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Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today the appointment of Edgar County State’s Attorney Matthew L. Sullivan as a circuit judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Justice Rita B. Garman recommended Mr. Sullivan’s appointment to the full Supreme Court to fill the upcoming vacancy created by the resignation of recalled retired Judge Richard E. Scott. Mr. Sullivan’s appointment is effective July 9, and will terminate December 6, 2010. In February, he won the Republican judicial primary for the seat which Judge Scott now holds, and will run unopposed in November for a full six-year term. “I am honored, humbled and grateful to the Supreme Court and to Justice Garman for the confidence they have placed in me by this appointment,” said Mr. Sullivan. “I look forward to assuming the duties of Circuit Court judge and continuing my public service to the people of Illinois.” Mr. Sullivan was first elected state’s attorney in 1996, and is currently serving his fourth term. In that capacity, he also serves as attorney for the Edgar county board and elected county officials. Before his election to county office, Mr. Sullivan worked in general practice as an associate at Fruin & Garst from 1994-1996. Mr. Sullivan received his juris doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1994. He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois in 1991 with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration. He graduated from Shiloh High School and was class valedictorian. Mr.
Illinois Bar Admission ceremonies will be held in the five Judicial Districts on Thursday, May 6:
  • Judicial Dist. 1: 10:30 a.m., McCormick Place West, Chicago (500 new admittees)
  • Judicial Dist. 2: 10 a.m., Hemmens Memorial Bldg. Elgin Civic Center Plaza, Elgin (52 new admittees)
  • Judicial Dist. 3: 11 a.m., Ottawa Appellate Courthouse, Ottawa (23 new admittees)
  • Judicial Dist. 4: 10 a.m., Supreme Court Building, Springfield (14 new admittees)
  • Judicial Dist. 5: 2 p.m., Gateway Convention Center, Collinsville (142 new admittees)
Are you an ISBA member and have a child being admitted to the bar? Please contact us at cbonjean@isba.org.
Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald and the Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday the creation of a Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning to maximize the use of court and community resources in aiding the rehabilitation and treatment of accused offenders with mental health issues. The Committee is generally charged with studying, reviewing and collaborating "on issues and matters related to mental illness and the justice system" with the aim of making recommendations to the Supreme Court. Specifically, the Supreme Court has asked the Committee to formulate and prioritize recommendations in improving communication, data gathering and information sharing between the mental health and criminal justice systems. It is expected that members of the Committee will participate in the continuing statewide strategic planning process initiated by the Division of Mental Health of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The Court also asked the committee to identify and consider appropriate diversion models for persons with mental illness and to report on what works best in Mental Health courts in Illinois, including how to continue care for persons with mental illness as they transition from the criminal justice system to mental health services. Judges appointed to the Committee serve in the counties of Cook, Madison, Rock Island, St. Clair, Kankakee, Macon, Lake, McLean, Kane and Winnebago, but recommendations could affect criminal justice and mental health populations statewide.

CIVIL

Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Company

By Michael T. Reagan, Herbolsheimer Lannon Henson Duncan and Reagan PC In Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Company, the high court ruled that the sections of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act voiding a resident's waiver of the right to sue or to have a jury trial were ineffective to negate preemption by the Federal Arbitration Act. Though Carter was decided within the narrow confines of nursing-home litigation, its logic could affect a much broader range of preemption cases. For appellate lawyers, here's an interesting procedure point: the court said it was exercising jurisdiction pursuant to its supervisory authority. That was probably necessary because more than 21 days had expired after an initial denial of the petition for leave to appeal, during which time the Supreme Court of the United States had denied certiorari, and the Second District had issued a conflicting opinion. Case summary Supreme Court opinion 106511

Slovinski v. Elliot

By Jean M. Prendergast, Schuyler, Roche & Crisham, P.C Civil practitioners will be wise to consider carefully Slovinsky v. Elliot, in which the Court refined the standard for reviewing remittitur and punitive damage awards, especially where the trial judge makes no specific findings. In this defamation per se case, the trial court reduced a $2 million jury award for punitive damages to $1 million.

