Filed December 8, 2011
In re Brian Christopher Witter
Commission No. 09 CH 50
Synopsis of Review Board Report and Recommendation
This matter arises out of Respondent's involvement as plaintiff's counsel in a class action filed in federal court in New York. The Administrator alleged that Respondent filed frivolous pleadings in the case in violation of Rule 3.1; made false statements to the courts in two pleadings about the amount of fees he was owed in violation of Rules 3.3 and 8.4; and made false statements regarding the integrity of a judge in violation of Rule 8.2(a) and Supreme Court Rule 770. The Hearing Board found that Respondent made false statements about a judge in violation of Rule 8.2 and Supreme Court Rule 770; the Board concluded that the Administrator did not prove the remaining allegations by clear and convincing evidence. The Hearing Board recommended that Respondent be censured.
On review, the Administrator challenged the Hearing Board's finding that Respondent did not violate Rules 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(a)(5) by filing false statements before two judges regarding an order entered in the federal case in New York. The Administrator contended that Respondent's misconduct, in making the false statements and in making false statements about a judge, warrants a six month suspension from the practice of law. Respondent asked that the recommendation of a censure be affirmed.
The Review Board concluded that Respondent's statements in his pleadings before two judges were false and violated Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(a)(5) and Supreme Court Rule 770. The Review Board recommended, in light of the mitigating evidence, that Respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of four (4) months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.
BEFORE THE REVIEW BOARD
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
|In the Matter of:
BRIAN CHRISTOPHER WITTER,
Commission No. 09 CH 50
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE REVIEW BOARD
This matter arises out of Respondent's involvement as plaintiff's counsel in a class action filed in federal court in New York entitled Eckhaus v. Nature's Pillows, Inc. The Administrator's Complaint in this matter alleged that Respondent filed frivolous pleadings in the case in violation of Rule 3.1; made false statements to the courts in two pleadings about the amount of fees he was owed in violation of Rules 3.3 and 8.4; made misrepresentations in his resume submitted to a court in support of his fee petition in violation of Rules 3.3 and 8.4; and made false statements regarding the integrity of a judge in violation of Rule 8.2(a) and Supreme Court Rule 770. The Hearing Board found that Respondent made false statements about a judge in violation of Rule 8.2 and Supreme Court Rule 770; the Board concluded that the Administrator did not prove the remaining allegations by clear and convincing evidence. The Hearing Board recommended that Respondent be censured.
The Administrator filed exceptions to the Hearing Board's finding that Respondent did not violate Rules 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(a)(5) by filing false statements before two judges regarding an order entered by Judge Block in the federal case in New York on June 23, 2008. The Administrator contends that Respondent's misconduct, in making the false statements
and in making false statements about a judge, warrants a six month suspension from the practice of law. Respondent asks that the recommendation of a censure be affirmed.
The facts relevant to our decision are summarized below. The Hearing Board Report and Recommendation contains a thorough recitation of the facts.
The Eckhaus case was a class action lawsuit brought in 2006 on behalf of alleged purchasers of a product called "Urine Gone" for allegations of misleading advertising. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York. Respondent had no agreement with the client to provide services and had no fee agreement with the plaintiff class. However, Respondent performed legal services as an independent contractor for the law firm of DiTomasso & Lubin on the Eckhaus case, including taking between 12 to 20 depositions. Pursuant to his agreement with the firm of DiTomasso & Lubin, Respondent was paid $1000 per week for his services provided in several matters, including the Eckhaus matter. In additon to Mr. DiTommaso, Mr. Lubin, and Respondent, four other attorneys not associated with the law firm were listed as class counsel in the lawsuit.
On March 14, 2008, the court in the Eckhaus case preliminarily approved a class settlement agreement between Eckhaus, the class, and the defendants. The settlement provided for a payment by defendants of $2,000 to Pamela Eckhaus as an incentive award for her services as class representative. There was no other monetary settlement to the plaintiff class. The agreement also provided for the payment of $298,000 to class counsel for attorney's fees and costs.
