March 1, 2011
A Period Of Suspension Proposed
The Illinois Review Board has recommended a suspension of five months and a professionalism course for, among other things, misconduct by the attorney who represented the plaintiff in an employment discrimination case. When opposing counsel raised an issue of possible document forgery, the attorney responded with a lawsuit:
On December 13, 2004, the Respondent filed a defamation suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against attorneys Karen Osgood and Thomas Piskorski; their law firm, Seyfarth Shaw; URA [the defendant in the employment case] ; and URA's in-house attorney, David Gassman. The Respondent alleged that the defendants defamed him by accusing him of participating in the forgeries, publishing their accusations in documents filed in the district court, and discussing the accusations with URA attorneys and employees. The Respondent filed the initial complaint and an amended complaint himself but later retained attorney Mitchell Asher, who filed a second amended complaint. In the second amended complaint, the Respondent added the allegation that Ms. Osgood, Mr. Piskorski, and Seyfarth Shaw invaded his privacy because the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reported on one of the district court's opinions that criticized the Respondent. Pursuant to the defendants' motion to dismiss and motion for sanctions, the circuit court dismissed the Respondent's second amended complaint with prejudice on the ground that the attorney litigation privilege barred the Respondent's claims. The court ordered the Respondent to pay sanctions in the amount of $21,468.04.
The Respondent appealed the circuit court's orders, and represented himself in the appeal. The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District affirmed the dismissal of the Respondent's cause of action.
The attorney was also found to have made false accusations against a judge in an unrelated matter. The judge had ruled against his client on a number of issues and on the merits. The attorney responded:
The Respondent filed a post-trial motion on January 18, 2005. In it, he stated numerous times that Judge Dolan ignored the law, chose to base his rulings on false evidence, manipulated the evidence in favor of [opposing party] Cerniglia, and acted as an advocate for Cerniglia. The Respondent further stated that "[t]he absolute failure of the proofs on behalf of the Defendant caused what constitutes a judicial conversion."
In subsequent motions and responses to motions filed by Cerniglia, the Respondent repeated his accusations that Mr. Pesek committed perjury, Mr. Adamski and Ms. Conti suborned perjury, and Judge Dolan acted as an advocate for Cerniglia.
The board stated as to sanction:
...the Respondent's unfounded accusations against Judge Dolan and the frivolous claims or positions he asserted in three separate matters warrant a period of suspension. The Respondent's misconduct is aggravated by the fact that he wasted the time and resources of the federal and the Illinois courts, caused needless expense for his opposing parties, and harmed Judge Dolan by maligning his integrity. In the Respondent's favor, we consider the positive character evidence he presented, his lack of prior discipline in approximately 35 years of practice, and his cooperation in the disciplinary proceedings.
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