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Disgruntled Lawyer Sues State Over Suspension

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Lawsuit claims rules regarding deceit are unconstitutional

Attorney Mark Villeneuve believes in his constitutional right to be dishonest, and he’s taking his argument to federal court in Hartford.

Villeneuve, a Maine resident who is licensed to practice law in Connecticut, is suing the state of Connecticut, Chief Court Administrator Judge Barbara Quinn and several members of the Judicial Branch after his license was suspended in January.

Superior Court Judge Julia Aurigemma suspended his license after determining that Villeneuve lied on a résumé and falsified an application for a staff attorney position at the state Workers’ Compensation Commission in 2008.

Now, Villeneuve is claiming in his lawsuit that the Practice Book rules he violated “should be struck down as unconstitutionally broad and void for vagueness.” He targets Rule 8.4 that defines misconduct as involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty and misrepresentation.

Villeneuve argues that the rule violates his free speech rights and authorizes the punishment of “a significant amount of constitutionally protected conduct and is therefore unconstitutionally broad.”