On Friday, September 2, 2022, the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas ruled on charges for attorney discipline against Wichita attorney Jason M. Janoski for alleged violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC).

The case, titled In the Matter of Jason M. Janoski, was brought by the Deputy Disciplinary Administrator. Case #124,955.

The charges cited Janoski’s violations of KRPC 3.1 (meritorious claims), KRPC 3.4 (fairness to opposing party and counsel), KRPC 4.2 (communication with a represented person), KRPC 8.3 (reporting professional misconduct), KRPC 8.4(c) (engaging in professional misconduct that involves dishonesty), KRPC 8.4(d) (engaging in professional misconduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), KRPC 8.4(g) (engaging in professional misconduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer), and Rule 219 (reporting a criminal charge) of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.

According to the filing, the respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty on several occasions, some of which are as follows:

“On September 3, 2019, while at the baseball practice, the respondent intentionally knocked E.H.’s mobile phone from her hand. At the time the respondent hit the phone, he falsely stated that it was an accident and that something he was holding fell out of his hand and the item knocked the phone from E.H.’s hand.”

“The respondent provided false information to Dr. Parker at the time the respondent underwent the psychological evaluation. According to the respondent’s testimony on the formal complaint, the respondent lied to Dr. Parker when discussing his alcohol consumption.”

“On May 3, 2021, the respondent told the police officers that his wife punched him with a closed fist five times. Later, the respondent modified his statement that his wife punched him with a closed fist two times. However, the respondent now admits that his wife did not punch him with a close fist—rather she slapped him multiple times in an attempt to get the respondent to stop berating his step-daughter and telling his step-daughter that her father is a rapist.”

KRPC 8.4(d) – It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.The respondent engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice when he inundated E.H. with text messages and refused to communicate with E.H. by OFW. As a result of the respondent’s refusal to communicate with E.H. through OFW, E.H.’s attorney filed a motion to limit communication, the district court heard the motion, and the district court issued an agreed order limiting the communication between the respondent and E.H.

. . . when he filed a motion to modify the protection from abuse order in September 2020 and rather than serve the motion on E.H.’s attorney, the respondent had E.H. served personally. E.H.’s attorney did not learn about the motion until just a few days before the scheduled hearing on the motion.”

KRPC 8.4(g) – It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law.”

Some of the Respondent’s conduct that violated this rule are as follows:

“When he consumed alcohol before work and during lunch when employed as an attorney engaged in the practice of law;

threatened and harassed the parents and coaches of his son’s baseball team to such a degree that the coach indicated that the child would be removed from the team if the respondent’s conduct continued;

made unreasonable demands during the divorce, including insisting that E.H. agree to include language in the divorce decree that neither E.H. nor the respondent would be permitted to remarry anyone but each other;

berated his 15-year-old step-daughter on multiple occasions, blocked her from using a hallway to access her bedroom, repeatedly told his step-daughter that her father is a rapist, and struck J.J. in the face with his elbow; and

failed to timely pay his child support, resulting in a judgment of arrearage in the amount of $7,833.”

The disciplinary administrator recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year. The disciplinary administrator further recommended that the respondent serve six months of the suspension and then be placed on probation for three years.

On the other hand, the hearing panel unanimously recommended that the Court suspend the respondent’s license to practice law for two years and that after the respondent serves six months of the suspension, the Court place the respondent on probation for three years with terms.

In admitting the panel’s factual findings and conclusions of law, the Supreme Court of Kansas, stated among others:

“In most attorney discipline cases, our goals are not only to punish ethical violations and protect the public, although those goals must always be paramount. . . We recognize that dependency and mental health issues are different than criminal activity and should be treated differently. We see those issues here, but we also see ethical violations which caused personal and distressing harm, even abuse—abuse which resulted in two criminal convictions for domestic battery against two separate victims. We do not take these circumstances lightly.”

Accordingly, the Court held that Jason M. Janoski shall be suspended from the practice of law in the state of Kansas for a period of one year, effective on the filing of this opinion, though a minority of the court would impose a lesser sanction. After respondent has served 12 months’ suspension, the respondent will be allowed to petition for reinstatement to the practice of law. Whether we grant a hearing on that petition will, of course, depend on what the respondent presents in support. Costs are assessed against the respondent in an amount to be certified by theOffice of the Disciplinary Administrator.

Mr. Janoski earned his Juris Doctor from the Pennsylvania State University School of Law, graduating in 2010. He has practiced in Wichita, Kansas and he has been licensed in Kansas. His info can be found on LawyerDB.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.