March 3, 2010
Web Page Confidentiality Breach Charged
The Illinois Administrator has filed a disciplinary complaint alleging that an attorney divulged confidential information about a former client on his web page. The complaint contends that the attorney was angered when the client discharged him:
On or about March 2007, [the client] informed Respondent that she was discharging him as her attorney, and that she was hiring John Cutright ("Cutright") to handle her case.
On March 27, 2007, Respondent withdrew from case number 2005 D 67, and Cutright entered his appearance for [the client].
After [the client] discharged Respondent and hired Cutright, Respondent became angry with her, and sent her a bill for additional fees, which [the client] refused to pay.
In the fall of 2008, Respondent was a candidate for the office of Cumberland County State’s Attorney. During his campaign, had a web site at www.mervinlwolfe.com.
On October 27, 2008, the local newspaper, the Toledo Democrat, published a letter from Respondent’s former employee, Marilyn Henderson ("Henderson"). Henderson’s letter was critical of Respondent and his candidacy for the position of State’s Attorney. Respondent was aware of the letter. Respondent was aware that Henderson and [the client] were friends, and that [the client] had cared for Henderson’s disabled son.
In November 2008 Respondent posted, or caused to be posted, on his web site www.mervinlwolfe.com, confidential information from [the client] he had received while he was her attorney, including her home address and social security number.
Respondent also posted, or caused to be posted, confidential information regarding [the client's] compensation for caring for Henderson’s disabled child. Respondent also posted, or caused to be posted, confidential information from Henderson, including Henderson’s social security number, address, a letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services regarding a fraud investigation pertaining to Henderson, information from Casey State Bank regarding an alleged forgery by Henderson, a decision from the State of Illinois Department of Employment Security regarding Henderson.
At no time did [the client] give Respondent permission to post her confidential information on the internet.
Another count charges the attorney with entering into an attorney-client relationship with a divorcing wife and thereafter entering his appearance for the husband. There are other charges as well. (Mike Frisch)
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