Louisville attorney at other end of law following claims of misusing funds
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Imagine the person who’s supposed to be fighting on your behalf is fighting for himself instead.
That’s what more than a dozen people say happened to them, and they are pointing the finger at a local attorney through a number of lawsuits.
Following nearly two years of accusations against Louisville attorney Andrew Clooney, and a growing number of victims, something may finally be in the works.
When Dawn Knight got into a crash and needed therapy, she was given Clooney’s name as a personal injury attorney who could help her.
“When you hire an attorney, you expect them to do what is legal and right,” Knight said.
Her therapy came to an end, and so did her contact with Clooney.
So she logged onto the site of the other driver’s insurance company to check her claim.
“My heart sank at first,” Knight said. “And then I was mad.”
She found her case had already been settled. The website even listed a check number for $25,000 that Knight said she knew nothing about.
Then she also learned of an additional $15,000 payment from her own insurer. A new lawsuit says Clooney, as Knight’s lawyer, kept both of those payments. The documents state Clooney Law forged Knight’s and her husband’s signatures on release forms, and deposited the checks into Clooney’s account.
“Not only had he signed my name on the settlement agreement, he had signed my husband’s,” Knight said. “My husband had never met him.”
Knight is not alone.
“My heart goes out to the clients that we represent as well as the people that we weren’t able to sign up just because there’s been too many,” her new attorney Alex White said.
White first sued Clooney in 2017 in a similar case, and now he represents more than 10 people who say they’ve been ripped off, too, totaling roughly half a million dollars.
"People that have permanent, life-long injuries that as a result of their money being stolen potentially won't ever get a surgery that they needed," White said. "They'll have medical bills that they need to pay that they will never be able to pay."
White said it was back in 2017 when he first reported Clooney to the Kentucky Bar Association. Nearly two years and at least seven lawsuits later, it appears there may be some action in the works.
The KBA’s own rules state an attorney may be suspended if there’s “probable cause” to believe that they’ve been “misappropriating” or “improperly” dealing with funds.
WAVE 3 News found that after accruing at least 12 disciplinary matters against Clooney, the Bar filed a motion for his suspension with the Kentucky Supreme Court last month. Documents showed Clooney failed to respond to the motion, which has now been kicked over to the Supreme Court justices.
The Bar said simply reporting attorney misconduct is not enough.
“Additional information is almost always needed in order to fully investigate allegations of misconduct and, when requests to attorneys for that information go unanswered, those allegations are difficult, if not impossible, to prove,” Shannon Roberts, the Bar’s Director of Communications, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Fraud Unit has turned its case over to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. which said it is reviewing the large amount of paperwork.
“I don’t feel sorry for Mr. Clooney,” White said. “I am furious with him; every attorney in the state should be furious about this. It’s an embarrassment to our profession.”
WAVE 3 News tried to reach Clooney through his office and cellphone, but he did not return any messages. No one appeared to be at his office on Preston Highway.
“I would like to see him prosecuted,” Knight said, adding that those medical bills may force her into bankruptcy. “This guy just totally knocks that trust away completely.”
The Supreme Court justices could vote on possibly suspending Clooney as early as April 8. They convene on such matters once a month.
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