HOUSTON, Texas–Democratic State Representative Ron Reynolds has made Texas Monthly magazine’s list of Worst Representatives of 2013. He was arrested on 10 counts of barratry in Montgomery County last year. His “ambulance chasing” case is set for trial this October. He faces disbarment and a conviction of a third degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. He faced similar charges in 2012 in Harris County.
He was fined $10,000 in 2011 by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to file campaign finance disclosures in 2008 and 2009. The Texas Attorney General sued to collect on the fine. The State Bar of Texas has suspended him for unprofessional conduct. There are 15 health care companies that have lawsuits pending against Reynolds for not paying them after they treated his clients and he received settlements for them. A similar lawsuit in 2013 resulted in a $172,000 judgment against him.
Reynolds received his law license in May of 2000. Since that time he has been suspended by the State Bar of Texas twice. He was suspended from practice for a year from 2005 to 2006. He admitted responsibility for failing to file a response to two summary judgment motions, settling cases without his client’s consent, and receiving settlement proceeds without telling a client. He was placed on probation for a period of three years from 2006-2009. Reynolds currently practices law with Brown, Brown & Reynolds, P.C.
Reynolds’ barratry activities were discovered in Montgomery County after a confidential informant notified authorities of the kickback scheme involving the perusal of accident reports and calls to potential clients.
Reynolds was also charged with barratry in Harris County in 2012 but the case was dismissed after one of the case investigators was accused of tampering with evidence in an unrelated case.
In February of 2014, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline brought suit against Reynolds in Harris County for his part in the ambulance chasing scheme. Law360 reported that the State Bar of Texas sued Reynolds over his part in a “criminal client solicitation scheme that involved paying kickbacks to a chiropractor who referred customers to Reynold’s personal injury law firm.” The State Bar Commission alleges that Robert Valdez, Sr., a convicted felon, would solicit personal injury clients for Reynolds. Reynolds allegedly provided Valdez with forms so he could sign-up legal clients for him.
Memorial MRI & Diagnostic also sued Reynolds last year, accusing him of sending his personal injury clients for MRIs but not paying them once he won the settlements. A $172,000 judgment was entered against him.
There are currently 15 other health care companies suing Reynolds for non-payment after he won settlements based on the diagnostic evaluations and treatment they had provided his clients.
Democrats have historically occupied the House District 27 seat. This district covers cities surrounding Fort Bend County and parts of Houston, Sugarland, Pearland, and Missouri City.
A conservative pro-life Republican, David Hamilton, has challenged the State Representative. Hamilton lives in Missouri City with his wife Katie, their two-year-old son Brad, and newborn daughter Brooklynn. David stated he is running to restore integrity to the district and to ensure that the values of the community are represented in Austin.
When asked about Reynolds’ ethical and criminal legal issues, Hamilton told Breitbart Texas that he was running against Reynolds because “integrity and trust are important. The voters must decide which candidate deserves their trust. The charges against Ron in both criminal and civil court are very serious – especially the allegations that he has effectively been stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from health care companies in our community. We the people of HD 27 should demand more from all our elected officials.”
Hamilton has also been arrested but the charges were dropped. His arrest was for disorderly conduct in connection with protest activities outside an abortion clinic in 2009 in Kentucky. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder later sued him for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The case was settled in 2013.
Henry Dibrell, a school board member in Katy, Texas told Breitbart Texas, “I believe as an elected official we need to be an example. None of us are perfect but Ron’s actions don’t seem to show that he is even making an effort at being a person of integrity. The people of HD27 can do better.”
Reynolds and Hamilton face-off in the November election.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She is a 22-year lawyer who has served as a family court associate judge and a prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.