Philadelphia Lawyer Accused of Unethical Tactics in Fatal Police Shooting Lawsuit

Philadelphia, PA – A Philadelphia lawyer is facing accusations of attempting to file an unauthorized civil lawsuit and exploiting a potential settlement in a case involving a 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by police. The lawyer, J. Conor Corcoran, is also alleged to have sought a declaration of mental incompetence for the boy’s father to maintain control of the case. The allegations were brought forth by the state’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the misconduct claims against Corcoran were detailed in a petition filed in December. The incident was initially reported by Axios. Corcoran’s attorney, Samuel Stretton, defended his client’s intentions, stating that multiple lawyers were competing for involvement in a high-profile case.

The filing reveals that Thomas Siderio Sr. had hired Corcoran to represent him in unrelated police brutality cases. However, Corcoran was not hired to represent Siderio after his son, Thomas “T.J.” Siderio, was shot and killed by Officer Edsaul Mendoza in March 2022.

The petition states that just two days after the incident, Corcoran attempted to make Siderio the administrator of his son’s estate without having met or spoken to him about the matter. Corcoran then tried to meet with Siderio at a state prison the following day but was denied entry as he was not on the attorney visitation list.

Stretton claims that Siderio reached out to Corcoran in the days that followed, and they had multiple discussions about the case. Corcoran also spoke with Siderio’s mother and other relatives. Despite not signing a new fee agreement, Corcoran believed he continued to represent Siderio in civil matters.

However, Siderio and his mother eventually hired different attorneys to handle the case, while Corcoran continued to assert that he represented Siderio. He even sent emails to the family’s retained lawyers, threatening to file complaints against them.

In June, Corcoran filed a court petition claiming Siderio was incapacitated and requested the appointment of a guardian. The filing alleges that Corcoran lied about Siderio’s mental health and failed to provide any expert medical reports supporting his claims.

Corcoran also sought to remove Siderio and his mother’s attorneys from the case, claiming he was attempting to protect Siderio. However, both requests were dismissed by a judge, and Corcoran withdrew his civil action in July 2022, acknowledging that the family was already being represented.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel asserts that Corcoran’s actions were driven by financial motives, referring to them as a “money grab.” In response, Stretton admits that Corcoran regrets how the situation unfolded and acknowledges that he was wrong in assuming his initial fee agreement covered the case.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board has scheduled a hearing in June to consider the complaint against Corcoran.