The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday handed down a two-year suspension to a former workers’ comp arbitrator who engaged in ex-parte communications with attorneys appearing before her.
The court ordered Jennifer L. Teague -- who resigned from her post at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission shortly after the ARDC lodged a complaint against her- to begin her suspension April 5.
Besides Teague, the court disciplined more than a dozen attorneys during its March term including St. Louis attorney Thomas Gary Glick and Belleville attorney Marianne Mann Hannigan.
Teague’s two-year suspension stems from the July 5, 2011 ARDC complaint that accused the then-arbitrator of exchanging email communications with a trio of St. Louis workers’ comp attorneys who had cases before her.
Those three attorneys -- Caryn Nadenbush, Elizabeth Barringer and Kerry O’Sullivan – have already received discipline from the court. Nadenbush’s 90-day suspension from the practice of law began Feb. 8 and the court censured the other two.
In its complaint, the ARDC alleged that Teague engaged in ex-parte communications with those three attorneys, tried to use her position to benefit her own workers’ comp claim and attempted to block the media from covering a public hearing involving the claim of a state trooper.
A hearing board of the ARDC in November recommended a two-year suspension for Teague, saying that anything less would “denigrate the seriousness” of her “misconduct and would erode public trust in the legal profession and administrative officials.”
The ARDC hearing board noted in its report that Teague, who changed her last name back to her maiden name of Carril, has not practiced law since she resigned and “is attending school and doing an internship” in pursuit of a different career.
In addition to the two-year suspension, the Supreme Court ordered Teague to reimburse the Client Protection Program Trust Fund for any payments arising from her conduct before her suspension comes to an end.
The court on Friday also entered orders in disciplinary matters against St. Louis attorney Thomas Gary Glick and Belleville attorney Marianne Mann Hannigan.
Glick was reprimanded by Missouri’s Supreme Court in November 2011 “for neglecting a probate matter and inadvertently destroying a client’s file,” according to the ARDC, which petitioned Illinois’ high court to impose reciprocal discipline here.
The court allowed the ARDC’s petition and reprimanded Glick. A reprimand, the ARDC website states, “reflects a determination that the lawyer has engaged in misconduct, but that the violation is not so serious to warrant a sanction that would affect the lawyer’s authority to continue to practice law.”
Hannigan, however, wasn’t as lucky. The court suspended her from the practice of law “for three years, with the suspension stayed after six months by a three year period of probation” subject to several conditions.
In December 2011, the ARDC brought a complaint against Hannigan that accused her of having a “lack of diligence and competence” in six separate cases.
It also alleged that Hannigan, or someone acting at her direction, forged the signatures of two of her clients on documents before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as well as the signature of her personal doctor in a note responding to an investigation into her alleged misconduct before the federal appeals panel.
In addition, the ARDC accused Hannigan of making improper threats to Chicago attorney Albert Brooks Friedman, who she had both a professional and personal relationship with.
Their personal relationship, according to the complaint, grew contentious between 1993 and 2011, during which time both attorneys believed the other was spreading false and negative rumors about the other.
According to the ARDC, Hannigan left a message at Friedman’s office in May 2011, saying “Leave me the f*** alone or somebody’s going to get a gun and somebody’s going to end up dead.”
Hannigan’s suspension takes effect April 5.