Filed April 29, 2020

In re Charles Andrew Cohn
Attorney-Respondent

Commission No. 2018PR00109

Synopsis of Hearing Board Report and Recommendation
(April 2020)

Respondent engaged in misconduct when he used vulgar and abusive language toward opposing counsel during a deposition. He engaged in further misconduct in the same matter by making false or reckless statements impugning the integrity and qualifications of a judge. Based on the serious nature of the misconduct, the substantial factors in aggravation, the minimal factors in mitigation, and the relevant case law, the Hearing Board recommended that Respondent be suspended for three months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.

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

In the Matter of:

CHARLES ANDREW COHN,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 6185255.

Commission No. 2018PR00109

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE HEARING BOARD

SUMMARY

Respondent engaged in misconduct when he used vulgar and abusive language toward opposing counsel during a deposition. He engaged in further misconduct in the same matter by making false or reckless statements impugning the integrity and qualifications of a judge. Considering the serious nature of the misconduct, the substantial factors in aggravation, the minimal factors in mitigation, and the relevant case law, we recommend that Respondent be suspended for three months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.

INTRODUCTION

The hearing in this matter was held on September 19 and December 12, 2019, at the Chicago offices of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) before a Panel of the Hearing Board consisting of Patrick M. Blanchard, Chair, Laura M. Urbik Kern, and John Costello. Melissa Smart represented the Administrator. Respondent represented himself and was also represented by Erwin Cohn.

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PLEADINGS

The Administrator's two-count Amended Complaint alleges Respondent engaged in misconduct when he used vulgar and abusive language toward opposing counsel during a deposition and made false or reckless statements about a judge in the same matter. In his Amended Answer, Respondent admitted some of the allegations and denied others, denied all charges of misconduct, and raised several affirmative defenses.

ALLEGED MISCONDUCT

The Administrator charged Respondent with the following misconduct: (1) in representing a client, engaging in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal; (2) in representing a client, using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay or burden a third person; (3) making a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge; and (4) engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rules 3.5(d), 4.4(a), 8.2(a), and 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

EVIDENCE

The Administrator presented testimony from Keely Hillison, Mark Evans, Alvin Becker, and Respondent as an adverse witness. Respondent testified on his own behalf. The Administrator's Exhibits 1-8 and Respondent's Exhibits 1-6 were admitted into evidence. (Tr. 9).

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The Administrator bears the burden of proving the charges of misconduct by clear and convincing evidence. In re Thomas, 2012 IL 113035, par. 56. Clear and convincing evidence constitutes a high level of certainty, which is greater than a preponderance of the evidence but less stringent than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Williams, 143 Ill. 2d 477, 577

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N.E.2d 762 (1991). The Hearing Board assesses witness credibility, resolves conflicting testimony, makes factual findings, and determines whether the Administrator met the burden of proof. In re Winthrop, 219 Ill. 2d 526, 542-43, 848 N.E.2d 961 (2006).

I.    Respondent is charged with using vulgar and abusive language toward opposing counsel during a deposition in violation of Rules 3.5(d), 4.4(a), and 8.4(d) (2010). 

A. Summary

During a deposition, Respondent directed abusive and vulgar language toward opposing counsel. The Administrator proved that this conduct was intended to disrupt a tribunal, had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, and was prejudicial to the administration of justice.

B. Admitted Facts and Evidence Presented

Respondent represented William Green, the plaintiff in an insurance coverage declaratory judgment action filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Keely Hillison represented defendant American Freedom Insurance Company (American Freedom), and Alvin Becker and Mark Evans represented defendant Insure on the Spot. The case was assigned to the Hon. Franklin U. Valderrama. (Amend. Ans. at par. 1; Tr. 51)

On November 10, 2016, Hillison took Green's discovery deposition. Respondent, Green, Hillison, Becker, and a court reporter were present. (Tr. 59).

One of the issues Hillison sought to explore in the deposition was whether Green was using his insured vehicle for business purposes, which would not have been covered under his policy. (Tr.55). When Hillison asked Green if he had been provided a vehicle to use in connection with his employment, Respondent objected. When Hillison responded by certifying the question, the following exchange occurred:

Respondent:        Okay. Then certify your own stupidity at this point.

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Hillison:             Counsel, I'm not going to sit here and take insults from you.

