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Illinois Supreme Court

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 to Hear Oral Arguments in Urbana

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m.

The court periodically holds oral arguments at various locations throughout Illinois to better inform the public on the work it does. According to statements made by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier in a press release issued by the court, inviting community residents to attend helps demystify the the appellate process, which is often poorly understood — sometimes even by lawyers. He also noted that holding arguments outside of the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield reminds court members that rulings have a direct and real impact on the state's citizens.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee to Hold Public Hearing on March 26

Posted on February 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 26, 2018, at the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street, in Chicago.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules proposals or proposed rule amendments are offered by the bench, bar, or public. They are then reviewed by the Rules Committee and placed on the agenda for public hearing if the proposal is determined to have merit. Public comments on the proposals are invited. Written comments and testimony scheduling requests should be submitted to the committee secretary by e-mail at jzekich@illinoiscourts.gov or mailed to Committee Secretary, Supreme Court Rules Committee, 222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601.

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 Rule Amended to Allow Good Cause E-Filing Exemption for Self-Represented Litigants

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 9(c)(4) was amended to allow a good cause exemption to e-filing for self-represented litigants (SRL). The rule change is effective immediately for proceedings in the supreme court and appellate courts. For proceedings in the circuit courts, the amended rule is effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

The amended rule defines the good cause exemption, which must be shown by certification and filed with the court before or with an initial pleading, that exempts SRLs from the e-filing requirement. It also specifies the procedures that must be followed to properly obtain the exemption.

The rule change comes less than three weeks before electronic filing in civil cases will be mandatory across Illinois, and reflects the Illinois Supreme Court's commitment to ensuring access to justice for everyone, including vulnerable SRLs.

Under the amended rule, good cause exists where a self-represented litigant is not able to e-file documents for the following reasons:

  • No computer or Internet access in the home and travel represents a hardship 
  • A disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, that prevents e-filing
  • A language barrier or low literacy (difficulty reading, writing, or speaking in English)
  • If the pleading is of a sensitive nature, such as a petition for an order of protection or civil no contact/stalking order

Judges retain discretion to determine whether good cause is shown, or if, under particular circumstances, good cause exists without the filing of a certificate.

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.

Email Service: It’s the Law

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

It may come as a surprise to more than a few lawyers, but as of July 1, 2017, faxing documents is no longer a proper method for serving them. What's more, attorneys must include an email address at which they can be served with documents on their appearances and pleadings.

Why? Because the Illinois Supreme Court revised Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 to mandate email service of documents filed with the court. It also eliminates facsimile service entirely. The changes were announced June 22.

The effective date of the rule amendments coincides with the day the supreme and appellate court were required to switch to the new e-filing system (circuit courts make the switch on January 1). The supreme court has made its intention clear - modernizing Illinois' court system is a priority.

According to new Rule 11(c), documents must be served via email unless certain exceptions apply. Documents may be attached to the email, or the serving party can include a link in the body of the email that will allow the recipient to download documents from a reliable service provider. If an email is rejected or otherwise returned as undelivered, the emailing party is responsible for ensuring that the document is actually delivered.

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.

Memorial Service for Illinois Supreme Court Justice John J. Stamos

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court will host a memorial service in honor of the late Justice John J. Stamos at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, September 20, at the Illinois Supreme Court at 20 E. Capitol Avenue in Springfield.

The opening and closing remarks will be delivered by Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. Tributes will be given by Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis; the Honorable Benjamin K. Miller, a former Supreme Court Justice; the Honorable Gino L. DiVito, a former Appellate Justice; Mr. James J. Stamos, Esquire, of Stamos & Trucco LLP, the son of Justice Stamos; and ISBA president, the Honorable Russell W. Hartigan, a former Cook County Circuit Judge.

Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's Office to Make E-Filing Switch on June 15

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's Office will join the eFileIL community on Thursday, June 15. Filers for the state's highest court will need to access the eFileIL filing platform at efile.illinoiscourts.gov and become a registered user through one of the authorized service providers. Supreme Court filers will no longer be able to use the i2File platform as of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14.

On January 22, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court entered Order M.R. 18368 announcing mandatory e-filing for civil cases in the Illinois Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Courts. Consistent with the amendment to this order, entered on May 30, 2017, permissive e-filing may continue in people cases on the Supreme Court's general docket and all cases on the Court's miscellaneous record ("MR") docket. The Supreme Court Order requires e-filing through a single, centralized electronic filing manager (EFM), which will be integrated with each court's case management system. The supreme and appellate courts have a July 1, 2017, deadline to join eFileIL. The Second Appellate District became the first reviewing court to join on May 18.

The Supreme Court Clerk's Office has been e-filing since 2012 on a pilot basis that was expanded to all cases in 2013. In 2016, approximately 48 percent of pleadings filed on the Court's general docket were e-filed and approximately 75 percent of the pleadings on the MR dockets were e-filed.

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