Horwitz V. Holabird & Root Case Analysis

This paper highlights the ruling of the case entitled “Horwitz V. Holabird & Root” by the presiding judge, whose name is Honorable Richard E. Neville, at the supreme court of Illinois. The case involves three parties. These are the plaintiffs-appellants, the defendants-appellees and the defendant.  The plaintiffs-appellants include two parties. These are Tem Horwitz who is an individual and Horwitz Matthews, Illinois Incorporation Company which develops real estates in conjunction with private investors. The defendants-appellees are Jeffrey Case, Gerald Horn, James W. Baird and Holabird & Root.  Holabird and Root are in a broad-spectrum affiliation in their architectural business. The defendants to the case are Sabo and Zahn. They are the owners of the law firm that was the defense team of Holabird and Root. The date of the court decision was 20th May2000. The facts concerning the case is the ruling in favor of the defendants-appellants by the trial court citing that they could not be held liable for the actions of a third party in this case the actions of the attorney. The case number is 89351 according to the files and records of the Supreme Court and the court of appellate. The other fact regarding this case is that the law firm of Sabo and Zahn were fully aware and had prior knowledge of the tortuous misconduct of mailing letters by their defendants. However, Horwitz Matthews appealed against this ruling and all but one of the justices of the court of appellate reversed and remanded the case. The main issue that arises due to the case includes the allegations of convoluted interference with the business relationships of Tem Horwitz and the Horwitz incorporation by the defendants-appellants through the actions of the law firm of Sabo and Zahn.

The decision of the court on principal in accordance with the textbook is that the clients cannot be held responsible for the mistakes and intentions of their attorney since the client did not in any way have intentions of directing, controlling, ratifying or authorizing the so-called delinquency undertaken by the attorney and in this case, the law firm of Sabo and Zahn. The court therefore argues that Sabo and Zahn did not act within the scope of authority and they should be assumed to be responsible for the intentional misconduct of Holabird and Root. This is because Holabird & Bird never had prior knowledge of the intentions of Sabo and Zahn and the subsequent damages that arose due to their actions were done outside the scope of their authority. The decision by the court on who wins may be different from the one cited in the textbook because of the possibility of the case being appealed in the higher courts and the consequent reversal of their decision if found necessary. This, therefore, means that the appellants in this case are at liberty to seek justice if they feel aggrieved by the decision of the courts in the court of appellate.

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However, I do not agree with the ruling of the decision made by the court because the acquisition of the services of the law firm of Sabo and Zahn by Holabird & Root do not necessarily render them responsible under the law of agency. The legal firm had also been fully provided with the tax returns of the assets of Holabird & Root. The law firm therefore broke the agreement to keep the information confidential by mailing at least forty business associates and firms to inform them on their discovery. The firm had discovered that Horwitz Matthews had apportioned themselves a greater percentage of the benefits than it was entitled under the regulations of the business partnership. This agreement conversely was an uncontradicted deposition testimony. This therefore means that the law firm should be accountable for the actions of the attorney by virtue of their acquisition and the fact that they acted outside the powers of their jurisdiction. This binds and makes the law firm and the defendants actions interdependent such that misconduct in the part of one part makes the other party to be liable.

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Executive summary

The case entitled “Horwitz V. Holabird & Root” concerns the allegations made by Horwitz who is an individual and the president of the Horwitz Incorporation collectively referred to as Horwitz Matthews against Jeffrey Case, Gerald Horn, James W. Baird and Holabird and Root in order to recover the damages done in the light of the circuitous interference with the business relations of the plaintiff. In accordance with the laws put in place to govern the operations of the business firms and corporations and particularly the law of urgency, this decision taken by the lower courts was the correct resolution. It was not right for the courts to accept that the defendants did not have any influence in the damages that occurred without thoroughly investigating the evidences put forward by the law firm. The trial court granted the ruling on the imperative case that Sabo and Zahn were not responsible for the actions of the attorney. It is against this ruling that Horwitz Matthews appealed and all the judges of appellate but one reversed and remanded the earlier ruling. However, their decision was not final and Horwitz Matthews was free to appeal the decision if they felt aggrieved (Clarkson, 2008).

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This case therefore majors on the decision whether a client should be held responsible for the damages caused by an attorney. In this case, the attorney is accused of intentional tortuous demeanor vis-à-vis the business relationships of Horwitz Matthews. The appellate is not able to make a clear ruling due to the fact that from the records presented in court, it is not apparent when the defendants became sentient of the letters and if they ever disapproved the mailing of the letters to the mentioned number of business associates. The ruling made by the lower courts was based on the fact that the availability of legitimate issues of material fact was put in question and that Holabird & Root were not liable under an agency theory of law for the actions of their attorneys’.

