Superior Court Judge Hurst Sanctions Lawyer Keven McKenna

Mar 9, 2015

Keven A. McKenna, the former state representative, Providence Municipal Court judge and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the capital city, is in trouble again with the Rhode Island court system.

McKenna, whose law license was recently suspended for one year by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in a long-running professional conduct dispute, was slapped by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst in as unusual decision that found McKenna responsible for unprofessional conduct as a lawyer.

What began as a routine Bristol zoning matter ended with McKenna, according to the decision by Hurst, failing to inform clients of legal motions he was making and not obtaining their consent for legal moves he was making.

``It is inconceivable  to think that a licensed attorney would name an individual as party to a lawsuit or other legal proceeding without that individual’s consent,’’ stated Hurst.

``The court finds that a pattern existed wherein Mr. McKenna initiated a series of independent legal proceedings on behalf of at least four of the …defendants by signing and filing of documents with the Superior and other courts, administrative agencies and in non-judicial proceedings, but first without investigating to determine his clients desires and whether or not he had the authority to initiate those proceedings,’’ Hurst wrote.

``The evidence is that Mr. McKenna unreasonably failed to take steps to determine his clients wishes concerning the continuing objectives of his representation and the means by which those objectives would be accomplished,’’ stated Hurst.

``The court further finds that Mr. McKenna acted intentionally and without proper purposes when he named his clients as parties to various of the claims and cases he filed without their knowledge and consent,’’ stated Hurst.

Judge Hurst found that McKenna violated civil procedure Rule 11, which gives courts the right to sanction lawyers who advance claims ``without proper foundation.’’  She found five separate occations where McKenna violated this rule.

Judge Hurst ordered that McKenna pay Ronald Blanchard of Bristol $19,267.