Lawyer suspended amid accusations of 'inappropriate diatribes' and 'vitriolic emails'

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Joel Brodsky. Photo from the Law Offices of Joel A. Brodsky.

A Chicago lawyer accused of sending “vitriolic emails” to opposing counsel and making false claims and “inappropriate diatribes” in pleadings has been suspended from law practice.

In an order on Wednesday, the Illinois Supreme Court suspended lawyer Joel Brodsky from law practice “immediately and until further order of the court.” The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and CBS Chicago have coverage.

Brodsky is known for his representation of Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson, who was convicted of killing his third wife in September 2012. Peterson later alleged that Brodsky harmed his case and was poorly equipped to try a case of such magnitude.

The suspension takes place before resolution of ethics charges against Brodsky. The ethics complaint filed last August is based partly on a case in which a federal judge sanctioned Brodsky $50,000 for his litigation behavior in a case filed against his car dealer clients.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall sanctioned Brodsky after finding he engaged in “inappropriate diatribes,” made an “unhinged attack” on an expert witness on odometers and filed “a number of baseless or unnecessary motions.”

Brodsky had claimed the opposing lawyer filed a “bogus case” against his clients that was part of an “extortion game.” In one email to the lawyer, Brodsky wrote, “How do you even call yourself a lawyer? You are an embarrassment to the profession.”

The bogus case and extortion allegations had no basis in fact, according to the ethics complaint.

In another case, Brodsky was accused of sending an email to school personnel that said the spouse of his divorce client was “very mentally sick” and “pathologically obsessed with having to have things her way.”

In a third case, Brodsky is accused of continuing to file pleadings after his client fired him.

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