Oak Park officer nixes lawsuit settlement as lawyers seek to withdraw

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By Bill Dwyer

Contributing Reporter

Lawyers for an Oak Park police officer suing the village for alleged sexual harassment and other alleged violations of federal law have asked a judge to be dismissed from the case.

At a hearing before Judge Manish Shah Sept. 17, attorneys for Officer Rasul Freelain also asked in a separate motion that a scheduled Oct. 2 settlement conference be cancelled at their client's request.

"Plaintiff Rasul Freelain has informed his attorneys … that he does not wish to go to a settlement conference at this time," attorney David L. Lee stated in his brief.

In May, 2013 Freelain, a 13-year veteran and former detective, filed a five-count federal civil lawsuit alleging, among other things, that he was battered by Sergeant Dina Vardal while on duty, allegedly for his reporting her for sexual harassment.

Freelain alleges that Vardal pushed him and threatened him while on duty after he reported his allegations to superiors. Freelain said that action came only after years of retaliation and harassment following his rejecting her sexual advances.

Freelain's suit alleges that Vardal and other police superiors retaliated against him and interfered with him exercising his legal rights under the Family Medical Leave to care for his cancer-stricken wife.

In August Judge Shah entered an order for a settlement conference. Freelain's lawyers were scheduled to file settlement demands with the court by Sept. 18. The village was to have filed a reply by Sept. 25.

Wednesday Journal did not attempt to contact Freelain's attorney, David L. Lee, due to the fact that Lee stated in his motion that he and colleague Matthew Robison intended to await the judge's ruling on how to proceed on their request.

Lee said he and Robison were prepared to "state with specificity the good cause for withdrawal in camera (in the judge's chambers) or on the record," as the judge ruled.

In his motion, Lee stated "there is good cause for withdrawal under ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.16(b)."

"That good cause," Lee added, "is not under sub-sections (2) or (3) of Model Rule 1.16(b).

According to the American Bar Association's rules of professional conduct, those subsections which Lee said do not apply to his motion read: "

"withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client," and "the client persists in a course of action involving the lawyer's services that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent."

The remaining five circumstances that may apply include:

(3) the client has used the lawyer's services to perpetrate a crime or fraud;

(4) the client insists upon taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement;

(5) the client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer regarding the lawyer's services and has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled;

(6) the representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client; or

(7) other good cause for withdrawal exists.

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Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: September 24th, 2014 4:41 PM

Lets see, working the system. A nephew of a mayor beats a person to death,the police and states attorney loose notes,years later a case is brought and the nephew pleads gets to spend time in DuPage instead of Cook County jail instead of a prison. Maneuvers. Happens every day. Jurors don't have access to the internet.Jury selection experts.What exactly is Terry Eakin doing for Heather? Swaying the public.Tasteless, maybe, but it might be true,

John Q  

Posted: September 24th, 2014 4:04 PM

Wow Brian. Seriously? That's was pretty tasteless.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: September 24th, 2014 7:48 AM

This article appears on the heals of the breast cancer article. Could the breast cancer article be an attempt to soften the perspective jury pool?

Dave from OP  

Posted: September 23rd, 2014 9:32 PM

He did not pay his lawyer???

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