BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD

OF THE

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION

AND

DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

SAKINA CARBIDE,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 6224620.

Commission No. 2018PR00042

FILED --- October 7, 2020

 

JOINT STIPULATION OF FACTS
AND RECOMMENDATION FOR REPRIMAND AGAINST RESPONDENT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Matthew Lango, and Respondent, Sakina Carbide, by her attorneys, Sari Montgomery, Trisha Rich, and Tammy Tabush, stipulate that the following facts are true and that a reprimand by the Hearing Board is warranted:

I. JOINT STIPULATION OF FACTS

1. At all times described in this Joint Stipulation of Facts, Respondent has been the owner and sole operating attorney of the Law Office of Sakina Carbide. Respondent practices primarily in the areas of immigration and family law.

A. Failure to Deliver Legal Permanent Residency Card to Taraben Jadav

2. In or around November 2014, Respondent agreed to represent Taraben Jadav ("Jadav"). Jadav, who is a native citizen of India, sought Respondent's assistance in obtaining a replacement copy of her permanent resident card, commonly known as a "green card." At the time, Respondent was representing the Jadav's relative in an unrelated proceeding.

3. In November 2014, Respondent and Jadav agreed that Respondent's fee for her work on Jadav's application to replace her permanent resident card would be a flat fee of $500,

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in costs and fees to be paid to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), for a total of $1,000, which Jadav paid.

4. In April 2015, Respondent completed and submitted forms to USCIS, for Jadav's application to replace her permanent resident card.

5. USCIS issued Jadav's replacement permanent resident card in the last week of September 2015. Shortly thereafter, Respondent received Jadav's replacement permanent resident card.

6. On or around September 30, 2015, Jadav terminated Respondent's services in relation to her permanent resident card replacement application and retained new counsel.

7. In October 2015, Respondent received a letter from Jadav's new counsel requesting Jadav's permanent resident card, and she responded that, although she possessed Jadav's card she was asserting a retaining lien over the card based on unpaid legal fees from her representation of Jadav's relative, for which Respondent alleged that Jadav had guaranteed payment.

8. At no time after Jadav paid $1,000 on or around November 12, 2014 did Jadav owe Respondent any fee for her immigration matter, as she had paid Respondent's legal fees in full on that date.

9. Respondent did not release Jadav's card until August 25, 2017.

10. In October 2015, Jadav retained a new attorney to resubmit her application for her permanent resident card and paid additional legal and permanent resident card application fees.

B. Failure to Communicate with Client Gurdeep Singh

11. On or around May 15, 2013, Gurdeep Singh ("Singh"), a citizen of India, entered the United States of America as an undocumented immigrant and was detained by the U.S.

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Singh then claimed that he had been threatened with violence due to his political alliances in India and sought asylum in the United States.

12. In September 2013, Respondent and Singh agreed that Respondent would represent Singh in relation to his asylum claim, and Respondent submitted her appearance before the Immigration Court as Singh's attorney.

13. Between November 14, 2014, and January 27, 2015, Singh and Respondent communicated numerous times by email and by phone. In these communications, Singh indicated to Respondent that he was in possession of documents that he believed supported his claim for asylum and that he wished to schedule a meeting to review his testimony for his hearing. In addition, during those communications, Respondent stated that she would not discuss the substantive issues or the merits of Singh's case with him until Singh paid the fees to which he had agreed.

14. On January 28, 2015, the date of his removal and asylum hearing, Singh appeared at Respondent's office prior to the hearing and presented Respondent with additional documents which purported to support his claims. Although Respondent had previously filed a pre-hearing brief on Singh's behalf, she could not prepare or file the additional documents supporting Singh's claim. When they appeared for the hearing, Respondent requested that the matter be continued to provide additional time to submit the documents which she had just received on his behalf. The immigration judge denied the request and proceeded with the hearing. The immigration judge then denied Singh's asylum claim, finding that Singh's testimony alone was not credible and that the testimony and evidence in the record was insufficient to meet his burden of proof.

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15. Singh's matter was ultimately re-heard, with different counsel, and Singh received legal permanent resident status on October 6, 2019.

II. MISCONDUCT

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

  1. failure to promptly deliver to the client any property that the client or third person is entitled to receive by failing to promptly deliver Taraben Jadav's legal permanent resident card, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and,

  2. failure to adequately communicate with her client, Gurdeep Singh, prior to Singh's testimony at hearing, in violation of Rule 1.4(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

III. FACTORS IN MITIGATION

17. Respondent has practiced law for over twenty-five years and has never been previously disciplined. She has acknowledged and expressed remorse for her conduct.

