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Crime & Courts

Lawsuit filed by 3 College of DuPage trustees dismissed

McGuire, Birt and Wozniak sought records

A lawsuit filed by College of DuPage trustees Dianne McGuire, Erin Birt and Joseph Wozniak against three of the college's law firms in an attempt to obtain billing records, notes, memorandums and correspondence from the firms was dismissed Sept. 15 in DuPage County Circuit Court.

Although the suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be refiled, McGuire, Birt and Wozniak have the right to appeal.

The three trustees could not be reached for comment. They filed the complaint for declaratory judgment Jan. 29 in DuPage County Circuit Court against Rathje and Woodward, Schiff Hardin, and Schuyler, Roche and Crisham.

"The three trustees have had considerable difficulty getting access to the billing records, the work product and the communications between the lawyers that are representing the board in various pieces of litigation and outsiders, and they've been unable to get full disclosure from them," Wheaton attorney Chuck Roberts, who was representing the three trustees, said at the time. "So this was unfortunately the only avenue that they had left in an effort to become apprised of what's going on."

Charles Philbrick of Rathje and Woodward addressed the request in a Jan. 22 letter to Roberts.

In it, he said that "many of the documents you have requested have already been made available to your clients as part of Rathje and Woodward's representation of the College of DuPage...We are prepared to produce additional documents if our clients (i.e., the full board of trustees), authorizes us to do so."

Philbrick estimated the cost of gathering and obtaining the documents would be "in excess" of $15,000 and would require full board approval.

"There's been an opportunity [for the trustees] to look at some documents, but we don't know if that production was complete, and certainly some of it was redacted," Roberts said in response. "So that can't help but leave you in a questioning mode as to what's really out there."

Daniel Kinsella of the firm Schuyler, Roche and Crisham also sent a letter to Roberts.

"The board has directed that this level of production of documents to individual trustees would not be necessary and would, in fact, be a burden on counsel and result in unnecessary expenditures of attorneys' fees," Kinsella said in the letter. "You should know that we estimate our fees for finding, reviewing and producing the documents requested would be at least $20,000."

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