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Illinois Supreme Court

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for an at-large Circuit Court vacancy in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.

The vacancy is created by the announced retirement of Judge Elizabeth A. Robb on December 31, 2014. Judge Robb has been a Circuit Judge since 2000.

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee will seek comment at a public hearing in Chicago on a proposed amendment to a Supreme Court rule regarding personal identity information in civil case filings. The Committee will also consider comments on proposed rule changes involving motions in a reviewing court; appeals from final circuit court judgments in civil cases; and general rules governing appeals from the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court.

All of the proposals will be aired at a public hearing of the Supreme Court Rules Committee on Friday, October 10 at 10 a.m. in Chicago. Copies of all proposals are available on the Supreme Court website at: www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Public_Hearings/Rules/default.asp.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Slepicka v. Ill. Dept. of Public Health, Nationwide Financial v. Pobuda and Bruns v. City of Centralia and the criminal case People v. Perez.

CIVIL

Slepicka v. Illinois Department of Public Health

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams, Montgomery & John Ltd.

What is the remedy if administrative review is sought in the wrong circuit court? Here, the Court held that the remedy was for the action to be transferred to the correct district of the Appellate Court to review the merits.

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued an order from Springfield determining that Mary Slepicka was subject to involuntary discharge from her nursing home, which was located in Cook County.  Slepicka sought administrative review of that decision in the Sangamon County circuit court. The nursing home moved to dismiss or transfer for improper venue. The circuit court denied the motion and confirmed the Department’s decision.

The nursing home sought dismissal of Slepicka’s appeal. The Appellate Court, Fourth District, found that the circuit court had jurisdiction but that venue was improper. It vacated the circuit court judgment and remanded with directions that the action be transferred to Cook County circuit court to review the Department’s decision.

 
The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Sept. 12, 2014, during the September Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Paul M. Daugerdas, Wilmette

Mr. Daugerdas, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred on consent after he was found guilty of federal charges of tax evasion, mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstructing tax laws. He was sentenced to a 15-year term of imprisonment.

  • Norton Helton, Chicago

Mr. Helton, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted of bankruptcy and wire fraud in federal court and was sentenced to a prison term of 180 months and ordered to make $3,277,475 in restitution. He participated in a scheme to obtain money from homeowners facing foreclosure by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and material omissions.

  • Clarence Contee Jones, Jr., Tacoma, Wash.

Mr. Jones was licensed in Illinois in 1994 and in Washington in 1997. He was disbarred in Washington for sexually exploiting office staff over whom he had supervisory authority. He also entered guilty pleas to four misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree with sexual motivation. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Glenn R. Schorsch as an associate judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Schorsch received his undergraduate degree in 1981 from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, and his Juris Doctor in 1988 from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL. Mr. Schorsch is currently affiliated with the Stephenson County Public Defender's Office in Freeport, IL.

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Sixth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Jeffrey S. Geisler as an associate judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Geisler received his undergraduate degree in 1982 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and his Juris Doctor in 1986 from Memphis State in Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Geisler is currently affiliated with Geisler Law Offices in Decatur.

The main courtroom of the Illinois Supreme Court. - Photo by Mark Skube
The main courtroom of the Illinois Supreme Court. - Photo by Mark Skube
The Illinois Supreme Court Building officially re-opened to the public Wednesday after a 13-month restoration. View our photo gallery of the restoration at iln.isba.org/gallery

The Court building has been closed since June 2013 when major work began on the historic building for the first time in nearly a century.

The building was constructed in 1906 and is eligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register. While the building was closed, the Supreme Court met during its regular terms in Chicago. It returns to begin its September 2014 term on Monday, Sept. 8.

The year-long project included restoration and preservation of the public spaces, courtrooms, library and support spaces. Offices, storage and work areas were updated for improved efficiencies in the digital and electronic age.

Major mechanical, heating, cooling, plumbing, and ventilation systems were replaced with installations to provide consistent humidification levels for the long-term maintenance of the historic ele-ments within the building. Technology enhancements included three new High Definition cameras permanently installed in the Supreme Court Courtroom and connected to a commercial grad production video switcher. The new video recording system will allow the Court's oral arguments and courtroom events to be recorded in a standard HD format and usable via download by the commer-cial media. As well as viewed by the public.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge and Kanerva v. Weems.

People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge, which involves great  public interest because of the alleged actions of defendant while supervisor of the Violent Crimes Unit detectives of an area for the Chicago Police Department, ends, as it began in the circuit court, with the conclusion that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider this case. The reasoning and judgment of the circuit court were affirmed; the appellate court was reversed.

In 1997 Jon Burge applied for and received pension benefits from the policemen’s benefit fund. In 2003, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed by a plaintiff who alleged that he was tortured and abused by officers under Burge’s command. In answers to written interrogatories in that suit, Burge denied under oath having knowledge of, or participating in, the torture or abuse of persons in custody of the Chicago Police Dept. In 2010, Burge was convicted of felonies for making false answers to interrogatories.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced on Monday an increase in the annual registration fee for attorneys practicing in Illinois. The increased funds will be directed to the regulatory body that disciplines attorneys and the Supreme Court Commission established to increase civility among lawyers.

Under amended Supreme Court Rule 756, the annual registration fee will increase from $342 to $382. That amounts to an increase of 11 cents per day for attorneys who are in active status for more than three years. The $40 increase will be remitted to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), which will receive $30; and the Commission on Professionalism, which will receive $10.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases In re the Estate of Powell, In re N.C., a Minor, and In re Marrigate of Turk.

In re the Estate of Powell

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa

In re Estate of Powell, 2014 IL 115997, holds that an attorney who brings a wrongful death action owes a legal duty to the decedent’s beneficiaries at the distribution of funds phase of that action.  The court rejected the contentions of the defendant attorneys in this legal malpractice case that an attorney engaged to prosecute a wrongful death action only owes a duty to the personal representative of the estate and not to the beneficiaries of the action.  The court also rejected a defense contention that the potential, unpled here, of a conflict among beneficiaries should negate the imposition of a duty to the beneficiaries.  The court stated it was making no determination as to the scope of duty when a conflict among the beneficiaries is specifically alleged.