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

In the Matter of:

CARYN H. NADENBUSH,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6243557.

 

Commission No. 2011PR00077  

FILED -  November 8, 2011

AMENDED COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Denise Church, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Caryn H. Nadenbush, who was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois on November 6, 1997, 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
(Respondent's improper ex parte emails with arbitrator Jennifer Teague)

1. At all times described in this complaint, Respondent was a partner at the law firm of Hennessy & Roach, P.C.

2. At all times described in this complaint, Jennifer Teague ("Teague") was an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission ("WCC"). Respondent appeared in front of Teague while representing various respondent-employers before the WCC.

3. Teague and Respondent were social friends who frequently emailed each other about personal matters.

4. In the years 2009 and 2010, Respondent and Teague also exchanged ex parte emails about Respondent's cases pending before Teague at the WCC.

5. On May 27, 2009, Respondent sent Teague an email, without sending a copy to her opposing counsel, regarding the matter entitled Clarissa Blakemore v. Walgreens' Distributing, WCC case number 04 WC 56120, stating:

"FYI, Keith Short refuses to discuss settlement with me and is pushing to finish the trial on 6/3. I don't have a problem with that, but can we get scheduled first? I have all those witnesses and I don't want to have to ask them to sit around all day again after they've already done it once. And I'm not sure what Keith is wanting at this point. I think I told you he demanded $50k, for full and final before lunch last trial day, then wouldn't accept it after lunch. Then he upped his demand to $80k, but said he hadn't talked to his client yet. WTF??"

6. On May 27, 2009, Teague sent Respondent an email regarding the Blakemore case, without copying Respondent's opposing counsel, stating:

"Where did we leave off in the trial? Did you cross her? How much time do you think it will take to finish? I think we should just finish the trial and you say F him. He's clearly jerking you around. You can go first on Wednesday, no problem."

7. On March 31, 2010, in Pound v. Henderson Trucking, WCC case number 09 WC 35163, Respondent's opposing counsel sent her an email with a demand for 30% MAW ("man as whole") in a case pending before Teague. Respondent then forwarded opposing counsel's email to Teague for an opinion about the demand, and stated: "She's kidding, right?"

8. Teague and Respondent exchanged further ex parte emails about the petitioner's settlement demand in the Pound case, without including Pound's attorney in the ex parte email exchange. Teague and Respondent agreed that they both thought that 5% MAW was an appropriate settlement amount in Pound.

9. As of 2009, the case of Deanna Croghan v. Walgreens' Distribution Center, WCC case number 08 WC 13379 was pending on the Mount Vernon WCC docket, and as of May 2010, was pending before Teague. At issue in the Croghan case was whether certain medical bills relating to Croghan's thoracic outlet syndrome were causally connected to a work-related injury.

10. On May 12, 2010, Deanna Croghan's ("Croghan") lawyer, Fritz Levenhagen, was taking the evidence deposition of one of Croghan's doctors; the deposition was set for 2:00 p.m. At 1:12 p.m., Respondent sent Teague an ex parte email stating: "what do you think bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome is worth?" Teague responded: "40 to 50 MAW??? Let me do a little checking…give me 10." Respondent then sent Teague an ex parte email stating: "No hurry. She had full duty release, no problems, and is actually better than before (the problem sees [sic] to have started following an auto accident)."

11. On October 28, 2010, opposing counsel sent Respondent and Teague an email stating that they were trying to resolve a specific case on the Mt. Vernon docket, case number 36, by the end of the year. Respondent then sent an ex parte email response, only to Teague, stating:

"That won't happen. It's already November. I have no records and no settlement demand. Not to mention, I've been waiting three months for a response to an offer I made on another case. Think early spring."

12. Teague then sent an ex parte email to Respondent, without copying opposing counsel, and said she (Teague) thought she would "force a trial" in the case before early spring.

13. Respondent was aware of the ex parte nature of the comments, described above, and did nothing to notify her opposing counsel of the comments.

14. Respondent and Teague also exchanged ex parte emails making disparaging remarks about Respondent's opposing counsel in the Pound case, WCC case number 09 WC 35163, pending before Teague.

15. On January 29, 2010, Respondent sent Teague an email about Respondent's opposing counsel in the Pound case, stating that opposing counsel: "is really starting to annoy me. Either let the report in or don't, but don't tell me I can admit it and then nitpick every line to find things to object to."

16. On February 8, 2010, Respondent's opposing counsel in the Pound case sent an email to Respondent about the case, which Respondent forwarded, on an ex parte basis, to Teague, with Respondent adding on the comments "Make it STOP!!!!!."

17. On February 17, 2010, Respondent forwarded an email from opposing counsel in Pound to Teague, on an ex parte basis, and stated: "Why does this have to be so painful?"

18. In an unspecified case, on March 10, 2010, Teague emailed Respondent, complaining about Respondent's opposing counsel's exhibits, stating: "do you know that ALL of her exhibits are LOOSE. Nothing is bound, including the deposition. All divided by colored paper. Seriously? WTF?"

19. On March 10, 2010, Respondent sent Teague a responsive email regarding the unspecified case, on an ex parte basis, stating: "Oh yes, I know….that's why I was pitching a fit at the arbitration. She basically put in the records twice. What was that about? You need to separate the ‘more important' records?? What?"

20. On May 27, 2009, Respondent sent Teague an email, regarding a pending case she had with attorney Mark [last name unspecified], in which Respondent stated that "He's an ass." On May 27, 2009, Teague sent an email back to Respondent and stated "And yes, Mark is an ass."

21. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct in 2009:

  1. communicating ex parte as to the merits of the cause with a judge or an official before whom the proceeding is pending, in violation of Rule 3.5(i) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);

  2. engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

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

22. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct in 2010:

  1. communicating ex parte with a judge or other official during a proceeding, in violation of Rule 3.5(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  2. engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

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

Count II
(False statements to the Administrator)

23. On April 14, 2011, Respondent appeared 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. The Administrator's counsel identified an ex parte email that Respondent sent to Teague, described in Paragraphs Nine and Ten above, and asked Respondent about the email, which did not identify a client by name in the subject line or text):

(Page 52)

Q: Question, is this general?

A: Correct, uh- huh.

Q: This was not a case you have in front of Teague?

A: No. It was just a general, I don't recall if maybe a client called me or why I would have been doing, it's a pretty, this bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome is a pretty rare kind of an injury and there just really wasn't a lot out there and so it was more like hey, have you seen this, what do you, you know what is your opinion on what these might be worth.

24. Respondent's statement, above, that the email described in Paragraphs Nine and Ten, above, was not pertaining to a case she had before Teague was false, in that Respondent represented the respondent-employer in the Deanna Croghan v. Walgreens' Distribution Center, WCC case number 08 WC 13379, and the case was pending before Teague at the time of the email.

25. Respondent knew her statement in Paragraph 23, above, was false.

26. On June 2, 2011, the Administrator's counsel wrote to Respondent and asked for further information about the Croghan case.

27. On June 4, 2011, Respondent sent the Administrator's counsel a letter, and stated in part that "[A]s you know from prior review of my emails, this case was not the subject of any of the email correspondence between me and Ms. Teague."

28. Respondent's statement in her June 4, 2011 letter was false, in that the emails identified above did refer to the Croghan case.

29. Respondent knew her statement in paragraph 27, above, was false.

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

  1. knowingly making a false statement of material fact in connection with a lawyer disciplinary matter in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  2. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  3. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); 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 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
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
One North Old Capitol Plaza, Suite #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