Tag Archives: Michael V.

Chicago Justinian Society of Lawyers honors past presidents including Michael V. Favia

2013 Past Presidents Dinner at Quartinos

2013 Past Presidents Dinner at Quartinos

Members of The Justinian Society of Lawyers recently celebrated their past presidents at a recent dinner in Chicago on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Hardworking past presidents are recognized at the annual dinner in thanks for their commitment to mission, fostering the spirit of friendship, improving the legal education of members, rendering mutual aid to members, promoting the general welfare of members and participating in civic and community affairs, so as to ensure the proper administration of justice. With fundraising, scholarship and mentor programs, today’s Justinians are busy preserving and furthering their long-standing of excellence in the Chicago legal community.

While current members have law school loans, some of the founding members owed families for their emigration to the U.S. to seek new opportunities and careers in law.

The Justinian Society of Lawyers, originally named the Justinian Society of Advocates, was formed in October 17, 1921 and officially chartered four days later. “It was a crisp autumn afternoon, over three quarters of a century ago, when all but 10 of the approximately 40 Chicago lawyers of Italian descent, who, bound by professional and ethnic ties and conscious of their heritage…[i]” met and elected to form the group. Many of the original members of the group were from immigrant families from Italy and they worked hard to support families who sacrificed for their opportunity to become lawyers in the U.S. Some of the founding Justinians were military and political leaders and the group collectively represented a compelling mix of talent and leadership.

Today there are approximately 1,500 Justinians and the list of impressive accolades among members are too numerous to mention in this short article. To qualify for membership, a candidate must be a practicing or retired lawyer or judge, or a currently enrolled law student. At monthly meetings, the Justinians conduct business matters including planning for scholarships and awards. There is also a mentor program through which members may further the Justinians’ mission to benefit the legal community by working directly with newly licensed Illinois attorneys. Both mentors and mentees receive six Professional Responsibility CLE credits upon successful completion of the program[ii].

Justinians are very dedicated to community and work hard to raise money and awareness.

Annual scholarships are available for law students attending area schools, of Italian ancestry and are scholars in need. The Justinians also maintain the Children’s Endowment Fund (“JCEF”), established in 2002 to be charitable and benevolent. “The mission of the JCEF is to assist and aid disadvantaged or disabled children without regard to ethnicity, race or religion.[iii]” Every year the Justinians hold a golf outing to raise money for the JCEF.

Justinian presidents set and implement term goals to improve communication among members and law schools. While holding office, presidents oversee several committees and increase participation among all members. Past president, Michael V. Favia was among those honored among fellow past presidents of the Justinian Society of Lawyers including several past Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association presidents, State Court Judges and Appellate Court Justices.

Michael V. Favia, past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, practices healthcare and injury law and litigation in Chicago. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.FaviaLawFirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

Skokie dentist sued for allegedly dropping dental tool down patient’s throat

When you go to the dentist, you do not likely anticipate that you will swallow a dental tool and later need multiple surgeries to extricate the foreign object. Bernard Bell, a 92-year-old Skokie man, asked his attorney to file a lawsuit against Skokie dentist, Dr. Toni Ellis Wolf, with allegations of medical malpractice, claiming Wolf “dropped a metal instrument down his throat, causing the device to get stuck in his stomach.[i]” The Chicago Sun Times article by Luke Wilusz, also states, “According to the suit, Bell experienced “pain in his throat and esophagus, and sleeplessness, irritability and general discomfort prior to and immediately after removal of the subject dental tool.”

Dental tool allegedly dropped down 92-year-old Bernard Bell's throat.

Dental tool allegedly dropped down 92-year-old Bernard Bell’s throat.

The complaint filed by attorney Raphael Strzelecki of RDS Law Offices in Skokie, alleges two counts of medical malpractice with relief sought against Dr. Wolf in excess of $50,000 for damages suffered by Bell. In the same Sun Times article Strzelecki was quoted, stating, “Nobody walks into a dental office and expects to walk out with a dental tool in their stomach.”

