The following complaint has been filed with the Rhode Island Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel by Samantha P. McLintock.
I am filing this formal complaint against Attorney John P. Toscano, Jr. (Bar # 0342) because I feel that he has violated 246 Supreme Court Rules, Article V, Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.4 (c):
To "engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation" and (d) to "engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including but not limited to harmful or discriminatory treatment of litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others based on race, nationality, or sex."
Specifically, on or about the spring of 1996, I was in Mr. Toscano's office and confided in him as to my Family Court proceedings pertaining to the care and custody of my son. He told me that he had represented my son's paternal grandfather, Mr. Rollin B. Ladd over the years, however, he said that he did not think it would be a conflict of interest, since he had never represented my son's father, Mr. Rollin E. Ladd. He indicated that he would contact the grandfather to make sure that he would not object. Mr. Toscano charged me a fee of $25.00 for this consultation. Two days later, Mr. Toscano informed me that he would be unable to represent me because of the fact that the grandfather did have an objection. Mr. Toscano told me that although he would be unable to represent me, he would also be unable to represent my son's father, since I had already confided in him.
On or about December 3, 1998, I subsequently returned to the Washington County Family Court with continuing issues as to the care and custody of my son. When I arrived in Court, I discovered that Mr. Toscano was now representing my son's father, Mr. Rollin E. Ladd. Mr. Toscano withdrew his appearance only after I refused to allow him to represent Mr. Ladd. However, the fact remains that I had already shared many confidential details of my case with Mr. Toscano. I am afraid that he betrayed my confidence and has used what I had told him to damage my case.
This conduct is fraudulent, deceitful and dishonest. In addition, his tactics were prejudicial to the administration of justice in my case. Consider Mr. Toscano's background and the extraordinary lengths he will pursue to win cases. During my initial conference with him, I was, to my detriment, unaware of his involvement in the Judge Fuyat scandal. It is incomprehensible to me as to how Mr. Toscano has managed to retain his license to practice law. He misleads, manipulates, deceives, and lies to people in an effort to "win" cases; including, but not limited to "loaning" money to a judge. In my case, he was knowledgeable of my confidential information and applied it to benefit Mr. Ladd.
Mr. Toscano is a problem that must be dealt with. How many more innocent children will he use to pursue his own goals? He is a part of the "old boy network" in Rhode Island that has done so much to erode public confidence in the judicial system. The time has come to stop giving Mr. Toscano a token punishment and to take appropriate action. Submitted by, Samantha P. McLintock
Caught.net had a cordial conversation with Atty. Toscano on 4-1-99 and Atty. Toscano made clear he did not believe this complaint to be a valid ethics complaint. Atty. Toscano affirmed his strong belief in ethics and the role of disciplinary agencies. Atty. Toscano had no problem with Caught.net's purpose but felt it would be better if Caught.net waited until the disciplinary council responded before listing complaints. Following is Atty. Toscano's response to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Board regarding Samantha McLintock's complaint.
Dear Mr. Curtin: This letter is being written in response to a Complaint filed by one, Samantha P. McLintock. Kindly consider this letter my formal response to said Complaint. I deny violating any of the Rules of Professional Conduct including those cited by the complainant, Samantha P. McLintock.
On November 17, 1998, I filed on behalf of Rollin E. Ladd an Objection to a Motion for Contribution Towards Medical Expenses which was filed by the State of Rhode Island on behalf of Samantha P. McLintock. A copy of the Motion is enclosed.
The scheduled hearing on the Motion was December 3, 1998 before the Washington County Family Court in Wakefield, RI. In addition to the Objection filed by me, I filed on behalf of Rollin E. Ladd a Motion for Reduction of Child Support and Other Relief, namely the right to have the father exercise certain visitation rights, reduce child support based on the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines, and to have the surname of the minor child changed to "Ladd".
On December 3, 1998, before the matter was heard, and at the call of the calendar, the attorney for the State of Rhode Island, Frank J. DiBiase, Esq., stated that Samantha P. McLintock had indicated to him that I had a consultation with her at a prior time, and she thought I should not represent Rollin E. Ladd. I immediately indicated to Magistrate Capineri that I did not recall consulting with Samantha P. McLintock, but that as a matter of caution, I would immediately withdraw from the case and I would not represent Rollin E. Ladd. In fact, I immediately withdrew at the call of the calendar.
I never conducted a defense on behalf of Rollin E. Ladd on the Motion filed by the State of Rhode Island, nor did I go forward on the Motion that I had filed. An Amended Judgment, a copy of which is enclosed, filed by the State of Rhode Island as a result of the hearing on December 3, 1998 shows that the Motion which I filed on behalf of Rollin E. Ladd was passed without prejudice.
Samantha P. McLintock was represented by the State of Rhode Island and Attorney Jeffrey C. Blake, and Rollin E. Ladd was represented by Attorney Mark J. Trovato. At no time did I participate in any hearing before any Court on behalf of Rollin E. Ladd. Upon receipt of the Complaint filed by Samantha P. McLintock, I examined my appointment book for the year 1996, and found that I never had an appointment with her in 1996. I examined my appointment book for the year 1997, and found no appointment with her in 1997.