"Justice with Precedence and Record"
The Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission has made reprints of "Justice with Precedence and Record" by Albert Krehbel, available for sale. The historic painting was used as the rendering for the century-old murals on the walls and ceilings of the Supreme Court courtroom. Four sizes are available ranging in price from $59-$249. Click here to read more about the painting. Click here to download the order form
The Supreme Court has posted the following opening for the position of Clerk of the Supreme Court of Illinois: The Clerk of the Supreme Court is an officer appointed by the Court (Ill. Const. 1970, Art. VI, § 18 (a)), reports to the Court, and serves at the Court’s pleasure. This senior level position is the Court’s principal case processing and records manager who operates the Clerk’s main office in Springfield and a satellite office in Chicago through a staff of 14 deputies which the Clerk recruits, selects, trains, and supervises, and by planning, developing, and implementing policies and procedures necessary to execute the responsibilities of the office. As case manager, the Clerk oversees and evaluates the functioning of four distinct automated dockets, and all associated processes, to ensure compliance with Supreme Court Rules and effective tracking and scheduling of cases from initiation to issuance of mandates and final orders. Relatedly, the Clerk interprets and applies relevant rules and compiles, analyzes, and reports statistics on the Court’s case load. As records manager, the Clerk is responsible for the Court’s active and closed files and permanent records, dating to 1818. The Clerk maintains the roll of attorneys, which includes the licensing process; registers and renews professional service corporations and associations, and limited liability companies and partnerships engaged in the practice of law; files judicial financial disclosure statements required of state court judges.
The Special Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence will hold public hearings on proposed new rules codifying Illinois evidence law at the following locations:
  • Tuesday, May 18, 10 a.m.: Supreme Court Building, 160 N. LaSalle, Room C-500, Chicago
  • Thursday, May 20, 10 a.m.: Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, 3101 Old Jacksonville Road, Springfield
The proposed new rules are available on the Supreme Court website. The Special Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence invites public comments on the proposed rules. Written comments should be submitted by Tuesday, May 4, 2010, to: Special Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence, c/o Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, 222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601
The Illinois Supreme Court disbarred seven lawyers, suspended nine and censured three in its latest disciplinary filing. More information on each case is available at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Web site.

DISBARRED

  • Nathan Andrew Billmaier, Chicago
Mr. Billmaier, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted of bringing contraband into a penal institution, possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and possessing cannabis with intent to deliver. In the criminal case, he was sentenced to three years of probation, with the first 180 days to be spent in incarceration.
  • Richard Isaac Fine, Los Angeles, Calif.
Mr. Fine was licensed in Illinois in 1964 and in California in 1973. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him for repeatedly filing frivolous lawsuits, pleadings and appeals. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
  • Jeffery William Green, Carbondale
Mr. Green, who was licensed in 2003, was disbarred. He misappropriated client funds, failed to diligently represent a client, made false statements to clients, and made misrepresentations to the ARDC.  He was suspended on an interim basis on September 15, 2009.
  • Jeffery Bart Hollander, Detroit, Mich.
Mr. Hollander was licensed in Illinois in 1992 and in Michigan in 1993. He was disbarred in Michigan for settling a personal injury matter without his client’s knowledge or consent. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
  • Henry Moss Meersman, Moline
Mr. Meersman, who was licensed in 1951, was disbarred. While acting as the trustee of a testamentary trust that a decedent had established to benefit the decedent’s minor grandson, Mr. Meersman converted all of the trust assets, $30,656.73, to his own purposes.
  • George V. Warren, Glenview
Mr. Warren was licensed to the practice of law in Michigan in 1968 and in Illinois in 1979. He was disbarred in Michigan for neglecting a client’s immigration case, refusing to refund unearned fees, and failing to be candid with the disciplinary authority. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
  • John P. Wolgamot, Danville
Mr. Wolgamot, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty to a charge of willfully assisting a client in filing a fraudulent United States income tax return that understated the client’s income by $478,098. He was sentenced to term of imprisonment of one year and one day. Mr. Wolgamot was suspended on an interim basis on August 5, 2009.
The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts announced Friday that the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Michael A. Wolfe as an associate judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. Mr. Wolfe received his undergraduate degree in 1981 from Marquette University, and his Juris Doctor in 1984 from John Marshall in Chicago. Mr. Wolfe is currently affiliated with the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office in Wheaton.

This historic painting was used as the rendering for the century-old murals on the walls and ceilings of the Supreme Court courtroom. Photo credit/Mark Skube
The Illinois Supreme Court convened in special session on Tuesday to unveil an historic painting which was used as the rendering for the century-old murals on the walls and ceilings of the Supreme Court courtroom. Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald presided at the ceremony. The artwork, which had fallen into disrepair over the past 100 years, was donated by the family of the artist, Albert Krehbiel. Through the auspices of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, the family also paid for all costs of restoration, framing and display. Justices Rita B. Garman and Anne M. Burke, Supreme Court liaisons to the Commission, spoke at the unveiling. Jerold Solovy, a well-known Chicago attorney and chairman of the Commission, also made comments. The art will be displayed for the public beginning today, March 10, in the former Illinois Appellate courtroom in the Supreme Court Building at 2nd Street and Capitol Avenue.