On Wednesday, October 19, 2022, the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed before the Supreme Court of Minnesota the petition seeking reciprocal discipline of Chicago attorney Edward S. Rueda for negligent misappropriation of funds and failure to maintain his IOLTA account.

The case is styled as ‘In Re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Edward S. Rueda.

The charges cited 1.15(a) and (e) of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, which state:

All funds of clients or third persons held by a lawyer or law firm in connection with a representation shall be deposited in one or more identifiable trust accounts as set forth in paragraphs (d) through (g) and as defined in paragraph (o). No funds belonging to the lawyer or law firm shall be deposited therein except as follows:

(1) funds of the lawyer or law firm reasonably sufficient to pay service charges may be deposited therein;

(2) funds belonging in part to a client or third person and in part presently or potentially to the lawyer or law firm must be deposited therein.

A lawyer who receives client or third-person funds shall maintain a pooled trust account (“IOLTA account”) for deposit of funds that are nominal in amount or expected to be held for a short period of time.

The rules of professional conduct can be found here.

The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:

Respondent was publicly disciplined by the Illinois Supreme Court by an order dated September 23, 2021, suspending Respondent from law practice for one year, with the suspension stayed after 30 days by a two-year period of probation with conditions. The respondent engaged in the misconduct when he negligently misappropriated $15,471.04 of client funds and by failing to maintain the balance of his IOLTA account at or above the amount he should have been holding in connection with four separate client matters through negligent record-keeping.

The Stipulation for Reciprocal Discipline was entered into by and between the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and respondent.

The Stipulation for Reciprocal Discipline states that:

“Respondent waives these rights, which include the opportunity to present arguments to the Court as to why the imposition of reciprocal discipline is unwarranted and agrees to the Court’s immediate issuance of an order for reciprocal discipline.”

The Stipulation continues:

“Respondent unconditionally admits the allegations of the petition and its attachments, which establish that respondent was disciplined by the Illinois Supreme Court on September 23, 2021. Pursuant to Rules 12(d) and 19(b)(3), RLPR, the Illinois Supreme Court’s order and findings therein are conclusive evidence that respondent committed the misconduct.”

The Stipulation additionally notes:

“Director and respondent agree that reciprocal discipline is appropriate, but for reasons described in the attached memorandum, the discipline imposed in Illinois is substantially different from the discipline that would be imposed in Minnesota for similar conduct.”

The Director and respondent agreed in recommending that the appropriate discipline for respondent’s conduct is a public reprimand.

According to the Petition for Reciprocal Discipline:

“Pursuant to Rule 12(d), RLPR, unless determined otherwise by the Court, “a final adjudication in another jurisdiction that a lawyer had committed certain misconduct shall establish conclusively the misconduct for purposes of disciplinary proceedings in Minnesota.” Therefore, the misconduct described in Exhibit 2 is conclusive.”

In view of the foregoing, the Director prays for an order of the Court directing the respondent and the Director to inform the Court within 30 days of its order whether either or both believe the imposition of identical discipline by the Minnesota Supreme Court would be unwarranted and the reasons for that claim.

As of today, Mr. Edward S. Rueda is listed in ESR Law Group, LLC as a practicing lawyer representing medical malpractice cases, serving Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Law. He has been licensed in Minnesota, license no. 0397834, as well as in Illinois. His profile can be found on LinkedIn.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.