The Star Tribune reports that disbarred attorney David Moskal, 54, has died in Colorado. We’ve been receiving reports of Mr. Moskal’s death from various sources since last week, but were unable to get official confirmation. The Star Tribune cites a mortuary obituary as its source. The Strib also notes that donations are requested to suicide-prevention organizations, which is consistent with the reports we heard about the cause of his death.
Moskal, once a name partner at the firm now known as Schwebel Goetz & Sieben, at one point made more than a $1 million a year as a personal injury attorney. The state’s legal community was shocked when it was discovered that Moskal, an attorney earning seven figures in his own right, was simultaneously stealing millions from clients. (As the Strib notes, the Schwebel firm fired Moskal as soon as the thefts came to light a little more than a decade ago and speedily reimbursed the victims.)
After being disbarred and serving his prison time for the thefts, Moskal moved to Denver, where he reportedly worked as a paralegal and as a client liaison for a spine-injury center and later for a medical group. Controversy followed Moskal to Colorado. After allegedly representing himself as an attorney while working as a client liaison, he was reportedly sentenced to 30 days in jail and had his supervision extended. (Click here for more on his troubles in Denver.) Mile High Medical Group, one of the firms for which Moskal worked, last week declined to answer any questions about him, stating only that Moskal no longer worked there.
The Moskal case will always be a mystery. Moskal, who finished at the top of his class at William Mitchell College of Law, had no need of the money he stole. He was well-liked, but lied to those who thought they were his friends and needlessly jeopardized the livelihoods of his colleagues. He valiantly fought to maximize the recoveries of his injured clients, but then secretly chiseled away portions of those recoveries for himself.
Moskal never offered a satisfactory explanation for his actions as a member of the Minnesota bar. Even in his “new life” in Colorado he apparently continued to operate outside the ethical margins. It’s impossible to say what inner demons plagued Moskal, but they apparently caught up with him in the end. It’s a sad story — perhaps most sad because we will never know what his true story was. Who was the real David Moskal? I doubt even he knew.