dental malpractice action alleging the failure to diagnose oral cancer filed by a well-known journalist represented by Clifford law offices. Plaintiff asked $16 million from the jury. Reversal of defense verdict in Rule 23 Order, remand for a new trial with the exclusion of evidence from five treating physicians in Washington D.C. who examined Plaintiff in same time period. PLA denied May 2016.

2013 IL App (1st) 112763-U. Appeal of circuit court’s summary judgment rulings in favor of nursing home on spoliation of evidence action and lawyers on legal malpractice action on grounds that the underlying wrongful death action plead in third amended complaint was not meritorious. Appellate court found it lacked jurisdiction to hear appeal on grounds that a fourth amended complaint had been file-stamped in the circuit court prior to the circuit court’s summary judgment ruling on the third amended complaint.

387 Ill. App. 3d 1172 (2009). Appeal of a Plaintiff’s verdict in action alleging violation of Nursing Home Care Act and common law negligence. Plaintiff’s verdict affirmed.

221 Ill.2d 195 (2006); 356 Ill. App. 3d 264 (2005). Seminal decision in Illinois ruling that outcome of an appeal in an appellate malpractice action is a question of law for the trial judge. Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment for law firm on grounds that the outcome of the appeal would not have been successful on issue involving the Tort Immunity Act in a $5 million personal injury verdict against municipality.

Recent Trials/Verdicts


Cook County July 2016. Defended law firm alleging legal malpractice in handling of client’s fraudulent transfer action in Florida federal district court and involuntary bankruptcy proceedings in Florida. Defense cost settlement was reached on eve of trial with pending motion in limine to bar Plaintiff’s significant damage claim for $2 million in the loss of a privately held stock.

Cook County June 2015. Defended spoliation of evidence action against nursing home with underlying legal malpractice action alleging the loss of an underlying wrongful death medical malpractice action against physicians and nursing home. Following numerous evidence depositions of underlying treaters and Plaintiff’s medical expert and pending motions in limine, action settled for $270,000.

Cook County March 2015. Defended dental malpractice action through trial verdict, alleging dentist’s negligent placement of implants and restoration. Plaintiff’s verdict for $105,000. Plaintiff requested $565,000 from jury. High low agreement entered $100,000-$250,000.

Cook County May 2013. Defended dental malpractice action through trial verdict, alleging dentist perforated sinus during wisdom tooth extraction. Plaintiff’s verdict for $95,000. Plaintiff requested pretrial $300,000.

Cook County September 2007. Defended medical malpractice action alleging failure to diagnose Plaintiff’s progressive neurological condition. Codefendant settled for $3 million the day before trial. Pending a motion in limine to bar Plaintiff’ expert’s opinions against Internist, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed action against Internist on day of trial.

LaSalle County July 2004. Prosecuted a subrogation action through day 3 of trial on behalf of insurer of Comfort Inn, Peoria, involving property loss after sprinkler system malfunctioned. Obtained $350,000 settlement from defendant sprinkler company on trial day 3, together with pretrial settlements against two other defendants totaling $510,000.

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois. Bifurcated bench trial before Judge Patrick Murphy on liability issues. Plaintiff alleged law firm, in underlying medical malpractice action, failed to name visiting nurses following Plaintiff’s discharge from hospital, resulting a defense verdict in favor of hospital and physicians. In legal malpractice action, Plaintiff demanded $6 million for lost verdict for personal injuries involving the amputation of the young plaintiff’s leg. Case settled after trial on liability for $2 million.