In Illinois, “In an action for medical professional negligence the plaintiff must prove by expert testimony that the defendant physician failed to conform to the applicable standard of care unless the alleged negligence is grossly apparent or is obvious to a layman.[ii]” Professionals are judged by a standard of care (they should use and exercise the same degree of knowledge, skill and ability) that “an ordinary careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances.[iii]

When a lawsuit is filed against a professional for something such as medical malpractice, the State of Illinois can get involved and might conduct its own independent investigation into exactly what happened and whether its own discipline is necessary. Professional licensure issues are addressed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).[iv]

If you are regulated by the IDFPR and need advice on what to do if you learn of an inquiry regarding your practice, do not panic; Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] Chicago Sun Times: August 6, 2013, Luke Wilusz, Lawsuit claims Skokie dentist dropped tool down man’s throat

[ii] Addison v. Whittenberg, 124 Ill.2d 287, 529 N.E.2d 552, 124 Ill.Dec. 571 (1988) (further citations omitted)(Cited in Section 105.00 (Professional Negligence) of the Circuit Court Civil Jury Instructions.

[iii] Northern Trust Co. v. Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hosp., 143 Ill.App.3d 479, 493 N.E.2d 6, 97 Ill.Dec. 524 (1st. Dist. 1986) (further citations omitted)(Cited in Section 105.00 (Professional Negligence) of the Circuit Court Civil Jury Instructions.

Concussion suit: NCAA athletes file suit and seek class action

Football fan, “Theresa Owens blurted in the stands, They just killed him!”[i] Derek Owens, injured playing football for the University of Central Arkansas, seeks damages against the NCAA for failure to prevent brain trauma. Along with Owens, co-plaintiff Alex Rucks, the Northwestern University offensive lineman joins the suit also complaining of post-traumatic brain injury (“TBI”)/concussion injuries.

 Two former college football players launched a putative class action in Illinois federal court accusing the NCAA of negligence and carelessness in failing to take the appropriate steps to protect student-athletes from debilitating head injuries.

Two former college football players launched a putative class action in Illinois federal court accusing the NCAA of negligence and carelessness in failing to take the appropriate steps to protect student-athletes from debilitating head injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in professional sports and on the local playground.

This suit is one of many that plaintiff athletes are filing these days. The word is getting around that many college and professional athletics and players associations are under fire for not preventing injuries and adequately warning players of safety concerns and traumatic brain injury. For example, many suggest a helmet can protect the skull, but not the brain.

Many parents and school officials should continue paying attention to the unfortunate examples of preventable traumatic brain injuries. When Billy from down the block is hit in the helmet during a little league game and is told to brush it off and take the base, Billy’s parents should be concerned. Examples like this are too common: Billy seemed just fine until a few days later when he started experiencing motor function problems and other TBI symptoms!

What do the doctors know about traumatic brain injury?

The communities of physicians who study and treat brain injury patients often concur that: As soon as they feel prepared to address traumatic brain injuries, more data and research becomes available. One of the problems with diagnosis and prevention of future concussions is the wide variance in symptoms experienced and reported by athletes with concussions. Also, many of the tests of cognitive functioning rely on the accuracy of the victims who report details of their conditions to their treating or team physicians.

Plaintiffs’ complaint states: “The NCAA knew or should have known that its actions or its inaction in light of the rate and extent of concussions reported and made known to the NCAA would cause harm to players in both the short- and long-term.” Further, “The NCAA’s conduct is particularly egregious in light of the fact that its policies and procedures – or lack thereof – leave student-athletes like plaintiffs and members of the [proposed] class inadequately protected from sustaining, monitoring and recovering [from] brain injuries at a particularly early and vulnerable point in their lives.”[ii]

Michael V. Favia & Associates regularly works with clients in the Chicago area who are unfortunately affected by personal injuries, some attributable to brain trauma. If you want to learn more about concussion-type injuries, please call Michael V. Favia & Associates by dialing 773-631-4580 or stop in to make an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Visit Michael V. Favia & Associates’ website for more information. You can also learn more by visiting the firm’s social media pages. “Follow” them on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook today!


