ARDC files additional charge against class action lawyer Weiss

Steve Korris Jul. 26, 2011, 2:40am

SPRINGFIELD – While Chicago lawyer Paul Weiss faced charges of sexually harassing six females, he allegedly behaved the same way toward a seventh, according to Illinois attorney regulators.

Lurid details appear in an amended complaint that a review board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission allowed administrator Jerome Larkin to file on July 8.

Weiss, of Freed and Weiss, pursued class actions in Madison County from 1999 to 2006, in partnership with Tom Lakin's law firm in Wood River.

More recently, Weiss has teamed with St. Louis attorney Richard Burke and Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner to pursue class actions in Madison and St. Clair counties.

On July 12, Weiss's legal team was granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement with CVS Pharmacy involving its generic form of cold medicine "Airborne." St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto approved the settlement, in which class members will receive $5.99 as a refunded, in-store voucher. The legal team will receive $950,000 in fees and costs.

The ARDC charged Weiss with misconduct in 2008, claiming his actions toward four employees, a neighbor, and a woman passing by brought his profession into disrepute.

All of the counts related to events five to nine years earlier.

In the new count, commission counsel Wendy Muchman alleged that a few weeks after the firm hired associate Angela Aneiros, Weiss asked to rub her calf or give her a massage.

Muchman wrote that he asked her to show him her body or wear a bathing suit to the office.

She wrote that he called from outside the office, asked what she wore, and told her to take a picture of herself and send it to him.

"Respondent engaged in behavior during working hours which became increasingly aggressive and sexual, often asking Aneiros to go to an empty office or hallway, ask to see her without a top, offer money for her favors or to 'work out a deal,'" Muchman wrote.

She wrote that Weiss called with intent to abuse, threaten or harass Aneiros.

"On Friday, December 10, 2010, Respondent's comments in the office to Aneiros were constant and intolerable," Muchman wrote.

She wrote that on Sunday, Dec. 12, Aneiros resigned by email.

Weiss provided a response by email.

"My comment on the latest complaint is that it contains made-up allegations by a recent employee of the firm (Angela Aneiros) who once she was told she would be let go (and to look for another job) she then claimed that I had harassed in her in the office for many months," Weiss wrote.

Previous charges against Weiss allege similar behavior involving a 17-year-old filing clerk on a summer job and her 19-year-old half sister.

When one worker quit, Weiss allegedly told her she could have sex with him because he was no longer her boss.

The commission claimed he fully exposed himself to a neighbor and lost his apartment for it.

The commission claimed he asked a pedestrian to get in his car, unzipped his pants when she turned him down, and pulled his penis toward her.

The hearing board plans a pretrial conference by telephone on July 28.

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