ARDC Files Complaint Against Lawyer Who Harassed Women Lawyers

BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD:

The allegations are quite shocking and inappropriate. These are quotations from the ARDC’s complaint:


2. Beginning in 2014, and at all further times alleged in this count, Respondent represented Judith Wyman (“Wyman”) and Kitty Knapp (“Knapp”) in separate employment discrimination cases related to their employment termination from the Olympic Star Restaurant (“Olympic Star”), operated by Evgeros, Inc. (“Evgeros”). Respondent filed the following cases on behalf of each client in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois: Judith Wyman v. Evgeros, Inc. d/b/a Olympic Star Restaurant(“Wyman matter”), case number 1:15-CV-02758, which was assigned to the Hon. Matthew F. Kennelly (“Judge Kennelly”); and Kitty Knapp v. Evgeros Inc., d/b/a Olympic Star Restaurant (“Knapp matter”), case number 1:15-CV-00754, which was assigned to the Hon. Gary Feinerman (“Judge Feinerman”). Attorney Courtney Lindbert (“Lindbert”), from the law firm of Andreou and Casson, Ltd. (“Andreou and Casson”), represented Evgeros in both matters.
3. On September 15, 2016, while both the Wyman and Knapp matters were pending, Respondent and Lindbert appeared before Judge Kennelly in relation to the Wyman matter for a hearing on the Court’s rule to show cause entered on September 12, 2016. The Court had entered the rule to show cause based on Respondent’s alleged failure to file a response to Lindbert’s motion for summary judgment. Judge Kennelly concluded the hearing by allowing Respondent additional time to file the appropriate pleading.
4. Following that hearing, Respondent and Lindbert exited Judge Kennelly’s courtroom, and had a conversation in a hallway outside the courtroom regarding the Wyman case and pleadings which Lindbert intended to file. During that conversation, outside the courtroom, Lindbert informed Respondent of her intention to file pleadings related to sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. When Lindbert asked Respondent if Respondent heard her, Respondent stated “I did, Cunt-ney.” Lindbert responded “Excuse me,” to which Respondent again stated “I did, Cunt-ney.”
5. On December 3, 2016, while both the Wyman and Knapp cases were pending, Respondent sent an email from his law firm email address to Lindbert at her law firm email address at approximately 10:46 p.m. regarding the parties’ ongoing litigation. In his email, Respondent began his correspondence by addressing Lindbert as “Cuntney Lindbitch.”
6. On December 5, 2016, attorney Luke Casson (“Casson”), a partner with Andreou and Casson, informed the Hon. Ruben Castillo, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, of Respondent’s conduct towards Lindbert, and requested that the Court taken action against Respondent.
7. On December 13, 2016, the Executive Committee of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a rule to show cause by way of a citation, ordering Respondent to show cause why he should not be disciplined for his conduct towards Lindbert, as reported by both Lindbert and Casson.
8. On January 18, 2017, following Respondent’s citation response and the Executive Committee’s review of the allegations and other information, the Executive Committee entered an order finding that Respondent engaged in the misconduct described in paragraphs 4 and 5. In imposing discipline on Respondent for his misconduct, the Executive Committee struck Respondent from the Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois and suspended him from the General Bar of the Northern District of Illinois for 12 months. The Order also required that, as part of any reinstatement petition, Respondent must demonstrate having sought professional assistance with both his compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct as well as his anger management.
9. The statements Respondent made to Lindbert on September 15, 2016, referred to in paragraph 4, above, served no purpose other than to embarrass, intimidate, and burden Lindbert during the course of his representation of Wyman and Knapp. The email Respondent sent to Lindbert on December 3, 2016, referred to in paragraph 5, above, served no purpose other than to embarrass, intimidate, and burden Lindbert during the course of his representation of Wyman and Knapp.
10. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
  1. in representing clients in employment discrimination matters, using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, by conduct including addressing opposing counsel Courtney Lindbert as “Cunt-ney” following a court proceeding during discussions related to the pending Wyman litigation, and sending Lindbert an email related to the parties’ ongoing litigation addressing Lindbert as “Cuntney Lindbitch,” in violation of Rule 4.4(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and
  2. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice by conduct including addressing opposing counsel Courtey Lindbert as “Cunt-ney” following a court proceeding during discussions related to the pending Wyman litigation, and sending Lindbert a harassing email to Lindbert’s law firm email address related to the parties’ ongoing litigation addressing Lindbert as “Cuntney Lindbitch,” in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

Comment: there is a second count with allegations that the lawyer engaged in conduct “to embarrass and burden a third person in the course of pending litigation,” (another female attorney).



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