A DuPage County judge Friday threw out a lawsuit accusing prominent Naperville attorney Bill Brestal of defrauding his former law firm.
Judge Bonnie Wheaton dismissed the case after Brestal's attorney argued the allegations, which date to 2005, didn't meet a 5-year statute of limitations. She gave the plaintiffs 21 days to file an amended complaint.
Brestal attorney Nickolas Pappas declined to comment on the ruling, and his client's former law partners could not immediately be reached.
"I'm glad it came out the way it should have," Brestal said. "I'm glad I'm not with that firm any longer, but I'm sad because I worked so hard to keep it going."
The suit filed last year alleged the veteran zoning lawyer who negotiated many of Naperville's landmark developments gave himself unauthorized bonuses, misused company credit cards, and lied to stakeholders about the firm's financial health between 2005 and 2008.
In court papers, the plaintiffs argued the case shouldn't be dismissed because Brestal "fraudulently concealed" his alleged conduct until the firm discovered it in 2009. Only at that point, they said, should the statutory clock have begun to tick.
Brestal effectively left the law practice once known as Dommermuth, Brestal, Cobine and West about four years ago and formally resigned last year, attorney and plaintiff Craig Cobine told the Daily Herald in November.
At the time, Cobine, who had practiced alongside Brestal for about 30 years, estimated losses in the neighborhood of $1 million but said no client funds were compromised.
Brestal was never criminally charged and has never been disciplined as an attorney. In a brief interview last year, he denied wrongdoing and threatened to countersue.