Nixon Peabody Faces $8.8 Million Legal Malpractice Lawsuit Brought by New York County's Sewer District

Nixon Peabody recently was hit with a legal malpractice suit arising from its handling of eminent domain litigation while representing New York’s Rockford County Sewer District.

In the underlying case, Nixon Peabody represented Rockford County’s Sewer District against a group called the Split Rock Partnership in a valuation case with respect to land that was seized.  Split Rock previously owned a piece of property that was steep and rocky.  Nevertheless, a portion of the property was deemed suitable for commercial construction and Split Rock found a development company that entered into a contract with it for $10 million for the sale of the property for development purposes.  However, the contract contained a contingency clause that stated the contract would be deemed void in the event the county (for its Sewer District) asserted eminent domain for the property. 

After the contract was executed, the county asserted eminent domain and the development group backed out of the $10 million contract.  Eventually, the land was acquired by the county for $250,000 which led to the underlying case brought by Split Rock against the Sewer District (which was defended by Nixon Peabody) that resulted in a loss to the Sewer District.

The subsequent legal malpractice suit was brought against Nixon Peabody for its negligent handling of the eminent domain case.    For example, the Sewer District asserts that Nixon Peabody failed to obtain evidence relating to the true value of the property to rebut Split Rock. It also asserts that Nixon Peabody failed to adhere to the rules of civil procedure which led to an expert witness in the fields of engineering and site planning to be barred from testifying.  Lastly, the firm failed to disclose environmental reports during discovery which led the trial judge to make a negative inference against the Sewer District.

Alex Passo and the Patterson Law Firm, LLC handle legal malpractice actions throughout Illinois and Indiana.  If you have a matter that you would like to discuss with Alex you may reach him at (312) 750-1820 or