Monday, October 4, 2010
The Indiana Supreme Court has imposed a 90 day suspension of an attorney who represented a client in, among other matters, a prenuptial agreement and the subsequent marriage dissolution proceeding. At the time of the dissolution proceeding, the attorney and the client's spouse engaged in an e-mail exchange that discussed the attorney's romantic interest in the spouse as well as the pending proceeding. When the client discovered the e-mails, he fired the attorney.
The court affirmed findings that the attorney had breached his duty of confidentiality and engaged in a conflict of interest.
The court also affirmed findings rejecting a claim that the attorney was following the client's directive to "work directly" with the spouse to bring the matter to resolution. The client denied so instructing the attorney. The court concluded that whatever the authority given by the client, the attorney had exceeded it.
A dissent would impose public reprimand. (Mike Frisch)