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Southern Illinois

Mark D. Paulson
Mark D. Paulson
Mark D. Paulson, 52, of Carbondale, formerly of Decatur and Chicago, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017.

Mark was a graduate of Eisenhower High School, received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Juris Doctorate, Suma Cum Laude, from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where he was also editor of the John Marshall Law Review. He was a proud member of the United States Army Reserves, 347th P&A Battalion, Marion, IL.

He was an attorney and partner for the Chicago law firm of Claussen Miller, P.C. for over 25 years, specializing in complex litigation, before retiring in 2016 due to health issues. He formerly worked on-air in radio news and programming in Carbondale. Mark settled back in Carbondale, in a peaceful cabin, on a serene pond, where he could fish, relax on his hammock, watch sports, play his guitar and entertain beloved friends and family.

In 2008 he published a book, 9/11 and Home, recounting his experiences after witnessing the attacks of 9/11 and being quarantined in a Newark N.J. hotel for the week afterward with thousands of stranded passengers.

Elizabeth Westbrooks
Elizabeth Westbrooks
Elizabeth "Liz" Elaine Westbrooks of Greenville, Illinois, was born on November 17, 1984 in Greenville, and passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully and surrounded by those that loved her most, on November 15, 2017.

After attending Greenville Elementary School and Bond County Community Unit #2 High School, Elizabeth went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville in 2007. She then attended law school and graduated from the University of Missouri in 2010.

Elizabeth was a respected attorney and earned the admiration of her colleagues through her hard work and dedication to her craft. She began her legal career at Bryan Cave, where she worked briefly in the eDiscovery Department. Following her time there, she was an Associate first at Boggs Avellino Lach & Boggs and later at Weidner & McAuliffe between 2011 and 2013. Her early career focus was as a litigator defending insurance companies. Elizabeth then returned to Bryan Cave to serve as a Conflicts Attorney from 2013 through 2016. While there, she excelled in identifying ethics issues and provided attorneys with solutions to resolve conflicts of interest related to new representations. In late 2016, Elizabeth joined Thompson Coburn as Loss Prevention Counsel, where she collaborated with the General Counsel and the Loss Prevention Partners to resolve potential and actual conflicts of interest related to both new representations and incoming firm employees.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 9(c)(4) was amended to allow a good cause exemption to e-filing for self-represented litigants (SRL). The rule change is effective immediately for proceedings in the supreme court and appellate courts. For proceedings in the circuit courts, the amended rule is effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

The amended rule defines the good cause exemption, which must be shown by certification and filed with the court before or with an initial pleading, that exempts SRLs from the e-filing requirement. It also specifies the procedures that must be followed to properly obtain the exemption.

The rule change comes less than three weeks before electronic filing in civil cases will be mandatory across Illinois, and reflects the Illinois Supreme Court's commitment to ensuring access to justice for everyone, including vulnerable SRLs.

Under the amended rule, good cause exists where a self-represented litigant is not able to e-file documents for the following reasons:

  • No computer or Internet access in the home and travel represents a hardship 
  • A disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, that prevents e-filing
  • A language barrier or low literacy (difficulty reading, writing, or speaking in English)
  • If the pleading is of a sensitive nature, such as a petition for an order of protection or civil no contact/stalking order

Judges retain discretion to determine whether good cause is shown, or if, under particular circumstances, good cause exists without the filing of a certificate.

The ISBA Springfield and Chicago offices will be closed for the holidays beginning Friday, Dec. 22. They will reopen on Jan. 2, 2018. During this time, members can expect the following:

All business and e-newsletter distribution will resume as usual on Jan. 2, 2018. 

Charles R. “Chuck” Garnati, 65, passed away peacefully at 2:10 a.m. Nov. 14, 2017, surrounded by his loving family in St. Louis University Hospital. Chuck was born Oct. 21, 1952, in Herrin, to Sam and Helen (Hemlock) Garnati.

He received a B.A. in history and pre-law at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIUC). He also attended University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. He completed his law degree at SIUC.

He was first elected as Williamson County state’s attorney in 1984 and continued to serve eight consecutive four-year terms. Chuck was the longest continuous serving state's attorney in the State of Illinois. He retired Sept. 8, 2014, having served 30 consecutive years. Chuck built his career being tough on crime. He tried 30 murder cases in 30 years as the county’s top prosecutor, gaining first-degree murder convictions in 29 of them and manslaughter in the other.