Argument Addressed to the US Supreme Court to Overturn the Existing Decision

The existing decision which does not favor Horwitz Matthews states that a client in this case Sabo and Zahn should not be held responsible for the actions of Holabird & Root despite the fact that Sabo and Zahn acted outside the scope of their authority. It is therefore my humble and sincere request that I urge the Supreme Court to overrule on the decision in which it affirmed that Holabird & Root were not liable basing their ruling under the agency theory of law for the actions of their attorneys that a client cannot be held vicariously liable for the intentional damage done by the defendant-appellees. This is neither ethically nor morally correct because it may lead to widespread damages caused intentionally by people knowing that a third party could be held responsible. For instance, the client discharged his duties in accordance with the law and he did not unswervingly authorize and they had prior knowledge of the tortuous damages. The client in this circumstance was aware of the decision undertaken by Sabo and Zahn and therefore any damages arising from their conduct should be jointly held responsible. In this circumstance, even if their actions never benefitted their client in any way as per the records brought before the court, they should be held liable because they are jointly responsible despite the fact that he or she never authorized the action in the first place. The fact that Sabo and Zahn were was working for Holabird & Root makes them tom be liable for the damages their actions resulted in the business of Horwitz Matthews. 

Despite the final decision made by the majority of the judges, I humbly submit my appeal to the Supreme Court to rescind their decision in which they affirmed that Holabird and Root were not liable for the actions of their attorneys and eventually come up with the correct ruling. The earlier decision was basically based on assumptions and not on the actual facts that existed in the relationship between Sabo and Zahn and Holabird & Root. It is therefore obligatory that the Supreme Court comes up with the correct decision and in this circumstance; it should overrule its own existing decision. A party should be held liable for the actions of a third party taking into account the relationship that exist between them. The court should therefore correctly determine the kind and type of working relationship that exists between a law firm and their clients and then rescind its existing decision and make Holabird & Root accountable for their role in the interference of the business of Horwitz Matthews.

Reasons for Overturning the Existing Decision

The following are the reasons as to why the Supreme Court should overturn the existing decision it had already affirmed and rule in favor of the afflicted party. It is therefore imperative that Holabird & Root and their clients acted outside the scope of their authority and they should be therefore held responsible for their actions (Emerson, 2009). Despite the majority rooting for the existing decision, the Supreme Court should not be swayed by this stand and they should actually overrule the initial decision and reinstate the correct ruling. Based on the above interpretation, the following are the reasons that the Supreme Court should take into consideration in order to take precedence on the existing decision.

First and foremost, it is plainly clear that the client in this case acted outside the scope of their duties and in accordance with the rules and regulations that govern the existence and operation of business partners. I therefore descent from the opinion held by the majority. Sabo and Zahn committed a tort because they knowingly sent letters to the business partners and associates of Horwitz Matthews in bid to portray the image that they were not trustworthy and honesty Horwitz v. Holabird & Root (2004).

The consequences of their actions had far reaching negative implications on the performance of the business of Horwitz Matthews in the subsequent years following their discovery. It is therefore necessary that the Supreme Court overturns the ruling so that the culprits are brought to book and that the business of Horwitz Matthews gets the required compensation in order to account for the financial costs and the defilement of their reputation.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America should rescind the existing decision in which they affirmed the innocence of Holabird & Root in the case.  In accordance with the information of the contract between Sabo & Zahn and their clients Holabird and Root, their relationship was independent. This means that Sabo and Zahn were hired by Holabird & Root on terms that they would not be controlled or influenced in any way during the execution of their task but any decision taken by the firm should be affirmed by Holabird & Root. This therefore means that each individual part is partially independent of the actions of the other party. In this circumstance, the summary judgment entered by the trial court was not the correct decision because common sense dictates that a party should be held accountable for the actions of another party if their relationship is mutually exclusive. The Supreme Court should, therefore, withdraw the decision made by the trial court by which they affirmed and make the most appropriate decision.

The other reason for the Supreme Court to rule against the existing decision is that it Holabird were aware of the activities being undertaken by Sabo and Zahn. In this circumstance, it is a fact that that Holabird & Root were aware that Sabo and Zahn mailed the letters to the business associates of Horwitz Matthews because of the relationship that existed between them. The ruling made on assumptions and not on material facts made the whole decision erroneous and immoral. It is therefore imperative that all the responsible parties in any form of partnership should be made liable for the actions taken on individual basis. It is imperative that the Supreme court looks keenly into working business relationship that existed between Holabird & Root and Sabo and Zahn.

As a final argument, the Supreme Court should overturn the existing decision because in accordance to the information presented before the court, the actions of Sabo and Zahn had a direct influence on the performance of the business organization of Horwitz Matthews. . The fact that Holabird and Root ratified the conduct of Sabo and Zahn is enough evidence for the Supreme Court to overrule the earlier existing decision in which it had verified that Holabird & Root were not liable. Ratification of a corresponding act is the same the authorization of the original act and in fact confirms what was initially unauthorized. This therefore implies that the action taken by Sabo and Zahn was done under terms of the original agreement signed between the two parties. This further solidifies my argument that the client and Holabird & Root should be held responsible largely because they acted outside the scope of their authority.

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