Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed all findings of misconduct save one and, as a result, remanded the matter for a sanction recommendation in a matter involving a conflict of interest in a real estate transaction:
...with this sole exception, the DHC properly concluded defendant committed the offense or misconduct. N.C. State Bar v. Talford, 356 N.C. 626, 632, 576 S.E.2d 305, 309-10 (2003). We find that the DHC's conclusions derive from complications which inherently flow from a violation of Rule 1.9, which both parties agree was violated in this case. The representation of a second client would have necessarily impeded defendant's ability to satisfactorily complete the representation of the previous client. Negotiating a compromise or settlement between two clients is always problematic. Failing to completely disclose all facts to both clients creates ethical dilemmas such as those faced by defendant. Zealous representation of one client shortchanges the other, and disclosure of confidential information to one violates a basic duty to the other. Defendant's defense that his representation of the Davids had ended with the closing is undermined by his efforts to see that restrictive covenants were subsequently recorded. It is clear that the prior representation had not ended, when the second representation began. Defendant drank the hemlock of multiple representations too often.