Doe v. Nielsen, No. 17-2040 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Doe sought lawful permanent residence in the U.S. under the EB-5 visa program, which requires applicants to invest in a new U.S. commercial enterprise, 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)(A). Doe invested $500,000 in Elgin Assisted Living EB-5 Fund, to build and operate a memory care facility. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Doe’s petition because the facility had not been built since it was proposed in 2011. Doe filed suit. The court granted the government summary judgment. Doe is represented by the three-attorney Kameli Law Group. Floss, an associate, is Doe’s counsel of record. Kameli is the firm’s principal. While briefing was underway, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit, accusing Kameli of defrauding 226 immigrants who invested over $88 million. Kameli allegedly misappropriated the memory care center's funds. The Seventh Circuit disqualified the firm from Doe’s appeal. The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit representation if “there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest.” Neither of Kameli's conflicts can be waived by informed client consent. It “strains credulity to think that Kameli would be diligent.” Kameli would not advise Doe to allege fraud and seek reconsideration of the USCIS decision. Kameli also has divided obligations to his investor-clients, which create an unacceptably high risk of materially limiting Doe’s representation by Floss.