March 18, 2010
Weighing Factors Leads To Lengthy Suspension
The Minnesota Supreme Court imposed an indefinite suspension of at least two years for incompetent representation and related violations in the representation of a client in a bankruptcy matter. The client had wished to protect the proceeds of a structured settlement that she was receiving over a period of time. The attorney also engaged in dishonest conduct by issuing a non-negotiable check and refusing to communicate about it.
The lawyer was no stranger to bar discipline. Since he started his own firm in 1993, he had been "admonished ten times and publicly disciplined four times."
Here, the court found that the hearing referee had failed to make findings on his asserted remorse, but concluded that a favorable finding would not have affected the sanction. The court rejected other claims of findings in aggravation of sanction and failure to find mitigation. Among other things, the referee properly found insufficient evidence to establish mitigation based on an asserted adjustment disorder. The court also rejected the contention that the sanction was too severe. (Mike Frisch)
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