Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Illinois Administrator has filed an amended complaint in a high-profile ethics case brought against a former arbitrator for the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.
The amended complaint alleges that the arbitrator engaged in improper attempts to expedite payment in her own workers compensation case, made improper statements in another case, improperly attempted to keep a public matter secret and engaged in improper ex parte contacts with counsel.
As we have mentioned before, Illinois pleads detail in its complaints far beyond the "notice pleadings" you see in many if not most jurisdictions. The value of such detail from an educational standpoint is readily apparent here. Many of the factual contentions reference the accused's e-mails, with the e-mails quoted throughout.
Illinois also is one of the very few jurisdictions that posts charging documents on its web page.
For my money, the best web page for information about disciplinary charges is North Carolina. The web page has not just the charges but all of the pleadings, as well as the date, place and time of the hearing and the identities of counsel and the panel that decides the case. This is information that you could not get from most disciplinary systems with a crowbar.
Here, the allegations do not paint a pretty picture of a judicial officer interacting ex parte with counsel:
Respondent, Nadenbush, and Barringer also exchanged ex parte emails making disparaging remarks about Nadenbush’s and Barringer’s opposing counsel in case pending before Respondent, including comments such as calling the opposing counsel an "idiot" (Barringer to Respondent, August 2, 2010); stating that Nadenbush’s opposing counsel was "annoying and a bad lawyer" (Respondent to Nadenbush, January 29, 2010); stating that opposing counsel’s "f’n exhibits – I can’t figure out where the god damn records are and I am pissed!" (Respondent to Nadenbush, March 10, 2010); calling opposing counsel a "dumb ass" (Respondent to Barringer, September 1, 2010); calling opposing counsel an "ass" (Nadebush to Respondent, May 27, 2009).
The ABA Journal had this earlier story. (Mike Frisch)