On Thursday, June 15, 2023, the Administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) filed a complaint against Attorney John Russell Wienold over misconduct in a personal injury case.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of John Russell Wienold,” with case No. 2023PR00040.
The charges cited Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 3.3(a)(3), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d) which states:
A lawyer shall not knowingly.
Offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence, other than the testimony of a defendant in a criminal matter, that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.
Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The complaint states that the respondent allowed a witness, Ricky Meisner, to present false testimony during a deposition in a personal injury case. Meisner’s false testimony included misleading information about his interactions with Wienold, the compensation he received, and the existence of an attorney-client relationship. The complaint further accuses Wienold of failing to take reasonable measures to correct the false testimony.
The filing states:
“On August 18, 2020, Meisner called Respondent to schedule a place for the two to meet prior to Meisner’s deposition. Later that morning, Respondent and Meisner met at TheVerdict, a restaurant in Wheaton, Illinois. During this meeting, Respondent explained, among other things, the procedure of the deposition, anticipated questioning, and what Meisner would testify to during the deposition.”
Respondent knew Meisner’s answers, as set forth in all the depositions, were false at the time Meisner made them.
The filing further states:
“On August 14, 2021, Meisner voluntarily gave a recorded statement to Loizon and a private investigator retained by Clifford Law Offices. In the recorded statement, Meisner gave testimony contrary to the testimony given at his August 18, 2020, deposition, including testimony that he first met Respondent at the scene of the accident prior to his deposition and that Respondent agreed to represent him pro bono in regard toMeisner’sdestroyed motorcycles.
On August 31, 2021, Clifford Law Offices filed an emergency motion requesting additional discovery based on newly discovered evidence of probable cause of discovery violations and unethical conduct committed by Respondent and for a protective order.
On July 8, 2022, the Court entered an order granting the plaintiffs’ amended motion for Rule 219 sanctions in part, barring Meisner from testifying at trial, allowing only a limited portion of the discovery deposition to be read to the jury, and sanctioning Respondent for attorney’s fees.”
By reason of the conduct described above, the ARDC stated that the respondent committed misconduct by letting Meisner, a witness he called, lie at his deposition about various matters related to the case, such as when and how often they met, how much he paid him, and whether they had an attorney-client relationship. The respondent did not correct Meisner’s false testimony when he learned of it, which harmed the administration of justice and led to the court limiting Meisner’s testimony at trial.
The filing states:
“WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully 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 Wienold attended Southern Methodist University. He practices in Aurora, Illinois. He is licensed in Illinois. His info can be found on avvo.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.