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Illinois Supreme Court

Smigielski appointed associate judge in Will County

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced Tuesday that the Twelfth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Arkadiusz Z. Smigielski as an associate judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Smigielski received his undergraduate degree in 1985 from DePaul University in Chicago, and his Juris Doctor in 1988 from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago. Mr. Smigielski is currently affiliated with the Law Offices of Smigielski & Wrobel in Homer Glen.

Illinois Supreme Court expands reimbursable client loss

Posted on February 9, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

As part of its continuing effort to promote public confidence in the administration of justice, the Illinois Supreme Court has announced that a client whose case is not completed due to the death or disability of his or her attorney, and who has made reasonable efforts to pursue civil remedies, is now eligible to apply for reimbursement of unearned fees paid to the attorney.

When adopted in 1994, Supreme Court Rule 780 created a Client Protection Program (CPP) Trust Fund to reimburse certain losses incurred by clients of Illinois lawyers. The rule was created to provide a mechanism for a client to obtain reimbursement if the attorney engaged in dishonest conduct causing the client financial loss. The fund is administered by the Illinois Attorney and Registration Commission (ARDC).

According to Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman, “The Court recognizes that a client may also incur such a loss when the attorney dies or becomes disabled during the representation. By amending this rule, we signal to the public that we are equally concerned about the client who suffers a financial loss due to events outside the attorney’s control, such as death or disability.”

The amendment is effective immediately. Claimants may apply for reimbursement through the CPP. More information on submitting a claim is available at: https://www.iardc.org/clientprotection.html.

Quick take on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinion People v. Smith

Posted on February 5, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

A review of Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court criminal opinion in the case People v. Smith.

CLE: Interpreters: Improving Language Access in Illinois Courts

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

Learn about the new Supreme Court policy regarding the certification of interpreters with this informative two hour seminar! Interpreters play an important role in the judicial process by helping non-native English speakers overcome any language barriers that may exist. Any attorney or judge who uses interpreters should attend this seminar to better understand: the difference between an interpreter and a translator; how the Illinois Supreme Court’s Language Access Policy establishes statewide standards for language access in the courts and how it will affect court procedure and your trial practice; how the new policy creates a framework for the certification of foreign language interpreters and establishes a registry for both sign language and foreign language interpreters; how the recently adopted Illinois Code of Interpreter Ethics defines the proper role of an interpreter and their scope of practice; the difference between consecutive and simultaneous interpretation and why this matters in court; how to use an interpreter more effectively during trials and depositions; how to find a good interpreter; how to prepare your client for using an interpreter; and much more!

The program takes place in Chicago on February 19, 2015; however, for those unable to attend the onsite, this program will also broadcast via live webcast.

Quick takes on Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on January 23, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Ferris, Thompson & Zweig, Ltd. v. Esposito, Williams v. BNSF Railway Company, Lutkauskas v. Ricker and Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star of the State of Illinois v. Topinka and the criminal cases People v. Simpson, People v. Chenoweth and People v. Taylor.

CIVIL

Ferris, Thompson and Zweig, Ltd. v. Esposito

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams, Montgomery & John Ltd.

This case involves the question of subject matter jurisdiction as between the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the circuit court.  The Court held that an attorney fee dispute based upon referral agreements wherein the plaintiff referred workers’ compensation claims to the defendant fell within the circuit court’s jurisdiction.

Plaintiff sued defendant in circuit court, asserting that, pursuant to written agreements, plaintiff agreed to act as co-counsel in representing two women who had workers’ compensation claims.  After the cases settled, defendant refused to pay plaintiff its share of fees. 

Illinois Supreme Court disbars 6, suspends 14 in latest disciplinary filing

Posted on January 18, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, during the January Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Vito Matteo Evola, Rosemont

Mr. Evola, who was licensed in 1979, was disbarred. He misappropriated over $900,000 in client funds in three separate matters. In addition, he made false statements to a client and to the ARDC during the course of the disciplinary investigation.

  • Michael Lawrence Flynn, La Grange Park

Mr. Flynn, who was licensed in 1990, was disbarred. He misappropriated over $500,000 that belonged to a client or third parties.

  • Dodie Leann Junkert, Clinton

Ms. Junkert, who was licensed in 1998, was disbarred on consent. She pled guilty to the criminal felony offense of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

  • Jordan Lee Margolis, Chicago

Mr. Margolis, who was licensed in 1979, was disbarred and ordered to pay certain restitution. He misappropriated $1,034,850 in settlement funds in ten separate matters. In addition, he forged clients’ names in three matters and made misrepresentations to his clients relating to his receipt and distribution of their settlement funds. He was suspended on an interim basis on November 27, 2013.

Farris appointed Circuit Judge in 1st Circuit

Posted on January 7, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Wednesday the appointment of Alexander County State's Attorney Jeffery Blaine Farris as resident Circuit Judge in the First Judicial Circuit. He was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Stephen Spomer on November 30, 2014.

Mr. Farris' appointment is effective January 16, 2015 and will terminate December 5, 2016 when the position will be filled by the 2016 General Election.

Cobbs, Palmer assigned to 1st District Appellate Court

Posted on January 5, 2015 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court has reassigned Cook County Circuit Judges Cynthia Y. Cobbs and Stuart E. Palmer to the First District Appellate Court. Both assignments are effective Jan. 7, 2015 with Palmer's term expiring Dec. 5, 2016. Cobbs' assignment is effective until further order of the court.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on December 18, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil case Bettis v. Marsaglia and the criminal cases People v. Belknap and People v. Stevens.

CIVIL

Bettis v. Marsaglia

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

Interpreting a provision of the Election Code and resolving a split among appellate districts, the Illinois Supreme Court found that a petitioner seeking judicial review of an electoral board’s denial of a request to submit a public question for referendum satisfied the statutory service requirement. The Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/10-10.1(a) (West 2012), provides that a candidate or objector seeking judicial review of an electoral board’s decision must serve a copy of the petition upon the electoral board. The petitioner, Carolyn Bettis, wished to challenge a resolution of the Macoupin, Montgomery and Sangamon counties’ school district to issue working cash bonds in the amount of $2,000,000. Bettis petitioned the local election board to place the issue on the ballot for an April 9, 2013 election. When the board sustained the objections of two individuals to Bettis’ request, she sought judicial review and served a petition on all of the members of the electoral board at their homes, but did not serve the board as a separate entity.

Cameras coming to Cook County criminal courts

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court and Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans of Cook County Circuit Court announced Tuesday that media cameras soon will be allowed in some Cook County criminal courtrooms.

Chief Justice Garman said that the Supreme Court has given its approval for the Cook County Circuit  Court to become part of a pilot program already being implemented in 40 other counties in Illinois.

Effective Monday, January 5, 2015, the media will be allowed to video and audio record proceedings at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building at 26th Street and California Avenue in Chicago in accordance with procedures contained in the Illinois Supreme Court Policy on Extended Media Coverage and a new local Circuit Court rule promulgated by Chief Judge Evans.

“The opening of Cook County criminal courtrooms to media cameras is a significant and very welcome step in our efforts to bring greater transparency to the judicial process, while protecting the rights of the accused, witnesses, and jurors," Chief Justice Garman said. "The experience with media coverage in other judicial circuits has been overwhelmingly positive, and it is time to extend the pilot program to the most populous county in the state.

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