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

In the Matter of:

 JAMES RODNEY REPPY,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6191610.

 

Commission No.  2010PR00040

FILED -  May 27, 2010

AMENDED COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Deborah Barnes, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, James Rodney Reppy, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 7, 1985, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

COUNT I
(Inappropriate conduct with a client - Robert Mueller)

1. On September 28, 2009, Respondent was employed as an associate attorney at The Law Offices of Warren Danz, P.C. On that date, Respondent met with Robert Mueller at the firm's Springfield office to discuss matters related to an injury that Mueller had received at his place of employment. After meeting with Respondent for two hours, Mueller said he would call Respondent's office after he discussed the matter with his wife.

2. A few days later, Mueller telephoned Respondent to ask that the Law Offices of Warren Danz, P.C. represent Mueller in a workers compensation case. Respondent agreed on behalf of the law office and asked Mueller to come by his Springfield home to sign paperwork.

3. On October 4, 2009, Mueller went to Respondent's Springfield home and signed the paperwork hiring Respondent's firm to represent him.

4. At all times alleged in this count, Respondent had a fiduciary duty to Mueller which required that he not abuse his position of authority and trust, and that he place the best interests of his client above his own self-interests.

5. On October 11, 2009, Respondent left a voice message on Mueller's home telephone. In the message, Respondent asked Mueller to call him and let him know the date of a doctor's appointment. Respondent further said in the message, "if you get an hour or two, and if you like, you can come over. I'm home today and this weekend and I can talk to you about how I lost weight and you can help me with something, too." Respondent asked Mueller to return the call to his home telephone.

6. On October 11, 2009, Mueller telephoned Respondent's home. During the conversation with Mueller, Respondent began talking about a sexual experience he once had had, and described it to Mueller in explicit detail. Respondent told Mueller that he would like to have the same experience with Mueller. Mueller told Respondent that he was having trouble understanding what Respondent was saying, and he ended the conversation.

7. The conversation set out in paragraph six, above, disturbed Mueller. He told his wife about the conversation, and they decided to call Respondent back. Mueller telephoned Respondent a few minutes later, and Mueller's wife listened to the conversation with Mueller on the speaker phone. During the conversation, Mueller told Respondent he had not understood what Respondent was saying and asked Respondent "what the other thing was that he [Respondent] wanted me to do." Respondent told Mueller that he was "interested in experiencing something and that [Mueller] would not have to reciprocate or anything." When Mueller asked what Respondent was talking about, Respondent again related in explicit detail an experience of oral sex that he had once had.

8. Mueller told Respondent that he was "not that way" and was not interested in such an encounter with Respondent. Mueller ended the conversation.

9. On October 12, 2009, Respondent left a voice message on Mueller's cell phone, stating that he was "not that way" either, that he just wanted to have the experience, and that if Mueller knew of anyone who would like to have such an experience, to give them Respondent's telephone number.

10. Mueller, still disturbed by the tenor of Respondent's messages, then hired new counsel.

11. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged the following misconduct:

  1. representing a client where the representation of the client may be materially limited by the lawyer's own interests, in violation of Rule 1.7 (b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

  2. breach of fiduciary duty;

  3. overreaching the attorney-client relationship;

  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 II
(Inappropriate conduct with a client - Patty Lackscheide)

12. On January 8, 2008, Respondent was employed as an associate attorney at the law office of John V. Boshardy & Associates, P.C. On that date, Respondent met with Patty Lackscheide, and the office of John V. Boshardy & Associates, P.C. agreed to represent Lackscheide in a worker's compensation matter.

13. At all times alleged in this count, Respondent had a fiduciary duty to Lackscheide which required that he not abuse his position of authority and trust, and that he place the best interests of his client above his own self-interests.

14. Approximately two weeks after their first meeting, Respondent began calling Lackscheide approximately twice a week. Each time Respondent telephoned, the conversation began with a discussion of business and ended with Respondent telling Lackscheide, who lived in Jacksonville, Illinois, that if she came to Springfield, he would take her out for something to eat, fill up her gas tank, give her money, and massage her back.

15. At the end of March 2008, Respondent telephoned Lackscheide and told her he had called to see how she was doing. Respondent offered to give her money and told her that if she came to Springfield and "bent over," he would massage her back, legs and feet, pay for her gasoline, take her to dinner and give her $100. He told her he could "rock her world." Respondent's comments disturbed Lackscheide.

16. On or about April 1, 2008, Lackscheide reported the conversation to a member of the law office's clerical staff. John Boshardy then discussed the matter with Lackscheide and Boshardy took over handling her case.

17. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged the following misconduct:

  1. representing a client where the representation of the client may be materially limited by the lawyer's own interests, in violation of Rule 1.7 (b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

  2. breach of fiduciary duty;

  3. overreaching the attorney-client relationship;

  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
(Inappropriate conduct with a client - Lolita Porter)

18. In 2006, Lolita Porter was injured in an automobile accident in Springfield, Ill. In 2006, she met with an attorney from The Law Offices of Warren Danz, P.C., and signed a contingent fee agreement under which the law office agreed to represent her in a personal injury claim arising as a result of the accident.

19. In the summer of 2009, Respondent was employed as an associate attorney at The Law Offices of Warren Danz, P.C. Danz assigned Lolita Porter's case to Respondent.

20. In approximately late August or early September of 2009, Respondent telephoned Porter at her home and asked her to meet with him at the Springfield office on a Saturday morning to discuss the personal injury matter for which the law office had been representing her since 2006.

21. At all times alleged in this count, Respondent had a fiduciary duty to Porter which required that he not abuse his position of authority and trust, and that he place the best interests of his client above his own self-interests.

22. Porter agreed to meet with Respondent at the Springfield office, and arrived there about 10 a.m. on the Saturday after she received the telephone call.

23. After Porter discussed her case with Respondent for approximately 10 minutes, Respondent asked her if he could see her injuries. Porter stood up, and Respondent came around the desk and stood behind her. Respondent then pulled Porter's shirt up to expose her back and began to touch and feel the back of her neck, her shoulders and her upper and lower back. He then unsnapped her brassiere and pressed against her buttocks. Porter became upset, and clenched her elbows and hands tightly against her side. She told Respondent to re-fasten her brassiere. After he did so, Porter immediately left the office. As she walked down the street, Respondent stood at the door of the office and yelled at her, "I live behind White Oaks Mall and I will be calling you."

24. Porter later notified Warren Danz of the events described in paragraph 23, and Danz took over handling her case.

25. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged the following misconduct:

  1. representing a client where the representation of the client may be materially limited by the lawyer's own interests, in violation of Rule 1.7 (b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

  2. breach of fiduciary duty;

  3. overreaching the attorney-client relationship; 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.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully 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.

 
 

Deborah Barnes
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
One Old Capitol Plaza North, Suite #333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Deborah Barnes
        Counsel for the Administrator