Judge lifts gag order in KNR fraud lawsuit
Parties now free to communicate with the public to seek further information about alleged fraudulent business practices employed by Akron-based personal injury law firm Kisling, Nestico, and Redick
AKRON, OHIO — This morning, Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alison Breaux issued a ruling lifting the gag order that she had imposed on the parties to the putative class-action lawsuit alleging that Akron-based personal injury firm Kisling, Nestico, and Redick (“KNR”) and its owners, Alberto (“Rob”) Nestico and Robert Redick, engaged in various schemes to defraud their clients.
The gag order was imposed at KNR’s request after the plaintiffs filed a detailed amended complaint, supported by KNR’s own documents, alleging that the firm intentionally deceived and defrauded its clients with kickback schemes involving a network of chiropractors and a now-defunct loan company called Liberty Capital Funding. The complaint further alleges that KNR has engaged in a scheme to defraud its clients by charging a fraudulent “investigation fee” for so-called “investigations” that are never performed, and for basic clerical services that are not legally chargeable to the firm’s clients.
In seeking the gag order, KNR misrepresented Ohio law and asked the court to ignore well-established precedent protecting the public’s right of access to court proceedings, and the right of litigants to communicate about legal matters of public interest. While the Court initially granted the gag order on an emergency basis, due to KNR’s ultimately meritless arguments that the plaintiffs had shared information that was entitled to legal protection, the Court found that these arguments were not sufficient to justify continued restriction of the plaintiffs’ speech.
“It’s not especially surprising that the KNR defendants would go to extreme lengths to try and silence people with evidence of their alleged fraud against their own clients,” said Peter Pattakos, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “But as the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has wisely noted, ‘the natural desire of parties to shield prejudicial information contained in judicial records from competitors and the public cannot be accommodated by courts without seriously undermining the tradition of an open judicial system. The greater the motivation a corporation has to shield its operations, the greater the public’s need to know.’ This case shows how important it is that courts remain protective of parties’ fundamental rights when wealthy and powerful defendants seek to act on their motivations to hide their unlawful conduct, and we are grateful that the Court reached the correct result here.”
Anyone with information or concerns about alleged fraudulent conduct by KNR is encouraged to contact the plaintiffs’ attorneys by phone at 330.836.8533 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The named plaintiffs, on behalf of the putative classes of former KNR clients, are represented by Peter Pattakos and Daniel Frech of the Pattakos Law Firm in Akron, Ohio, and Joshua Cohen, of Cohen, Rosenthal, and Kramer in Cleveland.
A copy of the filed Second Amended Complaint is available here, and an informational press release is available here.
Coverage of the case at Cleveland.com is available here, and here.