An attorney entered into a written agreement with Jason.  Attorney agreed to represent Jason in a divorce. Jason agreed to pay the attorney $375 per hour for his services with an initial retainer of $5000.

At the time they made the agreement, Jason told the attorney in writing that all billing should be sent to Jason’s father. Jason’s father confirmed in writing that he would pay all legal fees and costs in relation to the divorce.

Jason’s father paid two bills (after the $5,000 retainer) that were sent to him from the attorney. The divorce was finalized. The attorney sent a final bill to Jason and to Jason’s father. Neither of them paid the bill. The attorney sued to get payment.

Jason filed for bankruptcy. His father argued that he did not sign the original agreement to pay.  He also argued that the Statute of Frauds was a defense for him.   The Trial Court agreed with Jason’s father.

The Statute of Frauds says that there must be a signed written promise or agreement to pay. Otherwise, you can’t be responsible for someone else’s debt. That is unless one party has completely done their side of the agreement.

The attorney had finalized the divorce case. The Statute of Frauds was not a defense for Jason’s father.  The Appellate Court sent the case back to the Trial Court for the Trial Court to finalize some questions.

Goldwater v. Greenburg, 2017 IL App (1st) 163003