Respondent:        At this point in time, a man who insults on a daily basis everybody he does business with has now been elected President of the United States. The standards have changed. I'll say what I want.

(Adm. Ex. 2 at 9-10).

Hillison testified that Respondent was angry at the time he made these statements. (Tr. 68). Becker perceived Respondent's demeanor and tone to be "hostile from inception and insulting." (Tr. 237).

When Respondent said, "certify your own stupidity at this point," Hillison felt rattled and embarrassed to be insulted in front of Becker, whom she has known for a long time. (Tr. 69, 72). According to Respondent, he was not saying Hillison was generally a stupid person but was referring to her actions at the time. (Tr. 347).

Another exchange occurred when Hillison began to question Green about attorney fees he incurred. Hillison sought this information because Green's complaint, which Respondent drafted, included a request for attorney fees under Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code. (Tr. 55-57, 78). When Hillison asked Green whether he had received any invoices or bills from Respondent, Respondent said, "Don't waste your breath." He then objected and directed Green not to answer. When Hillison asked that the question be certified, Respondent said: "Motion for sanctions; indicate that on the record. I'm going to get sanctions against your firm like you wouldn't believe, bitch." (Adm. Ex. 2 at 10).

When Respondent interrupted Hillison and said "don't waste your breath," Hillison felt he was deliberately undermining her efforts to take the deposition and represent her client. (Tr. 78). When Respondent threatened Hillison with sanctions and called her "bitch," she felt verbally abused and again felt rattled and embarrassed. Hillison took Respondent's use of the word "bitch" to be a derogatory, insulting word for a nasty woman. (Tr. 81-83).

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Respondent thought Hillison's questions were improper because he forgot that the Green complaint sought attorney fees. He acknowledged that Hillison was not responsible for his mistake, but said he might have backed down if she had brought it to his attention. (Tr. 292). Respondent testified he was protecting Green because Hillison was abusing him and questioning him unfairly and angrily. (Tr. 448-49).

Hillison viewed her questions as proper. She did not use insulting language toward Respondent or raise her voice. She completed the deposition, although it was difficult and Green refused to answer some of her questions. (Tr. 81-85).

In Becker's opinion, Hillison did not do anything to provoke Respondent. Becker described Hillison as a "quiet, nice, meek, nonconfrontational person." (Tr. 237-39). He found her questioning to be professional and routine, both in the types of questions she asked and her demeanor and tone. (Tr. 248).

Following the deposition, Hillison filed a motion to compel Green to answer the questions he refused to answer, which also mentioned Respondent's verbal abuse. (Tr. 90; Adm. Ex. 3). The parties appeared before Judge Valderrama on the motion to compel on December 15, 2016. This proceeding is discussed in more detail in Section II below.

On December 22, 2016, Respondent filed a response to the motion to compel. In addressing the comments he made at the deposition, Respondent apologized and further stated, "the comments were intemperate, inappropriate and made in an ill-tempered reaction to what I perceived as bullying and improper questions of the plaintiff by Mrs. Hillison and a general angry tone by her that was quite visible to this counsel though it did not necessarily come out as clearly on the record." (Adm. Ex. 3). Respondent also made comments about Judge Valderrama, which are discussed in Section II.

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On January 30, 2017, Judge Valderrama entered an Order, a portion of which addressed Respondent's comments to Hillison. Judge Valderrama described Respondent's comment that the presidential election altered the standards of professional conduct as "preposterous." He found Respondent's abusive statements about Hillison more disturbing and "wholly inexcusable under any and all circumstances." Judge Valderrama characterized Respondent's apology in his Response as a "half-hearted or non-apology apology" because he blamed Hillison for bullying Green and asking questions in an angry tone. (Adm. Ex. 8 at 11-14).

Hillison testified that Respondent's conduct derailed the possibility of settling Green's case. It also affected her handling of the case because she felt the need to limit contact with Respondent to written communication. (Tr. 114, 194-97). Respondent disputed that his conduct negatively impacted the case because he and Hillison had civil email correspondence following the Green deposition. (Tr. 479-80).

C. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Rule 3.5(d)

A lawyer shall not engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal. Ill. R. Prof'l Conduct 3.5(d). "The duty to refrain from disruptive conduct applies to any proceeding of a tribunal, including a deposition." Comment [5] to Ill. R. Prof'l Conduct 3.5.