Despite having been paid for his services by DiTomasso & Lubin, Respondent believed he was entitled to a portion of the fees awarded in the Eckhaus case. On June 18, 2008,
Respondent sent a letter and a document entitled "Amended Final Approval Order" to the judge in the Eckhaus case, United States District Judge Frederic Block. In the "Amended Final Approval Order", Respondent claimed entitlement to $105,000 in attorney fees for his work on the Eckhaus matter. He did not request such a distribution; rather the document entitled "Amended Final Approval Order" states with respect to the payment of $298,000 in attorneys fees, "Defendants shall transmit to Brian C. Witter, PC and DiTommaso & Lubin within fourteen (14) days of the Effective Date as defined in the Settlement Agreement: (1) a check in the amount of $105,000 made out to Brian C. Witter, PC; (2) a check in the amount of $193,000 made out to DiTommaso &Lubin, which DiTommaso & Lubin will distribute among Class Counsel; and (3) a check in the amount of $2000 made out to Pamela Eckhaus, which DiTommaso & Lubin will transmit to Mrs. Eckhaus."
At no time prior to the submission of this document in federal court had Respondent reached an agreement with the other plaintiffs' counsel or with the plaintiff class to be paid anything from the Eckhaus settlement. Mr. DiTommaso testified that Respondent was not entitled to any fees out of the Eckhaus case, other than perhaps a discretionary bonus if the firm had made the decision to pay one to Respondent. On June 20, 2008, after the firm received Respondent's "Amended Final Approval Order", the firm filed a lawsuit against Respondent in DuPage County Circuit Court seeking a declaration that Respondent was not entitled to any fees in the Eckhaus case or in any other lawsuits on which Respondent had worked while he was an independent contractor for the law firm.
At a hearing before Judge Block on June 24, 2008, Respondent sought payment of $105,000 of the $298,000 in total attorney fees. The judge repeatedly stated during the hearing that he was not going to allocate the $298,000 between the attorneys. Judge Block subsequently
entered a Final Approval Order approving payment of "$298,000 to Class Counsel for attorney' fees and costs" and directing that the payment be made by check "made out jointly to Vincent L. DiTommaso, Peter S. Lubin, and Brian C. Witter." Respondent admitted that the order made no allocation of attorneys fees and that the judge expressly refused to make an allocation.
On July 7, 2008, Mr. DiTommaso received a check in the amount of $298,000 that was made payable to "DiTommaso & Lubin P.C. and Brian Witter." Respondent refused to endorse the check. Instead, on August 19, 2008, Respondent attempted to register the Final Approval Order as a judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The case was assigned to the Honorable Amy St. Eve. On August 20, 2008, Respondent filed an "Emergency Motion to Enforce Judgment and for Other Relief." On page one of the motion under the heading "Nature of the Action" Respondent stated, "The Ekhaus final judgment, for $298,000 in attorneys' fees, awards Witter, a co-judgment creditor, $149,000; the other co-judgment creditor, the Oakbrook Terrace law firm of DiTommaso Lubin PC (D & L), is entitled equally to $149,000." This statement is one of the two statements that form the basis for the Administrator's allegations that Respondent made a false statement to a court on violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1).
On September 23, 2008, Judge St. Eve denied Respondent's motion and dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In the order, Judge St. Eve stated, "The ‘judgment' Witter seeks to enforce here does not exist. Significantly, neither Witter nor D & L were parties to the underlying litigation. Further, the E.D.N.Y. expressly declined to decide the dispute over the allocation of the fee award between Witter and D & L. It is ‘indisputable that a claim for attorney's fees is not part of the merits of the action to which the fees pertain.'" Respondent testified he filed a notice of appeal from Judge St. Eve's order "within, probably, 45
minutes" of the order's entry. The case was docketed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
On August 24, 2008, while his emergency motion was still pending before Judge St. Eve, Respondent also filed a notice of removal of the DuPage County suit to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in which he referred to the June 23, 2008 order entered by Judge Block as a "final federal court judgment." The matter was assigned to the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer. On October 3, 2008, after Judge St. Eve had entered her order, Respondent filed a "Motion to Enforce Judgment and for Other Relief." At paragraph two of the motion, Respondent stated, "The Eckhaus final judgment, for $298,000 in attorneys' fees, awards Witter, a co-judgment creditor, $149,000; plaintiff, the other co-judgment creditor, is entitled equally to $149,000." The Administrator contends that this statement is also false and violates Rule 3.3(a)(1). Respondent attached a memorandum of law in support of his motion. On October 16, 2008, Judge Pallmeyer remanded the case to DuPage County on the basis that Judge St. Eve's determination that there was no federal judgment to enforce was controlling.
