People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. McCallum, No. 17408.

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtHEARD
Citation173 N.E. 827,341 Ill. 578
Docket NumberNo. 17408.
Decision Date06 December 1930
PartiesPEOPLE ex rel. CHICAGO BAR ASS'N v. McCALLUM.

341 Ill. 578
173 N.E. 827

PEOPLE ex rel. CHICAGO BAR ASS'N
v.
McCALLUM.

No. 17408.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

Oct. 25, 1930.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 6, 1930.


Disbarment proceedings by the People, on the relation of the Chicago Bar Association, against William Wallace McCallum.

Rule discharged.

DUNN, C. J., and STONE and DE YOUNG, JJ., dissenting.


[341 Ill. 578]John L. Fogle, of Chicago (William P. Sidley, Horace K. Tenney, Silas H. Strawn, Amos C. Miller, Francis X. Busch, and Charles P. Megan, all of Chicago, of counsel), for relator.

341 Ill. 579]John A. Bloomingston and James J. Barbour, both of Chicago, for respondent.
HEARD, J.

Relator, the Chicago Bar Association, in the name of the people, upon leave granted, filed an information, consisting of three counts, in this court to disbar respondent, William Wallace McCallum, for alleged improper conduct and practices as a lawyer. Respondent answered the information, denying the charges, and the cause was referred to a commissioner to take the evidence and report his conclusions. The commissioner found that the charge in the first count of the information had not been sustained and the charges in the second and third counts had been sustained, and he recommended such disciplinary action as this court might deem proper. Relator filed exceptions to the finding upon the first count and respondent filed exceptions to the findings on the other two counts.

The first count of the information charged respondent with prosecuting in the circuit court of Cook county a fraudulent claim for personal injuries against the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company knowing the same to be fraudulent.

The evidence shows that respondent was admitted to the bar in 1907 and has practiced in Chicago. During the last few years his practice has been confined almost exclusively to personal injury claims against public service corporations, and particularly against railroads in which the injuries occurred in interstate commerce. He maintains an office in which he has a stenographer and several male employees, among whom was his brother, who is not a lawyer. It is charged that the brothers are engaged in the practice of the law; that they and their male employees solicit personal injury cases, make contracts with injured persons, and financially sustain their claimants pending trial. Respondent[341 Ill. 580]was the attorney in several cases against the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, which company will be referred to as the railroad company. Some of these cases were

[173 N.E. 828

tried and others were settled. Attorneys who handled these cases for the railroad company decided to set a trap for respondent.