We find Respondent's interruptions of Hillison, in particular (1) telling her to "certify her own stupidity," (2) indicating Respondent can say whatever he wants in light of the last presidential election results, and (3) calling Hillison "bitch," were made for the purpose of disrupting Green's deposition. These comments had no legitimate purpose. We reject Respondent's contention that he was merely trying to protect his client from abusive questioning by Hillison. We find no abusive or bullying behavior on Hillison's part. Her questions were appropriate. Having observed Respondent, we saw consistencies between the conduct at issue

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and his conduct at hearing (described in more detail below as aggravation) that further support our findings that Hillison's and Becker's version of events is credible and Respondent's is not.

More significantly, the type of comments Respondent made are never justified. The Illinois Supreme Court has made clear that zealous advocacy, even under difficult circumstances, does not include disrespectful and insulting conduct. Ill. Rs. Prof'l Conduct, Preamble at [9]. Accordingly, we find the Administrator proved by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent violated Rule 3.5(d).

2. Rule 4.4(a)

In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person. Ill. R. Prof'l Conduct 4.4(a). There is no question that directing vulgar, gender-based slurs toward another person in the course of a representation violates Rule 4.4(a). See In re Craddock, 2017PR00115, M.R. 030266 (March 13, 2020). Respondent's comments had no valid purpose. They were objectively insulting and vulgar, and Hillison credibly testified they made her feel embarrassed and verbally abused. We find Respondent made the comments at issue to demean and harass Hillison and violated Rule 4.4(a) in doing so.

3. Rule 8.4(d)

Respondent is also charged with engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. In order to establish a violation of Rule 8.4(d), the Administrator must prove that the attorney's conduct caused actual prejudice to the administration of justice. Prejudice to the administration of justice has been found when an attorney's offensive remarks led to unnecessary court time, lawyer time, litigant expense, and animosity between counsel. See In re Cwik, 89 CH 690 (Review Bd. at 10) (Reprimand, Mar. 9, 1993).

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Here, we find the Administrator proved by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent's conduct caused actual prejudice to the administration of justice. Both Hillison and the court had to spend time addressing Respondent's conduct. Respondent's conduct also affected Hillison's handling of the case by causing her to avoid pursuing settlement and to generally limit communications with Respondent. For these reasons, we find that Respondent's conduct violated Rule 8.4(d).

II.    Respondent is charged with making false or reckless statements about Judge Valderrama's conduct and ability to act impartially in violation of Rules 8.2(a) and 8.4(d).

A. Summary

We find Respondent made statements about Judge Valderrama's qualifications or integrity that were false or made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity. These statements prejudiced the administration of justice.

B. Admitted Facts and Evidence Considered

When Respondent, Hillison, and attorney Mark Evans appeared on December 15, 2016, on American Freedom's motion to compel, Judge Valderrama admonished Respondent for the comments he made to Hillison. Evans recalled that Judge Valderrama appeared to be offended by Respondent's conduct and told Respondent the language he used was inappropriate. (Tr. 207-212). Hillison remembered Judge Valderrama telling Respondent he was lucky the only relief Hillison was seeking was to compel answers to her deposition questions. Both Hillison and Evans testified that Judge Valderrama remained calm and did not raise his voice or appear to be angry. (Tr. 96-97, 207-212). Respondent, on the other hand, believed Judge Valderrama was very angry with him but could not recall the words Judge Valderrama used. (Tr. 353). No court reporter was present. (Tr. 96-97).

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On December 22, 2016, Respondent filed a response to American Freedom's motion to compel which included statements about Judge Valderrama's conduct during the December 15, 2016 proceeding. Respondent stated that he would have apologized to Hillison at that time, "but the court, in its anger, refused to let this counsel speak and further made comments attempting to hold me to the statement made in the deposition." (Adm. Ex. 5 at 8).

