Fenton v. Dudley, No. 14-1067 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Davis retained Fenton to represent her in a home foreclosure proceeding. Davis later sued Fenton for malpractice. Davis claimed that, although she paid Fenton several thousand dollars, he did virtually nothing to help her and that he targeted her for inferior service based on her race, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601. That case is stayed pending arbitration. Fenton brought his own lawsuit in state court, against Davis’s lawyers: Dudley and Sidea, alleging that they intentionally spread false information about him to clients and business associates. Fenton also alleged that Sidea, who had previously worked at Fenton’s law office, had improperly obtained confidential information about Fenton’s clients and shared it with Dudley. The complaint claimed conversion, tortious interference with a business relationship, and defamation. Dudley and Sidea filed a notice of removal in federal court, citing the general removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1441, and the civil rights removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1443. Days later, despite the ongoing removal proceedings, the Cook County Court entered an ex parte preliminary injunction against Dudley and Sidea. The district court found that the case did not meet the removal requirements under either 28 U.S.C. 1441 or 1443 and remanded, The Seventh Circuit affirmed.