An attorney disciplinary lawsuit is the latest consequence for an Austin attorney whose abusive litigation tactics in disability discrimination cases already brought a $175,000 sanction and three-year ban from Austin’s federal court.
The latest allegations against solo practitioner Omar Weaver Rosales detail a different sort of misconduct, although still related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The Commission for Lawyer Discipline on Sept. 14 filed an amended disciplinary petition against Rosales after it received eight separate grievances all claiming Rosales was sending abusive demand letters that alleged the recipients’ websites violated the ADA.
Rosales didn’t respond to an email seeking comment before deadline.
The petition noted that the people who filed grievances—four lawyers acting for clients, a doctor, a businessman, a chiropractor and an emergency room—had an issue with Rosales because he allegedly sent the demand letters to themselves or their clients—mostly health care providers. Rosales sent some letters under his own name, and others under the name, “Center for Veterans Access.”
Rosales’ letters demanded payments of $2,000. To most of the letters, he attached an “unfiled lawsuit” and a list of areas in which the clients’ websites allegedly violated supposed ADA “rules.” But he copied the rules from an online checklist and misrepresented that they came from actual federal administrative rules.
Rosales’ letters to health care providers said they had to report themselves to the Department of Health and Human Services and to forfeit federal funds until they had their websites recertified. Rosales’ threatened that if the clients didn’t enter settlement negotiations, that he would contact DHHS himself and also discuss a separate lawsuit to seek a reimbursement of tax dollars the client allegedly “improperly obtained from the government.”
Letters to health care providers also said Rosales would strip their certification for government-funded health care programs and he would pursue administrative enforcement penalties unless they met his demand. The commission alleged that Rosales misrepresented that he, as a private interest, could manipulate an administrative enforcement action for personal gain.
In letters to businessmen, Rosales purported to have documents containing facts that were “undisputed” and already “proven,” but actually, he was making unsubstantiated claims, alleged the petition.
The commission alleged that Rosales’ conduct violated attorney disciplinary rules that prohibit attorneys from: making frivolous claims; threatening to file criminal or disciplinary charges solely to gain advantage in a civil matter; engaging in dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful or misrepresentative conduct; knowingly making false statements; or practicing under a trade name.
In a separate series of six ADA lawsuits in federal court, Rosales was sanctioned for $175,672 after a federal magistrate judge found he acted in bad faith by making false statements about opposing counsel—well-known civil rights lawyer Jim Harrington of Austin—and submitting a fabricated email, and filing a police report and application for an ex parte temporary restraining order against Harrington.
That same conduct got Rosales suspended for three years from practicing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.