The State Bar of Arizona has filed a motion to suspend serial-suing attorney Peter Strojnik for continued conduct it believes will harm the public and legal profession.
The motion for interim suspension was filed on the afternoon of March 6 with Arizona’s presiding disciplinary judge, William O’Neil.
Strojnik has filed more than 2,000 lawsuits in Arizona alleging disability lawsuits in recent years. In the cases, Strojnik often demands huge settlement amounts in legally-suspect cases that multiple judges have called unethical and likened to extortion.
“(Strojnik’s) on going conduct is causing loss to the public and damage to the legal profession,” according to the State Bar’s motion.
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Judge O’Neil will likely rule on the State Bar’s motion in the next few days or order a hearing, which would take place within 10 days.
If O’Neil grants the interim suspension, Strojnik would be barred from practicing law until the State Bar finishes its investigation and the resulting disciplinary case is finished.
Legal experts said a motion for an interim suspension is one of the most forceful moves the State Bar can take. It usually happens one a few times a year, and it’s usually reserved for situations involving attorneys suspected of criminal activity, experts said.
In the last few years, Strojnik has become one of the most prolific serial-suers in America by filing thousands of cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ABC15 has reported extensively on his cases, specifically his lawsuits filed on behalf of a controversial group called Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID).
AID’s lawsuits were copy-and-paste cases that alleged violations with parking lots signs. They were in the most literal sense drive-by lawsuits and most demanded between $5,000 and $7,500.
ABC15’s reports prompted the Attorney General to take previous action against AID and Strojnik last year, which resulted in mass dismissal of those cases in state court. As part of the AG’s previous actions, AID and Strojnik settled with the state agreeing to never file another ADA lawsuit in state courts again.
But Strojnik filed the 92 new cases in federal court with a new plaintiff named Fernando Gastelum, who he pays $350 per case, records show.
In those cases, Strojnik claims he is putting in more than $20,000 of legal work.
In ADA lawsuits, attorneys are only allowed to sue to fix disability-access violations and recoup legal fees. So claim a higher hourly-rate and fees, get a bigger settlement.
The Attorney General’s Office recently filed a motion in federal court seeking to label Strojnik a “vexatious litigant,” which would severely limit his ability to file new cases. In a previous report, ABC15 also revealed that Strojnik has been disciplined by the State Bar multiple times before for unrelated legal issues.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org.