Cook County Circuit Court Judge Clare J. Quish granted leave to an unhappy client of Levenfeld Pearlstein to include facts pointing the finger at Levenfeld’s counsel in a recent ruling. Chicago’s Levenfeld and Highland Park attorney George Spathis hired insurance defense honcho Peter Sullivan, the Chairman of Hinshaw Culbertson, to represent them in a legal malpractice case in 2020.
According to the facts alleged in an August filing, Mr. Sullivan became too involved in trying to help Spathis and Levenfeld in the case known as Locality v. Spathis (#20 CH 05442). The problem, it appears, is that while Spathis was Locality’s lawyer in another case in Cook County, Locality was suing Spathis and Levenfeld for malpractice. Sullivan allegedly then tried to take over his opponent’s case.
The August filing alleges that Hinshaw’s Chairman drove the strategy for Levenfeld’s then-client while they were adverse, using his privileged position with both sides of the litigation to mislead Judge Quish’s court.
According to court filings and confirmed by a non-participating observer, Judge Quish held a hearing on the matter on November 29 by Zoom. After the 45-minute hearing on the procedural motion, she allowed the facts to be included moving forward. According to the observer, Mr. Sullivan vigorously fought the inclusion of the facts that related to his own actions.
The most explosive allegations uncovered in the August filing were alleged in another related case, in front of Hon. John J. Curry, Jr (# 23 CH 08723). In that case, the same parties are again involved in a malpractice case. Filings show that Peter Sullivan attended an October 27 conference in front of Judge Curry as an observer but refused to enter an appearance even after Levenfeld had been served.
The allegations against Spathis and Levenfeld in the new complaint include race-based allegations against them. According to the complaint, pictured below, the Chicago-based Spathis is alleged to have mixed up three separate, prominent Chicago African-Americans, including the judge. The filing characterizes Peter Sullivan and Hinshaw’s client as “race-baiting.”
Another high-flying litigator, Matt Furton, partner at Locke Lord, is alleged to have witnessed the Spathis’ and Levenfeld’s race-baiting tactics. Furton refused comment for this story. Furton’s client suffered a $6,000,000 judgment after Furton was called to take over for Spathis and Levenfeld. Furton once – and no longer – serves as Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Locke Lord.
According to the Motion for Default against Levenfeld Pearlstein in Judge Curry’s court, the firm was served but had not responded within the allowed month, while Sullivan delayed any decision to represent them again after the new race-baiting allegations were leveled. The Motion for Default against the Chicago firm is set for hearing on January 2, 2024.
ALABnews reporting team contacted Sullivan on Sunday for comment on this story. According to a court filing, Sullivan and Hinshaw entered an appearance for Levenfeld Pearlstein and attorneys George Spathis, Christina Lutz, and Erin Mayer less then two days after our request. Sullivan refused any comment.
[Disclosure: Edward “Coach” Weinhaus, Esq. is the Publisher and CEO of Judiciocracy LLC, the owner of ALABnews. He is involved in all of the cases mentioned herein as an attorney and won the $6,000,0000 on behalf of the original plaintiff after the race-baiting tactics alleged and shown above included him. Coach refused comment for this story.]
Sullivan appears to have escaped sanctions for the second time in Judge Quish’s court in November. The first time was in 2022. In both cases, the Plaintiff’s counsel of record, Ryan M. Cleys, Esq., appears to have voluntarily withdrawn the request after making a prima facie case for Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 violations. Rule 137 and the Cleys’ filings gave the court authority to sanction Sullivan for proffering and relying on bogus legal arguments.
The court observer to November’s hearing before Judge Quish quipped that Sullivan was “expressionless” when the court issued its ruling. Both parties ordered the transcripts of the hearing.