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The Illinois Supreme Court Mortgage Foreclosure Committee is seeking comment on proposed recommendations concerning loss mitigation and mediation for mortgage foreclosure proceedings in Illinois.The proposal will be aired at a public hearing on Friday, June 8 in Chicago.

Anyone wishing to testify at the public hearing should advise the Committee in writing no later than Friday, May 25. Those wishing to offer written comments should submit them by Friday, May 25.

In April, the Foreclosure Committee held a public hearing to discuss a nine-point proposal submit-ted by its Practices and Procedures subcommittee.

The Mortgage Foreclosure Committee has also established a Loss Mitigation and Mediation subcommittee which has drafted 14 proposed recommended elements of mediation and mandatory pre-foreclosure loss mitigation for comment at the public hearing.

Six proposed mediation program elements under consideration are outreach, mandatory or opt-in for mediation programs, housing counseling, legal aid, establishing a pre-mediation process and trained mediators. Some of those elements to be discussed include having the court system reach out to homeowners in foreclosure to increase awareness of local mediation programs; providing housing counseling as part of the mediation process; and providing pro bono legal services to explain the foreclosure process, mortgagors' rights, possible defenses and the rights and responsibilities of the homeowner under the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law.


The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the appointment of Thomas J. Carroll as a Circuit Judge of Cook County, At Large. This appointment is effective May 18, 2012, to Dec. 1, 2014. This vacancy was created by the death of the Hon. Donna Phelps Felton.


"Veterans Court" and "Military Legal Rights" aired on Illinois Law in May and June. Appearing on these programs were moderator Nancy McKenna and panelists Jason Vail, Frand Grenard, Mark Kammerer and the Hon. Lawrence Flood.

"Veterans Court"

 

"Military Legal Rights"


The Supreme Court of Illinois has announced the disbarment of two lawyers and the suspension of 14 others in the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders entered this morning. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law. All information is provided by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

DISBARRED

  • Jay Fernand Fortier, Oak Park

Mr. Fortier, who was licensed in Illinois in 2006, was disbarred on consent. In connection with a loan modification business, he shared attorney’s fees with non-attorneys, did not supervise non-attorney employees, distributed false and misleading advertisements, neglected client matters and failed to return unearned fees. He also provided false and misleading information to his clients and the Illinois Attorney General.

  • Kevin F. Plachta, Plainfield

Mr. Plachta, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. He was found guilty in the Circuit Court of Will County of two felony counts of possession of child pornography. He was suspended on an interim basis on December 20, 2011.

SUSPENDED

  • Eugene W. Beeler, Jr., Chicago

Mr. Beeler, who was licensed in 1969, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. He neglected two civil cases and did not respond to requests for information from the ARDC. In addition, he misled a client regarding the status of a case. He did not appear at his disciplinary hearing.  


ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers House Bill 5434 (Post-judgement collection of debts), House Bill 3972 (Cell phones and driving), House Bill 3636 (Mechanics' Lien Act), House Bill 5823 (Health Care Services Lien Act). More information on each bill is available below the video.


Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. Four years ago our 45 attorney firm developed and launched a strategic business plan. While we have implemented a few action items and achieved a few goals - overall our success has been dismal. What can we do to improve our success?


The General Assembly is grappling with a $2.7 billion Medicaid funding gap in the as of yet unpublished "SMART" bill. One of the pieces in it may be a reversal of the Medicaid eligibility rules in the compromise last fall between the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. An excellent and comprehensive summary of that compromise may be found here in the January 2012 Illinois Bar Journal (by Diana Law and William Siebers). Some of these changes may include the following: (1) A home held in a trust, even an individual’s personal revocable living trust, shall no longer be considered homestead property. (2) People over the age of 65 can no longer participate in a federally created OBRA Pooled Trust. (3) A healthy spouse still living at home will receive only the minimum resource allowance instead of the maximum allowance as previously approved by JCAR. Whatever action the General Assembly may take on this issue will occur in the next ten days, and we'll try to keep you informed to the extent we can.


In Berge v. Kuno Mader and DMG America, Inc., the Illinois Appellate Court found that judicial estoppel bars a plaintiff from suing in state court if he or she fails to disclose the lawsuit as an asset in a bankruptcy petition, writes Brett J. Swanson in the latest Tort Trends.

What does that mean for trial lawyers? "When representing individuals in a personal injury case, make it a habit to ask your client about bankruptcy or conduct a brief search on PACER prior to meeting any potential client," Swanson writes. "You should also be certain to make sure your client understands the importance of disclosing your lawsuit if he or she intends on filing bankruptcy subsequent to your representation." Read his analysis of Berge.

 

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ISBA President John G. Locallo (right) and ISBA Board member Gina Arquilla DeBoni (second from right), both alumni of Chicago-Kent College of Law, participated in the hooding ceremony during the school's 2012 Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 13, at the UIC Forum in Chicago. President Locallo hooded his nephew and DeBoni hooded her brother.  Keynote speakers included (from left) Laurel G. Bellows, president-elect of the American Bar Association, and Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand.



Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for a Circuit Court vacancy in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Judge John P. Shonkwiler on July 31, 2012. Judge Shonkwiler has been a resident circuit judge since 1974.

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment. The application process will lead to final Court approval. The applicants will undergo an evaluation and screening process.

Notice of the vacancy has been posted in courthouses throughout the Circuit. The application form and instructions may be obtained by visiting the Illinois Supreme Court’s website at www.state.il.us/court and follow the instructions on the “Latest News” scroller announcing the Sixth Judicial Circuit vacancy. Original applications must be submitted via mail to:

  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • attn.: Mrs. Mary Hurley
  • 3607 North Vermilion, Suite 1
  • Danville, Illinois 61832

No electronic or facsimile applications will be accepted.

Deadline for submission of applications is Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The person appointed to fill the vacancy will serve until the position is filled by election in November, 2014. To be eligible for consideration for appointment, the applicant must be a lawyer licensed to practice law in Illinois.

The Sixth Judicial Circuit is comprised of Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties.