Tuesday, November 9, 2010
A Virginia attorney has accepted a public reprimand without terms as a result of misconduct in a divorce case in which he represented his sister. The sister was found to owe over $11,000 in child support arrearages. The attorney filed but lost exceptions to the commissioner's report that had found that his client owed the arrearages. Then, opposing counsel was instructed by the commissioner to draft an order.
Opposing counsel made an error in the draft order to the effect that her client owed the money rather than vice versa. The order was entered with the error. When the error was discovered, the attorney refused to sign a corrected order. With knowledge of the mistake, he initiated action that sought to collect the money. He cited inapposite cases in support of his position. Eventually, the order was corrected.
The admitted violations involved the rules that require fairness to opposing parties and truthfulness to third parties. (Mike Frisch)