[i] New York Times, November 29, 2011 by George Vecsey, College Athletes Move Concussions Into the Courtroom

[ii] Plaintiff’s complaint cited in Law360, November 29, 2011 by Allison Grande, NCAA Failed To Protect Players From Concussions: Suit

30 days in prison 3 months probation and fines for physician who obstructed FBI investigation for false Medicare claims

When state and federal agencies investigate complaints of wrongdoing it is best to hire an attorney and cooperate with authorities under the advice of counsel. 61-year-old physician, Dr. Mahmoud Yassin of the downstate town of Robinson, Illinois could have made better choices when confronted with charges he made false Medicare claims. What Yassin did was alter the patient records sought by FBI agents. We do not know enough of the facts about the investigation of Yassin but it is possible he could have sought the advice of a professional licensing attorney to manage his exposure to liability for Medicare fraud.

Dr. Mahmoud Yassin was sentenced to serve 30 days in prison and three years of probation and fines.

News of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Mahmoud Yassin traveled far and the case received coverage in this newspaper in Hyderabad's News Wala publication in India.

News of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Mahmoud Yassin traveled far and the case received coverage in this newspaper in Hyderabad’s News Wala publication in India.

The FBI Springfield Division published the following press release on July 22, 2013:

“Dr. Mahmoud Yassin, 61, of Robinson, Illinois, was sentenced in federal district court in Benton for obstructing a criminal health care fraud investigator, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Dr. Yassin was sentenced to serve three years of probation, a fine of $10,000, a special assessment of $100, and he was ordered to pay restitution to BCBS of Illinois in the amount of $19,615.17. As a condition of probation, Dr. Yassin must also serve 30 days in prison.

The felony obstruction occurred on March 2, 2012, when a FBI agent, having served a subpoena for patient records on Dr. Yassin, was given a patient progress note that had been altered by the doctor to show an in-office examination previously claimed to an insurance carrier, but which had not taken place.

In a civil settlement with the United States Attorney’s Office regarding false claims to Medicare, Dr. Yassin paid double damages in the amount of $87,348.64. The restitution and civil false claims settlement were based on claims for in person office visits in which the patient either failed to show up for an appointment or only was spoken to by telephone.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley.”[i]

What to do if you are the subject of a professional inquiry: (1) Don’t panic; (2) Seek advice of counsel.

Many times the agencies investigating complaints do not make findings of wrongdoing and the professional is free to carry on. Sometimes a professional engages in excusably neglectful conduct and the agency advises the professional not to err in the future. Other times the professional has knowingly and intentionally committed a bad act. In any of these situations, an attorney can help the professional by making an appropriate record of the facts and laws involved in the matter.

In Illinois, many professions are regulated by the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] FBI Springfield Division press release dated July 22, 2013: Doctor Sentenced in Health Care Fraud Obstruction Case

Favia and Team John Marshall ran/walked 5k to stomp out homelessness

Over 105,000 Chicagoans were homeless in a recent study[i]. A record turnout of supporters participated in the third annual 5k run/walk to end homelessness[ii] this past Sunday, July 14, 2013 in Chicago’s Douglas Park. Michael V. Favia ran with The John Marshall Law School team who ran and walked in Sunday’s heat and humidity to stomp out homelessness. Favia and other alumni from John Marshall frequently support causes that make Chicago a better place for everyone.

A Safe Haven - 2013 5K RUN! Running in support to end homelessness, Mike Favia ran with The John Marshall Law School team this weekend.

A Safe Haven – 2013 5K RUN! Running in support to end homelessness, Mike Favia ran with The John Marshall Law School team this weekend.

Michael V. Favia: “A great event for a great cause!”

A Safe Haven[iii] foundation hosted Sunday’s 5k run/walk event. A Safe Haven is “an organization dedicated to transforming lives from homelessness to self-sufficiency with pride and purpose.” The foundation hosts several events to engage volunteers, sponsors and community members who want to help battle homelessness. Upcoming events noted on the website include food pantry volunteer work involving inventory, clean up, bagging and distributing canned goods.

The foundation, established in 1994, uses a sustainable model to help with temporary housing, treatment and recover, education, job training and placement, employee retention and permanent housing. With a roof over your head and three square meals a day, A Safe Haven program graduates move on to help others. Many of the program participants are veterans and battle addiction, post-traumatic stress and other challenges. Fundraising events like the annual 5k run help put success in reach.

