BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

 AMANDA KELTON BRADLEY VERETT,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No.  6281065.

 

Commission No.  07 SH 105

FILED -  February 6, 2008

AMENDED COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Denise Church, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753, complains of Respondent, Amanda Kelton Bradley Verett, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 6, 2003, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

Count I
(False Pleadings Relating to an Ex Parte Hearing - Christopher Nolan matter)

A. Cooper Nolan custody proceedings in Illinois

1. In May 2004, Christopher Nolan ("Christopher") filed a petition for dissolution of marriage from Tanna Nolan ("Tanna") in Madison County. Tanna and Christopher had one minor child, Cooper, born January 13, 2002. The case was captioned as Christopher Nolan v. Tanna Nolan case no. 04 D 546.

2. On February 3, 2005, after a hearing, the court awarded Tanna temporary custody of Cooper.

3. After the February 3, 2005 order, Tanna and Christopher continued to have disputes regarding Cooper's medical care. On March 29, 2006, Tanna, through counsel, filed in case no. 04 D 546 a Complaint For Permanent Injunction requesting that Christopher be enjoined from contacting Cooper's medical providers. On May 31, 2006, the court entered an order stating that Tanna is the sole party authorized to direct medical care for Cooper. The court further ordered that in the event any physician for Cooper withdrew or refused to treat Cooper following contact with Christopher, the court would issue the permanent injunction requested by Tanna.

4. On November 1, 2006, Christopher, through counsel, filed an Emergency Petition for Injunctive Relief in case no. 04 D 546, seeking an order enjoining Tanna from taking Cooper for a tonsillectomy scheduled for November 13, 2006.

5. On November 8, 2006, Christopher voluntarily withdrew his Emergency Petition for Injunctive Relief. That same day, Christopher again contacted Cooper's doctors regarding Cooper's upcoming tonsillectomy.

6. On November 13, 2006, Tanna filed her Amended Third Complaint for Permanent Injunction ("Amended Third Complaint") in case no. 04 D 546. In the Amended Third Complaint, Tanna alleged that Christopher had again contacted Cooper's doctors and that the doctor scheduled to perform the tonsillectomy was declining to operate as scheduled.

7. On December 20, 2006, after an evidentiary hearing at which the parties, their counsel, and a guardian ad litem appeared, the court entered an order permanently enjoining Christopher from contacting Cooper's medical providers except in a case of emergency. Christopher filed an interlocutory appeal of that order. The appeal was docketed as Christopher Nolan, appellant v. Tanna Nolan, appellee, Fifth App. District case no. 5-07-0007.

8. Tanna again scheduled Cooper's tonsillectomy for March 19, 2007, at Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

9. On March 7, 2007, Respondent agreed to represent Christopher on an hourly basis in case no. 04 D 546. On March 8, 2007, Respondent entered her appearance as substitute counsel for Christopher's in case no. 04 D 546.

B. Proceedings in case no. 04 D 546 after Respondent entered her appearance for Christopher

10. On March 14, 2007, on Christopher's behalf, Respondent filed a Motion to Stay Enforcement of Permanent Injunction ("Motion to Stay") and supporting memorandum in case no. 04 D 546, seeking to enjoin the tonsillectomy scheduled for Cooper on March 19, 2007.

11. On Wednesday, March 14, 2007, the parties, their counsel and Cooper's guardian ad litem appeared for a status hearing and a hearing on the Motion To Stay in case no. 04 D 546. After the court conducted a hearing in the matter, the court denied Christopher's Motion To Stay.

C. Missouri Proceedings

12. On March 14, 2007, Respondent filed a Petition for Damages in City of St. Louis seeking monetary damages against the medical providers who were scheduled to perform the tonsillectomy on Cooper. The case was captioned as Christopher Nolan v. St. Louis Children's Hospital and Dr. Lieu, City of St. Louis case no. 0722-CC00866. Respondent also filed the following pleadings seeking injunctive relief against the medical providers: (1) Motion For Temporary Restraining Order, (2) an Affidavit in Support of a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, and (3) a supporting memorandum.

13. On March 14, 2007, Respondent personally presented her Motion For Temporary Restraining Order on an emergency ex parte basis to Judge Garvey, the Division 3 judge assigned to case no. 0722-CC00866. Respondent's discussion with Judge Garvey was not transcribed or on the record.

14. At no time on March 14, 2007 did Respondent inform Judge Garvey, orally or in her pleadings, that she had unsuccessfully sought the same relief - delaying the tonsillectormy -- earlier that day in Madison county case no. 04 D 546.

15. In her pleadings, filed on March 14, 2007 in case no. 0722-CC00866, Respondent did not disclose that the Illinois court had granted Tanna sole decision-making authority for Cooper's medical care, and that Christopher had been permanently enjoined from interfering with Cooper's medical care.

16. In her pleadings, filed on March 14, 2007 in case no. 0722-CC00866 Respondent did not disclose that earlier that day, the court in case no. 04 D 546 had denied Christopher's request for similar relief, i.e., stopping Cooper's tonsillectomy scheduled for March 19, 2007.

