Monday, November 24, 2008
An attorney handling an insurance matter was privately reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court for misuse of process. The lawyer had served a series of subpoenas prior to the institution of litigation and has stipulated that the conduct violated Rule 4.4 (respect for rights of third persons). The court explained its relative leniency:
By using subpoenas, Respondent purported to issue orders on behalf of a court, rather than simply making requests on behalf of an insurance company. Respondent's improper use of subpoenas tended to give the third party (who apparently was unrepresented) the false impres-sion that he could be held in contempt of court if he failed to appear and produce the documents requested.
An offense of this gravity would usually have warranted discipline more severe than a private reprimand, but in light of the lack of adverse consequences and Respondent's cooperation with the Commission, the Court approves the agreed discipline.