Sponsors of this year’s 5k run/walk included Chicago area media channels, businesses and law firms. Michael V. Favia, Immediate Past President of The John Marshall Law School Alumni Association, worked with current President, Hon. Regina Scannicchio, to co-sponsor The John Marshall Law School team of almost a dozen runners and walkers who beat the heat this past Sunday for such a worthy cause.

Michael V. Favia & Associates is active in supporting community events raising funds and awareness of the causes that affect friends and neighbors in the Chicago area and nationwide. Get in touch with the firm[iv] if you have an upcoming event and need a team of great Chicagoans who care enough about their friends and neighbors to show it with hard work.

ABOUT THE FIRM: The Law Firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates is a successful General Civil Practice dedicated to providing personalized service and high quality representation for clients. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter and you will be kept in the loop about upcoming events and news in the firm’s practice areas including personal injury, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, complex civil litigation and professional regulation and licensing.

Appeals court upheld Illinois refusal to renew license to mortgage broker pursuant to SAFE Act

“This outcome is unquestionably harsh,” the Court agrees, despite affirming the decision to deny the renewal of an Illinois mortgage broker whose past felony conviction blocked his present and future due to provisions of the SAFE Act written to amend minimum requirements for practice.[i] The SAFE Act is a federal law imposing compliance policy on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“Department”). Following the 2006 housing bubble burst, Congress enacted the SAFE Act and its uniform national standards in response to predatory lending and bad practices, generally.

Amendments to the SAFE Act prohibit the issuance or renewal of a mortgage broker license under circumstances including a conviction for fraud, and courts must follow the Act.

Appellate Court: "The 2009 amendment has changed the minimum requirements for practice and Vali Mohammad does not meet the amended requirements."

Appellate Court: “The 2009 amendment has changed the minimum requirements for practice and Vali Mohammad does not meet the amended requirements.”

The purpose of the 2009 enacted SAFE Act is to “impose uniform national standards in order to curb predatory lending practices and [to use] required fingerprinting and issuance of unique, life-time identifiers to prevent unscrupulous mortgage loan originators simply moving from jurisdiction.”[ii] Note that this is Federal law and the Department, overseeing mortgage brokers in Illinois, must follow the licensing standards imposed by the SAFE Act. Effective July 31, 2009, an amendment to the Act imposed on the Department that its licensed mortgage brokers comply with Section 7-3 that prohibits licensing of any applicants with felony convictions for fraud, among other criteria.[iii]

In this case, Mohammad became a mortgage broker in 2001, a new career for him. “By 2006, he had five employees, owned his commercial building and five rental homes, and was the recipient of two awards from the Chicago Association of Realtors and one from the chamber of commerce for the communities of Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, and Vernon Hills, Illinois.[iv] Despite his success as a loan originator and real estate, an unrelated past conviction stopped Mohammad from continuing business as usual when he received a letter from the Department, refusing to renew his license to practice mortgage brokerage in Illinois.

When Mohammad applied to renew is license in 2005 or 2006, according to the Court in Mohammad, he disclosed to the Department that he had a mail fraud conviction from the year 2000. The fraud conviction was the end of a drawn out battle with a previous company and had nothing to do with Mohammad’s career in lending as overseen by the Department who on June 30, 2010, notified him that his license could not be renewed because he did satisfy the requirements for the license pursuant to the SAFE Act as amended.

The trial court and the appellate court considered many arguments and facts concerning Mohammad and his career, but there was no provision in the Act for exceptions, and therefore the strict application of the law caused Mohammad to be ineligible to practice mortgage brokerage in Illinois. The Court, “Unfortunately, the applicable law of the State of Illinois is very clear on this matter. A felony conviction involving fraud or dishonesty is a clear violation of 205 ILCS 635/7-3(2) and a complete bar to holding a loan originator license.”[v]

Mohammad’s counsel made several legal arguments regarding the facts in this case and the application of the laws that affected his license. Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[ii] Mohammed at ¶ 11, citing Bryce Gray, The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, 31 Rev. Banking & Fin. L. 51 (2011) (discussing the circumstances that led to passage of the SAFE Act and explaining the law’s components).

[iii] Mohammed at ¶ 6.

[iv] Mohammed at ¶ 4.

