December 4, 2012
No Impleader In Bar Discipline Cases
An attorney who is the subject of a bar disciplinary proceeding sought to implead the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation pursuant to Rule 14(a) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion was granted by the district court.
On interlocultory review sought by the Foundation, the Utah Supreme Court held that the governing standards "do not permit litigation of collateral matters in disciplinary proceedings." Thus, the Foundation is entitled to summary judgment.
The attorney was retained by two individuals to represent the Foundation and two Utah chapters. A court had concluded that the two individuals did not have authority to retain him. At issues were fees paid to the attorney that he was ordered to disgorge to the Foundation.
The court here noted the "unique, separate nature of attorney discipline cases" and found civil impleader "not consistent" with the disciplinary regime. Thus, the district court abused its discretion in allowing the filing of a third-party complaint in the bar discipline matter. (Mike Frisch)
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