Respondent went on to characterize Judge Valderrama as being "in a rage." He stated that Judge Valderrama "flew into a rage of his own at this counsel for what was said in the deposition." Respondent acknowledged that Judge Valderrama had made some favorable rulings for his client in the past, but said that "in light of recent events, and most particularly the ?robe rage incident' of December 15, 2016, it is unclear to this counsel whether the client, who has a meritorious case and said nothing inappropriate at his deposition, will now suffer because of the anger this court holds against his counsel." Respondent continued, saying "In this case, the judge saw an angry situation develop in a deposition and reacted in anger. It is always preferable if a judge is able to put out fires rather than pour oil on the flames." Respondent then repeated his questioning of Judge Valderrama's ability to act impartially toward Green, saying, "On the other hand, such temper as was displayed by the Court calls into question the impartiality of the tribunal." Respondent said he was sorry if Judge Valderrama considered his words to be a personal attack, but "as an attorney representing a client, it is necessary to protect that client from the judicial anger that clearly occurred on December 15." (Adm. Ex. 5 at 8-9).

According to Respondent, when he used the term "robe rage" he was merely expressing that Judge Valderrama was angry while he was on the bench. (Tr. 357). He had doubt as to Judge Valderrama's impartiality because of the anger Judge Valderrama displayed. (Tr. 366).

In the Order entered on January 30, 2017, Judge Valderrama addressed Respondent's comments about him at length. The Order stated that the court is presumed to be impartial and

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judicial remarks that are critical or disapproving of counsel ordinarily do not support a bias or partiality challenge. It further stated that "an objective, reasonable person would not conclude that the Court's impartiality might reasonably be questioned based on the Court's admonishment of Cohn at the December 15, 2016 Hearing." (Adm. Ex. 8 at 16-17).

C. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Rule 8.2(a)

An attorney is prohibited from making a statement that he or she knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge. Ill. R. Prof'l Conduct 8.2(a). Respondent is charged with violating this Rule by stating that Judge Valderrama engaged in "robe rage" and "flew into a rage" and by questioning Judge Valderrama's impartiality because of his purported anger toward Respondent.

Initially, we find that Respondent's statements were directed at Judge Valderrama's qualifications or integrity. The Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to perform their duties without bias or prejudice, maintain decorum, conduct themselves in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, and lawyers. Ill. S.Ct. Rs. 61, 62 (eff. Oct. 15, 1993); R. 63 (eff. Feb. 2, 2017). The conduct that Respondent asserted could, if true, be considered violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which could in turn impact Judge Valderrama's qualification to act as a judge.

We do not find credible or persuasive Respondent's assertion that he was simply expressing that Judge Valderrama was angry. Respondent used the words "rage" and "robe-rage," not "anger." "Rage" is defined as "violent and uncontrolled anger." Merriam-Webster Dictionary, http://merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rage. Respondent's words went far beyond saying that Judge Valderrama was angry, and instead depicted Judge Valderrama as being out of

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control and acting inappropriately while carrying out his judicial duties. Moreover, Respondent recognized that his words could be viewed as a personal attack on Judge Valderrama but attempted to justify them by asserting he was protecting his client. (Adm. Ex. 5 at 9). We are not persuaded by Respondent's attempt after the fact to lessen the extreme nature of his words.

We further find that Respondent's comments insinuating that Green would suffer because of Judge Valderrama's purported anger and questioning Judge Valderrama's impartiality were directed toward Judge Valderrama's qualifications and integrity. The court is presumed to be impartial. Eychaner v. Gross, 202 Ill. 2d 228 (2002). The clear import of Respondent's comments was that Judge Valderrama would be improperly biased against Green going forward, as demonstrated by Respondent's comment that it was necessary to protect Green from "judicial anger." See In re Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014, M.R. 26516 (March 14, 2014) (Hearing Bd. at 25-26) (Clearly and intentionally implying judicial dishonesty was a violation of Rule 8.2(a)).

Next, we consider whether Respondent's statements were false or made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity. An attorney violates Rule 8.2(a) by making accusations concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge without a reasonable basis for believing the accusations are true. A reasonable belief must be based on objective facts. Subjective belief, suspicion, speculation, or conjecture does not constitute a reasonable belief. In re Walker, 2014PR00132, M.R. 28453 (March 20, 2017) (Hearing Bd. at 21).

The evidence established that Judge Valderrama was perhaps offended by or unhappy with Respondent's comments, but he was not in a rage or even visibly angry. Both Evans and Hillison credibly testified that Judge Valderrama's demeanor was calm. While Respondent insists he perceived Judge Valderrama to have been angry, he has not identified any objective facts that support his perception of anger, much less rage. Accordingly, we find that the

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statements that Judge Valderrama "flew into a rage" and engaged in "robe-rage" were false or made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity.