Upon examination of my appointment book for the year 1995, I found that on Tuesday, September 12, 1995 at 4:00 p.m. I had an appointment with Samantha McLintock. In an attempt to refresh my memory concerning that appointment which took place approximately 3½ years ago, the only recollection I have is that she had an office conference with me concerning the attorney she had at that time, was seeking a second opinion, and the possibility of changing legal counsel. I received no confidential information during that office consultation that could have been used in any way at any time in litigation between Samantha P. McLintock and Rollin E. Ladd. I did not retain any office notes of the consultation I had with Samantha McLintock, nor did I open a file or retain any records concerning her consultation in that it was concerning her dissatisfaction with her then attorney, and the possibility of changing legal counsel. I never participated in any court hearings, other than filing the above mentioned Objection and Motion. I take issue with statements made by Samantha P. McLintock in her Complaint that are untrue, defamatory in nature, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Complaint that she has filed with your office. I trust that after reviewing the enclosures and this reply, that the Complaint against me will be dismissed.
Following is a response from Samantha McLintock regarding Atty. Toscano's above response.
April 3, 1999
Attn: David Curtin
24 Weybosset Street, 2nd floor
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Re: SAMANTHA McLINTOCK V. JOHN TOSCANO
Dear Mr. Curtin:
This following is my response to Mr. Toscano's answer concerning the above-referenced matter. First, Mr. Toscano is incorrect in stating that I was represented by Attorney Jeffrey C. Blake at the December hearing. This is not the case, as I was in court that day represented only by the state's attorney, Frank DiBiase.
Further, when I was in his office on September 12, 1995, the nature of my appointment had nothing at all to do with my seeking a second opinion or that I was dissatisfied with another attorney. My conference with Mr. Toscano pertained strictly to the issue of the care and custody of my son and I did, in fact, share confidential information with him.
Mr. Toscano further states that he has a "vague" memory of our meeting, yet he does not acknowledge the conversation that he had with my son's grandfather at that time. For someone with such a "vague" memory, he is able to recall only his version of our conversation. His version is blatantly untrue, I gave him confidential information.
Please be further advised that since the filing of my complaint with your office, Mr. Toscano has threatened to sue me due to the fact that I have the same posted on the Caught! website. Although I am not an attorney, I know for a fact that I cannot be sued for telling the truth. Mr. Toscano is angry because I have linked him with the Judge Fuyat scandal, for which he was in fact, publicly censured. Frankly, I hope he does try to sue me, I could use the media attention to my case.
Mr. Toscano's account of our meeting is contrary to what truthfully happened in his office. The only thing that I do agree with is the fact that I too, am sure you will dismiss my complaint. Very truly yours, SAMANTHA P. McLINTOCK
Caught.net never heard back regarding this, but it is safe to assume the answer came back, "We see no wrongdoing."
Following is a July 26, 1996 complaint against Judge Paul Suttell
Chief Disciplinary Counsel,
John E. Fogarty Judicial Complex, 24 Weybosset Street,
2nd floor, Providence, RI 02903
Re: Judge Paul Suttell
Samantha P. McLintock V. Rollin E. Ladd
C.A. No. W93-0406M
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing to you to file a formal complaint against Washington County Family Court Judge Paul Suttell. I feel that he is biased, overlooks the facts and evidence presented to him, and abuses his discretion as a judge. His job is not to bring his personal feelings before the bench, yet this is exactly what he does. In addition, he is very indecisive - a characteristic that is obviously not conducive to a judge. This indecisiveness causes him to move cases along at an alarmingly slow pace. In support of these allegations, I will outline a summary of my case.
My case is quite complicated, as most in the Family Court are. To be as brief as possible, I have a three-year old son with the above-named defendant, Mr. Ladd. Mr. Ladd has a proven history of domestic violence and chemical dependency. In 1993, an Order was entered in which Mr. Ladd was "denied visitation with said child until such time as he petitions this Honorable Court for visitation". I was given sole custody. Two and one-half years later, he petitioned the Court for visitation. This action took eight months and cost me over $6,400.00 in legal fees. During the proceedings, two expert witnesses became involved, to wit: Drs. Priscilla Howard and Vicki Moss. They concluded that Mr. Ladd had several serious psychological issues and that his visitation should be supervised in a "therapeutic setting". Upon request, I will provide you with the large amount of documentation showing this and numerous other conclusions the experts made. Judge Suttell continually overlooked the testimony and recommendations of experts. He allowed visits to begin before the psychological evaluations were completed. After Mr. Ladd failed the evaluations, Judge Suttell suggested that Mr. Ladd should have joint custody and unsupervised visits!
There was also evidence presented documenting my fitness as a mother. Again, Suttell ignored the facts. This case finally ended last month when Mr. Ladd suddenly decided he did not want unsupervised visitation. In Judge Suttell's statement on that final day, he concluded that, "this child would benefit by a relationship with father"! Yet, the experts concluded that visits were detrimental to my son, who was psychologically regressing after visits. He overlooked the overwhelming evidence in this case.
As I have already stated, this has cost me over $6,400.00. I asked the Court to have Mr. Ladd reimburse me, but this is not going to happen. Judge Suttell is so slow and indecisive, he is costing people thousand of dollars in unnecessary legal fees. As if this were not enough, the stress and problems created by the proceedings, have since caused me to lose my job of over two and one-half years.
Suttell is biased against women, in particular. Yet, I have also seen certain cases in which he is biased against men with long hair. His record is erratic and must be investigated. He is bringing some of his own psychological problems and personal opinions to the bench. Judge Suttell needs to have your immediate attention. There are many other cases pending before him and I have personal knowledge that you will be receiving additional complaints against him at some point in the near future. He is a serious topic of discussion among women, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel in Washington County. I will also be contacting the media and Common Cause of Rhode Island. Judge Suttell is not doing the job that he is being paid to do and this incompetence must end. I will look forward to your response and attention to this matter.
Samantha P. McLintock
Some time later, the answer came back, "We see no wrong doing."