Administrative Law

Associate Faces Legal Ethics Case re Claimed Ex Parte Emails with Worker's Comp Arbitrator

An associate with a St. Louis law firm is facing a legal ethics case over her alleged ex parte emails with an arbitrator concerning the merits of a client’s Illinois worker’s compensation case.

Kerry O’Sullivan, 36, who is licensed in both Missouri and Illinois, cooperated with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission probe. She will continue to cooperate during the hearing process and looks forward to presenting evidence on her own behalf at an appropriate time, a spokeswoman for Brown & Crouppen, the law firm for which she works, tells the Belleville News Democrat.

The newspaper says the arbitrator, Jennifer Teague, has resigned from her job with the state Worker’s Compensation Commission and resumed her maiden name. Her lawyer, Jim Williams, says she isn’t yet facing a legal ethics case but expects to do so and plans “to take a different direction in her life.”

The article doesn’t explain how the claimed ex parte emails, which are alleged to have excluded an assistant state attorney general representing the public from the discussion of the case, came to light.

The state disputed that O’Sullivan’s client, former Illinois State trooper Matt Mitchell, was entitled to compensation concerning a fatal crash in which he allegedly was driving at 126 mph. He was convicted of reckless homicide.

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