BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

LUIS MARTIN GALVAN,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 3124344.

 

Commission No.  07 CH 133

FILED -  December 31, 2007

COMPLAINT

 Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Marita C. Sullivan, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Luis Martin Galvan, who was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois on November 5, 1979, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

COUNT I
(Violation of Respondent's terms of employment with the Federal Defender Program)

1. Between October 1, 1979, and July 31, 2007, Respondent was employed as an attorney with the Federal Defender Program for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

2. At all times alleged in this complaint, the personnel rules of the Federal Defender Program provided, in part, as follows:

OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT: Employees are expected to devote their full working time to Federal Defender Program business and no other employment should be accepted without the specific prior approval of the Executive Director. Employees are prohibited from the outside practice of law, even on non-working hours, unless specifically authorized by the Executive Director.

3. In or about January 2002, Leonardo Batalla and Alfonso Batalla, both of whom had been convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping and were incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Facility in Joliet, Illinois, contacted Respondent. The Batalla brothers requested that Respondent represent them in an investigation of their case and related legal proceedings in connection with their convictions.

4. Between January 2002 and June 2005, Reyna Garcia, the mother of the Batalla brothers, and Elena Munoz, the wife of Alfonso Batalla, paid Respondent $3,000 in cash in connection with the Batallas' matter.

5. At no time did Respondent deposit the $3,000 in cash he received in connection with the Batallas' case into a separate and identifiable client trust account.

6. At no time did Respondent obtain the authority of the Executive Director of the Federal Defender Program to engage in outside employment, or otherwise advise his supervisors at the Federal Defender Program, that he had accepted $3,000 in cash in connection with the Batallas' matter.

7. Between September 2002 and December 2006, Respondent requested the assistance of several lawyers and interns of the Federal Defender Program in connection with the Batallas' matter. Some of the lawyers and interns accompanied Respondent on trips to Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, to meet with the Batallas, and some attorneys reviewed the Batallas' files and performed research on issues related to the Batallas' case. Besides personnel, Respondent used certain other resources of the Federal Defender Program, such as copy services and an office automobile, in connection with the Batallas' case. At no time did Respondent seek the permission of his supervisors to involve other staff or to use resources of the Federal Defender Program to work on the Batallas' legal matters.

8. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. breach of fiduciary duties to the Federal Defender Program;

  2. failure to keep funds of a client or third person in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation in a separate and identifiable client trust account in violation of Rule 1.15 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  3. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  4. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

COUNT II
(Neglect and Failure to Promptly Refund Unearned Fees in the Batalla matter)

9. The Administrator realleges the facts set forth in Count I above.

10. On November 16, 2006, the Administrator received a request from Alfonso Batalla to investigate Respondent's handling of his legal matter. After reviewing the materials submitted by Batalla, the Administrator initiated investigation number 06-CI-5035 into Respondent's conduct.

11. On February 23, 2007 and May 8, 2007, Counsel for the Administrator sent communications to Respondent requesting a full, written accounting of the funds tendered to him by the Batalla family. Respondent received the communications shortly after they were mailed by the Administrator.

12. Respondent did not provide an accounting of the funds tendered to him by the Batalla family as requested in the Administrator's communications referred to in Paragraph 11 above.

13. On May 24, 2007, a subpoena duces tecum was sent by regular and certified mail to Respondent at his registered home and business addresses. The subpoena duces tecum commanded Respondent's appearance on June 15, 2007, at the Chicago offices of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and the production of certain documents at that time. Respondent received the subpoena duces tecum shortly after it was mailed by the Administrator.

14. Respondent appeared at the Commission's Chicago office on June 15, 2007, for a sworn statement in connection with investigation number 06-CI-5035. During his sworn statement testimony, Respondent advised Counsel for the Administrator under oath that he had initially kept the $3,000 cash in an envelope in his desk, and that $500 remained "unused" in the envelope.

15. At no time did Respondent, or any of the attorneys he requested to assist him in the Batalla matter, file any pleading on behalf of the Batallas.

16. Neither Respondent, nor any lawyer or intern from whom Respondent requested assistance, provided sufficient legal services to account for $2,500 in fees.

17. At no time did Respondent provide any receipt to establish that any of the Batallas' money was used to pay his or other lawyers' costs in their matter.

18. At no time did Respondent provide any accounting of the funds tendered to him by the Batalla family.

19. In or about October 2007, Respondent refunded $3,000 to Reyna Garcia, the mother of the Batalla brothers.

20. As a result of the foregoing, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client in violation of Rule 1.3 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. failure to promptly refund upon withdrawal from employment that part of a fee paid in advance that has not been earned in violation of Rule 1.16(e) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  3. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  4. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

COUNT III
(Misrepresentations to the ARDC)

21. The Administrator realleges the facts set forth in Counts I and II above.

22. On November 27, 2006, December 19, 2006, and January 10, 2007, Counsel for the Administrator sent communications to Respondent requesting that Respondent provide the Administrator with information and documents relating to his handling of the matter as described in investigation number 06-CI-5035. Respondent received the communications shortly after they were mailed by the Administrator.

23. On January 22, 2007, the Administrator received a response from Respondent. In his response letter to the Commission, Respondent stated as follows:

At the time [the Batallas] contacted me, they were on appeal and represented by the State Appellate Defender. They asked me to represent them in a federal Habeas Corpus proceeding and some investigation of their case. I told them they could not hire me since I was an employee of the Federal Defender. I did tell them that I could hire, on their behalf, some young lawyers and interns to look into their case and that I would supervise them on a pro bono basis.

Over the years many first year lawyers and others did work on their file as needed. Any funds tendered by the family went to them.

24. Respondent appeared at the Commission's Chicago office on June 15, 2007, for a sworn statement in connection with investigation number 06-CI-5035. During his sworn statement testimony, Respondent testified under oath and made the following statements:

I make it clear to [the Batallas] that the money that they're going to give me is not for me. I'm not going to be hired by them. It's for the people that are doing, you know, research and ultimately are going to file this thing. I'm going to supervise them, but I'm not taking any money.

We use a good portion of [the $3,000 fee] for Xeroxing. We use a good portion of it for expenses of the people that are going to Stateville, such as meals and gas, that kind of stuff.

25. Respondent's statements to the Administrator in his January 19, 2007 letter, as set forth in paragraph 23 above, and in his June 15, 2007 sworn statement, set forth in paragraph 24 above, were false and intended to mislead the Administrator. Although the Respondent did request certain services by several attorneys, then employed at the Federal Defender Program, Respondent did not explain to the attorneys that the matter was not a Federal Defender matter, nor did Respondent pay any portion of the Batallas' $3,000 fee to them or reimburse them for meals, gas or other costs.

26. As a result of the foregoing, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. knowingly making a false statement of material fact in connection with a disciplinary matter in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  3. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Marita C. Sullivan
Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Marita C. Sullivan