A Clayton-area lawyer is facing disciplinary charges for allegedly mishandling the case of a client.
Clayton personal injury lawyer Jonathan Valentino face disciplinary hearings before the Missouri Supreme Court after charges against him were unveiled Wednesday.
In December 2009, a man hired Armstrong Teasdale to represent him in connection with a property dispute the man was having with his neighbor. Ultimately the case was assigned to Valentino, an associate at the law firm, who told the man he filed the lawsuit in January 2010 and gave the man subsequent updates over the next several years. Although, in fact, no lawsuit ever had been filed.
In January 2016, after not responding to numerous inquiries from the man about the case, Valentino told the man he never filed the lawsuit and had lied when giving the man the updates.
Over the course of the case, Valentino caused his law firm to bill the man more than $600, which the firm ultimately refunded to the man.
In February 2016, Valentino self-reported his misconduct to the chief disciplinary counsel’s office and subsequently went to work for Cofman Townsley. After an evidentiary hearing, a regional disciplinary hearing panel in August 2017 issued its decision concluding Valentino had violated several rules of professional responsibility. The panel recommended that Valentino be suspended with no leave to apply for reinstatement for at least one year.
They also recommended the suspension be stayed and that Valentino be placed on probation for one year. The chief disciplinary counsel rejected the proposed discipline and is now asking the Missouri Supreme Court to suspend Valentino indefinitely with no leave to apply for reinstatement for one year.
The Missouri Supreme Court will decide on Wednesday, Jan, 10, whether Valentino violated the rules of professional responsibility and, if so, what discipline, if any, is appropriate.
Valentino attended St. Louis University for his undergraduate studies and, in 2000, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He went on to attend St. Louis University School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor in 2003.
Valentino was an associate at Armstrong Teasdale from 2003 to 2015 before becoming a partner in 2015-2016.