July 8, 2011
Family Dispute Leads To Suspension
A Nebraska attorney who was disciplined for the third time as a result of misconduct relating to her mother's guardianship and conservatorship has been suspended for two years by the Nebraska Supreme Court. The court did not adopt the referee's recommendation of disbarment.
The attorney has "disagreed with her siblings about virtually everything relating to [the mother's situation]." Her brother was appointed as conservator. Her disputes with the siblings led to conduct that resulted in an agreed private reprimand. As a result of further misconduct, she was suspended for three months followed by a year's probation.
Here, the misconduct related to an action filed in Minnesota, where the mother resides, as well as her conduct before a Nebraska judge that was prejudicial to the administration of justice. The court found some mitigation:
[The attorney's] confrontation with the court did not involve obscenity, and to her credit, [she] requested on multiple occasions that the court grant a recess, even suggesting that such recess would enable everyone to “cool down.” And [she] argues that she was under a great deal of stress at the time of the hearing, claiming emotional, health, and financial problems. We also observe that [her] misconduct has also occurred solely in the context of emotionally charged and highly personal matters, which does not excuse her conduct, but does suggest that such misconduct is less likely to occur in the representation of other clients.
Nonetheless, the persistent misconduct after disciplinary sanctions drew a significant suspension. (Mike Frisch)
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