Similarly, we find Respondent's statements impugning Judge Valderrama's impartiality were false or made with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity. Respondent had no objective basis to support the insinuation that Judge Valderrama was no longer impartial in the Green matter. As Judge Valderrama noted, a judge's opinions formed on the basis of events occurring during the course of proceedings do not constitute a basis for asserting the judge is biased or partial, unless they display a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible. See Eychaner, 202 Ill. 2d at 281. There was no such favoritism or antagonism demonstrated in the record before us. Judge Valderrama's admonishment of Respondent was reasonable and warranted.

We further find that Respondent's statements about Judge Valderrama prejudiced the administration of justice. Respondent created additional work for the court when he chose to impugn Judge Valderrama's conduct and impartiality instead of addressing only the issues set forth in American Freedom's Motion to Compel. It then became necessary for Judge Valderrama to spend additional judicial time and resources addressing Respondent's comments about him.

Respondent's Affirmative Defenses

Respondent argues as affirmative defenses that his statements are not defamatory as a matter of law and that Rule 8.2(a) violates his First Amendment Rights and is unconstitutionally vague.

While attorneys do not lose their First Amendment rights by becoming attorneys, as officers of the court they accept the imposition of certain ethical standards intended to maintain faith in the integrity of the judiciary and the profession, even though some of those standards

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impact their personal rights. Ditkowsky, 2012PR00014 (Hearing Bd. at 23-24). For this reason, it has long been recognized that attorneys who make unfounded statements impugning the integrity or competence of a judge are subject to discipline. Id.

Looking at Respondent's statements through this lens, his argument that his statements were protected opinions fails. "While statements of opinion typically are protected speech, the Constitution does not protect a statement, phrased as an opinion, which implies a factual basis that does not exist." Ditkowsky, 2012 PR00014, citing In re Hoffman, 08 SH 65, M.R. 24030, 23426 (Sept. 22, 2010). Respondent's comments about Judge Valderrama had no factual basis and therefore fall into the category of unprotected speech.

With respect to the constitutionality of Rule 8.2(a), a long line of cases holds that Rule 8.2(a) does not violate the Constitution. In In re Denison, for example, the Review Board determined that "[no] ruling of the United States Supreme Court or any other court supports the conclusion that Rules 8.2(a) or 8.4(c) are unconstitutional, or that enforcing the rules in this case violates [Denison's] First Amendment Rights." In re Denison, 2013PR00001, M.R. 27522 (Review Bd. at 5). Accordingly, Respondent's argument that his constitutional rights have been violated is not persuasive.

Last, we reject Respondent's contention that the statements he made about Judge Valderrama are no different than the statements required under section 2-1001 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure when a party seeks a substitution of judge for cause. See 735 ILCS 5/2-1001. Section 2-1001 allows a party to seek a substitution for cause upon a showing of actual prejudice. A motion for substitution for cause must set forth the specific cause for substitution and must be verified by affidavit. The requirements of good cause and verification by affidavit seek to ensure a good faith factual basis for such a motion and to prevent the types of remarks made by Respondent that impugn a judge's character without a valid basis for doing so.

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EVIDENCE IN AGGRAVATION AND MITIGATION

Aggravation

Keely Hillison testified that because of publicity surrounding the Green case she felt she had to apologize to her client, American Freedom. She also worried that other attorneys would view her negatively. She still feels embarrassed when she appears before Judge Valderrama in other matters. (Tr. 116-120).

Respondent expressed doubt that his conduct was "a big deal" to Hillison or that she felt upset about it. (Tr. 464, 488).

We further note that Respondent's conduct during this disciplinary hearing leaves us concerned that he is not able to conduct himself in a professional and ethical manner when faced with stressful or adversarial circumstances. Respondent's conduct, particularly toward Administrator's counsel, was unprofessional and hostile. Respondent called Administrator's counsel a liar and made demeaning remarks to her. (Tr. 382, 522). On another occasion, when he was unhappy with the Chair's ruling disallowing certain exhibits, Respondent threatened to leave the hearing. (Tr. 422).

Mitigation

Respondent has been licensed to practice law since 1983 and has no prior discipline. He serves as a zoning plan commissioner in the suburb where he lives. (Tr. 480).

