Harassment by electronic means is an issue now before the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
The case is pending, but I’m reporting on it because the attorney has admitted that she “…regrettably sent…” the subject communications. The attorney has denied that she did so for the purpose to embarrass, delay or burden the employees of the firm that contracted with her.
The purpose of the attorney disciplinary process is not to punish the attorneys for misconduct, but to safeguard the public, maintain the integrity of the profession and protect the administration of justice from reproach.
The attorney is Cynthia Jean Koroll, who has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since November 2001. The practice of law is her third career after serving in the military, being a registered nurse, and teaching nursing for a university.
On July 29, 2016, a complaint was filed that alleged three counts against attorney Cynthia Koroll;
Count I: Engaging in harassing conduct in billing dispute
Count II: Engaging in harassing and burdensome conduct in litigation
Count III: Engaging in a conflict of interest
The complaint states:
“On May 12, 2015, Respondent and Roca Labs Inc. (“Roca”), by its agent, Don Juravin, agreed that Respondent would represent Roca in providing general business advice and representation in litigation, mediation, and other matters regarding Roca’s sale of weight-loss supplements. Respondent and Roca agreed that Respondent would work as part of Roca’s legal team, which included Florida attorneys April S. Goodwin, Paul Berger, and Rachel Hyman.”
“Respondent and Roca entered into a written agreement that Respondent would work as an independent contractor for a 90-day trial period commencing May 12, 2015, and that Respondent was expected to work 20-25 hours per week and charge Roca a rate of $50 per hour. The agreement further provided that Respondent was to record her time spent on Roca matters and expenses she incurred in Roca matters, in Roca’s time tracking software (“HubStaff”).”
The complaint goes on to state that attorney Koroll failed to use the HubStaff software and on July 11, 2015, Roca informed Koroll that it would not renew the independent contractor agreement after the 90-day trial. Roca withheld payment of Respondent’s last invoice until its concerns could be addressed.
On July 11, 2015, Koroll began sending emails to the legal team in Florida.
On or about July 17, 2015, Roca filed a complaint in the 13th Judicial District in Hillsborough County, Florida, alleging that Koroll engaged in malpractice with respect to her representation of Roca.
On or about July 22, 2015, and also in the 13th Judicial District in Florida, Koroll filed a breach of contract complaint against Roca Labs. She alleged that Roca had not paid her for her services.
According to the filed complaint by the Attorney Disciplinary Commission, between July 11, 2015 and July 27, 2015, Koroll sent to the legal team in Florida texts, emails, tweets and Skype instant messages containing racial slurs, anti-Semitic comments and threats of litigation. Koroll also threatened to take private and work related communications to social media and “out” what coworkers said about each other. Her emails and electronic messages included:
” You are a witness. You better be damn straight that every word can be backed up because I will never let this go. I will litigate this until you and your slimey Israeli punk client wish he had never thought of hiring a white, brilliant Gentile.” Email to Hyman dated July 20, 2015, 12:16 p.m.
“…so suck some more on that Israeli slong [sic] girl. Hope you choke as I will take you apart bit by bit in every legal way possible from now until the end of your career.” Email to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 9:35 a.m.
” You WILL regret ever meeting me. I will turn over every rock you and your fucking towel head Arab crawled out from under from now to eternity.” Email to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 9:35 a.m.
“Tell your Israeli terrorist that this is American [sic] and he can go fuck himself and the camel he rode in on. Take that pussy little Monk loving faggott [sic] and his retarded kid with him.” Email to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 9:35 a.m.
” Just talked to a Jewish friend, he says that this is typical of an Israeli Jew. And he suggests a fraud count and treble damages.” Text message to Hyman dated July 16, 2015, 9:58 p.m.
“Lose some weight, get a facial and deal with the speech impediment. Jackass.” Email to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 9:35 a.m.
“It will be a public proceeding and everyone that sees and hears you will think: He must be a poor man. He must be a thief. And in the process you will look like a low life scummy thief. Because making me foot the bill for your litigation is STEALING. I do not know what God or idol you worship but my God says that stealing is breaking a commandment. Do you look in a mirror Don? What do your kids think about their Father when the policeman comes to the house AGAIN to serve him papers? Little kids are scared of cops. Maybe they think that the policeman might take Daddy away?” Email to Juravin dated July 20, 2015 at 2:37 a.m.
“So get the Israeli to pay me in full. Drop the ducking suit and apologize….Eat that shit. All of you.” Skype message to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 10:33 a.m.”
“Today I might tweet and Facebook all your personal comments about your coworkers from our Skype conversations . . . After I call Paul’s [Berger] wife today.” Email to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 6:41 a.m.
” You are just a piece of shit.” Email to Goodwin dated July 20, 2015, 9:35 a.m.
“Rachel Hyman is Orthodox Jew. Berger is Jewish. But they bash Juravin for cheap practices and Jewing down all for discount.” July 21, 2015 11:02 a.m. Tweet
“cheap Jew bastard” Email to Goodwin dated July 21, 2015, 2:24 p.m.
“So get your Team and the Israeli together. Work up a sweat on his swarthy oily brow and put together a proposed order.” Email to Goodwin dated July 23, 2015, 8:57 p.m.
“you are simply morally bankrupt and sociopathic or so terrified of having to get another job that you have taken leave of your senses…..” Email to Berger, Goodwin and Hyman dated July 24, 2015 at 4:40 a.m.
“You do not have the right to call yourself a lawyer. Because there is another name for a woman who will do anything for pay. It is not “counsel”.” Email to Berger, Goodwin and Hyman dated July 24, 2015, 4:40 a.m.
“Though Israeli slong [sic] might have been a bit over the top Twitter LOVES it.” Email to Goodwin dated July 25, 2015 at 1:25 a.m.
Since Koroll’s communications were to members of the legal team she worked with, the Commission charged her with violation of Rule 4.4(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. That Rule is titled “Respect For the Rights of Third Persons” and forbids lawyers from using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person.
In Count II of the complaint, the Commission alleges that Koroll sent hundreds of texts, emails, tweets and Skype instant messages where she threatened to reveal confidential information she learned during her attorney-client relationship. She also threatened to depose the children and spouses of co-workers, although the children and spouses have no knowledge of Koroll’s dispute with Roca. Koroll stated in one communications that it was not a threat against family members of co-workers, but a promise.
You can read Koroll’s response to the complaint at this link.
This post does not address the conflict of interest. You can read the full complaint here.
As a side note, in October 2015, the FTC filed suit against Roca Labs for trying to silence unhappy customers. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ftc-lawsuit-roca-labs-weight-loss-powder-gag-clause-customers-sued/