Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Palpable Conflict Of Interest

The New Mexico Supreme Court disbarred an attorney  who had sought a conservatorship as lawyer for the person for whom a conservator was sought as well as his wife (Ruth). The husband (Bruce) had set up two trusts with significant trust payments to the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago on his death. After a guardian ad litem was appointed, the attorney filed two lawsuits in federal court to void the Moody Bible trusts without notice to the guardian ad litem. He also took action to bar Bruce's access to accounts held as co-tenant with Ruth. After a court had disqualified him from representing Bruce due to the conflicts of interest with Ruth, the lawyer:

"...went to the dementia unit of the Woodmark, a residential care facility in which Bruce was a patient, and had Bruce removed from the dementia unit and taken to a private room to execute a new will and trust which Respondent had prepared for Bruce’s signature. The new will and trust sought to revoke the Moody Bible trusts and create a new trust with Ruth as trustee with all the power 'that an absolute owner of such property would have.' These documents had the additional effect of removing all of the assets belonging to Bruce from the jurisdiction of the court in the guardianship and conservatorship proceeding. Respondent did not notify the court, the guardian ad litem, or the temporary guardian and conservator of his intended visit with Bruce, or of his efforts to have Bruce sign a new will and trust. "

A hearing committee had recommended a six-month suspension with automatic reinstatement. A panel of the disciplinary board proposed disbarment. The court agreed, noting a prior instance of similar misconduct. The court also rejected a series of claims of prosecutorial misconduct. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2008/02/the-new-mexico.html

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Comments

The whole story is not being told concerning this case and Moody Bible Institute's actions. Prior to a guardian ad litem being appointed Bruce Clinesmith had already gone to see the attorney who lost his license. Bruce and his wife had witnesses to these facts. The court refused any testimony as to the events and timelines. Bruce requested that the lawyer remove all of his assets from MBI and set up a new trust. This organization managed to have Bruce's Power of Attorney thrown out, a Power of Attorney which had been prepared by Bruce over a year prior to these actions. Bruce made it clear what he wanted in the event that anything ever happened to him. This lawyer was merely honoring Bruce's request. This is a sham to justice. MBI should be ashamed of themselves as should the courts in the State of New Mexico.

Posted by: Cmille | Mar 3, 2008 4:39:32 PM

The whole story is not being told. Bruce had prepared for any problems by having a complete and comprehensive Power Of Attorney prepared a year before this happened. He and his wife sought out the attorney who was disbarred prior to any of the actions and asked him to remove all of their assets from Moody Bible Institute and to prepare a new trust for them. This lawyer was merely following the request of this couple. This lawyer also followed the rules per the State of New Mexico. The sham is that MBI went behind the back of Bruce and had him declared incapcitated and locked up. MBI violated their responsibility by taking advantage of a couple who had just been victims of Hurricane Charlie and made this loving couple victims of MBI and the questionable courts in New Mexico.

Posted by: Cmille | Mar 3, 2008 4:47:09 PM

Comments do not seem to be allowed to tell the whole story of how Moody Bible Institute violated the rights of this couple.

Posted by: Cmille | Mar 3, 2008 4:48:56 PM

No, that's just a delay in posting due to a spam filter. If LPB did not have a filter, you would not believe how much porn we would be touting. We really do welcome substantive comments, and apologize to everyone that there is a delay in their showing up on the site.

Posted by: Childress | Mar 4, 2008 9:49:05 AM

I am the niece of Bruce and Ruth Clinesmith. The heartbreaking fact of this whole case is that Bruce and Ruth were separated at the end of their life. Bruce's guardian felt it was better to take him from his wife and put him in a nursing home. I've been to Woodmark. It is a nursing home with a dementia unit. His family on Ruth's side was banned to visit him there. He had no living family members on his side. I know it was never Bruce's intention to be separated from his wife. Ruth and her 3 sisters and live within a few blocks of each other. She is no longer driving and walks with a walker but the sisters are not allowed to visit with Bruce so she was forced to go alone . None of the children of these sisters and their families are allowed to visit Bruce. This case is all about money. Money the Moody Bible Institute wanted from Bruce.

Posted by: Niece | Jul 26, 2008 5:28:14 AM

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