A lawyer who represented a client in a case that gained national media attention has been reprimanded by the court for not reviewing medical records to determine if his client’s case was viable.
John Patrick Graves, JD, in Irondale, AL, represented a man who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against three physicians in 2014, contending they partially amputated his penis during what was to be a routine circumcision.
A Jefferson County judge dismissed the suit in August 2014, saying it did not meet the higher pleading requirements of the Alabama Medical Liability Act, but allowed Graves to file an amended suit.
Recently, the Alabama Board of Bar Commissioners ordered Graves receive a public reprimand for violating an Alabama rule of criminal procedure, according to a disciplinary notice in The Alabama Lawyer, a state bar publication.
The notice said the attorney should have known that at least some of the claims against the physicians were false. Graves had access to and should have reviewed medical records and information that “demonstrated initial claims and allegations against one or more doctors were clearly improper,” the notice said. The amended complaint included “plainly false allegations” and included defendants who should not have been sued, according to the notice.
The amended suit contained claims and maintained allegations “that were clearly without merit,” the notice said. Graves knew or should have known the meritless claims in the amended complaint “served no purpose other than to harass or maliciously injure one or more defendants,” the notice said.
In their response to the lawsuit, the physicians said they did not amputate any portion of the penis when they performed a circumcision for medical reasons, but there was dead tissue after the circumcision because of circulation issues, caused partly by uncontrolled diabetes.