Verett's suspension to begin Oct. 8

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 24, 2008, 7:00am

Edwardsville attorney Amanda Verett's 90-day suspension will begin Oct. 8, according to a recent Illinois Supreme Court order.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) had recommended the discipline after conducting an investigation into Verett's handling of a family law matter.

She had been charged by an ARDC panel with making a false statement in a Missouri court and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Her suspension arises from an incident in March 2007 while she represented a father in a Madison County divorce case. The court had issued an order permanently enjoining Verett's client from contacting his son's doctors unless it was an emergency.

After the order was issued, the mother scheduled a tonsillectomy for her son at Children's Hospital in St. Louis.

Several days prior to the surgery, Verett, in Madison County, filed a motion to stop the surgery from taking place. The motion was denied.

Verett then filed a petition for damages in St. Louis City Circuit Court against the son's medical providers. She also filed an injunction to stop the surgery.

According to the ARDC, at a hearing before St. Louis Circuit Judge John Garvey, Verett failed to tell the judge that she had just had a hearing in Illinois on the same matter.

Garvey subsequently enjoined the surgery, appointed a guardian ad litem for the minor, and ordered the mother to be added as a party.

Verett later withdrew her petition after the mother filed a motion to dismiss.

Garvey held a hearing and apologized to the lawyers for Children's Hospital and the mother telling them that had he known that the issue was taken care of in Madison County he would have immediately denied Verett's request.

At the hearing before the ARDC, Garvey testified that once he learned that the issue was disposed of in Madison County he was "mad" and felt like he "had just been lied to in court" by Verett.

Verett had testified before the ARDC that she did not lie to Judge Garvey but said she later realized that he "did not understand what the facts were in Madison County," and that she did not explain matters to Judge Garvey "clear enough to convey the appropriate information," and that it was her responsibility to do so.

The three-member hearing panel wrote, "We find it was clearly and convincingly established that Verett intentionally and knowingly failed to disclose material facts to Judge Garvey in the Missouri proceedings."

As part of her discipline, Verett also has been ordered to complete the professionalism seminar of the Illinois Professional Responsibility Institute within six months.

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