Legal Ethics

Lawyer who filed 'bad mothering' lawsuit faces ethics charges over client will

An Illinois lawyer who claimed his ex-wife was guilty of bad mothering in a failed lawsuit is facing ethics charges in an unrelated matter.

Steven Miner of Barrington is accused of writing a will for an elderly client, a longtime friend, that gave 40 percent of the estate to Miner’s two children, the Chicago Tribune reports. The client’s three children were to receive the rest of the estate. Miner is also accused of cashing nearly $500,000 in checks from the same client.

Miner’s lawyer, George Collins, told the Tribune that his client denies the charges and plans to contest them. Miner has previously claimed that he returned money from the cashed checks to the client.

Miner was in the news in August 2011 when an Illinois appeals court dismissed the “bad mothering” suit that the lawyer had filed for his two children. Among the mother’s alleged wrongdoing: She played favorites, failed to send college care packages and birthday cards, caused distress by changing her last name, and warned her 7-year-old son she would call police if he didn’t buckle his seat belt.

The ethics charges were filed after an Illinois appeals court upheld a judge’s ruling invalidating the will and ordered Miner to repay the $500,000 plus $200,000 interest. The decision is here (PDF).

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