Six years I've been stuck in this system after filing for reduction of child support ( first of two daugther turning 18, last daughter emancipated 18 months months later) and other related financial matters. My ex is on her 4th (or 5th) law firm, depending on how you count it. The last law firm was hired in March of 2014 and filed for contribution to attorney fees (interrim and prospective). I have finally got into final hearings as of last April, though they have been sporadic and short (1-4 hour sessions). Now I find out my previous attorney, who I retained when originally entering the Parentage Court System (we were never married) and represented me for 8 months in 2001 on all aspects of this case (custody and all financial matters), merged with their law firm two months later (May 2014). I have filed a Motion to Disqualify and to Strike Petition for Fees which is being heard immediately.
I cite SK Handtool and Corcoran Partners v Dresser Industries 619 N.E 2d 1282 (Ill. App. 1993), a case where former attorneys joined their client's opposing party's (huge law firms), and were disqualified when screening mechansims were deemed inefficient.
My former attorney is not just an attorney, but OWNER/partner/principal in the law firm, a firm of roughly 12 lawyers, where a "screen" or "Chinese Wall" is impossilbe, nor is there any evidence of an attempt to do so.
At no time have I ever been notified by them of the conflict of interests. At no time have I signed a waiver.
Attorneys response (just received) says SK Handtool is not on point. ???
I cite Newton IL APP (1st) 090683, and King v King 52 Ill. App 3d 749 ((1997) where an attorney previously simply consulted with a potential client yet signed with opposing party later, and is disqualified.
My attorney was fully retained, receiving over 10k in compensation that year over 8 months.
In their response it seems they wish to argue that the case is not "substantially related" (Illinois Rule 1.10), as pending petitions are regarding proof of payment as ordered by temporary order 2000, and parenting agreement 2006. Yet, pending petitions include an adjustment in child support and college contribution, and previous attorney knew all aspects of my finances/type of work/real estate rentals which have remain unchanged. Private tuition is also in dispute which was litigated by previous attorney as well, amongst other things financial currently in dispute.
Any opinion on SK Handtool not being "on point"? Regarding the requirement that the case be "substantially related", given that it is the same case and financials past and present are at hand, do they have a leg to stand on? "Accordingly, any doubts as to the existenc of a conflict should be resolved in favor of disqualification" (Skokie Gold 116 Ill. App. 3d at 1057, 452 N.E. 2d at 813).