Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Retired Chicago rabbi files fraud lawsuit against Pa.-based firm that represented synagogue

Federal Court

By Mario Marroquin | Jul 9, 2019

Chicago Loop Synagogue

CHICAGO – Following the settlement by a Chicago rabbi and the Chicago Loop Synagogue over a compensation contract from 1995, Stanley Kroll has filed a complaint against a Pennsylvania-based law firm alleging legal malpractice based on negligence.

The suit, filed May 10, also includes charges of aiding and abetting fraud; aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty; and fraudulent concealment by the law firm. 

Cozen O’Conner represented Chicago Loop Synagogue in 2016. Kroll’s complaint, filed in Cook County, Ill., and later removed to Chicago federal court, stems from a lawsuit against the Chicago Loop Synagogue after the synagogue failed to honor an employment contract with Kroll. The suit against Cozen O’Conner alleges the law firm helped the synagogue deceive the rabbi into early retirement while the synagogue amended Kroll’s employment contract without his knowledge.

Kroll and the Chicago Loop Synagogue reached a settlement in May 2018. Provisions for the settlement included a payment to Kroll of $1.1 million and an assignment of the synagogue’s claims against Cozen O’Conner.

The settlement included a tolling agreement by the rabbi and Cozen O’Conner that ended May 10.

According to Kroll’s brief, the synagogue and Cozen O’Conner worked together to attempt to reduce the synagogue’s commitment to fund his retirement under a deferred compensation plan with interest from 1995. The plan included a $15,000 annual contribution by the synagogue in addition to 7.5% interest.

Kroll alleges a written employment agreement from 1992 guaranteed his salary through 2022.

Kroll’s brief continues by alleging the synagogue persuaded Kroll to retire in December 2016 at the same time his employment contract was amended to reduce his compensation and the interest on his retirement plan.

Kroll is seeking damages from Cozen O’Conner for negligence, by assignment, which exceed $300,000. 

Cozen O'Conner did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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Cozen O'ConnorCircuit Court of Cook County

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