17. On March 14, 2007, Judge Garvey asked Respondent if she had taken any steps to stop the surgery in Illinois.

18. Respondent represented to Judge Garvey "no" in response to his question about any attempts she had made to stop the surgery in Illinois.

19. Respondent's statement "no" described in Paragraph 18 was false.

20. Respondent's statement was false in that on March 14, 2007, she had attempted in in case no. 04 D 546 to stop Cooper's surgery.

21. Respondent knew her statement was false.

22. On March 14, 2007, based on the pleadings filed by Respondent and her ex parte representations, Judge Garvey entered an order setting the matter for further hearing on March 16, 2007. However, in error, the judge wrote in the order that the next hearing was on March 17, 2007, a Saturday. Judge Garvey ordered Respondent to give notice of the hearing to the defendants.

23. On Friday, March 16, 2007, Respondent filed a Second Memorandum in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction ("Second Memorandum") in case no. 0722-CC00866. In the Second Memorandum, Respondent again omitted any reference to the March 14, 2007 hearing in Madison County case no. 04 D 546, in which Christopher's request to enjoin the tonsillectomy was denied.

24. In the Second Memorandum, Respondent alleged:

"The father has no other means for relief, Madison County refused to entertain a motion to delay the surgery."

25. Respondent's statement described in Paragraph 19, above, was false, because the court in case no. 04 D 546 did not refuse to entertain a motion to delay the surgery, but instead, conducted a hearing on the matter and denied Christopher's request to delay the tonsillectomy.

21. Respondent knew or should have known her statement in paragraph 19, above, was false.

22. On March 16, 2007, Respondent appeared in City of St. Louis in case no. 0722-CC00866. No attorneys appeared for the hospitals, as the attorneys representing the hospitals were unaware that the hearing was actually being held on March 16, 2007, and not March 17, 2007 as written in the March 14, 2007 order. No transcript was made of the hearing.

23. On March 16, 2007, Judge Garvey entered an order in case no. 0722-CC00866, enjoining Children's Hospital and Dr. Lieu from performing the tonsillectomy on Cooper scheduled for March 19, 2007. The court also appointed a guardian ad litem and ordered Respondent to add Tanna as a party to the case.

24. On March 23, 2007, Tanna, through counsel, filed a motion to dismiss case no. 0722-CC00866.

25. On March 23, 2007, Respondent voluntarily withdrew her Petition for Damages in case no. 0722-CC00866.

26. On March 23, 2007, Judge Garvey apologized to the lawyers for the defendant hospital, Dr. Lieu, and Tanna, stating that he would not have enjoined the surgery had he been aware that the Madison County court had heard the same request, and denied it, on March 14, 2007.

27. By reason of the conduct described above, the Respondent have engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. making a statement of material fact or law to a tribunal which the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is false, in violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. in an ex parte hearing, failing to inform the tribunal of all material facts known to the lawyer which will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse, in violation of Rule 3.3(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  3. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  4. filing a suit, asserting a position, conducting a defense, delaying a trial, or taking other action on behalf of the client when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another, in violation of Rule 1.2(f)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  5. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  6. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts of the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

Count II
(Making false statements in connection with a disciplinary matter)

1. On August 3, 2007, Respondent appeared with counsel for a sworn statement in the Springfield office of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission regarding the matter described in Count I, above, and testified, under oath, as follows:

(Page 61)

Q : All right. Now, going back to your Wednesday [March 14, 2007] conversation with the judge, did you tell him that you had tried to get the injunction stayed or altered earlier in the day?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: You told him about the Illinois case?

A: Yes, I did.

Q What did you tell him?

A: I said that we had recently or just left court in Illinois and that they would not stop the surgery and nobody there saw anything wrong with the child with a heart defect having a tonsillectomy.

(Page 66)

Q: All right. Because what's in writing makes it sound like you didn't even get a chance to make your arguments on March 14th [in Illinois]; would you agree with that?

A: I agree that it is poorly written in that sentence, yes.

Q: But you're telling me that orally you told Judge Garvey that you made these arguments in Illinois?

A: Yes.

2. Respondent's statement in her sworn statement that she orally told Judge Garvey that she had made the same arguments earlier on March 14, 2007 in Illinois was false in that Respondent did not make such oral representations to Judge Garvey on either March 14, 2007 or March 16, 2007. At no time on or before March 16, 2007 did Respondent disclose to Judge Garvey that she had been in court in Illinois on March 14, 2007.

3. By reason of the conduct described above, the Respondent have engaged in the

following misconduct:

  1. making a statement of material fact known by the lawyer to be false in connection with a lawyer disciplinary matter in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  3. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  4. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts of the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Denise Church, Senior Counsel
Attorney Registration &
Disciplinary Commission
One North Old Capitol Plaza, #333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Denise Church
Counsel for the Administrator