June 27, 2011
An Illinois Hearing Board has filed a recommendation in a case in which a lawyer and his lawyer-client were jointly charged with filing a frivolous case.
The client had been employed as an associate attorney at a law firm. While there, he was assigned a medical malpractice matter. The clients in the med mal case executed a retainer agreement with the firm, not any individual attorney. Suit was filed in which the firm was listed as counsel.
The lawyer-client was discharged. The frivolous suit was brought by him against the med mal client. The hearing board found that the suit was brought in an improper effort to pressure the law firm to settle the lawyer-client's employment claim. They also filed a baseless suit against the law firm in federal court.
The hearing board proposes a six-month suspension for the lawyer-client and a nine-month suspension for the lawyer. The board expressed concern that they both don't understand that there was an ethical problem here. (Mike Frisch)
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