On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, the Supreme Court of Illinois allowed the Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose discipline on consent against attorney Timothy Paul Peterson, resulting in the respondent’s suspension to practice for six months for unauthorized settlement and misrepresentations to clients.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Timothy Paul Peterson” and was brought by the Supreme Court of Illinois with case no. 031559.

The charges cited Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(a), 4.1(a) and 8,4(c) which state:

Failure to abide by a client’s decision on whether to settle a matter.

Knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a third person, and conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

On September 2, 2022, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a Complaint for discipline against the respondent for allegedly unauthorized settlement and misrepresentations to clients and the opposing counsel. Formally, the Petition to Impose Discipline on Consent was filed on December 12, 2022, before the Supreme Court of Illinois. On the said petition the respondent was charged with the violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for such unauthorized settlement.

The filing states:

“As of February 23, 2021, Respondent did not have settlement authority from Kolodziej or anyone at Echelon with regard to the settlement of Aboudou’s claim. On that date, Respondent called Amarin and falsely told him that he had the authority to settle Aboudou’s claim for the $75,000 policy limit. Amarin accepted the purported offer and later that day, Respondent falsely confirmed via an email message to Amarin that he had the authority to settle Aboudou’s claims on behalf of Echelon for $75,000.”‘

The filing continues:

“On March 15, 2 021, Respondent received the executed settlement documents back from Amarin. Two days later, he sent a letter to Kolodziej requesting an update on his settlement authority, as the Respondent still had not received authorization to settle Aboudou’s claim against Echelon. In his letter, Respondent did not inform Kolodziej that he had purportedly agreed, on behalf of Echelon, to settle Aboudou’s claim for $75,000 or that he had drafted and received back purported settlement documents from Amarin.

On or about April 6, 2021, Respondent told his supervisor at Best, Alison Harrington, that he had settled the Aboudou matter without the authority or permission of Echelon. Shortly after that meeting, the firm terminated Respondent’s employment.”

Considering the nature and extent of Mr. Peterson’s conduct, the Administrator requested then for the suspension of the former for six(6) months which the Supreme Court of Illinois approved.

The Disposition states:

“Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to imp0se discipline on consent pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 762(6). Allowed. Respondent Timothy Paul Peterson is suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months.

Suspension effective February 7, 2023.”

Mr. Peterson had been an attorney at Best, Vanderlaan & Harrington.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.