On Thursday, August 31, 2023, a complaint was filed before the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission against Attorney Kurt D. Hyzy.
The case is titled ‘In the Matter of Kurt D. Hyzy,’ with case no. 2023PR00056.
Attorney Hyzy’s alleged charges are violations of Rule 1.15(a), 1.15(d), and 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010) which set the regulation for:
Failure to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer’s possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own property;
Failure to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds that the client or third person is entitled to receive;
Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
The Illinois Rules on Professional Conduct can be viewed here.
The complaint alleges that Hyzy engaged in misconduct that warrants disciplinary action under Supreme Court Rule 770. The specific violation mentioned in the complaint is the conversion of settlement funds belonging to multiple clients involved in a Vioxx class action lawsuit. Attorney Hyzy, operating as a sole practitioner under the name “The Law Group,” represented a group of clients in the class action against Merck Pharmaceuticals. The clients were allegedly injured by the prescription painkiller drug Vioxx, and a settlement was reached.
Attorney Hyzy received a substantial settlement amount in Canadian currency, which was converted to approximately $337,688.05 in US currency. As per the terms of the settlement, Attorney Hyzy’s firm was entitled to a 40% fee, amounting to a maximum of $135,075.22. The remaining funds were to be distributed among the Vioxx claimants based on a point system.
However, Attorney Hyzy allegedly made only partial distributions to 16 clients between July 13 and December 7, 2016, totaling $65,679.16. One check was even returned unpaid due to insufficient funds. The remaining 44 clients listed in the complaint did not receive any payment from the settlement proceeds.
Furthermore, during the same period, Attorney Hyzy made other payments or transfers from his IOLTA account for his personal or business purposes, spending money payable to clients from insurance or beneficiary claims.
Based on these allegations, the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed the complaint against Attorney Hyzy.
The charge reads:
“WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel makes findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.”
Attorney Kurt D. Hyzy obtained his law degree from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. At the time of writing, his LinkedIn profile indicates that he is the president of Chicago-based law firm The Law Group, Ltd, which represents plaintiffs from across the United States and from over 49 countries individually and in class and group actions.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.