Oral argument was held on the Seventh Circuit appeal on February 10, 2009, at which time Respondent was repeatedly questioned as to how he could have had a basis for his assertion that the lower court could allocate attorneys fees. The court questioned Respondent about how he could believe that he had a basis for his allegations given that Judge Block "could not have been more clear" that he was not allocating fees. Further, the court noted that Respondent provided absolutely no authority in the record or legal support for his argument that he could claim one-half of the amount given that the order issued payment jointly to three lawyers and given that the check and the order did not allocate distribution of the funds in question.
Rule 3.3(a) (1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990) provides, "In appearing in a professional capacity before a tribunal a lawyer shall not make a statement of material fact or law to a tribunal which the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is false."
There is no question that Respondent was appearing in a professional capacity and was making a statement to a tribunal when he made the statements to Judge St. Eve and to Judge Pallmeyer. A fact is material if "its existence or nonexistence is a matter to which a reasonable man would attach importance in determining his choice of action in the transaction in question." In re Ducey, 03 SH 123 (Review Bd., Jan. 21, 2009) at 18-19, approved and confirmed No. M.R. 23053 (May 18, 2009). Thus, Respondent's statements were material; indeed, the heart of the matter being litigated by Respondent following the entry of Judge Block's order was the allocation of the fees.
The question then becomes whether the statement was a statement of fact or law; whether Respondent's statement was false; and whether Respondent knew or should have known that it was false. The Hearing Board concluded that Respondent's assertion that Judge Block's order was a "final judgment" which "awarded'' Respondent $149,000 was merely a legal argument in a pleading concerning Respondent's wishes regarding the impact of the court's order rather than constituting any knowing misrepresentation regarding the order's intent or content.
We disagree and find that the Hearing Board's conclusion was clearly erroneous. We first note that Respondent did not characterize his statements in the pleadings themselves as argument or as a prayer for relief. He made the statements in portions of the motion usually reserved for factual summations. In the pleading before Judge St. Eve, the statement is made in
the section Respondent entitled, "Nature of the Action". In the pleading before Judge Pallmeyer the statement is made in the opening paragraphs, as opposed to the accompanying memorandum of law. The court was entitled to accurate information regarding the proceedings before Judge Block; to hold otherwise would place a burden on the courts to sift through statements made by lawyers in pleadings and compare the statements with the underlying record to determine the truth.
A statement made by a lawyer in a pleading can therefore be found to be a violation of 3.3(a)(1). We also note that the language of Rule 3.3(a)(1) does not exclude pleadings from the prohibition against false statements and lawyers have been disciplined pursuant to Rule 3.3(a)(1) for statements made in pleadings. See. e.g., In re Paden, 04 CH 116 (Hearing Bd., Oct. 20, 2006), affirmed, (Review Bd., Oct. 5, 2007), Respondent's petition for leave to file exceptions denied, No. M.R. 22089 (May 19, 2008) (Respondent disbarred for misconduct including a violation of Rule 3.3 (a)(1) for a false statement made in a motion for sanctions); In re Gearhart, 05 SH 0019 (Hearing Bd., Feb. 15, 2006), affirmed, (Review Bd., October 30, 2006), Respondent's petition for leave to file exceptions denied, No. M.R. 21335 (March 19, 2007)(Respondent disciplined in part for knowingly filing a pleading with a court that contained a false statement about whether a payment constituted a loan); In re Barringer, 00 SH 80, petition to impose discipline on consent allowed, No. M.R. 17621 (Sept. 21, 2001)(attorney violated Rules 3.3(a)(1) and 8.2(a) by making statements in a motion to substitute judge that the lawyer knew or should have known were false).
