Phoenix attorney, Peter Strojnik, of Phoenix was placed on interim suspension by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court while the State Bar of Arizona continues to conduct its investigation into numerous complaints filed mostly by Arizona small business owners.
Strojnik filed more than 1,700 complaints in a State Court and more than 160 complaints in a District Court alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA). In most cases, he would demand $5,000 in attorney’s fees, regardless if the business remedied the violation.
The Arizona Bar alleges that the cases filed were all very similar, alleging vague and non-specific violations. He collected approximately $1.2 million in settlements, which mainly consisted of attorney’s fees.
An attorney from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office testified at the interim suspension hearing that the organization had received numerous complaints from the public regarding the lawsuits filed by Strojnik. He also testified that the lawsuits filed against businesses were “copy and paste” and made false allegations.
Strojnik initially claimed he conducted thorough investigations prior to filing lawsuits, but later conceded that he did not know the individuals who did the work, oftentimes contracting them from Craigslist. The time he spent on each case was minimal—preparation and review of complaints would take less than thirty minutes—which led to errors. He swore to have reviewed 10,000 “reports” with pictures of properties submitted by the investigators, however never visited many of the properties.
The State Bar alleged that Stojnik engaged in conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, immediate and substantial harm to clients, the public, or the administration of justice. A District Court said his tactics were extortionate. The Bar moved for the interim suspension and argued that he would continue filing lawsuits irrespective of rulings by other courts.
Strojnik’s is precluded from practicing law until the final disposition of all pending proceedings against him. He was ordered to notify current clients of his interim suspension.