B.A., International Relations, James Madison College, Michigan State University. J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1986. Practice concentrated in bankruptcy, commercial law, business law, workouts, real estate and complex situations.
A: The neighbor's potential liability is for negligence, and if he or she should have been aware of the issue, that strengthens the claim. Did you inform the neighbor, prior to the tree fall, that the tree was a hazard?
A: This is a question of "apparent authority" on the part of the attorney, as an agent of the client. Under that doctrine, the contract might be enforceable. Whether it is enforceable will depend upon the specific facts. It is possible that it is enforceable. That does not, however, necessarily preclude a claim against the attorney for having caused damage to the client.
A: The issue under Michigan law is whether she had the ability to understand what she was signing. I agree that the diagnosis does not answer the question. Were she to be sued, she would have to convince the court of her defense, which might require expert testimony. Further, the landlord would probably sue in Illinois on the theory that she consented to a jurisdiction in that state when she signed the lease. She might do well to contact the landlord and propose a settlement. An attorney could help with that. Another possible consideration to argue is that she does not have assets or income from which a judgment can be collected.