In considering the latest matter involving John Evans, a reviewing panel for the Statewide Grievance Committee commented that the Stamford personal injury lawyer is a “very familiar” figure to state disciplinary authorities.
That may be a bit of an understatement.
Since receiving his law license in 1982, Evan has been the target of 23 grievance complaints. Although state disciplinary officials declined to comment on the total, others with knowledge of the grievance process confirmed that is an extraordinarily high number.
In all, Evans has been reprimanded or sanctioned five times. He told the Law Tribune that he believes that the state’s grievance process is easily abused and that clients who don’t want to pay legal fees abuse the system by filing a grievance. He claims he has never lied to or stolen from anyone, including clients. “I have never done anything intentionally to hurt anybody,” Evans said. “This grievance history may make me look like a bad guy, but all it means is I’m an aggressive lawyer.”
In a March 28 decision, a reviewing committee for the Statewide Grievance Committee stated that in 2012 Evans hired a court reporting service, Sullivan & Associates, to transcribe civil depositions but failed to pay a $400 invoice. In March, April and May of 2013, Evans indicated that he would pay the bill, but he did not, according to the reviewing committee.
After Sullivan & Associates filed a grievance complaint, Evans immediately made payment.
But the Statewide Grievance Committee nevertheless found that he had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct because he did not file an answer to the grievance complaint. “He has a lengthy disciplinary history that involves the failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities and misrepresentations about financial matters,” the March decision states.
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Beth Baldwin said she will also be filing another presentment against Evans for allegedly failing to safeguard funds in an IOLTA account.
Evans is not currently working as a lawyer. His law license was suspended in January 2013 for reportedly failing to supply to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel the necessary documentation needed to complete monthly audits.
Other complaints against Evans over the years include failing to help a client in the eviction process because he found the fee insufficient. Another time, he was reprimanded for representing a client after the client discharged him. He was also reprimanded for paying himself fees from a trust account before the client’s settlement check arrived.
He’s also had a brush with the law. In 2011, Evans was arrested for allegedly stealing an employee’s car. Police said an employee in his office complained that Evans took her 2007 Hyundai Tiburon, which was worth about $13,000.
Evans told the Law Tribune that all those charges were dismissed by a judge. He said he had loaned money to his secretary so she could buy a car for her son. “She stopped paying on the car loan and I repossessed the car under the signed security agreement,” Evans said. “She then collected the value from her insurance company for a stolen car and refused to pay my loan.”