Friday, April 30, 2010
Two additional bar discipline reports have been filed in connection with ethics charges brought in Michigan against attorneys in connection with litigation involving former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
In one matter, the tri-county hearing panel found that the charges against an attorney who was retained by the City as "special counsel" had not been proven by a preponderance of the evidence and dismissed the charges. The accused attorney had been brought into the litigation because of his extensive trial experience. The panel found that two attorneys in the Corporation Counsel's office (one of whom headed the office) were responsible for failing to advise the City Council of documents relating to the settlement.
In the second matter, a different tri-county hearing panel found that the former Detroit Corporation Counsel had not engaged in misconduct concerning the settlement of the underlying whistleblower litigation. The panel applied a Rule 1.13 analysis and concluded that the client was the City Council, not the City itself, as the accused attorney had argued. However, the panel found insufficient evidence that the former Corporation Counsel had failed to communicate with and advise the City Council. Specifically, the evidence did not establish that he was aware of the romantic nature of the Mayor's e-mails.
The panel found that the former Corporation Counsel had failed to properly supervise the junior attorney who was more directly involved in the litigation with respect to FOIA responses and other aspects of the litigation. The matter has been set for a sanction determination.
Charges against the junior attorney are as yet unresolved. (Mike Frisch)