Reader Eric Bainter writes:
The shenanigans of the NC prosecutor Mike Nifong got me to thinking about misbehaving attorneys in general; me being from the San Antonio area, this led me to wonder “whatever happened to those attorneys in the fraudulent suit against Chrysler?” (covered on Overlawyered May 23 and Jun. 26, 2000; Mar. 17 and Jul. 10, 2003; Aug. 1, 2006). During a fit of insomnia I decided to find out.
I started by checking the coverage on your site which most recently had noted, in the post from August of last year, that the Texas bar had still not yet gotten around to dealing with Andrew Toscano, one of the lawyers implicated in the affair. I searched the Texas Bar website, and found this was not quite true – Toscano got his discipline, such as it is, the day before your entry. I have copied and pasted beneath (after the jump) the entries for all three lawyers. Robert Kugle, the central figure in the fraud, got disbarred in 2003. The other two, Toscano and Robert L. Wilson III, only relatively recently got their punishments – two year suspensions – and if I understand the term “fully probated” correctly, their “suspensions” are “suspended” and they can still practice law. Each was fined $2500 in attorney’s fees and court costs – I assume this goes to the Texas Bar. No mention of the $1 million in sanctions from Judge Peeples.
I also found this article from Law.com that sheds some light on the “suspensions”.
I searched on the Internet for the current whereabouts of Toscano and Wilson. Andrew E. Toscano apparently now practices with a firm called “Gene Toscano, Inc.” I don’t know whether that is a relative of his, or Andrew’s middle name happens to be “Eugene” and he has decided to practice under that. No website for that firm that I can find.
Robert L. “Trey” Wilson III apparently practiced environmental law for a while after leaving Kugle’s firm (or maybe Kugle’s firm left him?) — the San Antonio bar featured him in its newsletter last December. I also found a now-defunct profile/bio page within the website of the attorney Louis Rosenberg, who does environmental law in San Antonio, but I do not notice any current mention of Wilson’s name on Rosenberg’s home page — he is not in Attorney Profiles, for example. If “Trey” worked there, I suspect he no longer does.
My temporary bout of insomnia seems over now. Best wishes,
[details of Texas bar discipline follow after the jump]
Official summaries of Texas bar disciplinary action:
Kugle. On Oct. 1, 2003, Robert A. Kugle [#11755500], 54, of San Antonio was disbarred. An evidentiary panel of the District 10-C Grievance Committee found that in one matter, Kugle’s firm was retained to represent the complainant before the Social Security Administration. Kugle permitted associates in his firm to neglect the matter. He failed to respond to numerous requests for information from the complainant. He also failed to timely respond to notice of the complaint. In a second matter, Kugle knowingly filed suit alleging that a defective steering coupler had failed, thus causing an automobile accident, when he knew there was no reasonable basis for the allegations. He unreasonably increased the costs of the case and knowingly made false statements of material fact, including a false statement of material fact to a third party. Kugle unlawfully obstructed the defendants’ access to evidence and concealed material that had evidentiary value. He engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, and, as supervising lawyer, ordered, encouraged, or knowingly permitted his fellow attorneys to do the same.
Kugle violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(a), 3.01, 3.03(a)(1) and (a)(2), 3.04(a), 4.01(a) and (b), 5.01(a), and 8.04(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4), and (a)(8).
Toscano (PDF). On July 31, 2006, Andrew E. Toscano [#00786832], 37, of San Antonio accepted a two-year fully probated suspension effective July 31, 2006. The 225th District Court of Bexar County found that Toscano failed to inform the appropriate disciplinary authority of the professional misconduct of another lawyer. Toscano violated Rule 8.03(a). He was ordered to pay $2,500 in attorney’s fees and costs.
Wilson (PDF). On Dec. 12, 2005, Robert L. Wilson III [#50511773], 33, of San Antonio, accepted a two-year, fully probated suspension effective Dec. 12, 2005. The 285th District Court of Bexar County found that Wilson failed to inform the appropriate disciplinary authority of the professional misconduct of another lawyer. Wilson violated Rule 8.03(a). He was ordered to pay $2,500 in attorney’s fees and costs.