18. If this matter proceeded to hearing, Respondent would present positive character testimony. In addition, Respondent has presently or previously volunteered her time with, and donated money to numerous non-profit organizations including Islamic Relief, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Habitat for Humanity, CVLS, LAP, Muslim Community Center, Apna Ghar, Salvation Army Metropolitan Division (Emergency Disaster Services/Mobile Feeding Services), St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Edhi Foundation, Who Is Hussain?, Hamdard Center, Helping Hands Relief, Bronzeville Business Cleanup after George Floyd Protests, Masjid Badri, and AILA. In addition, she is a volunteer website writer/contributor to Illinois Legal Aid and is involved with mentoring attorneys through ISBA and AILA.

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19. Respondent has refunded the $1,000 fee Jadav paid and has agreed to engage in a mentoring program.

IV. RECOMMENDATION FOR DISCIPLINE

20. The parties have waived the twenty-one day period for filing exceptions and requested that the Hearing Board administer a reprimand to Respondent at the conclusion of the hearing in this matter pursuant to Commission Rule 282.

21. In In re VanWinkle, 2015PR00086 (April 29, 2016), the hearing panel reprimanded an attorney who failed to safeguard and promptly remit funds belonging to his client when he failed to timely deposit settlement checks into his client trust account, resulting in those checks expiring. In that case, the client's receipt of his settlement proceeds was delayed by almost a year as a result of the attorney's failure to promptly safeguard and disburse the client's property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d). As in VanWinkle, a reprimand is appropriate here, where Respondent failed to promptly deliver a permanent resident card belonging to her client.

22. This recommendation also is consistent with the sanction in In re Bonini, 2017PR00095 (November 8, 2018), where the attorney was reprimanded for failing to adequately communicate and consult with his clients regarding a bankruptcy matter, which resulted in the clients' bankruptcy proceeding being dismissed. In that case, the attorney did not adequately communicate with or advise his clients about their options with regard to a repayment plan for the bankruptcy. As such, when the attorney failed to submit a plan on behalf of his clients, their bankruptcy case was dismissed. The facts of In re Bonini were similar to those of the instant case in that the attorney's failure to communicate with his clients led to an adverse result in their legal proceeding, as was the case with Respondent's client, Mr. Singh. Similar to Respondent, the attorney cooperated during the disciplinary proceedings and presented

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significant evidence of mitigation.

23. Considering Respondent's conduct and her evidence of mitigation, and viewing her conduct in light of cases involving similar violations of Rules 1.4(a)(2) and 1.15(d), a reprimand is the appropriate sanction in this case.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator and Respondent jointly request that the Hearing Board enter an order reprimanding Respondent as a result of her misconduct.

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration &
Disciplinary Commission
 

By: /s/ Matthew D. Lango
Matthew D. Lango
Counsel for the Administrator
130 E. Randolph Dr., Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600
Email: ARDCeService@iardc.org
Email: mlango@iardc.org

Sakina Carbide, Respondent
 


By: /s/ Sari Montgomery
Sari Montgomery
Counsel for Respondent
Robinson, Stewart, Montgomery & Doppke LLC

321 S. Plymouth Court, 14th Floor

Chicago, Illinois 60604

312.676.9872

smontgomery@rsmdlaw.com

 

Trisha M. Rich

Tammy Tabush

Holland & Knight LLP

150 N. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2700

Chicago, Illinois 60606

312.263.3600

trisha.rich@hklaw.com

tammy.tabush@hklaw.com

 

 

BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD

OF THE

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION

AND

DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

SAKINA CARBIDE,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 6224620.

Commission No. 2018PR00042

FILED --- October 7, 2020

 

REPRIMAND

Based upon the agreement and stipulations of the parties, the panel of the Hearing Board hereby makes findings, and reprimands and admonishes you, Sakina Carbide, as follows:

1. In 2015, you failed to promptly deliver to your client, Taraben Jadav, certain property that she was entitled to receive, namely her legal permanent resident card delivered to you by the USCIS, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

2. In addition, in 2015, you failed to adequately communicate with your client, Gurdeep Singh, prior to Mr. Singh's testimony at an immigration hearing, in violation of Rule 1.4(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

3. In determining that a reprimand is an appropriate sanction, the Hearing Board has considered that you have not been previously disciplined, and you have cooperated throughout these proceedings.

4. The Hearing Board has the authority, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(c)(3), to administer a reprimand to a Respondent in lieu of recommending disciplinary action by the Court. The Board has determined that this course of action is appropriate in this case. You are

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therefore reprimanded for engaging in conduct which did not comport with the level of professionalism required of an attorney.

5. You are further advised that while this reprimand is not formally presented to the Illinois 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.

 

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen S. Mitchell
Peter A. Steinmeyer
Gerald M. Crimmins

 

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 Reprimand, approved by the Hearing Panel, entered in the above entitled cause of record filed in my office on October 7, 2020.

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