The Illinois Supreme Court entered an interim suspension order against attorney Joel Brodsky prohibiting him for practicing law in Illinois until further order of the Court. You can view the order here.
You can view the brief of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed in support of the order here.
In opposing his possible suspension in a brief to the Supreme Court, Brodsky continued to attempt to advance his “blame his victims” defense. Those victims are the Plaintiff’s counsel and the Plaintiff’s expert witness in the Twyman case. Brodsky claimed he was justified in his attack on Plaintiff’s counsel and Plaintiff’s expert in direct contradiction of the findings made by Judge Kendall at the evidentiary hearing on sanctions rejecting those claims, and despite the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Executive Committee of the Northern District of Illinois affirming Judge Kendall’s decision. The Executive Committee suspended Brodsky from federal court for a year (which it later reduced to 6 months) finding that the evidence presented at the sanctions hearing in Twyman in support of suspension was “clear and convincing”. You can view that order here.
Brodsky recently sued one of his three former attorneys in the sanctions hearing claiming the attorney should have advanced more vigorously Brodsky’s discredited “blame the victims” defense. The ARDC complaint against Brodsky takes issue with this discredited defense stating: “Respondent’s (Brodsky’s) actions in accusing [opposing counsel in Twyman] of extortion and manufacturing a case were unsubstantiated, false, and frivolous, and had no other purpose than to harass and intimidate [opposing counsel].” Here is a link to that complaint.
Even Brodsky’s own lawyer, Joe “The Shark” Lopez (not the attorney Brodsky later sued for malpractice for failing to assert the “blame the victims” defense) admitted in his opening statement in purported defense of sanctions against Brodsky as can be seen at p. 37 of the hearing transcript, “I think [Brodsky] was overzealous, and I think that [Plaintiff’s counsel’s sanctions] pleading is correct, that he [Brodsky] engaged in Rambo-like tactics“. You can view the transcript where Brodsky’s own lawyer Joe “The Shark” admitted that Brodsky was a Rambo attorney at p. 37 here. The sanctions pleadings referred to by Joe “the Shark” which outline all of Brodsky’s “Rambo-like tactics” can be viewed here, here, here, here, here, and here.
You can view the main pleading in Twyman supporting sanctions here. Brodsky’s claims that opposing counsel manufactured a fee-shifting consumer fraud case based on a false expert report were contrary to the evidence according to Judge Kendall as found in the Court’s sanctions decision.
The car dealer in Twyman who allegedly knowingly sold a rebuilt wreck to Twyman had purchased the accident damaged luxury Infiniti at issue in the lawsuit from the Manheim automobile auction. The auction had given the car a 1.9 rating (out of a possible rating of 5) meaning, according to the auction, it was in “rough” condition and had been abused or in an accident and was likely to have structural damage. A detailed report provided with the auction rating (which was available to the car dealer that sold Twyman the car before the dealer purchased the car at the auction) contained a list of the actual unrepaired accident damage and photographs of the damage. You can view that report which is attached as an exhibit to a pleading filed by Plaintiff here. The Plaintiff also had obtained the insurance records showing that the car had been in a major front and backside collision and had submitted that evidence into the record before Judge Kendall. You can view the insurance records and the photographs of the accident damage which were attached as an exhibit to a motion filed by the Plaintiff here.
This is what Judge Kendall had to say about the basis of Plaintiff’s claims when she found there could be as much as $30,000 in actual damages and that there was a possibility of a punitive damages award particularly because this car dealer had already suffered a punitive damages award in another case for engaging in similar misconduct:
First, “[p]unitive damages are available under both the common law of fraud and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS 505/1 to 505/12.” Keeling v. Esurance Ins. Co., 660 F.3d 273, 275 (7th Cir. 2011). Second, even when carefully scrutinized, it is not legally certain that Plaintiff will be unable to satisfy the amount in controversy threshold. Plaintiff has alleged that the Defendants’ sales representatives misrepresented and concealed the fact that the vehicle had never been in an accident and failed to disclose that it “was a rebuilt wreck with a bent frame.” (Dkt. 1 ¶¶ 2, 12-15.) Once he purchased the vehicle, Plaintiff soon discovered that the car did not perform as advertised, and he learned from a mechanic that the car needed extensive repairs. (Dkt. 1 ¶¶ 21-22.) Plaintiff has also submitted evidence that the vehicle had a “rough” grade, indicating that it had “been severely abused or has sustained major collision damage” and other evidence indicative of a serious collision. (Exs. A, B, C to Dkt. 23; Ex. 1 to Dkt. 57.) Plaintiff has also submitted newly received documentation from Progressive Insurance, demonstrating that the subject vehicle had, in fact, previously been in a collision, including pictures of the damaged vehicle and estimates for repairs. (Dkt. 65.) In light of these allegations and supporting facts of conduct, it is not legally certain that Plaintiff cannot recover at least $75,000.
Twyman v. S&M Auto Brokers, 16 C 4182, 2016 WL 6082357, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 18, 2016)
“Even if the Court were to consider Defendants’ argument regarding the validity of Plaintiff’s claimed compensatory damages, Plaintiff, using competent proof—including a declaration from a proposed expert—has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that he may be entitled to actual damages approximating $30,000.” (See Dkt. 59.)
Twyman v. S&M Auto Brokers, 16 C 4182, 2016 WL 6082357, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 18, 2016)
Before Plaintiff had even filed suit or had spoken with the lawyer who later became his counsel, or with the expert, as Judge Kendall found above, an Indiana autobody shop and Infinity dealer had inspected the car and provided Plaintiff with written reports that it had substantial unrepaired accident damage. Plaintiff’s preliminary expert declaration submitted to Judge Kendall attached those documents as exhibits. Judge Kendall cited the expert report in an opinion in denying Defendants’ motion to dismiss which you can view here. After that opinion, Brodsky continued to assert that the expert report was unfounded and that Plaintiff’s counsel had manufactured the case.
