Is Lawyer Malpractice Claim An Exception to the Economic Loss Doctrine ?
In Moorman Manufacturing Co. v. National Tank Co., 91 Ill. 2d 69, 435 N.E.2d 443, 61 Ill. Dec. 746 (1982), the Illinois Supreme Court decided that a plaintiff could not recover in tort for solely economic loss. Moorman, 91 Ill. 2d at 88, 435 N.E.2d at 448.
The Moorman court also provided two exceptions to the economic loss doctrine:
(1) where defendant commits fraud or intentional misrepresentation;
(2) where defendant, who is in the business of supplying information for the guidance of others, makes a negligent misrepresentation. Moorman, 91 Ill. 2d at 88-89, 435 N.E.2d at 452.
Moorman did not involve a legal malpractice claim.
However, the Illinois Supreme Court, in Collins v. Reynard, 154 Ill. 2d 48, 607 N.E.2d 1185, 180 Ill. Dec. 672 (1992), unequivocally stated that a lawyer malpractice claim is an exception to the economic loss doctrine and also to distinctions separating tort from contract. Collins v. Reynard, 154 Ill. 2d at 50, 607 N.E.2d at 1187.
The Collins court also provided that a complaint against a lawyer for professional malpractice may be couched in either contract or tort and that recovery may be sought in the alternative. Collins v. Reynard, 154 Ill. 2d at 50-51, 607 N.E.2d at 1186.