Ennenga v. Starns, No. 09-3118 (7th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 2000, husband and wife, with an estate valued at $3 to $4 million, revised their estate plan with the assistance of their Illinois lawyer, a Minnesota lawyer, and a law partner of their son-in-law. The plan included a trust that treated their son and his daughter, India, less favorably than their two daughters and other grandchildren. When they died within a month of each other in 2004, their son and India sued the three lawyers, alleging malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. The district court rejected a conflict-of-interest argument and dismissed most of the claims as untimely or barred. India's minor status tolled the limitations period, but the court dismissed her claim as premature. The Seventh Circuit affirmed and held that India's claim should have been dismissed with prejudice. The district court properly chose Illinois's statute of limitations over Minnesota's; and properly rejected waiver and equitable-tolling arguments. The court properly dismissed the fiduciary-duty claims as barred by res judicata; there had been state court litigation concerning sale of the family home. There was no evidence to support India’s contention that her grandparents intended her to receive more than the documents provide.