According to the ARDC complaint, Brodsky had no basis for his claim (which he continued to assert before the Supreme Court) that Plaintiff’s counsel did not have a basis for filing the claims that the car sold to Twyman was a rebuilt wreck and that Plaintiff’s expert had invented those claims. In fact, as stated, even as Brodsky continued to advance those claims in the Twyman case, Judge Kendall had already reviewed the expert’s preliminary report (provided in a sworn declaration) and had rejected Brodsky’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that Plaintiff had properly pled federal diversity claims based on the potential for punitive damages and the potential for actual damages exceeding $30,000. You can view that decision by Judge Kendall here.
You can view Plaintiff’s sanction pleadings in Twyman here, here, here, here, here, and here. You can view a motion regarding Brodsky’s conduct at a deposition, which is referenced in Judge Kendall’s sanctions decision, here. You can view the transcript of proceedings for the sanctions hearing in Twyman here.
Brodsky was represented by three attorneys at the sanctions hearing including the managing partner and founder of the Chicago office of a large New York law firm and by prominent criminal attorney, Joe “The Shark” Lopez. Judge Lefkow called Brodsky’s “blame his lawyer’s defense” (where Brodsky tried to place the blame for his sanctions on his insurance defense counsel from the Chicago office of the New York firm), “a dubious proposition”. Brodsky blamed his mal-practice insurance defense lawyer even though his personal defense attorney Joe “The Shark” admitted that Plaintiff’s counsel was correct and that Brodsky had engaged in Rambo-like tactics. You can view the decision rejecting the “blame the lawyer’s” defense here.
The ARDC in its Complaint against Mr. Brodsky alleges: “[Brodsky’s] actions in accusing [Plaintiff’s counsel] of extortion and manufacturing a case were unsubstantiated, false, and frivolous, and had no other purpose than to harass and intimidate Lubin.” The Supreme Court suspended Mr. Brodsky’s law license based on these allegations and the findings of Judge Kendall which were affirmed by the Seventh Circuit. As the Seventh Circuit found: “Brodsky’s rhetoric was inappropriate and outlandish, and his attempt to implicate the court in his fraud—and to use legal process as a tool to intimidate a witness—was beyond the pale. On this record, we have no trouble affirming the district court’s decision.” Twyman v. S & M Auto Brokers, Inc., 748 Fed. Appx. 705, 708 (7th Cir. 2019), reh’g denied (Feb. 11, 2019) The record in the district court shows that Plaintiff’s counsel never engaged in any uncivil conduct with Mr. Brodsky and responded to his written tirades in a reserved professional manner with statements like “please try to be civil” in response to emails making statements like “How do you even call yourself a lawyer? You are an embarrassment to the profession.”
Brodsky’s latest claim (which is contrary to the evidence) advanced to the Illinois Supreme Court to try to save his law license from the temporary suspension is that his investigation had revealed that the Plaintiff’s expert in Twyman was not a “bona fide expert witness” and that the expert had purportedly never testified in any case as an expert. This claim appears to have been advanced without any proper investigation of the legitimacy of Brodsky’s purported claim before taking the step of submitting the unfounded allegations (harming the expert’s reputation) to the Illinois Supreme Court; despite Supreme Court Rule 137 which prohibits the filing of untrue statements. In fact, Plaintiff’s expert in Twyman has been qualified as an expert by a number of courts as well as in arbitration proceedings. If Brodsky’s current lawyer, who signed the brief filed with the Illinois Supreme Court, had read the sanctions transcript of proceedings before Judge Kendall, he would have learned that Plaintiff’s expert had been recommended to the Plaintiff’s counsel by one of the top auto fraud attorneys in Illinois (Norm Lehrer), and been retained as an expert many times by many attorneys. He would have also learned that Plaintiff’s expert testified in two prior arbitration hearings as an expert submitted by Plaintiff’s counsel where the arbitrator accepted the expert’s findings and awarded damages following the expert’s testimony based on those findings. (See transcript of proceedings in the sanctions hearing before Judge Kendall).
As stated in the sanctions hearing transcript and in Plaintiff’s expert’s resume, he is a mechanical engineer who graduated from the General Motors Institute, which is now called Kettering University. He studied how to manufacture and build cars.
Kettering is and has been one of the premier engineering schools in the country and is perhaps the top school for training engineers on how to build cars and trucks. The current CEO of General Motors is a Kettering graduate as are many other major figures in the automobile industry. In addition, to working for General Motors, while at Kettering and following graduation, Plaintiff’s expert owned a used car dealership and has purchased thousands of used cars at automobile auctions including at the Manheim auction.
Kettering’s website describes its mission and history as follows:
The institution was founded in 1919 as The School of Automobile Trades and opened under the direction of Albert Sobey to train engineering and management personnel. In 1923, the school became the Flint Institute of Technology offering a four-year cooperative education program, and enrolling more than 600 students. Recognizing the potential of cooperative education, the General Motors Corporation took over financial support of the school in 1926, renamed it General Motors Institute, and started utilizing the facility to develop engineers and managers. In 1945, the Institute added a fifth-year thesis requirement and became a degree-granting college with a continuing commitment to cooperative education.
GM divested itself of ownership of the school in 1982 and the schools was renamed GMI Engineering & Management Institute. Also in 1982, the institution began offering graduate programs to on- and off-campus students.
In a study profiled in The Economist, Kettering University ranked fourth in the country in producing alumni who hold patents.
Kettering University was ranked first in the country in career preparation in a 2017 survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal.
Kettering University received a 2018 ‘Best in the Midwest’ designation from the Princeton Review.
You can view Kettering’s website here.