On the recommendation of certain Minneapolis attorneys, lawyers for the railroad company engaged D. L. Scanlan, who under the name of D. J. Donahue appears in this case. Scanlan and one Perry, a claim agent of the railroad company, put the plan into operation. Scanlan was to work as a switchman for the railroad company, was to be found in an apparently injured condition, and was to be taken to the Mercy Hospital, in Chicago. He was to simulate paralysis of the right arm and leg and was to retain respondent as his attorney. Scanlan, before the alleged injury, was taken by Perry to a physician who had been employed by the railroad company from time to time. This physician instructed Scanlan as to the nature of paralysis and how he should act if paralyzed. Scanlan was then taken to two other physicians and there demonstrated his ability to pretend paralysis. Among them was Dr. Sullivan, of Mercy Hospital, who was later in charge of Scanlan at that hospital. Dr. Sullivan was not informed as to the actual facts but was asked to examine Scanlan and diagnose his case. He tested him for paralysis by means of electricity and otherwise. He was not certain whether Scanlan was paralyzed or not. Shortly before the happening of the supposed accident Scanlan met Joe Hennessey, who was employed by respondent and was later in the employ of the railroad company. Scanlan was employed by the railroad company as a switchman under the name of Donahue. On November 5, 1924, he purposely took a cotter-key from the pin-lifter of a car, took hold of the pin-lifter, and purposely fell to the ground. He bit his lip, and when he was found by the train crew blood was coming[341 Ill. 581]from his mouth. He pretended to be partly unconscious, paralyzed on his right side, and was removed to Mercy Hospital. A day or two later he was visited by Hennessey, whether at his request or not does not clearly appear. Hennessey set to work to have the respondent employed to represent Scanlan in his claim for damages. In a day or two Hennessey and the McCallum brothers called at the hospital to see Scanlan. They were informed by the nurse that the patient could not have visitors and they were requested to leave. On the evening of November 12 Scanlan was moved from Mercy Hospital to St. Luke's Hospital. On the next day after he was removed a contract was entered into between Scanlan and respondent for the prosecution of his action for damages. Scanlan remained in St. Luke's Hospital until November 29, when he was removed to the Sheridan Plaza Hotel. Later he was taken to the Parkway Hotel and finally to the Sherman House, where he remained until the case was reached for trial. All of the hospital bills, doctor bills, hotel and other expenses were paid by the McCallums. After Scanlan was removed from Mercy Hospital he was examined by two physicians, both of whom testified on the trial. On November 18 suit was commenced by respondent as attorney for Scanlan. Within a few days summons was served, a declaration was filed and the cause was at issue. On December 9 a motion was made by respondent to advance the case for trial. In support of this motion an affidavit was filed by Scanlan and another by respondent, the substance of which will later be considered. As a result of these affidavits the case was advanced and was finally called for trial on February 11. Scanlan appeared in court in apparently a crippled condition, with his right arm limp and resting against his body, his right leg was dragging, and he supported himself with a cane, which he carried in his left hand. Three physicians testified that in their opinion Scanlan[341 Ill. 582]was suffering from paralysis of the right side, involving the arm and leg; that such opinions were based on objective symptoms; that they were absolutely certain of their diagnosis; and that they could not have been fooled by Scanlan. One of them testified that in his opinion Scanlan had suffered a fracture at the base of the skull and a fracture of the fourth lumbar vertebra. After the trial had proceeded for two days Scanlan was called as a witness. He was asked whether he had previously been injured, and replied that he had; that several times he had falsely claimed to be injured; and that he had extorted money from railroads, including over $2,000 from the Burlington Road. The court called the attorneys and Scanlan into his chambers. Scanlan there stated that he was not crippled, that he had no injuries, and he demonstrated his condition by laying aside his cane, walking as a normal, healthy person, and by freely using his right arm and hand. He informed the court that he was in the employ of the railroad company; that his suit was fictitious and was brought for the purpose of entrapping the McCallums. The attorney for the railroad company admitted that Scanlan was in his employ and that he knew all the time that this was a fictitious suit. The court ordered attachments against all of these parties and an exhaustive investigation was started, which lasted about two weeks. At the close of the investigation the court censured the attorneys for the railroad company who had caused the fraud to be perpetrated on the court, but did not impose any punishment for contempt. He held that the McCallums and Scanlan were guilty of contempt, and the McCallums were each fined $250 and Scanlan was sent to jail for one day.

The first count of the information grows out of a scheme to entrap respondent and is therefore subject to grave suspicion. Scanlan, who was the chief actor in the scheme, is a disreputable person, who has been engaged in fraudulent and criminal practices, and, except

[173 N.E. 829]

where he is corroborated, [341 Ill. 583]is unworthy of belief. He testified that he revealed to respondent that he was not injured and was feigning paralysis and that respondent agreed to join him in the prosecution of a fraudulent claim against the railroad company. He contradicts himself many times during the course of his testimony and is contradicted on many important points by credible witnesses. Two witnesses testify that they were concealed in a closet in Scanlan's room at Mercy Hospital on the evening he was moved to St. Luke's Hospital, and that just before he was removed respondent had a conversation with Scanlan in which they talked about framing a case, and the witnesses could see, through an opening in the door, Scanlan demonstrating to respondent that he was not paralyzed. Respondent, his brother, the hospital employees, and the two men who carried Scanlan out of the hospital to the ambulance, all testify that respondent was not in Scanlan's room at the time this alleged conversation took place. Respondent's brother was in the room on this occasion and made the arrangements to move Scanlan from Mercy Hospital to St. Luke's Hospital.