Furthermore, there is no question that Respondent's statements in the two pleadings that the Eckhaus "final judgment" "awarded" Respondent $149,000 were false. As found by the court, the Eckhaus order by Judge Block was not a final judgment. Nor can the
order by Judge Block be read to award Respondent $149,000. There is no dispute that Judge Block never intended to give or grant Respondent $149,000; Respondent contends that the order itself, directing that the payment of $298,000 be made jointly to Mr. DiTommaso, Mr. Lubin and Respondent, must be read to so grant him $149,000. But Respondent's contention does not make sense. A direction to make payment of $298,000 to three individuals jointly could not so be read. Respondent knew the statement was false, because he attended the hearing before Judge Block. He admits he was aware of the Judge's intentions, and he read the judge's order. In aggravation, he also knew he was not arguably entitled to $149,000. Respondent saw an opportunity when the check was mistakenly issued with two payees to obtain even more than he had originally requested.
Accordingly, we conclude that Respondent violated Rule 3.3(a)(1) by knowingly making false statements of material fact to Judge Pallmeyer and Judge St. Eve. Respondent also violated Rule 8.4(a)(5) by engaging in conduct that tends to defeat the administration of justice and Supreme Court Rule 770 by engaging in conduct that brings the courts or legal profession into disrepute. See, In re Barry, 09 SH 5 (Hearing Bd., June 4, 2010) at 24, affirmed (Review Bd., Dec. 30, 2010), recommendation adopted, No. M.R. 24439 (March 21, 2011).
In addition to the misconduct noted above, Respondent also engaged in misconduct by making false statements about the qualifications or integrity of a judge in violation of Rule 8.2 and Supreme Court 770. Respondent's misconduct arises out of his actions before Judge Thomas Dudgeon in the DuPage County case that had been filed by DiTommaso & Lubin against Respondent seeking declaratory relief and injunctive relief related to Respondent's claim for fees in the Eckhaus case and the various attorney's liens that he had served in other
matters. Following Judge Pallmeyer's remand of the matter before her to DuPage County, on December 9, 2008, Judge Dudgeon conducted a preliminary injunction hearing in the DuPage County action. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Dudgeon granted DiTommaso & Lubin's motion for a preliminary injunction and entered an order directing Respondent to endorse the $298,000 check. The order also allowed the law firm to distribute $149,000 of the proceeds from the check in its discretion and to hold the remaining amount in escrow. On December 10, 2008, Respondent filed an Interlocutory Appeal in the Illinois Appellate Court challenging the preliminary injunction order.
On February 4, 2009, Respondent filed a Motion for Leave to File a Complaint for Mandamus against Judge Dudgeon in the Illinois Supreme Court which was directed at challenging Judge Dudgeon's December 9 order and his disposition of the attorney's fees in the Eckhaus case. On February 6, Judge Dudgeon entered an order denying two motions to dismiss filed by Respondent as well as a motion that he had filed with respect to the release of the alleged judgment proceeds. Judge Dudgeon also granted the law firm's request for sanctions against Respondent for having to defend against identical motions to dismiss. Thomas Hoffman, a court sergeant in the Court Security Division of the DuPage County Sheriff's Office, testified at the disciplinary hearing regarding Respondent's behavior in court on February 6. On that day, Judge Dudgeon's deputy reported that Respondent was acting in a bizarre and irrational manner. The deputy reported that Respondent was at times loud and red-faced, that he had displayed intimidating body language and had tossed a packet of papers on the bench in an abrupt manner. As a result of Respondent's behavior, Judge Dudgeon had reported that he was concerned for his own safety and that of his family and he requested that the Glen Ellyn police keep an extra patrol on his residence. Sergeant Hoffman has prepared similar reports concerning courtroom outbursts,
but this was the only report he ever prepared concerning an attorney. Respondent did not learn of the incident report until a few days before the disciplinary hearing.
On February 9, 2009, Respondent filed in the DuPage County case a Motion for Substitution of Judge for Cause and for Transfer of the Action to the Circuit Court of Cook County. In the motion, Respondent wrote:
3. Although the court's disregard for the law in all of its various manifestations has been indiscriminate, ignoring cases, statutes, procedural rules, principles of sound public policy, controlling United States Supreme Court precedent of issues of federal law, and both state and federal constitutional authority, it may be asserted that even such judicial roguery should not necessarily occasion a motion to remove a judge from a case for cause.
4. Nor, further still, in isolation, it could be argued, should a judge's failure to apply logic and reason to a legal matter necessarily require removal for cause.
