Invited Error Rule Knocks Out Broker-Dealer Appeal Against Computer Programmers

In this messy lawsuit, a broker-dealer sued its computer programmers and their firm on a theory of civil conspiracy. The programmers moved for summary judgment. The broker-dealer argued that the programmers engaged in tortious acts in furtherance of the conspiracy. But the programmers were granted summary judgment.

The broker-dealer appealed, and argued for the first time that “unlawful,” but not necessarily “tortious,” acts were all it had to show for its civil conspiracy claim. The First District Illinois Appellate Court rejected the broker-dealer’s argument because it violated the “invited error” rule.

The Illinois Supreme Court has held, under “the doctrine of invited error,” that a party “may not request to proceed in one manner and then later contend on appeal that the course of action was in error.” … To permit a party to use, as a vehicle for reversal, the exact action which it procured in the trial court “would offend all notions of fair play” and encourage duplicity by litigants … Thus, plaintiffs cannot raise on appeal the question of whether they could show an unlawful, as opposed to a tortious, act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

The whole case, Lozman v. Putnam, No. 1-06-0861 (2/19/08), is available by clicking here.