Supreme Court suspends St. Louis workers' comp attorney for 90 days
The Illinois Supreme Court has disciplined the last of three St. Louis attorneys accused of having ex parte communications with a workers’ comp arbitrator. In an order handed down Friday, the court took the recommendation of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) and suspended Caryn Nadenbush from the practice of law for 90 days effective Feb. 8. The court also ordered Nadenbush to complete the ARDC professionalism seminar within one year of its final disciplinary order and reimburse the Client Protection Program Trust Fund for any payments arising from her conduct. According to the ARDC website, Nadenbush voluntarily put her law license on inactive status. In July 2011, the ARDC filed complaints against Nadenbush, Elizabeth Barringer and Kerry O’Sullivan, accusing the trio of having ex parte communications with Jennifer Teague, an arbitrator for the Workers’ Compensation Commission who has since resigned. Nadenbush and Barringer worked at Hennessy & Roach at the time the complaints were filed and O’Sullivan practiced at Brown & Crouppen. The Supreme Court previously censured O’Sullivan and Barringer for their misconduct, but has yet to issue a disciplinary order in Teague’s case. An ARDC hearing board in November recommended that Teague, who also put her law license on inactive status, be suspended for two years. The complaint against Nadenbush alleged that she engaged in email communications with Teague without disclosing the emails to her opposing counsel and made false statements about one of the exchanges to the ARDC. Accusing her of violating the court’s rules of professional conduct and engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, the ARDC administrator sought a six-month suspension for Nadenbush. The hearing board in July determined the evidence presented was insufficient to prove Nadenbush knowingly made false statements to the ARDC. It did, however, determine that she violated Rule 3.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibits attorneys in adversary proceedings from communicating the merits of the case with a judge or an official that is presiding over the pending proceeding. Nadenbush’s disciplinary order was one of about two dozen entered Friday. The court’s January term is currently under way and will come to a close Thursday. The justices also anticipate releasing opinions next Friday, Jan. 25. They have yet to announce the names of the cases set to receive rulings.