Chuck also initiated programs such as a domestic violence program which provided assistance and advocacy for both adults and juveniles. He also started a bad check program which collected thousands of dollars for the county and businesses.

Advocating for and supporting children was one of the primary goals for his office. He was a man who gave his life to public service. That service helped him to support two groups he helped create. The Williamson County Child Advocacy Center and CASA, a court appointed advocacy for children who are abused and neglected. Garnati’s Annual Golf Day Tournament raised large amounts of money for these programs to continue helping children. Brandon Zanotti has continued that tradition with the amount raised approaching a half million dollars.

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and groups in civil cases, is seeking a staff attorney at the Central Regional Office in East St. Louis.

The position includes representing clients in the areas of foreclosure and landlord/tenant law, and giving presentations to members of client population about their rights.

To be considered for this position, you must be admitted to practice law in Illinois and demonstrate a commitment to the representation of low-income individuals. Prior legal services experience is preferred.

Gregory Paul Erthal
Gregory Paul Erthal
Gregory Paul Erthal passed away at 55-years-old at 12:52 AM on Monday, November 13, 2017 at Alton Memorial Hospital. He was born in Alton on January 14, 1962 the son of the late Paul and Mary (Abbott) Erthal. After his parents passed he was then raised by his aunt and uncle Bonnie and Dick Peipert. Greg was a 1980 graduate from Marquette Catholic High School and then went on to graduate cum laude with his B.A. from Bradley University in Peoria, where he was nominated for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship and on the Dean’s List. He earned his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1987. Greg was an attorney for over 25 years and joined the Simmons firm in 2005. He has extensive trial experience prosecuting both felonies and misdemeanors as an assistant state’s attorney in Madison and Jackson counties. In addition, Greg served as the city attorney for Alton. On October 11, 2014 he married the former Michelle (Puckett) in Las Vegas and she survives. Also surviving are one step daughter; Leslie Gossard of Bethalto, a step grandson; Noah Gossard and two cousins that are like brothers; Rich Peipert of Godfrey and Scott Peipert of Charlotte, NC.

Elisha Deen
Elisha Deen
Elisha S. Deen has joined SI Elder Law, LLC as an associate Elder Law Attorney.

Deen is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Law with a certificate in Business and Transactional Law. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Missouri.

Deen has extensive experience in estate planning, probate, personal injury, worker's compensation, wrongful death, business litigation and real estate litigation. She is the Secretary of the Williamson County Bar Association, member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Missouri Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Don R. Lucas passed away Nov. 6, 2017. Born, raised, provided, prospered, and now passed, Don Lucas’s life story began, thrived, and ended in West Frankfort. A loving patriarch to his family, a devoted friend and attorney to his community, and a passionate defender of small town governance and the sheer joy in the natural bounty of Southern Illinois.

Don was a gifted athlete and multiple sports fueled his youth at F.C.H.S. achieving honorable mention to the 1952 Illinois All State Basketball Team. He attended SIU on a track scholarship where academic pursuits led him to both bachelor of science and master of science degrees while teaching government at SIU on a resident teaching fellowship.

After graduating from SIU in 1959, he taught history and coached basketball at Murphysboro and West Frankfort High Schools. Don’s only extended leave from Southern Illinois was to pursue a law degree and teach legal writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating with a Juris Doctor of Law in 1963.

Dwight Taylor
Dwight Taylor
Dwight Taylor, 85, of Collinsville, Illinois, born Feb. 11, 1932, in Carrollton, Illinois, passed away Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 at St. Louis University Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri.

Dwight grew up in Shipman, Illinois, and graduated from Southwest High School. He attended Washington University, St. Louis, where he earned his J.D. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Mr. Taylor was employed for many years as an attorney at the Collinsville Building and Loan, and he also served as the Collinsville city attorney for over thirty years. He was instrumental in city development, including the Eastport Plaza and the Gateway Conference Center. He enjoyed golfing, loved his dogs, and took great pride in his yard, twice earning him "Yard of the Month" title.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Carroll "Casey" and Irene, nee Travers, Taylor; his son Dennis, and his sister Dottye.