RECOMMENDATION

A. Summary

Based on the serious nature of the misconduct, the factors in aggravation, and the minimal amount of mitigation, the Hearing Board recommends that Respondent be suspended for three (3) months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.

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B. Analysis

The purpose of the disciplinary process is not to punish attorneys, but to protect the public, maintain the integrity of the legal profession, and safeguard the administration of justice from reproach. In re Edmonds, 2014IL117696, par. 90. When recommending discipline, we consider the nature of the misconduct and any factors in mitigation and aggravation. In re Gorecki, 208 Ill. 2d 350, 360-61 (2003). We seek to recommend similar sanctions for similar types of misconduct, but must decide each case on its own unique facts. Edmonds, 2014IL117696, par. 90.

Respondent engaged in serious misconduct by directing abusive language toward opposing counsel and making unfounded statements impugning Judge Valderrama's qualifications and integrity. As the hearing panel in In re Craddock recently noted, such conduct is indefensible and casts the entire legal profession in a negative light. In re Craddock, 2017PR00115, M.R. 030266 (March 13, 2020) (Hearing Bd. at 18-19).

In aggravation, we consider Keely Hillison's credible testimony that this incident caused her to feel embarrassed and worried about her reputation as a lawyer. Even though she did nothing wrong, she was concerned that her client would view her negatively or would be upset about the publicity the case received. Based on Respondent's statements at hearing to the effect that this incident was not "a big deal" to Hillison, it appears he does not fully understand or acknowledge the negative impact of his words.

Moreover, Respondent does not acknowledge any wrongdoing with respect to his statements about Judge Valderrama and continues to stand by those statements. This is troubling because we are not left with confidence that Respondent will refrain from making similarly improper statements in the future. See In re Samuels, 126 Ill. 2d 509, 531 (1989).

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Respondent's conduct during the hearing is yet another factor that causes us concern. When faced with situations that are typical in a legal proceeding, such as adverse evidentiary rulings and argument by opposing counsel, Respondent's reaction was to lash out at both Administrator's counsel and the Chair. We mention this not to denigrate Respondent but to impress upon him the need to refrain from personal attacks and to maintain his professionalism at all times.

We have considered in mitigation that Respondent has no prior discipline and has volunteered time as a zoning plan commissioner. However, these considerations do not outweigh the serious misconduct and aggravating factors.

Conduct similar to Respondent's has resulted in a short period of suspension. The attorney in Craddock was suspended for three months for using vulgar, gender-based slurs toward two female attorneys on three occasions. Respondent contends that Craddock's misconduct was more egregious than his because he used a word more vulgar than "bitch" and did so three times. We do not think the purposes of the disciplinary process are served by assigning levels of vulgarity to particular words. All vulgarities are offensive and have no place in the practice of law. We further note that, even though Craddock directed abusive language toward opposing counsel three times instead of once, there is additional misconduct in this case that was not present in Craddock. We conclude that Craddock, and the cases cited therein, In re Moore, 2015PR00076 M.R. 028896 (Sept. 22, 2017) (sixty-day suspension); In re O'Shea, 02 SH 64, M.R. 19680 (Nov. 17, 2004) (five month suspension); and In re Novoselsky, 2011PR00043, M.R. 27419 (Sept. 21, 2015) (six-month suspension) provide guidance that supports recommending a period of suspension.

In our view, a three-month suspension is warranted and in line with Craddock. We further agree with the assessment of the hearing panel in Craddock that Respondent and the rest

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of the bar must understand that harassment based on a person's gender brings the entire legal profession into disrepute, is unacceptable, and will be met with serious consequences. Given Respondent's lack of recognition regarding his misconduct related to Judge Valderrama, we further believe it would benefit Respondent to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.

For the foregoing reasons, we recommend that Respondent, Charles Andrew Cohn, be suspended for three (3) months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar.

Respectfully Submitted,

Patrick M. Blanchard
Laura M. Urbik Kern
John Costello

CERTIFICATION

I, Kenneth G. Jablonski, Clerk of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois and keeper of the records, hereby certifies that the foregoing is a true copy of the Report and Recommendation of the Hearing Board, approved by each Panel member, entered in the above entitled cause of record filed in my office on April 29, 2020.

Kenneth G. Jablonski, Clerk of the
Attorney Registration and Disciplinary
Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois