On Thursday, October 5, 2023, the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission recommended that attorney Mark Steven Lenz be reprimanded for his misconduct. Lenz was charged with filing frivolous pleadings and knowingly making false statements of law to a court.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Mark Steven Lenz,” with case no. 2022PR00029.
The case against Lenz centered around his representation of a client in a lawsuit against Harlem Irving Plaza (HIP) and its attorney, Daniel Mathless. Lenz filed four separate complaints against HIP and Mathless personally, regarding four lis pendens notices filed by HIP. Mathless informed Lenz that a party to a lawsuit had an absolute privilege to file a lis pendens, citing the Ringier case. However, Lenz did not respond or procure a dismissal of the complaints, leading HIP and Mathless to file motions to dismiss the slander of title actions.
The report and recommendation states:
“Respondent received Mathless’ email but did not respond to it or procure a dismissal of the complaints. Consequently, in August 2017, HIP and Mathless filed motions to dismiss the slander of title actions, citing the holding in Ringier.”
The Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission conducted a hearing on the matter in February 2023. Lenz was represented by Stephanie L. Stewart and Daniel S. Klapman, while the Administrator was represented by Richard C. Gleason, II and Evette L. Ocasio. The hearing was held remotely by videoconference.
During the hearing, the Administrator presented evidence that Lenz had filed the four slander of title claims without a basis in law and fact, and that he had misstated legal precedent in the four complaints and in his brief in response to motions to dismiss the complaints. Lenz admitted to filing the four slander of title claims but denied knowingly making false statements to a court.
Despite Lenz’s contests, the Hearing Board found that the Administrator had proven that Lenz had violated the rules of professional conduct by filing the four slander of title claims without a basis in law and fact to do so. However, the Board did not find that Lenz had knowingly made false statements to a court, as he relied on a good-faith interpretation of the law. Thus, the Hearing Board recommended that Lenz’s discipline should equate to a reprimand.
The recommendation states:
“We therefore recommend that Respondent, Mark Steven Lenz, be reprimanded for his misconduct. Our proposed reprimand is attached to this Report and Recommendation.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Lenz is a real estate attorney in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Texas School of Law. He acquired his law license in Illinois in 1986.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.