Legal Ethics

Lawyer is reprimanded over penis amputation suit

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A lawyer in Irondale, Alabama, has been reprimanded in connection with his 2014 lawsuit contending that his client’s penis was partly amputated when he went to the hospital for a routine circumcision.

A disciplinary notice says the lawyer, John Patrick Graves, filed the medical malpractice lawsuit against three doctors without reviewing medical records to determine whether the claim was viable, reports.

A Jefferson County judge dismissed the suit in August 2014 because it didn’t meet the higher pleading requirements of the Alabama Medical Liability Act, but allowed Graves to file an amended suit.

Graves received medical records and information that “demonstrated initial claims and allegations against one or more doctors were clearly improper,” the notice said. But when he filed the amended complaint, Graves did not eliminate “plainly false allegations” and did not dismiss defendants who should not have been sued, according to the notice.

Instead, the amended complaint asserted claims and maintained allegations “that were clearly without merit,” the notice said.

Graves’ suit had received widespread publicity, and he 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.

The physicians had said they did not amputate the penis of Graves’ client when they performed a circumcision for medical reasons, according to a prior story by But the physicians said the tip of the penis had dead tissue after the circumcision as a result of circulation issues, caused partly by uncontrolled diabetes.

Graves declined’s request for comment and did not immediately respond to an email from the ABA Journal.

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