5. Certainly, however, all of the above issues are silhouetted differently when cast in the light of manifest prejudice against a party and the resultant failure to adjudicate a matter according to law. Simply, the conduct of these proceedings cannot be explained solely by indifference and inattention to the applicable law.
6. For reasons that are mysterious to me, since I had never set eyes on the Judge-nor even heard of him-prior to the first week of December, 2008, the judge's conduct of this matter has from the beginning been tainted by his evident and apparently profound dislike of me. The tone and pattern of what was to come was established immediately. When I tried to speak and explain the matter at the first hearing, I was cut off or ignored and given the impression that what I wished to say was rather less important and pertinent to the Judge than whatever my opposing counsel had to say.
7. Indeed, opposing counsel, a loquacious older gentleman named Joseph Laraia, was allowed to dominate the initial hearing and to hold forth at will, while I was given the distinct impression that my views were less than welcome.
8. There was, on the Judge's part, given the complexity of the issues raised, an appallingly hasty rush to judgment that can only be explained through bias and, literally, "pre-judging."
9. The proceedings, in short, have been irredeemably corrupted by prejudice and disdain for one party and the concomitant elevation of the interests of one party over the other.
10. Where judiciousness, thoughtfulness, and restraint have been called for, instead the judge has displayed contempt for one party and demonstrated an inability to adjudicate the matter according to law as the Rules of the Illinois Supreme Court and the Code of Judicial Conduct require.
17. Any litigant deserves to have their matter decided according tot law and not the whims of a judge whose actions have been clouded by bias and his reason betrayed by prejudice. ‘According to law" means citations to authority; it means actually reading briefs; it means giving reasons when ruling; and it means conducting the matter with fairness and impartiality. These basic duties have been ignored in this matter. The conduct of this matter by Judge Dudgeon has been-no other word- a disgrace. The judge should be removed for cause.
Respondent did not present the motion for hearing because his dispute with DiTomasso & Lubin settled shortly after the filing of the motion. He acknowledged at hearing that he went "overboard" and that he "crossed the line." He expressed remorse for losing his temper.
The purpose of the attorney disciplinary system is not to punish the attorney for his misconduct, but "to protect the public, maintain the integrity of the legal profession, and protect the administration of justice from reproach." In re Winthrop, 219 Ill. 2d 526, 559, 848 N.E.2d 961, 981 (2006). In determining the appropriate sanction, the Board must consider the nature of the misconduct charged and proved, and any aggravating and mitigating circumstances shown by the evidence. In re Gorecki, 208 Ill. 2d 350, 360-61, 802 N.E.2d 1194, 1200 (2003).
As noted by the Hearing Board, although attorneys are permitted to engage in fair criticism of a judge's rulings, they are not permitted to engage in unjust criticism, insulting and scurrilous attacks, or other offensive conduct toward members of the judiciary. People ex rel Chicago Bar Association v. Metzen, 291 Ill. 55 58, 125 N.E. 2d (1919). Such conduct by attorneys, who are officers of the court, tends to bring the courts and the legal profession into
disrepute and to destroy public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. In re Jafree, 93 Ill. 2d 450, 460, 444 N.E.2d 143 (1982); In re Phelps, 55 Ill. 2d 319, 322-323, 303 N.E. 2d 13 (1973).
If the only misconduct by Respondent involved his false statements about Judge Dudgeon, then a recommendation of a censure would be consistent with the sanctions imposed in other similar cases. See, e.g., In re Harrison, (Review Bd., Oct. 14, 2008), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 22838 (March 16, 2009)(censure imposed for a lawyer who filed a motion to continue a criminal case, and an amended motion to continue, which referred to the case as a "criminal court fiasco" and set forth that the proceedings "may also necessitate criminal charges for obstruction of justice, malicious prosecution and/or prosecutorial misconduct as well as conspiracy to do same by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division, located at 2600 S. California, in Chicago, IL, in room 102." The attorney offered in mitigation that he had never been disciplined and that his conduct was an isolated instance.); In re Barringer, 00 SH 80, petition to impose discipline on consent allowed, No. M.R. 17621 (Sept. 21, 2001)(attorney was censured for his false statements about the judge's financial condition statements in a motion for substitution of judge. He expressed remorse for his statements and had not been previously disciplined.).
