Disciplinary board files barratry complaint against Texas representative

By Marilyn Tennissen | Mar 11, 2014

A Texas attorney – and state representative – is the subject of a complaint by the state’s disciplinary board. 

A Texas attorney – and state representative – is the subject of a complaint by the state’s disciplinary board. 

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline filed a petition in February against Ronald E. Reynolds. 

As previously reported, Reynolds, a representative of District 27 and a managing partner at Brown Brown & Reynolds Law Firm in Houston, is accused of illegally soliciting legal cases, also known as barratry.

When he first took office, the Democrats in the state house named him as “Freshman of the Year.”

According to the complaint by the disciplinary commission, Reynolds case is tied to another man, Robert Valdez Sr.

Over a period of several months in 2012 and 2013, Valdez engaged in an ongoing effort to solicit personal injury clients for Reynolds, the complaint states. Allegedly, Valdez contacted recent auto accident victims and recommended that they hire Reynolds.

“None of these individuals had sought Reynolds’ services or had a family or past or present attorney-client relationship with Respondent [Reynolds],” the complaint states.

Valdez supposedly received a cash payment for his services.

The disciplinary commission was able to verify at least five instances in which an accident victim was contacted by Valdez and then signed on with Reynolds as a client.

Reynolds’ actions violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, the commission claims. The rules state that a lawyer can be disciplined if he hires even a nonlawyer for soliciting prospective clients and continues that employment by knowingly permitting the employee to continue the wrongful activity.

It also states a lawyer may not engage in conduct that involves deceit, dishonesty, fraud or misrepresentation; shall not engage in barratry; and shall not commit a serious crime that reflects adversely on the lawyers’ honesty and trustworthiness.

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline wants Reynolds to be reprimanded, suspended or disbarred as facts warrant. He may also face payment of restitution.

Reynolds was first charged with barratry in Harris County in April 2012. That case was dismissed in 2013. In the Harris County case, investigators for the District Attorney’s Office were accused of wrongdoing resulting in the dismissal of Reynolds' case.

Then in 2013, Reynolds was arrested on March 26, 2013, but not indicted until Oct, 31, 2013.

Alison Elam, assistant disciplinary counsel for the State Bar of Texas, is serving as attorney for the commission.

The complaint was filed in Harris County on Feb. 12.

Case No. 2014-06707

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