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In re Himmel

Illinois Supreme Court
533 N.E.2d 790 (1988)


Facts

Tammy Forsberg hired attorney John Casey to handle a personal injury claim arising out of a motorcycle accident. Casey settled the case for $35,000, and stole $23,233 of Forsberg’s money. Forsberg then retained attorney James Himmel (defendant) to recover the money taken by Casey. Himmel had knowledge of Casey’s illegal act, but decided to negotiate a settlement with him instead of reporting his conduct to the state bar. Casey agreed to pay Forsberg $75,000 in settlement of any claim she might have against him. In return, Forsberg agreed not to criminally prosecute the matter nor refer Casey to the state bar for discipline. After Casey failed to pay per the settlement agreement, Himmel filed suit against him for breach of the agreement. The case was eventually settled. Casey was later disbarred for an unrelated matter. The Administrator (plaintiff) of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (the Commission) filed a complaint against Himmel for failing to report Casey’s misconduct. A hearing board concluded that Himmel violated Rule 1-103(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and recommended a private reprimand. On appeal, the Review Panel recommended the complaint be dismissed. The Administrator appealed. The Illinois Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stamos, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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