Saturday, December 03, 2005

Not So Fast, Eddie

The brief suspension of former ald. Ed Vrdolyak's law license has already garnered headlines. (It was entered into the record in late November, and is effective December 13th. )A report of the Attorney Registration and disciplinary Commission summarized his misdoings.

[Vrdolyak] omitted and misrepresented information regarding his intent to collect contingent fees from his clients in addition to collecting court-awarded fees from a settlement fund established by the defendant.

Several lines buried on page five are particularly perditious.
12. The supporting memorandum stated that, "[t]he attorneys fees will not to [sic] be paid out of the Settlement Fund. Instead, the fees will be paid by Ford separately, and the amount of fees will not in any way affect the monetary awards to members of the Class or Class representatives" and that "[a]ll of the [9 million dollar settlement] money will go to Class members, and to no one else."

13. The declaration and memorandum, described in Paragraphs Ten through Twelve above, disclosed that the plaintiffs' counsel had one-third contingent-fee agreements with the named Plaintiffs, but did not disclose that the attorneys planned to enforce those agreements in addition to the fees awarded from the 3 million dollar Ford fund.

At the direction of the judge, Vrdolyack promptly repaid the contingency fees, with interest, and, in the IARDC's words, "showed remorse." There's nothing like having to return $150,000 in contingency fees to make a guy remorseful. The Supreme Court accepted his show of contrition, but still suspended his license for thirty days. The case in question was Warnell, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, a sexual harassment suit in which "fast Eddie" represented the plaintiff in federal district court.

This isn't the first time that Vrdolyak's legal ethics have been questioned(he's been censured twice) and this is unlikely to slow him down. (The IARDC also isn't the first to misspell his surname-which they do.)

On another Vrdolyak-related note, it is thought that the former alderman could convince Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman to get into the GOP primary for CCB president against his longtime antagonist Tony Peraica.


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