Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Three, Suspends Seven in Latest Disciplinary Filing
The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on November 13, 2020. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
Charles Paul Horn, Crystal River, Florida
Mr. Horn was licensed in Florida in 1983 and in Illinois in 1984. The Supreme Court of Florida disbarred him, by default, after he was charged with misconduct in connection with his representation of two clients in unrelated criminal matters. In one matter Mr. Horn agreed to go to trial despite not having prepared for trial. In the other matter, he took a fee and filed a motion but failed to set the motion for hearing and then performed no other services for the client. Mr. Horn also failed to refund unearned fees and failed to respond to lawful demands for information from Florida disciplinary authorities. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him in Illinois.
Michael Constantine Skouteris, Louisville, Kentucky
Mr. Skouteris, who was licensed in 2010, was disbarred on consent. He pleaded guilty in Tennessee to the theft of more than $250,000 from several clients and to the theft of more than $10,000 from an account of his then law firm after he had been enjoined by the Supreme Court of Tennessee from withdrawing funds.
Adam Samuel Tracy, Wheaton
Mr. Tracy, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred on consent. He assisted a client in submitting filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission that concealed the client’s criminal history and involvement in a company, and which misrepresented that others were involved in the business; filed affidavits in a Nevada court that falsely stated that he was not then under investigation by the SEC; and neglected two civil matters for separate clients, in both cases charging an unreasonable fee.
Joel Alan Brodsky, Chicago
Mr. Brodsky, who was licensed in 1982, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, retroactive to June 19, 2019, the date of his interim suspension based on the same misconduct. While representing an automobile dealer who had been sued for selling a defective car, Mr. Brodsky repeatedly made baseless, vitriolic claims against the plaintiff’s attorney and expert witness. In a patent infringement case, Mr. Brodsky failed to withdraw after being discharged by his client and then revealed in a pleading confidential information about the identity of an entity funding the litigation. He also, while representing a party in a divorce action, sent an e-mail to various persons disparaging the mental health and character of his client’s spouse.
Katherine Anne Dierdorf, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ms. Dierdorf was licensed in Missouri in 2011 and in Illinois in 2012. The Supreme Court of Missouri suspended her with no application for reinstatement to be considered by the Court for a period of three years. While acting as an assistant circuit attorney in St. Louis, Ms. Dierdorf concealed information from her supervisors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the course of a criminal investigation. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended her in Illinois for three years and until she is reinstated in Missouri. The suspension is effective on December 4, 2020.
Nikola Duric*, Park Ridge
Mr. Duric, who was licensed in 1985, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. Mr. Duric is the subject of a disciplinary proceeding in which the ARDC’s Hearing Board found that he had engaged in multiple episodes of misconduct, including dishonestly misappropriating over $400,000 in client and third-party funds, making misrepresentations to clients, neglecting client matters, and failing to return unearned fees.
Raymond Gupta, Schererville, Indiana
Mr. Gupta was licensed in Indiana in 1995 and in Illinois in 2001. The Supreme Court of Indiana suspended him for three years without automatic reinstatement for mismanaging his attorney trust accounts, charging unreasonable fees, neglecting client matters, making false statements to Indiana disciplinary authorities, and evading income taxes. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for three years and until further order of the Court in Illinois.
Peter E. Naylor, Springfield
Mr. Naylor, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after one year by a three-year period of probation with conditions. In a medical malpractice action, he falsely stated to his clients, the court, and others that the case had settled. In a medical products liability action, he falsely told his client that the case had settled and presented her with a release to sign.
Robin Williamson Remley, Crown Point, Indiana
Ms. Remley was licensed in Indiana in 2000 and in Illinois in 2004. The Supreme Court of Indiana suspended her for 90 days, with the suspension stayed in its entirety subject to completion of at least 18 months of conditional probation. She had commingled client and attorney funds, paid personal and business expenses directly from her client trust account, made improper disbursements and electronic transfers from her client trust account, and failed to keep adequate trust account records. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended her for 90 days, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by an 18-month period of probation subject to the conditions imposed by Indiana and continuing until she successfully completes her Indiana probation.
Matthew James Stropes, Pekin
Mr. Stropes, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. Mr. Stropes served as the Public Guardian of Tazewell County between 2009 and 2019. On various occasions between 2013 and 2018, he withdrew and converted a total of $32,242.71 in funds belonging to three disabled wards in cases in which he had been appointed Public Guardian. While Mr. Stropes had performed work in the three matters, he had never received authorization to pay himself any fees. He also filed an estate accounting in one of the matters in which he omitted a payment he made to himself.
Lisa Ann Collins, Knoxville, Tennessee
Ms. Collins was licensed in Illinois in 1992 and in Tennessee in 2003. The Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an order publicly censuring her for interviewing a minor in her office outside the presence of the minor’s guardian ad litem and without providing any notice to the guardian ad litem. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and censured her.
Chandra Lin Justice, Peoria
Ms. Justice, who was licensed in 2000, was censured and required to complete either the ARDC Professionalism Seminar or the Proactive Management-Based Regulation Self-Assessment Program within one year. She failed to keep a client informed about the status of his petition for post-conviction relief, did not respond to the client’s requests for information about the status of his petition, falsely told him that various circumstances had prevented her from discussing her progress with him, and then falsely told him that his petition was complete.
*The order was entered by the court before the November 2020 term, but not included in any prior release.