IN THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

In the Matter of:

KEITH JOSEPH HAYS,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6298857.

 

Supreme Court No. M.R.27422

Commission No. 2014PR00065

 

STATEMENT OF CHARGES
PURSUANT TO SUPREME COURT RULE 762(a)

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Peter L. Apostol, states that on the date Keith Joseph Hays (hereinafter "Movant") filed a motion requesting that his name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, a one-count complaint was pending before the Commissionís Hearing Board charging Respondent with making false statements to a tribunal, and Movant had admitted to additional misconduct in the course of filing an affidavit to resign from the practice of law in the state of Indiana, pursuant to Section 17 of the Indiana Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys. Had Movantís conduct been the subject of a hearing, the Administrator would have introduced the evidence as set forth below, and that evidence would have clearly and convincingly established the conclusions of misconduct indicated below.

  1. SUMMARY OF PROOF AVAILABLE TO THE ADMINISTRATOR IN SUPPORT OF THE CHARGED MISCONDUCT

Movantís admissions, witness testimony, and court records would establish the following facts:

A. False statements to tribunal (Commission No. 2014PR00065)

1. In 2011, Respondent represented Staples the Office Superstore East (a subsidiary of Staples, Inc.; hereafter, "Staples"), the defendant in a personal injury action filed in Indiana

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state court by Max Jackson ("Jackson"). In the course of discovery, Jackson filed a motion for sanctions alleging that Respondentís client, Staples, had failed to fully respond to a request for production of documents and interrogatories. Respondent filed a response in which he claimed, in part, that his mother had been "killed in a violent car accident in the state of Colorado," that she perished from "the fire and smoke inhalation from the resulting conflagration," and that Respondent "was left scrambling between Indiana, Colorado and Idaho for weeks trying to get his mother buried, her estate resolved and her pets adopted." Respondentís statements were false, and he knew they were false, since his mother had neither died nor been involved in a car accident, and Respondent had not been "left scrambling between Indiana, Colorado and Idaho" to resolve his motherís affairs.

B. False statements to tribunal and failure to obtain settlement authority from client (Indiana Supreme Court No. 49S00-1408-DI-545)

2. In 2011, Respondent represented Reed & Company, P.C. ("Reed"), the defendant in a civil lawsuit filed in Indiana state court by Wabash Center, Inc. ("Wabash"). After Wabash filed a motion for partial summary judgment, the court set the matter for hearing on that motion. On the date of the scheduled hearing, Respondent filed an emergency motion requesting that the hearing be continued, based on his representation that the day before, he had been diagnosed with "double pneumonia" and sent to the emergency room. Respondentís statements were false, and Respondent knew they were false, as Respondent had not been sent to the emergency room with pneumonia, and in fact, he had billed his client Reed for time spent preparing a summary judgment motion on Reedís behalf during the time period that he purportedly was incapacitated.

3. In 2012, after the court set the matter for a jury trial, Respondent made offers to Wabash to settle the case for amounts ranging from $275,000 to $600,000. However, Respondent had not obtained authority from Reed or Reedís insurance carrier to settle the case

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for those amounts. Respondent also sent a letter to Reedís insurance carrier falsely stating that Wabashís settlement demand stood at $897,154, when at that time, Wabash had demanded $700,000 to settle the case. In addition, Respondent knowingly made other false statements to Reed, Reedís insurance carrier, and Wabashís counsel regarding the status of settlement negotiations.

C. Failure to exercise reasonable diligence in discovery (Indiana Supreme Court No. 49S00-1408-DI-545)

4. In 2011, Respondent represented G&G Motorsports ("G&G"), the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit filed in Indiana state court by Adam Cobb ("Cobb"). In January 2012, Respondent was served with interrogatories and requests for production by Cobbís counsel. Between January and April 2012, Respondent did not provide the requested discovery materials on behalf of G&G, nor did Respondent seek additional time to comply with Cobbís discovery requests. In April 2012, Respondent did not respond to a motion to compel brought by Cobb and did not comply with a court order requiring the production of the discovery materials. On April 30, 2012, Respondent resigned from his law firm position. Thereafter, another attorney appeared for G&G and obtained additional time to complete the discovery requests.

D. Failure to cooperate with Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission (Indiana Supreme Court No. 49S00-1408-DI-545)

5. In 2012, the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission ("Indiana Disciplinary Commission") docketed an investigation into Respondentís conduct. After Respondent provided a written response, in March 2014, the Indiana Disciplinary Commission sent Respondent a letter requesting that he provide additional information regarding his conduct. Respondent received the letter, but at no time did he respond to the Indiana Disciplinary Commissionís request for information.

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II. CONCLUSIONS OF MISCONDUCT

6. The evidence outlined above would establish that Movant has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. failure to consult with a client concerning the objectives of the representation and as to the means by which they are to be pursued, by conduct including failing to obtain authority from Reed or Reedís insurance carrier to make offers of settlement to Wabash, in violation of Rule 1.2(a) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  2. failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, by conduct including failing to timely respond to discovery requests, respond to a motion to compel, or comply with a court order to produce discovery, in violation of Rule 1.3 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  3. failure to promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstances with respect to which the clientís informed consent is required, by conduct including failing to obtain authority from Reed or Reedís insurance carrier to make offers of settlement to Wabash, in violation of Rule 1.4(a)(1) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  4. failure to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of a matter, by conduct including failing to obtain authority from Reed or Reedís insurance carrier to make offers of settlement to Wabash, in violation of Rule 1.4(a)(3) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  5. failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation, by conduct including failing to obtain authority from Reed or Reedís insurance carrier to make offers of settlement to Wabash, in violation of Rule 1.4(b) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

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  1. knowingly making false statements of fact to a tribunal, by conduct including making false statements to a court that his mother had died in a car accident from fire and smoke inhalation, that she died intestate, and that he had to resolve her estate matter, and making false statements to a court regarding his being hospitalized with pneumonia, in violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  2. failure to correct false statements of material fact previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer, by conduct including his failure to correct his statements that his mother had died in a car accident from fire and smoke inhalation, that she died intestate, and that he had to resolve her estate matter, in violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  3. failure to respond to lawful demands for information from a disciplinary authority, by conduct including failing to respond to information requests from the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, in violation of Rule 8.1(b) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  4. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, by conduct including making false statements to a court that his mother had died in a car accident from fire and smoke inhalation, that she died intestate, and that he had to resolve her estate matter, making false statements to a court regarding being hospitalized with pneumonia, and making false statements about the status of settlement negotiations to Reed, Reedís insurance carrier, and Wabashís counsel, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

  5. conduct which is prejudicial to the administration of justice, by conduct including making false statements to courts regarding the purported death of his mother and his being hospitalized with pneumonia, and failing to comply with a court order in relation to discovery, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

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Peter L. Apostol
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
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:  /s/ Peter L. Apostol
       Counsel for the Administrator