Scanlan's feigning of paralysis was so perfect that he succeeded in deceiving several very reputable physicians, among them the head of the medical staff of a high-class hospital, and another physician, who was prominent in civic affairs, was physician for several railroads and had frequently appeared in court for defendants, among them the Burlington Railroad Company.

Several of Chicago's most reputable lawyers, including John D. Black, former...

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25 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Oklahoma Bar Ass'n v. Smolen, No. 1029
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 14 Julio 1992
    ...Ry. Co., 128 Minn. 365, 151 N.W. 125, 127 (1915); Mytton v. Missouri Pac. R.R. Co., 211 S.W. 111, 113 (1919). 20 People v. McCallum, 341 Ill. 578, 173 N.E. 827, 831 21 In re Ruffalo, see note 4 at 443-44, supra. See also, State v. Dawson, 111 So.2d 427, 430 (Fla.1959); Annot., "Validity & P......
  • Heirich, In re, No. 33455
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 15 Junio 1956
    ...investigating the charges nor the respondent from disbarment if they were found to be true.' People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. McCallum, 341 Ill. 578, 598, 173 N.E. 827, 834; People ex rel. Marion County Bar Ass'n v. Holt, 279 Ill. 107, 109, 116 N.E. While some of the foregoing testimony ......
  • Teichner, In re, No. 49982
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 12 Enero 1979
    ...to be forced into a hasty, inadequate settlement by their indigency. (People ex rel. Chicago Bar Association v. McCallum (1930), 341 Ill. 578, 589, 173 N.E. 827. Accord Bounougias v. Peters (1964), 49 Ill.App.2d 138, 154, 198 N.E.2d 142. But Cf. generally Annot. 8 A.L.R.3d 1155 (1966).) Acc......
  • Dombey, Tyler, Richards & Grieser v. DETROIT, T. & IR CO., No. 15787.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 30 Septiembre 1965
    ...contexts such maintenance agreements have withstood a charge that they were champertous. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. McCallum, 341 Ill. 578, 589, 173 N.E. 827 (1930); Johnson v. Great No. Ry., 128 Minn. 365, 369, 151 N.W. 125, L.R.A. 1917B, 1140 (1915); In re Sizer and Gardner, 306 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • State ex rel. Oklahoma Bar Ass'n v. Smolen, No. 1029
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 14 Julio 1992
    ...Ry. Co., 128 Minn. 365, 151 N.W. 125, 127 (1915); Mytton v. Missouri Pac. R.R. Co., 211 S.W. 111, 113 (1919). 20 People v. McCallum, 341 Ill. 578, 173 N.E. 827, 831 21 In re Ruffalo, see note 4 at 443-44, supra. See also, State v. Dawson, 111 So.2d 427, 430 (Fla.1959); Annot., "Validity & P......
  • Heirich, In re, No. 33455
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 15 Junio 1956
    ...investigating the charges nor the respondent from disbarment if they were found to be true.' People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. McCallum, 341 Ill. 578, 598, 173 N.E. 827, 834; People ex rel. Marion County Bar Ass'n v. Holt, 279 Ill. 107, 109, 116 N.E. While some of the foregoing testimony ......
  • Teichner, In re, No. 49982
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 12 Enero 1979
    ...to be forced into a hasty, inadequate settlement by their indigency. (People ex rel. Chicago Bar Association v. McCallum (1930), 341 Ill. 578, 589, 173 N.E. 827. Accord Bounougias v. Peters (1964), 49 Ill.App.2d 138, 154, 198 N.E.2d 142. But Cf. generally Annot. 8 A.L.R.3d 1155 (1966).) Acc......
  • Dombey, Tyler, Richards & Grieser v. DETROIT, T. & IR CO., No. 15787.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 30 Septiembre 1965
    ...contexts such maintenance agreements have withstood a charge that they were champertous. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. McCallum, 341 Ill. 578, 589, 173 N.E. 827 (1930); Johnson v. Great No. Ry., 128 Minn. 365, 369, 151 N.W. 125, L.R.A. 1917B, 1140 (1915); In re Sizer and Gardner, 306 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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