According to the recent decision of the First District Court of Appeals
Attorneys are NOT supposed to be filing utterly groundless proceedings that have no basis in merit or fact. Now that the Record on Appeal has been published on this blog and it clearly shows no jurisdiction to each of the attorneys at the trial court level–Cynthia Farenga, Adam Stern, Peter Schmeidel, Deborah Jo Sohleig AND the attys at the ARDC–Jerome Larkin, Sharon Opryszek and Jessica Haspel NOW HAVE THE DUTY TO DO THE RIGHT THING. The attorneys involved must ask for a dismissal. The ARDC must investigate fully, completely and honestly these attorneys. The ARDC must dismiss complaints against myself and Ken merely for calling for an investigation. We might not be mandatory reporters, but if the ARDC keeps up its antics, even the Illinois State Legislature won’t put up with this sorry state of affairs against the mentally infirm and disabled.
King v. Harris, 2013 IL App (1st) 120316-U (01-23-13)
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County
No. 11 OP 72205 Honorable Patrice Ball-Reed, Judge Presiding
Petitioner-appellee Reava King filed a petition for a stalking no contact order against
respondent-appellant Jason Harris. Shortly after taking petitioner’s deposition in connection with the petition, respondent moved for summary judgment, which was granted.Respondent then moved for sanctions against petitioner’s counsel pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137, 1-12-0316 arguing that opposing counsel pursued this petition despite knowing it had no factual basis. The circuit court denied the motion for sanctions, and respondent now appeals.
Petitioner and respondent first became acquainted when petitioner’s house suffered a fire
in January 2009. Respondent, who operates as a public adjuster and general contractor as well as an attorney, offered to adjust petitioner’s insurance claim and oversee the rehabilitation of her house. Petitioner agreed, but the parties’ relationship deteriorated after work had gone on for one year. On or about November 2010, petitioner brought suit against respondent in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging that despite her payments to respondent, the work had not been completed. In response, respondent filed a mechanics lien suit against petitioner in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
¶ 4 While both causes of action were being litigated, in April 2011, petitioner filed a pro
se petition for a stalking no contact order against respondent. Her petition alleged a single
incident of stalking in December 2010 when, according to petitioner, respondent drove to her residence and asked to speak with her. Petitioner’s pro se emergency motion for no contact based upon this petition was denied on May 2, 2011, and the matter was continued for status and discovery. In his motion, respondent argued that Pollack improperly pursued the petition for a no contact order despite knowing it was both untrue and legally insufficient. The circuit court denied the motion on January 5, 2012, ruling that 31-12-0316 Pollack had an obligation to continue litigating the petition so long as his client wished to move forward. Respondent timely filed this appeal.
In the case sub judice, the circuit court, in denying respondent’s motion for sanctions, erroneously held that Pollack was obligated to continue pursuing the petition where petitioner directed him to do so. Specifically, the court stated:
“I do not believe that Mr. Pollack instigated this. *** This petition was
filed by Ms. King. Counsel came in subsequently; and if Ms. King wished to go
forward, as his client that was his obligation to go forward, Counsel. If she chose
not to step away, then he had the obligation to go forward in this matter.
*** I do not believe that Mr. Pollack has in any form or fashion attempted to
cause vexatious acts or false proceedings. He proceeded on behalf of Ms. King
because she chose to go forward. *** I’m not going to grant your motion for 137.”
(Emphases added.) This is not the law. Rather, it has long been held that an attorney has a “professional duty to promptly dismiss a baseless lawsuit, even over the objections of his client, when the attorney learns that the client has no case.” Cmarko v. Fisher, 208 Ill. App. 3d 440, 446 (1990) (emphasis added); see also Walsh v. Capital Engineering and Manufacturing Co., 312 Ill. App. 3d 910, 916 (2000) (holding that an attorney may not avoid Rule 137 sanctions by pleading that he was merely following his client’s directions). The court’s comments make clear that it did not apply
this rule of law and instead premised its decision to deny sanctions on the mistaken belief that an attorney is bound by the whims of his client when determining whether to pursue litigation. “Based upon what [King] testified to in the deposition, she could have – clearly could not have proceeded with the case or proven that Mr. Harris had stalked or harassed her in any form or fashion, so, I granted the motion for summary judgment and that should have ended it right there because the case was resolved.”
Respondent maintains this is evidence of the court’s belief that continuing to proceed with the case after the deposition would have been sanctionable were it not for the fact that Pollack was following his client’s directions. We do not agree that this conclusion necessarily follows from the court’s statement.
¶ 15 Accordingly, we remand to the circuit court with directions to consider whether, at any time after Pollack agreed to represent petitioner, a reasonable investigation would have revealed that the petition was factually or legally baseless. If so, sanctions against Pollack for continuing to pursue the litigation are appropriate. Importantly, this is an objective inquiry; an attorney’s subjective honest belief that the case has merit is insufficient. See Fremarek v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 272 Ill. App. 3d 1067, 1074-75 (1995).
ONCE AGAIN, KEN AND I ARE REMINDING THE MISCREANT ATTYS IN THE PROBATE CASE TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND DISMISS THIS LAWSUIT. I have just published the ROA and now you know the First District Appellate Court of Illinois will soon know you had no jurisdiction.
WE ARE ALSO CALLING UPON THE ARDC TO INVESTIGATE ITSELF. How does this case get to such high levels and THE MISCREANTS ARE GIVEN THE “GET OUT OF JAIL CARD” on the Monopoly board of Probate while honest attys like KDD and myself who report wrongful activities repeatedly to the US AND STATE’S ATTORNEYS are being prosecuted instead. Myself for publishing this blog. Ken for attempting to find out where Mary Sykes’ gold coins went and why a million dollars of assets were not inventoried, a concerned note to her beloved Dr. Patel and emails which were published on this blog warning LAW ENFORCEMENT to investigate.
How does this happen in the US that numerous probate cases are running without jurisdiction for years, seniors tossed in nursing homes against their will, their homes liened and assets drained and YET THERE IS NO INVESTIGATION.
What happened in King vs. Harris that the appellate court warned about sanctions for attys filing groundless cases and pleadings. This was apparently a one time shot against Defendant Harris, BUT THESE PROBATE CASES drag on for years and years, terrorizing families and ripping them apart.
I have a lot of good questions for the Illinois Probate Court and the ARDC, but as of yet, no good answers.
PS — and I have one more tidbit of information for you all. About a year ago when I first received Cynthia Farenga’s complaint, I asked Atty Leah Black at the ARDC about emailing her questions. After all, discipline of attys is NOT supposed to be adversarial, but informational and guiding so we always do the right and ethical thing. She told me that I have to send my questions by fax or snail mail until the complaint is filed, and she would respond by snail mail when she had time because pre-complaint inquiries are not a priority. So now the complaint against me is filed. We are in active litigation. I have emailed Sharon Opryszek and Jessica Haspel numerous times about my questions and I get no emails back. Oh, sometimes I get those “I’m out of the office and will respond in X days.” But nothing. I wonder why? Oh, that’s another question that I bet will go unanswered. Ciao.