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ARDC

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Two, Suspends 13 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on May 24, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Benjamin William Meyer, Wheaton

Mr. Meyer, who was licensed in 2011, was disbarred on consent. He pleaded guilty to three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in Ogle County and was sentenced to serve ten years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for each count, 30 years in total, to be served consecutively, with 85 days credit based on his actual time in custody. The sentencing judge also ordered him to provide a DNA sample, submit to sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing, pay fees and costs and, once released, register as a sex offender for the duration of his natural life.

ARDC Reports Positive Early Reaction to Lawyer Self-Assessment

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

The Illinois ARDC has implemented a new, first-in-the-nation self-assessment program for practicing attorneys that do not carry malpractice insurance.

Historically, Illinois has not required lawyers to carry malpractice insurance. While that's still the case, effective January 1, 2018, lawyers that do not carry malpractice insurance are required to take a free, four-hour online self-assessment course about law firm operations before they register for 2019.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Four, Suspends Nine in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 16, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • John F. Dziedziak, Chicago

Mr. Dziedziak, who was licensed in 1982, was disbarred. He misappropriated a total of approximately $20,000 in settlement proceeds from three separate client matters, neglected two client matters, failed to keep a client informed of the status of their case, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after he was removed from the Master Roll, and failed to participate in the disciplinary proceeding.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Three, Suspends Five, Censures Two in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on January 16, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Jan. 12, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Mary Katherine Burgess, Oak Brook

Ms. Burgess, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred on consent. She misappropriated $32,849.34 in settlement funds that she was holding in her trust account pending distribution to the heirs of an estate. She also falsely advised the estate's prior attorney that she continued to hold the funds in her account.

  • Rajesh Kanuru, Chicago

Mr. Kanuru, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated at least $700,000 belonging to multiple clients. Mr. Kanuru also falsely informed an attorney with whom he shared office space that he had paid her office rent on her behalf, and he accepted "reimbursement" from her in the amount of $5,400. In reality, he never paid her rent.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Three, Suspends 13 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Nov. 21, 2017. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Lance Haddix, Chicago

Mr. Haddix was licensed in Illinois in 1967 and in California in 1989. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him for violating multiple probation conditions after he had been suspended for one year in favor of a five-year period of probation, subject to a 30-day period of actual suspension, and other conditions. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Beth Courtney Otero, Chicago

Ms. Otero, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred. She misappropriated over $20,000 that she had been holding in escrow from two real estate transactions and engaged in a conflict of interest by representing opposing parties in a real estate transaction. Additionally, Ms. Otero fabricated court pleadings and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after her name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

  • Jeffrey Lee Schlapp, Chicago

Mr. Schalpp, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated more than $600,000 from at least nine different clients who had filed claims against nursing homes.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars 15, Suspends 35, Reprimands 2, Censures 4 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 22, 2017. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • James M. Allen, Dixon

Mr. Allen, who was licensed in 1967, was disbarred on consent. He was arrested in December of 2015 after causing an automobile collision on his way home from a bar. The driver of the other vehicle sustained permanent injuries as a result of the collision. Mr. Allen subsequently pled guilty to one count of aggravated DUI and was sentenced to 24 months of probation. Mr. Allen was the subject of two prior disciplinary proceedings, once of which arose from another aggravated DUI conviction.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Seven, Suspends Nine, Reprimands Three, Censures Three

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Sara Anderson

DISBARRED

  • Francis Joseph Coyle, Jr., Rock Island

Mr. Coyle, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred. He intentionally misappropriated $100,000 in funds that he was supposed to be holding in escrow in connection with a real estate transaction. In addition, on two occasions, he falsely represented to the buyer’s attorney that he was still holding all of the funds in escrow.

  • Laird James Heal, Sterling, Massachusetts

Mr. Heal was licensed in Massachusetts in 1989 and in Illinois in 1991. The Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts disbarred him for misusing over $13,000 of funds held in escrow in connection with a bankruptcy case. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Richard Carl Moenning, Chicago

Mr. Moenning, who was licensed in 1962, was disbarred. While serving as both trustee and trust counsel to several trusts created by two elderly sisters, he paid himself over $360,000 in purported fees without performing sufficient services to justify the payment of the funds. He also took years to notify or pay some of the trust beneficiaries, failed to disburse any funds to one beneficiary as of the time of the disciplinary hearing, failed to timely notify some of the beneficiaries of their interests under the trusts, and never provided an accounting to any of the beneficiaries or to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. He was suspended on an interim basis on June 15, 2016.

Illinois Supreme Court disbars 6, suspends 11 in latest disciplinary filing

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 20, 2017, during the March Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law. 

DISBARRED

  • Joel Mitchell Bell, Chicago

Mr. Bell, who was licensed in 1975, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated over $364,000 in client funds and lied to two of his clients about the status of their respective settlement proceeds. He was suspended on an interim basis on December 2, 2016.

  • Michael David Gerhardt, Forest Park

Mr. Gerhardt, who was licensed in 2003, was disbarred. He neglected two civil cases, resulting in two judgments totaling approximately $500,000 being entered against his clients in one case and $20,000 in settlement funds not being distributed to another client. He also failed to return an unearned fee and made misrepresentations to his client regarding the status of that client’s case. He failed to appear at his own disciplinary hearing.

ARDC warns of fraudulent email targeting lawyers

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission is warning of a phishing threat aimed at Illinois lawyers.

“A phishing attack targeting lawyers has been reported recently by state disciplinary authorities in District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and California,” the ARDC reports. “Emails received by lawyers in those states purport to notify the lawyer of a disciplinary complaint, usually with the subject line ‘Bar Complaint’ or something similar, in an attempt to lure the lawyer into responding by clicking on links to files that open malicious software.

The ARDC has also received several reports of this happening to Illinois lawyers. If you receive one of these fraudulent emails, please do not respond or click on any attachments. Delete it immediately. The ARDC DOES NOT notify lawyers of the initiation of disciplinary investigations via email except when there is difficulty in contacting the lawyer via U.S. mail.”

If you have questions about an email that purports to be from the ARDC, contact the Commission.

Illinois Supreme Court disbars 4, suspends 8 in latest disciplinary filing

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Morgan Yingst

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on January 13, 2017, during the January Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Sean Patrick Fleming, Barrington

Mr. Fleming, who was licensed in 2007, was disbarred. He neglected ten different bankruptcy matters, misappropriated over $3,000 in filing fees, made misrepresentations to his clients about the status of their legal matters, and failed to return unearned fees.

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