Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra (Handout photo)
An Austin attorney has been suspended from practicing in the Western District of Texas for three years for pursuing baseless stalking allegations against his opposing counsel.
In an order earlier this week, Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra of San Antonio rejected objections to a Western District of Texas Disciplinary Committee report filed by the attorney, Omar Rosales. The committee found in April that Rosales “engaged in serious misconduct” and recommended that he be barred from practicing in the district.
“The court agrees with the final report’s conclusions — and has independently found that the record clearly and convincingly demonstrates — that Rosales has failed to acknowledge … repeated admonitions that sanctions, and potentially disbarment, would result from continued misconduct,” Ezra wrote in his July 11 order.
“Instead, the record shows repeated, deliberate and unabashed conduct that cannot be characterized as merely as a ‘one-off’ offense,” he added.
Rosales represents the same client in multiple lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He was sanctioned last year by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane of Austin for his actions against Jim Harrington, who is defending those cases.
Harrington is a well-known Austin civil rights attorney and founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project, and argued that Rosales was abusing the ABA in pursuit of minor violations. Lane hit Rosales with $175,672 in sanctions after finding that he acted in bad faith against by making false statements about Harrington in court, filing a police stalking report against him and filing a restraining order.
The judge also rejected Rosales’ attempts to sanction Harrington for an alleged racist email in which his legal assistant referred to Rosales as “El Sapo,” which means “the toad” in Spanish. Harrington apologized, explained he had mistakenly forwarded his assistant’s email, and that the term “El Sapo” did not express racism and that he had not used it to describe Rosales.
Lane referred Rosales’ conduct to the disciplinary committee. In agreeing with its April 28 report, Ezra specifically found that Rosales acted in bad faith while conducting himself the ADA lawsuits, that he had misused the judicial system by filing groundless accusations of criminal stalking against Harrington, and that he failed to retract falsified evidence, among other things.
Following his suspension, Rosales will have to undergo a legal ethics training course and participate in mental health counseling and anger management training before he can be re-admitted to practice in the district, according to Ezra’s order.
Rosales did not return a call for comment.