However, Respondent also made false statements in two pleadings. Respondent's conduct caused needless litigation, not to mention costs both to his opponents in the fee dispute but also to the judicial system. Violations of Rule 3.3(a)(1) have been found to warrant sanctions of a suspension from the practice of law. See, e.g., In re Barry, 00 SH 54 (Review Bd., April 10, 2003), Administrator's petition for leave to file exceptions as to sanctions allowed, No. M.R. 18782 (Sept. 19, 2003)(attorney was suspended for nine months falsely telling an opponent's insurer that he had an expert when he had not consulted with an expert and for filing a breach of
contract complaint which falsely stated that the clients had refused to allow him to pursue an appeal); In re Bradley Verett, 07 SH 105 (Hearing Bd., June 17, 2008), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 22567 (Sept. 17, 2008)(ninety day suspension and order to complete professionalism seminar imposed for attorney who made false statements to court in one matter, including false statements in pleadings).
The Administrator contends that a suspension of six months is warranted. In support, the Administrator cites a number of cases including In re Montalvo, 98 SH 11 (Review Bd., May 12, 2000), Administrator's leave to file exception allowed, No. M.R. 16865 (Sept. 22, 2000). In Montalvo, a six month suspension was imposed upon an attorney for his actions in signing an affidavit which was presented to a court without reading it. The affidavit contained false statements. This Board noted that even if the attorney had not intended to deceive the court his reckless disregard was sufficient to violate Rule 3.3(a)(1). While there was no evidence of a violation of 8.2 like in this matter, the attorney also engaged in additional serious misconduct, a conflict of interest.
The Administrator also relies on In re Smith, 04 CH 64 (Review Bd., Sept. 14, 2006) Administrator's petition for leave to file exceptions as to sanction allowed, No. M.R. 21240 (Jan. 12, 2007) in support of a suspension recommendation. In Smith, the attorney represented plaintiffs in a class action against Ford Motor Co. along with other attorneys. The attorneys for the class filed documents in court which gave the impression that they would be paid only by the court's award of fees and not through their contingent fee agreements with the class. However, following the court's award of fees, the lawyers did seek to enforce the contingent fees. While Smith did not draft the misleading documents at issue, she had reason to know of the false impression created with the court by the documents and she did nothing to
correct the misrepresentation, In mitigation, she offered evidence of community service, reputation testimony and service to the bar. She was suspended for thirty days.
We note in mitigation that Respondent has never been disciplined, that his misconduct arose out of one matter, and that he has expressed remorse regarding his statements about Judge Dudgeon. We are, however, troubled by Respondent's continued refusal to acknowledge that Judge Block did not award him half of the attorneys fees and his refusal to acknowledge that he erred in making false statements about the judge's order in subsequent pleadings.. For example, in his brief, Respondent continues to assert that Judge Block "merely affirmed the terms of the preliminary approval order and split the attorneys' fees evenly between plaintiffs co-lead counsel, Witter and DiTomasso". He knows that this assertion is simply not true.
We believe that a suspension of four months with an order that Respondent attend an ARDC Professionalism Seminar is appropriate and consistent with the sanctions imposed in other similar cases. The requirement to complete an ARDC Professionalism Seminar has been imposed in other cases and appears to be warranted in this matter. It is clear that Respondent needs to be further educated about his ethical responsibilities and the need to adhere to ethical and professional standards in the future. See, e.g., In re Bradley Verett, 07 SH 105 (Hearing Bd., June 17, 2008), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 22567 (Sept. 17, 2008); In re Ravago, 06 CH 71 (Hearing Bd., July 8, 2008), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 22600 (Nov. 18, 2008).
We reverse the Hearing Board's finding that Respondent did not make false statements to a court in violation of Rules 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4 (a)(5) and Supreme Court Rule 770. We find that Respondent's statements in his pleadings filed before Judge St. Eve and Judge
Pallmeyer were false and violated Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3(a)(1) and 8.4(a)(5) and Supreme Court Rule 770. Accordingly, we recommend that Respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of four (4) months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.
Date Entered: 8 December 2011