BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD

OF THE

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION

AND

DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

DAVID KYLE COOPER,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 6277289.

Commission No. 2014PR00166

FILED --- December 18, 2014

 

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Gina M. Abbatemarco, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, David Kyle Cooper, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 7, 2002, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770: 

COUNT I
(Unauthorized practice of law in Caleel matter)

1. Respondent was admitted to practice law on November 7, 2002.

2. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(a) required that, on or before the first day of January of each year, attorneys admitted to practice law in Illinois (subject to certain exceptions that do not apply to Respondent) register and pay to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("the Commission"), any registration fee due according to the provisions of the Rule.

3. At all times set forth in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(d) required the Administrator, on February 1 of each year, to remove from the master roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois the name of any attorney who had not registered for that year as required by Supreme Court Rule 756(a).

4. As of March 2, 2011, Respondent had not registered with the Commission or paid the annual fee that had been due since January 1, 2011, and on that date the Administrator removed Respondent's name from the master roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois.

5. At no time between March 2, 2011 and June 28, 2011, did Respondent pay any past-due annual registration fees or penalties to the Commission. During that period, pursuant to Rule 756(f), Respondent was not authorized to practice law in Illinois or to hold himself out as so authorized.

6. Shortly after March 2, 2011, the Administrator sent Respondent a notice of removal from the master roll as a result of Respondent's failure to register and pay his registration fees. Respondent received the notice shortly after it was sent.

7. Between March 3, 2011 and June 28, 2011, Respondent represented George S. Caleel ("Caleel") in a pending dissolution of marriage case, Caleel v. Caleel, case number 10 D 10744, in the Circuit Court of Cook County. During that time, Respondent signed and filed a certification and agreement by counsel memoralizing his purported agreement with counsel for Ashley Caleel (Lenore G. Bragaw) certifying that there were no contested issues between the parties and that the court could set the matter for a prove-up hearing.

8. On or about April 14, 2011, Respondent appeared in court on behalf of George Caleel for the prove-up in case number 10 D 10744. At that time, Respondent participated in the hearing by, among other things, presenting his client's testimony and a proposed judgment for dissolution of marriage and joint parenting agreement that Respondent had prepared.

9. At no time between March 3, 2011 and June 28, 2011, did Respondent notify Caleel, Bragaw or the court that he was not authorized to practice law in Illinois. On June 28, 2011, Respondent paid the past-due registration fee and penalty and was restored to active status.

10. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

a. practicing law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, by appearing and presenting pleadings in the Caleel matter while his name had been removed from the roll of attorneys, and he was therefore not authorized to practice law, in violation of Rule 5.5(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

b. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, by holding himself out as authorized to practice law to the court, opposing counsel and a client when he was not so authorized, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

COUNT II
(Unauthorized practice of law in Coriglione matter)

11. The Administrator re-alleges paragraphs one through three above.

12. As of February 27, 2012, Respondent had not registered with the Commission or paid the annual fee that had been due since January 1, 2012, and the Administrator removed Respondent's name from the master roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois.

13. At no time between February 27, 2012 and May 23, 2012, did Respondent pay any past-due annual registration fees or penalties to the Commission. During that period of time, pursuant to Rule 756(f), Respondent was not authorized to practice law in Illinois or to hold himself out as so authorized.

15. Shortly after February 27, 2012, the Administrator sent Respondent a notice of removal from the master roll as a result of Respondent's failure to register and pay his registration fees. Respondent received the notice shortly after it was sent.

16. On March 16, 2012, Respondent filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County on behalf of his client, Jillian Coriglione ("Coriglione"), in a personal injury matter. The matter was docketed as Coriglione v. Pettigrew, case number 2012 L 002932.

17. At no time between February 27, 2012 and May 23, 2012 (the date Respondent was restored to active status by paying the past-due registration fee and penalty, did Respondent notify Coriglione that he was not authorized to practice law in Illinois.

18. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

a. practicing law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, by filing a pleading in the Corligione matter while his name had been removed from the roll of attorneys, and he was therefore not authorized to practice law, in violation of Rule 5.5(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

b. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, by holding himself out as authorized to practice law to the court and a client when he was not so authorized, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

COUNT III
(Dishonesty in relation to an ARDC disciplinary matter)

19. The Administrator realleges the facts set forth in paragraphs one through 17 of Counts I and II above.

20. Between 2002 and 2012, Respondent had not registered with the Commission by January 1st of each year in the years 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and had been removed from the master roll for a period of time during those years. Sometime later in each of those years, Respondent paid whatever fees and penalties were due and was restored to active status.