[v] Mohammed at ¶ 8

Pediatric dentist abuses several children and surrenders license and pleads guilty

When licensed professionals face complaints of wrongdoing, they could lose their professional license to practice their craft. Colleagues and patients submit complaints to proper state agencies when they suspect a professional of illegal conduct and bad acts. The Chicago area law firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates frequently shares examples of misconduct, to increase awareness, and urge both the professionals accused of misconduct and people who claim harm, to seek the truth and speak up. The truth, shown by this example from Florida, is that licensed professionals can and do harm their patients. In the current example, a dentist injured several children over many years before he eventually lost his license to practice dentistry.

"WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Former West Palm Beach children's dentist Thomas Floyd has pleaded guilty to charges that he abused a 4-year-old boy he was treating in his office. Floyd was arrested last September by the West Palm Beach Police Department." Read more at http://bit.ly/11NVbbG

“WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Former West Palm Beach children’s dentist Thomas Floyd has pleaded guilty to charges that he abused a 4-year-old boy he was treating in his office. Floyd was arrested last September by the West Palm Beach Police Department.” Read more at http://bit.ly/11NVbbG

Terms of former pediatric dentist Thomas Floyd’s plea agreement includes 150 hours of community service and Floyd’s voluntary surrender of his license to practice dentistry in Florida.

The Findings of Fact by the State of Florida Department of Health tell a chilling tale of abuse of several children in addition to the news article regarding the four-year-old boy who, according to the West Palm Beach police, “suffered swelling, abrasions and bruises on his lips,” while in the care of Dr. Floyd.[i] The State’s Findings of Fact stated in the Order of Emergency Suspension of License[ii] include testimony and direct reports from several victims:

  1.  March 2012: T.R., a 16-year-old boy, raised his hand signaling pain and discomfort during a dental procedure. Dr. Floyd pulled the boy’s hair and shook his head when T.R. continued complaining of pain caused by Dr. Floyd. Eventually the boy jumped out of the chair and left Dr. Floyd’s office with his mother.
  2. February 2012: K.G., a 7-year-old girl, reported that she thought Dr. Floyd tried to kill her, in reports to West Palm Beach police by K.G.’s mother who told authorities that Dr. Floyd stuffed a dental bib in K.G.’s mouth saying, “Shut up, you damn brat.” K.G. was coughing, choking and crying.
  3. November 2011: A concerned mother brought A.S.2, a 7-year-old boy, to Dr. Floyd with a toothache. Dr. Floyd performed fillings and crowns. Just over two weeks later, the boy was in pain and could not open his jaw. His mother called Dr. Floyd’s office but he refused to see A.L. on an emergency basis, and next A.L. was hospitalized with a massive infection.
  4. October 2011: A.L., a 15- or 16-year-old girl went to Dr. Floyd’s office for wisdom tooth extractions. Dr. Floyd refused to take an x-ray or refer to an earlier one and simply began surgery. After unsuccessfully trying to pull a tooth, and with A.L. crying and distraught, Floyd then requested an x-ray.

The Emergency Suspension Order includes further detail of other pediatric dentistry victims and Dr. Floyd’s failure to exercise the professional level of care required by the State of Florida as follows:

  • Controls a child’s crying or squirming by covering the mouth and nose to prevent breathing;
  • Pinches the child’s nose shut forcing the child to open his or her mouth to breathe;
  • Stuffs dental bibs and yells into ears of squirming child to control crying;
  • Pulls the child’s lip over the teeth and holds it with other hand to prevent biting.

If these examples are not enough to cause alarm, the reports mention that: (1) Dr. Floyd has been using these control techniques for 30 years; (2) Dr. Floyd fails to follow sanitation/sterilization guidelines; and (3) The West Palm Beach police received approximately 25 reports about Dr. Floyd since 2006.

Like Florida, Illinois maintains standards for licensed professionals, including dentists. There are reports of good dentists who make mistakes, just as there may be nefarious professionals in our communities. If you become aware of danger to a child in the hands of a professional, you can tell the proper authorities so they may investigate, and if necessary, take action.

If you are a dentist accused of wrongdoing and need advice on what to do in the event you learn of an inquiry regarding your practice, do not panic; Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[ii] State of Florida Department of Health, Order of Emergency Suspension of License, In Re: Emergency Suspension of Thomas P. Floyd, DMD.