Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Asking Client To Buy Cocaine Leads To Disbarment
The North Dakota Supreme Court imposed sanctions against an attorney who engaged in misconduct in three matters. In two of the matters, the court imposed a one-year suspension; in the other, disbarment.
One of the suspension cases:
...the Hearing Panel found that [the attorney] had billed one client for 9 hours and another for 16.39 hours at a rate of $150 per hour. The Hearing Panel found that the billed work was of no value, and when [he] was confronted by the other attorney in the firm, [he] refunded the money he had improperly billed to these clients. The Hearing Panel further found that [the attorney] had billed work that was of no value for two clients represented by the other attorney, who had been appointed by the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. When confronted regarding bills paid by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, which included $5,400.40 for the work [the attorney] had billed, [he] indicated he would credit the payment for the entries on a final bill to the government. The Hearing Panel found that while [he]said he would credit the payment for the entries on a final bill to the government he has not done so; however [he] continued to work on the two files after the other attorney left the firm and there is a net balance owed to the firm.
And the disbarment:
... the Hearing Panel found that [the attorney] had asked his client to find cocaine for him, gave her $200 for the cocaine, and was subsequently arrested and charged. The record reflects that on January 20, 2010, [he] entered a guilty plea to Attempted Possession of Controlled Substance (Cocaine), which is a class A misdemeanor. Wolff was placed on supervised probation for two years, with conditions, and was ordered to pay fines and fees.