An attorney is in the hot seat after a Texas businesswoman files multiple grievances for an erroneous article he authored about Self-Settled Trusts. LeAnn Cyr, CEO and founder of Surgical Associates in Spine (SASpine), San Antonio, TX, filed multiple grievances against Attorney Jay Adkisson of Riser Adkisson LLP with the State Bar of Nevada Office of Bar Counsel, State Bar of Texas Chief Disciplinary Counsel, The State Bar of California, Office of the General Counsel Oklahoma Bar Association, and the State Bar of Arizona for a misleading article about self-settled trusts written by him about LeAnn Cyr, her family, and businesses. Mr. Adkisson submitted an inaccurate article to Forbes magazine essentially accusing the Cyrs of having a self-settled trust to shield assets from creditors. As a result, this has caused damages to LeAnn Cyr, SASpine and her family, as well as mental anguish. She states, “Attorneys should not be able to use their titles to gain credibility as journalists while publishing irresponsible, inaccurate articles about innocent citizens. As attorneys, they should have a higher level of accountability and should be held to a higher standard and code of ethics.”
The article was written as an opinion piece, but, according to Cyr, was really an insidious way for Mr. Adkisson to promote his own services at his private practice firm of Riser Adkisson LLP by using their case as an example of “what not to do” with respect to family trusts. However, in recounting the allegations against Cyr, he lists many of them as foregone conclusions, misleading readers that they were statements of fact. In truth, nearly every allegation against the Cyrs has already been dismissed in a series of crushing blows to the plaintiffs in the case. The most substantial claims of fraud and illegal transfers never occurred, but at the time of the article, most of the issues hadn’t been argued in court. Since then, many of the accusations have been dismissed in “Motions to Dismiss” filed by the defendants’ attorneys, not even surviving long enough to see the light of day in court.
A majority of the inaccurate allegations against the Cyrs included supposed fraudulent transfers of real estate and businesses, that in fact, were not fraudulent or never transpired. The Judge has dismissed a large percentage of the case for lack of evidence or merit. In doing so, the opposing counsel, Jose Rodriguez, claimed that Judge Gargotta displayed “manifest error” in his ruling and filed a Motion for Reconsideration. In the Court’s review of the reconsideration request, it responded that the plaintiff’s “contentions were either unmeritorious when previously raised, or waived…” and Mr. Rodriguez failed to “assert facts demonstrating that at any point in either transaction, Debtor had an interest in the [real estate].” Court documents also state that due to Jose Rodriguez’s failure to assert facts, the Court will not take [this issue] up again. In summary, the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration was denied in its entirety. The Plaintiff’s attorneys, Paul T. Curl (Curl Stahl Geis) and Patrick H. Autry (Branscomb PLLC) could not be reached for comments.
The State Bar of California and the State Bar of Arizona responded quickly that the grievances are being reviewed by their Attorney and/or Intake Unit. Generally, these types of complaints are taken very seriously. Whether or not Mr. Adkisson will be penalized, or if his license will be revoked for his actions, remains to be seen. This is reportedly the first in a series of steps Mrs. Cyr intends to take to vindicate her family name. She writes in her personal blog, LeAnnCyr-iouslySpeaking.com, “attorneys moonlighting as journalists should be more clear about their intentions, especially when it’s for their own self-promotion. Credible news sources should not print articles without confirming facts.”
According to sources, LeAnn Cyr attempted to contact Mr. Adkisson with the actual court rulings (ie, dismissals) contradicting his opinion, requesting a retraction. Mr. Adkisson refused to respond. The grievances were filed only after this failed attempt at a retraction.
LeAnn Cyr is the Founder and CEO of SASpine, CYRx Md brands, and The Cyr Family Charitable Fund. She is an entrepreneur, business owner, and mother of four.