BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) – A former attorney for a prominent St. Louis-area personal injury law firm claims his former bosses violated ethics codes. And his former office has accused him of violating his associate’s agreement.
John Driscoll says he was an associate attorney for Brown & Crouppen from Aug. 23, 2003 to Nov. 17, 2008, and was required to sign an associate’s agreement, according to his complaint in St. Clair County Court.
Driscoll says that after he resigned he requested a list of the clients he represented with Brown & Crouppen so he could inform them he was no longer with the firm and ensure there would be no conflicts of interest as he continued to practice law.
But the firm refused, citing the associate’s agreement, Driscoll says.
Driscoll also claims Brown & Crouppen schemed to effect the withdrawal of his representation of hundreds of clients without his or his clients’ permission.
Brown & Crouppen sued Driscoll on Sept. 9 this year in St. Louis City Court, seeking damages from Driscoll’s alleged breaches of the associate’s agreement.
In that complaint, Brown & Crouppen claimed Driscoll used company time and resources to start his own firm and failed to enter all of his clients into the firm’s database.
Driscoll says Brown & Crouppen’s associate’s agreement violates the Illinois Supreme Court’s rule of professional conduct by restricting the rights of a lawyer to practice after a termination of employment and by limiting the public’s freedom to choose a lawyer.
Driscoll seeks declaratory relief declaring the associate’s agreement void, and damages for interference with business expectancy. Terry Crouppen, a partner in Brown & Crouppen, was publicly sanctioned more than 20 years ago for violating the Missouri Supreme Court Disciplinary Rules, Driscoll’s complaint states.
Named as defendants are Brown & Crouppen, Laura Caimi, Ronald Brown and Terry Crouppen. Driscoll is represented by Lloyd Cueto.