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

In the Matter of:

ROSAIRE MARIE NOTTAGE,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 2067110.

 

Commission No.  2010PR00090 

 

JOINT STIPULATION OF FACTS

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorneys, Scott A. Kozlov and James A. Doppke, Jr., and Respondent, Rosaire Marie Nottage, stipulate that the following facts could be proven by clear and convincing evidence at a hearing:

A. Facts as to Respondent's Release of Confidential Information in the Nottage Matter

1. In April 2006, Respondent agreed to represent Reva Bauch ("Bauch") in a then-pending dissolution of marriage case in the Circuit Court of Cook County, and, in May 2007, the parties entered into an oral settlement agreement, which the court approved at a prove-up hearing.  The court then ordered the parties to file a written document memorializing the oral agreement.

2. Between May 2007 and July 2007, the parties disagreed regarding several terms of the oral settlement agreement, and Respondent and Bauch were unable to agree upon the manner in which the written settlement agreement would be submitted to the court.

3. In July 2006, Respondent was granted leave to withdraw as Bauch's counsel in the dissolution of marriage case.

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4. On November 2, 2007, Bauch filed a motion to set aside the oral settlement agreement in which she claimed that Respondent had not provided her with sufficient information to give informed consent to the agreement; that the agreement was unconscionable; and that Respondent coerced her into entering into the agreement. Bauch attached to the motion copies of six email communications between herself and Respondent in which they communicated regarding Bauch's divorce case.

5. Between November 2, 2007, and November 17, 2007, Bauch's husband's attorney, Ron A. Cohen, telephoned Respondent and told her that he intended to call her as a witness at the hearing on Bauch's motion to set aside the oral settlement agreement.  Respondent told Cohen that she had information that would refute Bauch's allegations of attorney coercion.

6. Shortly thereafter, Respondent caused copies of at least 32 distinct email communications between Bauch and Respondent or her employees to be sent to Cohen.  The materials sent to Cohen consisted of 519 pages, in part because they contained duplicate copies of some of the emails.  The correspondence included information pertaining to Respondent's representation of Bauch that was confidential or secret.

7. Respondent did not contact Bauch prior to sending the materials referred to in paragraph six, above, to Cohen. At the time that she sent Cohen the emails, Respondent believed that she was entitled to use them to defend herself from Bauch's allegations that she had engaged in wrongful conduct pursuant to Rule 1.6(c)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. Respondent considered the allegations to be false.  However, Respondent did not research the applicability or scope of that Rule prior to producing the emails to Cohen, and she did not take steps to redact the emails, obtain a court order authorizing the release of those emails, or require a subpoena for the production of those materials.

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8. Respondent's release of the information contained in the emails referred to in paragraph six, above, violated Rules 1.6(a) and 8.4(a)(5) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 770.

B. Facts relating to mitigation

9. In mitigation, Respondent has been admitted to practice in Illinois since May 7, 1976, and she has never been previously disciplined.  She has expressed remorse for her conduct, and she has been cooperative during the investigation and formal disciplinary proceedings in this matter.

10. Additionally, if this matter had proceeded to hearing, Respondent would have presented several favorable character witnesses, including four judges from the Circuit Court of Cook County and five attorneys from the Chicago area.

 

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:  Scott Kozlov
Counsel for the Administrator
130 East Randolph Street, #1500
Chicago, IL  60601

Respectfully submitted,

Rosarie Marie Nottage
Attorney-Respondent


By: Theresa Gronkiewicz
Collins, Bargione & Vuckovich
One N. LaSalle St., Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60602

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

In the Matter of:

ROSAIRE MARIE NOTTAGE,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 2067110.

 

Commission No.  2010PR00090 

 

REPRIMAND

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by the Hearing Board members whose names are affixed hereto, administers this reprimand to Rosaire Marie Nottage:

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

1. Respondent, Rosaire Marie Nottage, was admitted to practice in Illinois on May 7, 1976, and has never previously been disciplined.

2. On July 13, 2010, the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a one-count complaint against Respondent, charging her with revealing client confidences in connection with a dissolution of marriage claim.

3. The Administrator and Respondent have entered into a stipulation concerning the facts of this case. The Panel adopts that stipulation, a copy of which is attached to this Reprimand.

4. The Panel agrees with the Administrator and Respondent that based upon the uncontested facts described in the stipulation, a reprimand is the appropriate discipline herein.

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5. The Panel has considered such mitigating factors as Respondent's expression of remorse for her conduct, and her cooperation during the pendency of these charges before the Hearing Board.

6. The purpose of disciplinary proceedings is to determine whether professional misconduct occurred, and what sanction should be imposed. Sanctions are imposed not to punish the attorney, but to protect the public, maintain the integrity and reputation of the Bar, protect courts and the administration of justice from reproach, and deter the respondent herein and other attorneys from misconduct. See, e.g., In re Levin, 101 Ill.2d 535, 463 N.E.2d 715 (1984); In re Lamberis, 93 Ill.2d 222, 443 N.E.2d 549 (1982).

In view of the matters set forth above, the Panel has determined that the appropriate sanction in the instant case is a reprimand.

The result in this matter is consistent with the outcome of other cases involving comparable misconduct, including In re Chess, 93 CH 428 (May 17, 1994), and In re Hack, M.R. 11780, 95 CH 707 (January 23, 1996).

REPRIMAND

To: Rosaire Marie Nottage:

1. You are being reprimanded for revealing confidences and secrets of your former client, Reva Bauch, in connection with her dissolution of marriage claim. Your conduct brought the legal profession into disrepute. Had you taken further action to limit the disclosures made and protect the confidences of Ms. Bauch, these disciplinary proceedings might have been avoided.

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2. When an attorney reveals client confidences and secrets, it undermines the public's confidence in the efficiency of the system and attorneys in general. Attorneys have an obligation to avoid all conduct which could bring the legal profession into disrepute.

3. Your conduct as described in this Reprimand and in the Stipulation of Fact was improper. You have violated Rules 1.6(a) and 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 770. You are therefore reprimanded not to repeat the conduct which has resulted in the imposition of discipline.

4. You are further advised that while this reprimand is not formally presented to the Supreme Court, it is not to be taken lightly. This reprimand is a matter of public record and is on file with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and may be admitted into evidence in subsequent disciplinary proceedings against you.

  Champ W. Davis, Chair
 

Tiffany M Ferguson

 

Date Entered: July 20, 2011