Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert which will discuss the recent Illinois disciplinary complaint that alleges that a lawyer falsely claimed that both he and a nonexistent son had stomach cancer in multiple false statements that began when he applied for admission to law school. The disciplinary matter is: In the Matter of Vincenzo Field, Commission No. 2018PR00015. The first amended disciplinary complaint was filed on February 8, 2019 and the link is here: https://www.iardc.org/18PR0015CM.html
The amended disciplinary complaint alleges that the lawyer made the false cancer claims to courts as well as to his law school and that he made false statements to his former law firm regarding an expert witness who was supposedly unable to provide services because his daughter was hit by a car.
The amended complaint also alleges the lawyer falsely told his law school he had a score of 158 the first time he took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) because he recently had surgery for a stomach cancer called leiomyosarcoma. He also told the law school that he obtained a score 173 on a later LSAT after he allegedly recovered from the surgery.
The amended complaint further alleges that the lawyer used the false cancer tumor and surgery excuse in August and October 2013 when he asked for an extension to the discovery deadline in a litigation matter, and again in another case in December 2015 when he requested a discovery extension. He also allegedly asked for an extension to the deadline to file a court document in the 2013 matter and falsely stated that he had to fly to Montreal for a funeral.
Further, according to the amended complaint, in July 2016, the lawyer told lawyers in another litigation matter who were representing the government that his son was scheduled to undergo cancer surgery and that he would need an extension of time. He later said his son suffered from leiomyosarcoma. The lawyer did not have a son. The lawyer then allegedly admitted to the court in August 2016 that he had made the false statements and said that “this is something that I have never done before.”
The lawyer is represented by counsel in the disciplinary matter, and his answer to the initial complaint states that the lawyer had used the false cancer statement in his law school application because he suffered from depression and that the depression required him to take a leave of absence from his studies and affected his ability to perform on the LSAT.
The lawyer admitted to other factual allegations in his answer, but he denied that he acted in bad faith or with the intent to mislead. He also denied that he had any serious illness and did not admit to any disciplinary rule violations. The answer to the complaint is here: https://www.iardc.org/ANS18pr0015.pdf
Bottom line: If true, the allegations against this lawyer show a serious lack of integrity and truthfulness, to say the least. If there is an underlying health condition, this should certainly not excuse the alleged conduct; however, it must be addressed, particularly since the lawyer (through his lawyers) denies that he has a “serious illness”.
Be careful out there.
Disclaimer: this e-mail is not an advertisement, does not contain any legal advice, and does not create an attorney/client relationship and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
29605 U.S. Highway 19 N. Suite 150
Clearwater, Florida 33761
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670