Monday, December 12, 2011
The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board has increased a panel reprimand to a 30-day suspension in a case involving a violation of Rule 4.3 (dealings with unrepresented person). The rule states:
In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding.
The attorney was retained by the chairman of the pathology department of the Henry Ford Hospital. The client wished to divorce his wife, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987. The attorney personally served the papers on the wife and had her sign documents concerning the action. The panel and board found that the interaction between the attorney and the wife violated the rule.
Another attorney eventually handled the divorce. (Mike Frisch)