21. On April 9, 2012, the Administrator received a request for an investigation into Respondent's conduct from Gregory Sabourin ("Sabourin"), alleging that Respondent had been negligent in defending Sabourin in a civil action involving Sabourin's condominium association.

22. On April 9, 2012, based on the allegations contained in paragraph 21, above, the Administrator docketed investigation number 2012IN01788 against Respondent. During the course of that investigation, counsel for the Administrator reviewed Respondent's registration history, as summarized in paragraph 20, above, and a printout prepared by the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County listing the cases in which Respondent had filed an appearance, including those cases described in Counts I and II.

23. During the investigation, counsel for the Administrator also reviewed Respondent's personal divorce file (Cooper v. Cooper, 08 D 6180, pending at the time in the Circuit Court of Cook County) and learned that the Honorable David Haracz had entered orders on November 9, 2010, August 8, 2011 and June 5, 2012, holding Respondent in indirect civil contempt of court because he had not complied with previous orders requiring him to pay child support. Counsel also learned that on June 5, 2012, Judge Haracz ordered that Respondent be remanded to Cook County Jail until he purged the contempt by paying a $10,000 cash bond, and that the commitment order would be stayed until July 3, 2012 if Respondent paid $2,500 before that time to purge the contempt.

24. As of March 27, 2013, Respondent had not registered or paid the fee required by Rule 756, and had been removed from the roll of attorneys. On March 27, 2013, Respondent appeared at the Chicago office of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission pursuant to subpoena for his sworn statement regarding the Administrator's investigation into Sabourin's allegations.. During that statement, counsel for the Administrator questioned Respondent about his registration history, including Respondent's failure to pay his registration fees for 2013.

25. At that time, while testifying under oath, Respondent was asked the following questions about periods of time he had been removed the master roll, and Respondent gave the following answers:

Question: Did you practice at all during the time periods where you have been removed from the master roll?

Answer: No. I don't believe so, no. It's possible given that I'm not sure

when I would have been knocked off, but I don't believe I did.

26. Respondent's statements referenced in paragraph 25, above, were false. Respondent knew that they were false because Respondent knew he had failed to timely pay his registration eight times over the ten-year period, that he received notices that he had been removed from the master roll each time he did not pay between 2003 and 2012, and that he had to pay the past-due registration fees and penalties eight times in order to be restored to the master roll and authorized to practice law again. Respondent further knew that he was representing his clients Coriglione and Caleel during periods of time when he had not paid his registration fees and penalties and had been removed from the master roll of attorneys.

27. During his March 27, 2013 sworn statement at the Commission, while testifying under oath, Respondent was also asked the following questions about his personal divorce matter and he gave the following answers:

Question: Did the Court as a result hold you in contempt?

Answer: No.

****

Question: So no order of contempt was ever entered?

Answer: No.

****

Question: Are you aware of any orders being entered that you should be remanded?

Answer: No, there hasn't been. I know there hasn't been.

****

Question: So, to your knowledge, there has never been any civil or criminal contempt matter relative to this matter (the divorce) entered against you?

Answer: No.

28. Respondent's statements referenced in paragraph 27, above, were false and Respondent knew they were false. Respondent knew that in case number 08 D 6180, Judge David Haracz had entered orders on November 9, 2010, August 8, 2011 and June 5, 2012, finding Respondent in indirect civil contempt of court for Respondent's failure to have complied with orders requiring him to pay child support. Respondent further knew that on June 5, 2012, Judge Haracz ordered that Respondent be remanded to Cook County Jail until he purged the contempt by paying a $10,000 cash bond and that the commitment had been stayed until July 3, 2012 if Respondent paid $2,500 before that time to purge the contempt.

29. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. in connection with a disciplinary matter, knowingly making false statements of material fact, by stating in a disciplinary matter that he had not practiced while removed from the master roll and that he had not been held in contempt in his own divorce case, in violation of Rule 8.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

  2. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, by stating in a disciplinary matter that he had not practiced while removed from the master roll and that he had not been held in contempt in his own divorce case, in violation of Rule 8.4 (a) (4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

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.

Gina M. Abbatemarco
Counsel for the Administrator
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601-6219
Telephone: (312) 565-2600

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By: 

Gina M. Abbatemarco