WILMETTE, IL — A Chicago attorney faces disciplinary proceedings for filing a series of frivolous lawsuits against media outlets who reported on a judge’s order awarding more than $1 million in sanctions against him and his client in Wilmette, according to the administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission.
John Xydakis is the subject of a two-count complaint filed with the commission in December seeking a hearing before the ARDC board to recommend potential discipline, which could include the suspension of his law license.
According to the 19-page complaint, Xydakis filed nine abortive lawsuits that he knew were “frivolous and lacked a basis in fact or law” against attorneys, media organizations and reporters, including Patch Media and the editor of the Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch.
All nine had reported how former Cook County Circuit Judge Margaret Brennan granted three petitions for sanctions against Xydakis and his client, Marshall Spiegel, a historically litigious Wilmette condominium owner.
Brennan ordered Xydakis and Spiegel to jointly pay about $883,284, while separately ordering Spiegel to pay nearly $174,400, to the defendants and their attorneys in several lawsuits Xydakis filed on Spiegel’s behalf.
In August 2021, a three-judge appellate dismissed Speigel’s appeal of the sanctions order, citing a lack of jurisdiction. It could not be immediately determined how much, if any, of that money has yet been paid.
Of the nine defamation lawsuits Xydakis filed against people and organizations who wrote about the order, only one defendant was actually served — the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and two attorneys it quoted. That case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Xydakis cannot file it again.
In the motion to dismiss the case, attorney Kimberly Blair argued the comments that Xydakis claimed were defamatory were all either true or a matter of opinion and noted that “Xydakis does not even specify the purportedly ‘false allegations’ in which they are referring.”
In his case against Patch, which was never served with his lawsuit, Xydakis failed to show up to several scheduled court appearances and a judge dismissed the case.
Likewise, his lawsuits against the American Bar Association, Bloomberg News, the Chicago Tribune, Law360 were all dismissed for want of prosecution.
Xydakis also voluntarily dismissed his cases against the Cook County Recorder website, an attorney and law firm who posted about the case on their website and another attorney who made comments in a YouTube video, according to the Dec. 23, 2021, complaint from ARDC attorney Matthew Lango on behalf of Administrator Jerome Larkin.
“[Xydakis] filed these lawsuits for no purpose other than to harass, delay or burden the parties against whom the cases were filed,” Lango said.
A unanimous three-judge appellate panel came to a similar conclusion in a December 2020 opinion.
“The trial court sanctioned appellants not only for repeated misstatements of law and evidence, but also for engaging in a pattern of abuse that was committed to harass, delay and increase the cost of litigation,” it said.
“Appellants’ pleadings were not well-grounded in fact or warranted by existing law; all of their claims were dismissed with prejudice. But it took three years of senseless litigation and nearly 400 separate court filings to get there. Appellants used abusive discovery tactics, issuing over 40 subpoenas to parties and non-parties,” the opinion continued. “Thus, the trial court’s award for all the attorney fees and costs associated with these consolidated cases was neither arbitrary nor excessive, but entirely reasonable.”
The first count of the ARDC complaint alleges that Xydakis filed frivolous suits both on Spiegel’s behalf and against those who reported on the sanctions award against him, made knowingly false statements of material fact, advanced baseless arguments, filed multiple repetitive pleadings and made statements with reckless disregard to their truth.
The second count concerns a separate lawsuit Spiegel filed against the village of Wilmette in connection with an ordinance violation he received that required him, as a landlord, to install an upgraded fire alarm system in various rental properties. He failed to inform a judge that his opposing attorney would be late to an October 2017 hearing and had objected to his motion for an extension of time, according to the complaint.
Xydakis turned down an interview and requested questions in writing. But he declined to respond to any of them, including why he failed to show up to any scheduled court hearings after suing Patch and how he plans to respond to the disciplinary complaint.